Husband, father, geek.

by Chris Pearson

© 2015–2019 Christopher Pearson, All rights reserved.

#AndertonsMadeMeDoIt

The other week we went down to visit my Dad for lunch as we often do. After lunch, we decided to pop over to Andertons Music Co for a look for something for Middlest™ to earn as a reward over the next few weeks/months.

She’s been showing interest in guitar so we picked out a few Squiers and Epiphones for her to look at. She liked a pink Squier 3/4 Strat but ultimately picked a turquoise Epiphone Les Paul SL.

I was about to put the guitar back on the rack and give her the whole speil about she could have one once she’d earned it when “I can play a D chord”….

Sure enough she did, which was rather surprising as I didn’t teach her and I wasn’t sure what was going on. Turned out she’s been using her sisters guitar and watching JustinGuitar.

I submit the following as evidence of the D chord.

Middlest playing a D chord in Andertons

The guitar came home with us that day. The story doesn’t end there though.

Read more…

RIP T-Bone

Recently whilst tidying up I found a 2 things I though I’d either lost when moving or binned by accident. My 2 Danelectro pedals I bought when I was still at school (and played a Squier P-Bass1). I had a T-Bone distortion and a Surf & Turf compressor.

Danelectro Pedals

Sadly I had left a battery, a danelectro 9v, in the T-Bone. There was no signs of any leaking so I was happy all was well and plugged in.

  1. Sadly I had to sell both this Squier and my much prized Fender P-Bass a few years ago. Maybe one day I’ll buy a new P-Bass. 

Read more…

PRS SE Locking Tuners Upgrade

One of the worst things about playing guitar is changing the strings. Specifically spending what feels like a million years winding the strings off of and on to the post. Even with a winder it’s still a chore meaning I don’t change them as often as I should.

The solution: Locking tuners.

Gotoh locking tuners

These allow you to feed the string through, a mechanism locks the string in place 1 and then you just tune to pitch in less than a single turn of the post.

After a lot of careful checking I chose a set of Gotoh SG381 Chrome Magnum Lock tuners from WD Music. These looks near identical to the factory tuner with the same shape and size key, and they should fit the factory holes for the original tuners. Chrome was chosen to match the factory fitted items. Whilst the PRS Specs say nickel hardware it was clearly chrome but with nickel screws, you can see the screws are more yellow when you look closely. Though check your own guitar first, don’t just take my word for it.

  1. Different tuners do this in different ways. Some use an internal mechanism, others a simple thumb screw on the top or bottom of the tuner. 

Read more…

DIY Tonebender Fuzz

Late last year I started re-learning the guitar. I’ve been learning using online lessons by Justin Guitar. I’ve been slowly upgrading my equipment, buying a small practice amp and a nice PRS SE Standard 24 as rewards for my progress. But the time came to start playing with effects pedals!

Being the sort of person who I am I decided to build a DIY one. After a period of research online I decided to build a basic Fuzz, but using NPN transistors rather than the more traditional PNP transistors to allow me to use a mains adapter. This turned out to be a smart move.

DIY Tonebender Mk2

Read more…

MP38A Germanium NPN Transistor Pin Out

I’ve recently been working on a DIY guitar effects pedal. A lot of these use old vintage parts long since replaced as they are designs from the 60s. This means finding suitable bits on eBay.

Most of the old British/American parts are highly desirable, hard to find and so expensive. What are still pretty easy to get hold of cheaply are old soviet parts. You can usually get 10 or more units for 1 of the old british parts.

MP38A transistor

The part in question today is the Russian MP38A NPN Germanium Transistor. Ignoring the issue of reliablity and gain matching for a moment 1, just figuring out the pin outs are an issue when the datasheet is in Russian!

  1. As the British parts are rarer, and more valuable they tend to come tested and known working. For the old soviet parts you just buy a bag of 5/10/50 and you get what you get and have to test and rate them your self. 

Read more…