i'm a guitar tech

this is matt wentworths guitar from our last night. the headstock snapped off six months ago, and i reset it with just glue and clamps as the break was clean, but it recently broke in the same place again. shit. now i had to take more extreme measures. so this is what i did. i re-glued the headstock like i did the first time and let it dry. then i built a makeshift jig that you see in the pictures to hold the guitar strongly in place as well as give me a guide to run the router straight. this was tough, as the angle of the headstock made it real hard to make a consistently deep hole from the neck to the headstock, so the rails of the jig had to be set at a very specific angle. then i held my breath and routed out the holes. lots of potential to screw things up much worse here, but of course, i prevailed. next, i used a nice piece of walnut and ripped the splines to the proper width, and sanded each one to fin in perfectly. then i glued em and clamped em. when they had set, i chiseled the excess away, and then sanded everything level. i don’t think i’m gonna end up taking the time to try and refinish it, unless matt requests it, so i tung oiled just the raw wood to protect it form sweat and grime. “rock and roll baby”, right? riiight?

so this fall for the AP tour, i decided to make an AB box to make the guiar switches with jonas easier. i wanted jonas to be able to switch it himself, but i also wanted to have the ability side stage. so i decided it would be best to build it myself, and it has been my favorite project since. i used a rackmount enclosure because i wanted the switching to happen close to the amp. i really didn’t want to run two separate guitar lines from the two separate wireless receivers at his amp all the way to his pedalboard. i routed out all the holes for the various components with a dremel, which was the absolute worst part of the project. i despised it! the dremel was super loud in my apartment here in boston, it spewed tiny metallic pieces everywhere, and it was very hard to control and insanely time consuming. i’ve gotta find a better way to do that next time. then i mounted all the components. i used a 500ma 12v transformer and a rectifier to power everything. basically there is a 12vdc DPDT relay that does the audio switching as well as the LED switching locally and at the footswitch. channel A is the green channel and channel B is red. i used a super bight dual color led on the footswitch, and separate green and red LEDs on the rackmount enclosure. i installed a two position toggle switch on the rack, that in the left position the footswitch controls the relay, and in the right position a blue LED lights around a push button switch mounted on the rack, and that then controls the relay. that way if i want to switch it if jonas is busy, i can. i uesed a DB25 printer cable to connect the footswitch to the rack via 6 pin XLR connectors which i chose for their strong locking ability and also durability. i went with DB25 cable mostly because it was what was available, though it was overkill, as i only needed a six core wire as opposed to 25. i also installed a feed thru from the back of the rack to the front, incase i ever needed to run a separate line straight from one of the wirelesses to jonans’s pedalboard in an emergency. the rear feed thru jack is normalled to input A, so i wont even have to repatch anything in the back unless i need the B wireless. i also decided that i wanted to power jonas’s pedal board from the front of the rack, so i put all the patch points for his snake on the front of the rack as well. i used an IEC to connect power to the pedalboard. i put all the patch points to the amp on the rear of the rack, so i installed power here too via another IEC connecter to power the amp. i then made a 20ft loom for audio and power to the amp. i drew up a quick signal flow chart, because its harder to explain than show. anyways, its a work in progress. during the AP tour i had to install Jensen transformers on the outputs as we were having some super annoying ground loop problems. next i’m going to install a tuner output so that when A is active, B will be sent to the tuner and vice versa, so i don’t have to unplug each guitar to tune them. maybe i’m lazy, maybe i’m a genius. probably the later. 

im gonna try and catch up to my current projects, im way behind… woops. and if you dont care about techy music stuff, stop reading cause i promise you will be bored.

heres the last of the pedaboards from warped tour. none of them have really changed too much for the last two tours (fall AP tour and a short UK tour). for jordans keyboard pedalboard we got a case made by calzone to specifically fit a tour supply pedalboard. for power, i wanted something that could power jordans Korg X50 so i didnt have to have a clunky wallwart power supply to deal with. i went with the t rex fuel tank because it has a 12DC output that supplies just enough current for the X50, along with all the 9V outputs for the pedals. we also used a radial stereo DI so we could be more self sufficient as well as ensure high quality transformers are always used. one side for the Nord and one side for the Korg. 

ER’s pedalboard is much like Jonas’s, but smaller, and with the wireless receiver right on board! i like this, as it eliminates a 20ft cable run from the amp, and minimizes setup time. we switched over from the sennheisers (which never stopped breaking) to all line 6 relay wirelesses too, which a lot of other techs have asked me about… i think these are great. super simple, no features you don’t need, sturdy, and reliable. ER uses the relay 50 and jonas uses a relay 50 and a relay 90 rackmount version.  i also built a pedalboard bypass switch into one of the pedal plates on ERs pedalboard.

and finnaly, wills bass pedalboard. same as jordans, toursupply board and a calzone case. also very basic. we used the fuel tank jr. here for power. since warped tour we added an mxr bass octave deluxe, and an mxr D.I.+ which i now prefer over the sansamp.

and of course i made custom snakes/looms to tie everything together quickly and easily. some of these can be seen in the picture with my tech bench and pedalboard all setup. more to come soon!

took me a while to get around to this, but heres the first of the 4 pedal boards i did while out on warped. this is jonas’s, and when i arrived at the scene each pedal was sort of, zip tied to the pedal plates. it worked, but it looked sloppy as hell, and they still shifted around alot, so i screwed each pedal onto the plates. i used the bottom cover of each pedal as a template to mark where the holes should be drilled, and once i drilled them i used the same screws that held the pedal bottom covers on. after this we swapped out all the cheap live wire patch cables with george l’s, which i LOVE. these are easily custom cut to the perfect length, making everything much less chaotic, and generally more pleasing to the eye (which is important!). then we acquired the g-lab pb-1 pedal power box and installed it under a plate. the old pedal power took the place of a pedal plate, taking up valuable real estate, so placing the new g-lab under a plate freed up room for more pedals. while i was under there, i put in two, 16 inch led strips to shine through the holes, inspired by trailer trash pedal boards for fun. just for fun. theeeen, i made pedal board snakes for everyone to make my life easier. to keep things nice and neat and easy i decided to mount all the connections in the same spot, so i installed a power ac inlet, and 3 locking neutrik 1/4” jacks on the side, creating a nice, neat patchbay. and finally, my favorite part of all, i wired in a bypass switch that bypasses every pedal on the board besides the boss a/b selector, which is used to select jonas’s clean or hot channel. we figured this would be a good idea as every week this pedal board is getting more and more complex, and id like to have an easy out if shit stops working in the middle of a set. for this, i used a DPDT toggle to switch the input as well as the output. and thats all i have to say about that. 

so last week i was in a rush restringing wills bass because i had spent all day working on pedal boards, and i broke off part of the nut on his stingray bass. sucked hard, but luckily the ernie ball dudes hooked us up with a loaner bass till i could get a nut blank, which we got today, thanks to kevin scoles at ernie ball. this was my first time cutting a nut from a blank, so i was super stoked to start the project cause im a cool dude, and these are the things i get excited about. it took about 45 minutes to shape, and then i glued it in. while the glue was setting i decided to install the ceramic musicman replacement pickup we got from seymour duncan. excited to hear it in action tomorrow. and the nut came out the balls.

My names alex perkins, and i tech for our last night and emarosa. Im currently on warped tour with emarosa. The tours winding down now, but ive been working hard to streamline/rebuild everyones set up to make my life easier, cause thats what its all about. Me. Im gonna play catch up for the next couple days with this blog, so i guess ill start with the basics. Heres my work box. I made it from a 12 space mixer rack. i had to build a counter top for where the mixer rack was, wire it up for power, and add folding legs to the inside of the front cover as well as latches that hold the front cover on to the side of the rack. I put up a picture of the latches. Its kind of a work in progress, because im always adding to it to make it better. its got my first combo amp my parents bought me for my birthday when i was 13 built into the counter, (a fender frontman 15) so i can test shit out with headphones, and a power strip. i also put two gooseneck lamps in the counter, and two more above the drawers. I have a peterson strobe-o-flip mounted in there as well as a poly tune, and at the beginning of this tour i put in a ups battery backup (you can see this above all the dawers) that runs everything for over an hour. I dig it. Its perfect for my needs, other than the drawer space… I wish they were a little deeper, but ill deal. keep checking back, more to come fo sho.