Author: Richard MacLemale

John Petrucci Ernie Ball JP16 vs. Sterling JP150

You wouldn’t expect me to write about two guitars I’d never buy, but… actually, if I were to see a used Sterling JP anything I’d take a serious look at it.  I recently spent some time with the terribly named Earnie ball 662BV5000 WC JP16 guitar, which is basically a $2,500 version of John Petrucci’s guitar.  John Petrucci, for those guitarists who live under a rock, is the guitar player for prog-rock band Dream Theater.  After playing around with it for a while, I decided to try out the “inexpensive” Sterling JP150, which is a $700 version of the...

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Refretting an Epiphone Les Paul, Part Three

In the pulse-pounding conclusion of this story, I shall regale you with the exciting… Actually, upon further reflection, I decided to just cut my losses and shim the nut.  How did it work?  Well… the guitar plays great, but I feel like I’m not getting enough sustain on the open G string. UPDATE – After careful examination, I determined the nut was leaning in, ever so slightly.  This meant the string was lying flat over more of the surface of the nut than it should have, which killed the sound a bit.  Once I figured this out, I was...

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Refretting an Epiphone Les Paul, Part Two

Aaaand THIS is how one gets into making your own nut. I put all the jumbo frets in the guitar and leveled and crowned them.  Lots of work because I’m not a guitar tech by trade – this is just a hobby.  But I can see how people get addicted to it.  It’s fun.  Even when shit doesn’t go well.  Actually, when you mess something up, that’s probably when you know whether you really like doing the work.  Do you want to throw the thing across the room and quit?  Sure.  But if your next thought is “Wait, I...

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Refretting an Epiphone Les Paul – Part One

Long time no write! I’m a very busy guy.  I’m doing a lot of web development – about 60 hours a week – plus the typical family stuff that you do when you have a wife/kids/dog.  But I wanted to write a little bit about my latest project – refretting my Epiphone Les Paul.  Specifically the one I bought at the 2017 Orlando International Guitar Convention for $225. There was some fret wear that was causing a bit of buzzing, so initially I decided to level and re-crown the frets.  But leveling the frets showed me something was a...

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Review: Electric Guitar and Bass Making and Marketing

I recently purchased Electric Guitar and Bass Making and Marketing by Leo Lospennato.  I haven’t read the entire book yet, so what gives me the right to review it?  Simple – I’ve seen enough.  This is a great book.  If you have any interest in building your own guitar either now or at some point, this is a must-have resource.  Well-written, straightforward, and logical, this book takes you through everything you need to know.  It answers every question and includes every possible detail. No, it doesn’t. But as someone who writes and knows a little bit about how guitars...

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Singing Advice

First – I studied music in college but I was not a vocal major.  The best instruction I ever got on singing was from the book “Set Your Voice Free” by Roger Love.  Which, by the way, is the best book/CD on singing ever. So actually my first bit of advice is go buy that book.  The CD in the back has vocal warmup exercises that are worth far more than the cost of the book.  But the book is great But aside from that, I want to share advice about singing that may be useful to some people....

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The Single BEST Free Tone Tip

As the Budget Guitarist, my mission has been to learn as much as I can about electric guitars and pass that knowledge onto others.  I can’t possibly add up all of the countless hours I’ve spent reading about guitars, watching videos about guitars, working on guitars, playing them, shopping for them… you get the idea.  It’s a lifelong pursuit.  And I enjoy every aspect of it. I didn’t invent this tone tip, and I’ve heard it for years, but it wasn’t until recently that I started really thinking about it and performing experiments.  My experiments determined that the tip...

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General Guitar Improvements Checklist

In my pursuit of understanding everything about the electric guitar, I’ve learned that there are an almost unlimited number of ways for guitar builders to cut costs.  In many cases you can “undo” these cost-cutting measures, and improve your instrument.  This list is nothing new, but I thought it might be handy to have all of these ideas in one handy place.  So here’s the improvements checklist: Tuners.  The debate rages on about whether tuners impact sound.  Purists say yes, budget-minded people say no, and I say I think they have an impact, but it’s small.  The most important...

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