Sunday, September 30, 2007

Guitars For Vets

Steve Benford has an update for everyone on his Guitars For Vets program. Here's what he has to say.

I wanted to give you guys an update on the Guitars For Vets program I told you about a million years ago.

The non-profit filing has turned into a royal (and expensive) pain. Without boring you with the details, one mis-step can cause HUGE problems.

Heres where we are at right now. A local store donated a guitar to us which we auctioned off at an event. We raised enough money from that to purchase 3 acoustic guitars.

All three guitars got donated to some VETS at our local VA. All had spinal injuries and have limited movement. 1 had played in the past and was very excited to get back into it. The other 2 have loved music and had the desire to play and instrument all their lives. We were able to bring a little relief to the crap situation they are in.

Patrick Nettesheim and I played for the VETS at a function at Miller Park. The Milwaukee Brewers stadium for those of you who dont know. No, we didnt play inside the park. That would have been cool though. Anyway, we bashed on the acoustics for 45 minutes and had alot of fun meeting people. One of the VETS we donated a guitar was there. He wheeled his wheelchair up to within 2 feet of us and just absorbed what we were doing. He smiled. A simple thing, but thats the first time we saw that from him. That was one of the best days of my life.

Currently im am building 2 guitars which will be auctioned off for the program. The first is a Army Airborne tribute guitar. Its a hand carved eagle in the front of the body. Airborne 12th fret inlays, and the Army seal/logo on the headstock. Last but not least is some KILLER pickups donated by Searcy. The are closed cover Bolero and Obsession humbuckers. The have Airborne jumpwings on the face of the pickups. He made a trip to Fort Campbell, home of the 101st and got the jumpwings. An amazing addition to the axe. The guitar is about 85% done. In progress pics can be seen at my website.

The second is a standard strat that will have a camo paintjob. Not sure about the pickups yet. I loved the jumpwings so I may be having another chat with Searcy.

Now! We have G4V t-shirts in stock. The logo was done by my father and just looks great.

They can be purchased at They only $15 including shipping (in the US) and every penny will go toward the program.

For those listeners overseas who are interested in one, contact me and we'll see what we can work out!

I also have a cool 75MM artillery shell lamp I made which is for sale on the G4V website. Its SUPER cool.

A lot of you contacted me and wanted to donate a stand or stuff you had laying around! That is MUCH appreciated. At this point I like you to hang onto your stuff. We are still feeling our way through what we need. If you really want to help, buy a shirt. The $15 will go ALONG way.

Patrick, myself and a couple other musicians are going to Vegas in early Nov to play for a Marine Recon reunion. We are looking forward to meeting these Namm era VETS. Should be a blast!

More to come. If I dont update you, email me and bug me about it! Between teaching, building, playing out and G4V I need another 5 to 6 hours in the day!

Thanks for the support!

Taking care of our fighting men and women returning from war is a cause that is very important to me. If it's important to you too won't you stop by Steves web site and help out? Thanks.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pickup the pieces

After Hurricane Katrina I was asked to help with some instrument restorations for some NOLA musicians. Some of you may have seen the writeup I did on the Gibson F200 electric mandolin pickup or the Fender Jazz Bass pickups I rebuilt for Amy Hopkins a few years ago. Well, Amy is back in New Orleans and this time she's rebuilding the house of Charmaine Neville. If the name looks familiar it should. Charmaine is a member of the world famous Neville family of New Orleans.
In addition to my duties here at SSW I also work on the staff of the Musical Instrument Makers Forum or the MIMF as most people call it. The MIMF is in the process of taking donations to fund some of the restoration that Amy is working on.

I know that some folks are tired of hearing about NOLA and there is a lot of political finger pointing and government waste associated with the disaster but Charmaine is a real person who works for a living and the work that she does is part of what makes New Orleans important to us music fans. All she wants to do is get her home back and be able to work in the city she has always loved.

If you can please stop by the MIMF and make a donation the help rebuild Charmaine Nevilles home.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Neo Rock P-Bass pickup

This week I have also been trying to finalize the design for the new Neo Rocks. These are P-bass humbuckers with Neodymium magnets and a massive 18K winding on them. They sound huge but I have been having some trouble with the covers. I think I finally have it all worked out.

It's interesting. When I first started playing bass I dreamed of getting a Fender P-Bass like Steve Harris or Billy Sheehan so you would think that when I started making pickups I would have tried to make my own version of the P-bass right away. But I didn't. Until now. These new pickups are aggressive sounding like a P-bass should be but they have a more defined top end and more pronounced upper mids because if the Neodymium magnets. But they don't wimp out. I'm putting a set in my old Fender this week I think. They will be a great match for the Neo Jazz pickups.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Day One "Jump Wings"

Well, If everything works out this will be the new place for posting the latest news and projects from the Searcy String Works shop. For example this week I went to Ft Campbell to pick up a few sets of jump wings. I'm using these to make a pair of pickups for my buddy Steve Benford who is making a guitar based on the 101st Air Borne Screaming Eagles. Steve is a guitar builder in Wisconsin. This guitar is going to be auctioned off for charity to raise money for a program that buys guitars for disabled vets returning from Iraq. Check out Guitars For Vets.

He wanted a set of pickups for the project but didn't want them to detract from the rest of the guitar. We batted a few ideas around like a Purple Heart version that was purple and white. It looked cool but was a bit distracting.

In the end we settled on this all black version. It's one of my Obsession / Bolero sets but with a set of black plastic covers and some jump wings added. Steve seemed to dig them.