Saturday, February 23, 2008

Some Updates for February

Ok, The new Searcy String Works pickup designs for W. Jeffery Jones are out the door. I'm finishing up some crazy new P-90s for EllieGuitars that are using some new plastic covers that I made here in the shop. This new plastic forming process I'm using will really expand what I can do. Look for more about that later.

I was hoping to be finished with Antonella Mazzas upright bass pickup system this month. The Gods have other plans though. I started the project a long time ago and thought I had a design that I liked. It was based on my new Neo Rock bass pickups. But just last week I decided that once the whole thing was built it was too big and bulky and needs to be made more compact. So I'm changing things up and switching to a set of Scarabs in a walnut housing. It can be a bit frustrating to have to take more time to modify the design again and again but this system needs to be right the first time. It's not like Antonella can drop by my shop and let me adjust the pickups and preamp if it's not right.So... as much as I would love to get this project out fast I simply can't.

The Guitars 4 Vets guys have some news for us. They are in the home stretch on their license fund raiser and have set a date for the 101st Screaming Eagle Guitar raffle drawing. Well.... let's just let Steve Benford say it.

G4V supporters,
Sorry about the lack of updates. We have a lot to catch up on.
As alot of you know, we have been working hard to get our non-profit status. Its been more work than any of us imagined. We are in the home stretch. We need to do this right the first time as our work involves the Government. We are anxious to get it wrapped up. The next level of this program is within site. We have an ambitious year planned and will need everyone's help to make it happen!
We finally have a date for the drawing of the 101st Airborne Eagle guitar! We wanted to do it right and a opportunity has presented itself. The drawing will take place May31st at Cream City Music in Brookfield, WI. Guitarist for Phil Collins/Genesis and local hero Daryl Stuermer will be doing a clinic for Godin guitars. He will be drawing the winner. We expect a great turn out for his event and are honored to be a part of it. A limited number of raffle tickets are still available. Please visit the G4V site if interested.
G4V would like to extend a very special thank you to the Goetz-St. Louis Legion post #522 in Hubertus, WI. 522 was kind enough to invite us to their Feb meeting. It was a honor meeting everyone, and we were humbled by their generosity. We heard a lot of great stories, and had fun hanging out with everyone.
G4V is headed to the Chicago area this weekend for the Vintage Guitar Magazine Guitar Show. Cream City Music has donated one of their tables for us to set up shop and promote. We will be there all day, so if your in the area come check out the cool old gear and stop by and say hi. We'll have t-shirts, and raffle tickets.
Other upcoming events include a benefit concert in northern Wisconsin in March, as well as another possible benefit show in April. Check out the EVENTS section of the G4V site for updates and details.
Enclosed in this email is a PDF G4V poster generously created by a G4V supporter. It prints out on standard 8-1/2x11 paper. Feel free to print out a couple and hang them wherever you see fit. Thank you in advance!
As always, thanks for your continued support! Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested!
Steve,Pat,Dan, and John

Welp, thats about it for this week. Later!

Clint Searcy

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The new guy... (Willian Jeffery Jones guitars)

I have been talking lately to Jeffery Jones. He is a ridiculously talented sculptor and luthier out of Neosho Missouri. His fretless guitars are starting to generate a buzz in the jazz end of the pool and he is now looking for someone to make some pickups that are more to his liking. His comments to me were very specific ... he needed P-90 and he needed them to be humbucking.

This got me thinking about a similar request I had about a year ago. George Thorogood tours with about 6 guitars. These are specially built Gibsons and all of them sound very different. Sometimes this can lead to strange issues. One of the guitars his tech was working on just sounded too bright and thin no matter what they did to it. I was asked to try to build something to beef up the tone of this guitars in a Dog Ear P-90 style and it needed to be humbucking. I came up with 3 different designs for George to try out. In the end he decided the guitar was just too bright sounding for any pickups to fox and he opted to use a preamp to shape the tone of that problem guitar. Since they didn't use the pickups they sent them back and thanked me for trying to tame the beast.

I was disappointed... I always am when I fail to give someone exactly what they want. But what can you do? They are good pickups... just not for this guitar. So the humbucking P-90s went in a box in the shop and have sat there ever since.

Until now ! I have resurrected two of these pickup designs to see how they sound a WJJ guitar. I am very excited at the prospect of seeing some Searcy String Works pickups in the William Jeffery Jones guitars. After talking to him on the phone I can tell you that he has some big surprises in the works. But we'll talk about that later.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I would like you to meet Leif Renwall (Le-Re pickups revisited)

Maybe some of you have read the epic saga of how I was asked to rebuild two very strange 1950's lap steel pickups for a guy named Kari "Max" Laine in Finland. The guitar was made in Finland by a company called Malmström. The pickups were made for Malmström by an other Finnish company called Le-Re. Le-Re is short for Leif Renwall. Well, Max has been busy tracking down as much information on these remarkable instruments as he can. He has found them as far away as Australia. Every once in a while Searcy String Works gets up dates from him. His latest fine is nothing short of amazing! But don't take my word for it...

Hi Clint, I visited Mr. Leif Renwall, the maker of those Le-Re pickups, yesterday at his home in Helsinki. He is 82, and still doing fine. He told me he actually used to buy earphone sets (he thinks the brand was "Olympia") and dismantle them to get the coils/magnets. So we were right about the source. He thinks he made around 30 of such pickups, so that would probably be the total production of those guitars. I know the whereabouts of six, I wonder where the rest are... He has long lost his own guitar, but was delighted to see mine with the restored pickup. See attached picture! The both pickups are still working fine, so thanks again!

Regards, kari

How cool is that? I am very happy to know that my rebuild met with the approval of Mr. Renwall. And remember, if you have one of these fine historic guitars be sure to drop me a line. Max and I would really like to hear from you.