CLC Newsletter - June 2012
Hello again from the west coast of Ireland.
Horses are becoming a theme for this Newsletter! We were delighted to look out of the kitchen window a couple of weeks ago to see a very new foal with it's mother.
There were other mares around who were very interested in the new baby and the mother was very protective. The new foal had to be pushed into place to get it's breakfast.
Plugging the Nova Festival which will be held in Pulborough in the UK from July 5th -8th. Nova is the brainchild of our daughter Katrina (of Big Chill fame) and is an arts and music based event. From her track record you can bet it will be an amazing weekend.
Syra is looking for some new music to use on the front page of her website. If any of you have something original that you think might be suitable and which you would be willing for her to use please email me using the contact button at the head of the Newsletter. You would get a credit on the website and a link to your site or any project you are associated with. She has created a lot of guitar related paintings some of which you can see here.
No matter how well guitars are made they inevitably go out of tune, even mine! So how do you adjust or alter the tuning? You use the machine heads (also known as tuners) to tighten or loosen the strings. They come in many shapes and sizes but most work on the same principle - you turn a knob which is attached to a shaft which has a worm gear on it which moves a pinion gear fixed to another shaft that has a hole in it through which the sting is inserted. Turning the knob one way tightens the string, the reverse loosens it. Probably this pic of a Schaller BM bass guitar tuner is the best to show this.
If you have a topic that you would like me to cover in the Tech Bit please send it to me and I'll try to do it if I can.
In the Workshop.
A few visitors this month. In the last two month's Tech Bits I featured the refurbishment of Eric Siegloff's bass. It was our pleasure to meet Eric with his family as they were holidaying in Ireland when they called in to visit last week.
Here he is holding my favourite block of quilted maple that I have had for some years. The picture does not show how beautiful the richly coloured and finely figured piece is (although Eric looks OK so the camera was working!). This block is big enough to make a one piece body for a solid body guitar but I like it so much that it would take a very special project to make me take a saw to it.
Some years ago I had a series of orders for very flash Fender type guitars using one piece exotic bodies with flush inlaid rosewood scratchplates and like the one below which also has a birdseye maple neck and some custom inlays and this block was one of a number I sourced for that project.
Also visiting was Gerry O'Beirne who has graced these pages before. Gerry, who is a fine musician with a great pedigree, is now living locally. While here he tried the ASAPJ JM and made it sound amazing.
He also showed me his bass uke. Strange little fretless thing with thick silicon rubber strings and a built in pickup. Amplified it sounded very good through my bass amp with double bass like attack and decay. Acoustically it does not work at all as the body size is far too small to create the large wavelength that characterise bass notes. It works amplified because a pickup works on frequency rather than the wavelength.
Del Palmer gets another mention as he sent me some pics of a recent acoustic gig where he was using his ASAP guitar. He's the good looking one on the left!
Last month I was expecting to have finished another ASAS Stealth Semi but, as is not unusual, I had delays so here is a taster of where it is at the end of May. It is almost ready for the final coats of lacquer. In this pic you can see the blue masking tape on the neck that is protecting the white binding from being covered in black lacquer. There is also plenty of the same tape on the binding on the body but you can't see this as it is covered with black!
Some places are too fiddly to mask off and so have to have the colour scraped off them by hand when the tape is removed - a tedious process using scrapers made from bits of old craft knife blades. Like this.
There isn't one as I write this. There is one on the way but it was delayed due to work load on the author. Personally I don't think anything should get in the way of being published in the Newsletter but I accept this excuse. But only this one time!
So it could be you!
Why not contribute an article for the Newsletter yourself? Write a paragraph or two about something relevant (or irrelevant!) and get a chance to shamelessly publicise yourself and/or your project in the Newsletter. Send your effort to me along with a suitable pic/video/soundclip/url/link, etc., and I'll see if I can include it (if I don't lose it). It does not have to be about how good your guitar is (even if it is!) but maybe something about a situation it got you into, a gig experience, the design and ordering process or anything related to it. Use your imagination! Or simply send me a pic of you and your Chris Larkin gigging.
Last month I thought I could tempt a certain type of player with back views of the classy examples available to buy now from the workshop. Obviously this approach was too subtle so this month I'm hoping to appeal to those of you who like side(ish)views of beautiful guitars. There are more pics (including the fronts and backs!) and full details on the Stocklist page of the website. Hoping to have a Stealth ASAS Semi on here by next month.
Irish wood in a 5 string bass? This beauty has a top of Irish yew which is hard to find and extremely pretty. Versatile too with the custom wound pickups and Aguilar 3 band EQ.
5 strings too many? Don't like active electronics? What about this Syra 3 pickup in subtle pink? More than enough sounds thanks to the different pickup internals and the 5 way switch.
Fancy something that looks old with a special sound? This ASAPJ JM with top, back and sides made from the same board of highly figured sapele might be it. This has been much admired this month and one player left the workshop wondering which organs he could sell for medical research in order to acquire it!
Pointy Superstrat. Top of zebrano overlaid on alder. Looks fast and hot - is fast and hot!
And still there and available to buy now is the ASAST archtop jazzer. A real head turner in looks and an ear turner in sound!
The ASAD 2HB. Beautiful Irish maple top and very, very versatile.
All available now. More details on the Stocklist and you can contact me for other pics and details if you would like to know more. If you are in Kerry, call and arrange to meet with one of them and it could be the start of a long term relationship.....
And Finally..The Recipe.
As a biker I know that chocolate cake is one of the essentials of good living. Here are some chocolate cupcakes....
Black Bottom Cupcakes
(Recipe from Kathy Burnie, Vancouver, Canada)
First bowl: Mix 1 cup* sugar
1.5 cups plain flour
0.25 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
0.5 cup oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
0.5 tsp. salt
Spoon into paper cupcake cases – about 1/3 full
Second bowl: Mix 4 oz (112 g) cream cheese
0.33 cup sugar
6 oz (168 g) dark chocolate chips
Drop 1 tsp. into centre of each cupcake.
Bake for 20-25 mins. at 180 deg.C
* “Cup” = US cup = 228 g
And finally, finally....
Gig of the month was in the Skellig Hotel in Dingle as part of the Féile na Bealtaine Festival which happens every May. We went to see Mose Fan Fan legendary guitarist from The Democratic Republic of the Congo and his band Somo Somo. Absolutely stunning music with three guitarists playing polyrhymic riffs and lines, two energetic singers, bass, drums and sax. Impossible not to dance to the place was sweat drenched in minutes. The pics we took were not very good but I managed to find this video which gives some idea of how the music sounds and the feel of the place when they played. There is also a section of travelling to the gig from Cork via Kerry Airport to Dingle. It doesn't really convey how great the band and atmosphere was. If you get the opportunity go and see this band and, unless you are dead, you will dance!
The weekend of May 19th was my annual pilgrimage to Portstewart in Northern Ireland for the NW200 motorbike racing - possibly the best road racing in the world. The riders who are involved in this should be certified insane - racing at up to 200mph on closed public roads.
I meet up with some mates from the bike forum I belong to and we have a healthy weekend staying with my mate Victor McCullough. Remember what I said above about bikers and chocolate cake? This one was made by Paddy seen on the left. Also in the pic Alan and Alex.
The racing was good, the craic was great the only downside was my exhaust breaking while I was 350km from home. It was botched up with a beans can (the Guinness can was too thin) and clamps to get me home. Thanks to Shaun, Paddy and Alex.
After seeing these pics I got my hair cut!
Thanks to Paddy for the pics and the cake.
T-Shirts and Straps
I now have extra Tees in L and XL sizes in black and blue which were the most requested colours and sizes. Still some mediums in most colours too.
These are high quality, heavy cotton Tees either by Fruit of the Loom or Gildan with the Chris Larkin Custom logo embroidered on the left side in bright green.
Also available for the first time in a while are the much sort after Chris Larkin Custom guitar straps. Again, numbers are limited.
These are custom made Levy's 'Signature' series 2" adjustable, heavy duty cotton straps with reinforced suede ends including the embossed CLC guitars logo. They are suitable for acoustic or solid bodies and can be adapted to fit straploks if required. The cost per strap is 11.00 Euro with the same shipping costs as the T-shirts - for Ireland the postage is 2.70 Euro, for the rest of the world it is 3.50 Euro. The postage for two or more will be a little higher.
If you are interested in buying a T-shirt or strap please email me and we can sort out all the details.
And finally, finally, finally....
If you have any suggestions for the Newsletter please send them to me. If you think anyone you know might be interested in this Newsletter please send it on to them with their permission. If you do not wish to receive future issues please email me with unsubscribe as the subject and I'll remove you from the mailing list. If you are a new reader and would like to subscribe to get future editions please email me with subscribe as the subject or sign up on my website. There is an archive of previous Newsletters on my website.