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The Ask Rick Andrews Section
Rick Andrews Answers Your Guitar Questions
Hello, this is Rick Andrews owner of
Andrews Guitar and a long time member of EvO:R. This section has been
put together to help you with your guitar related questions. I did not agree to do this
so I could simply plug my guitars, I did this so you could finally have answers
to many of those burning questions you may have had about your guitar.
OK, I do get a small plug!
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How does your Tone Buster stack up
against the Jimmy Page Les Paul set-up?
I have not yet played one of these but my Tone Buster is designed based upon three
single coil pickups which when switched properly become humbuckers in any mix or match
humanly possible. I did a wiring diagram of every possible way any electic guitar could
be wired with any pickup and or switching scheme that could be done. It would literaaly
take a hundred guitars to get them all. Then I figured out a way to map such a list of
all the schemes and then went to work on putting it all in one guitar. It would take so
much wiring it would become a bound wire ball full of electronic trash because of so
much switching and wiring.
Now it was time to put it all on a circuit board but NOT active DC. Only would I do it
with passive no battery and keep it AC so all the sounds are real just the same as if each
was done hand wired on all the separate guitars.
This was quite a challenge. It took four years to get it where I wanted it to be.
I sat down and started calculating to see how many sounds or tone settings it would
get and I lost track at 3,124. After that I got lost. Later I added a ten position
tone spectrum switch which allows all these to be mutiplied time ten. Technically
it became over 30,000 but we all know the human ear cannot possibly hear that many
differences but it is there. There is just no way humanly possible to design any more
settings than the tone buster has because of the fact I did every way can be done.
Anything more would be back to one already done the same.
Someone may do as much but ain't no way to do more. You control the board from both sides. I plan to make
the back side available with tiny knobs instead of the screw driver slots if anyone
should want it that way. Out of all the switching from the front, the back of the
board has the adjustments that re-assigns the values to the front switches. Any tone
anyone can show me on any electric solid body guitar, I can duplicate and many in
between tones I have never heard before until the tone buster was completed.
I have now even added another rear binary code switch that allows anothe ten position of
sensitivuty of the tone spectrum switch. That is when it became 2,124 times ten. Of
course it is beyond what anyone would even use but it allows abundance of anything
you've ever heard from any guitar. Now this is not simulated sound but the real
thing and is not effects processing or sound effect but just the sounds of the
strings / circuitry of everythinf possible that can come from coil pickups and guitar
I know the answer to your question seems like such a long spill but it is
necessary to get the tone buster design concept accross to people. It looks complicated
but it really is very user friendly. It is believe it or not more user friendly and
easier to control than a standard Fender strat once you catch on to what it does
and how it does it. It turned out so sweet for me I can't go back to the others.
The concept itself was a gift from God, not to be credited to me. Hope this answered
your question. Feel free to ask away any time any questions you may have.
String height question on fretless bass.
I made my first fretless bass guitar and also made the
nut myself but...I don't know how high the strings
have to be above the fretboard at the nut.
I'd be very glad if you could tell me.
Well let's see if this nut can tell you about that. The nut height is not
as critical as it would be if it had frets. On freted necks it needs to be
just high enough to keep the string from buzzing n the first fret and that
would depend on what size and height the frets are. Just thought I would throw
that in. If the nut is too high it would make the string have to travel
downward further until it frets or pinches off the note. The more it has
to travel the more the tension on the string and that would make the string
not note properly. It would become sharp. In your case you are actually
fretting the note on the wood itself. The scale length of the neck and the guage of
strings can make this height vary. The lower and closer to the wood the
more buzz you will get against the wood.
You might get it just right and later change tio a different guage string that has
more flex and you start getting buzzing beyond what you want. All that is to say that
this is a personal preference thing. Some builders would dissagree and tell you it
must be exact or it will change the intonation and that is true as I mentioned
earlier but you can always re-adjust that at the bridge sadles. Keep in
mind also that when you fret a note your finger may not hit exactly right
every time. It can be slightly forward or back 5 thousands of one inch and it
would not be perfect intonation but in bass playing the human ear could
probably not tell that little difference. I prefer a fretless bass myself
because I can do these things intentionally . . . buzzes when I want the
sap buzz, flat or sharp and beautiful finger slide effects on the notes.
Freted basses lock you down to the definite spot. Therefore I would get a piece
of hardwood the size of the nut material and slip it into place as a practice
nut. Don't worry about notching the hardwood. We are only searching for
the right height of the string for now. Sand down the hardwood strip and slip
the strings back onto it and tune it. Play it a little to get the feel of
it. The strings will stay in proper alignment as they press on the wood
enough they won't slip. What we want to do is to slide the strings
off to the side and file down a flat place at each string wider than the
string so you can see the flat on each side of the string at each string
location. You keep doing this until you have each string where it feels
right for you and it does not change the intonation when you press it
The good test is hook it up to a tuner and see what the tuner shows you at
the 12th fret. You may need to re-adjust the intonation at the bridge
saddles a few times as you drop each string height. Once you have found
the best height for your particular gauge strings then you have your hardwood
strip at each string at the proper height. Now take the hardwood strip out
and place it on a hard flat table top. Carve your nut material just a
little bit taller than the hardwood. Place the nut flat against the hardwood and
align them both together flat on the table top and all ends equal. You may
even want to use scotch clear tape and tape them together. The hardwood
will show a tiny imprint of each string on each little flat spot you filed. Be
sure the spacing is where you like it. Now you can start filing down each
slot in the real thing until it matches the height of the flat spot on the
hardwood so you know when you are finished you can glue the nut on and you
will get the same thing you had on the hardwood. The little amount of
taller nut material gives you the extra height to file the slot down into so the
strings cannot move sideways. This is the most accurate way and will work
well for you. Keeing in mind the glue will raise it up a tiny bit but that
will be good for the string wear in your new slots. It is such a tiny
difference and with any wear at all it will be exact.
I realize this seems to be very picky like spilitting a frog hair 3 ways but that is what makes
custom hand made instrument so much better. Just in case you accidently
slot a tiny bit too deep, no worry, you can also after all is done put a tiny
drop of supper glue in the slot while will repair and raise the depth for
you. That is the best repair for worn nut slots as well and the hard
supper glue also will settle in the slot making the smoothest rounded bottom
better than you can carve. Makes the strings fit like a glove. To just give you a
height measurement of each string would not be helping you because there
are so many different style and guage strings. Roller string nuts are good but
they do not have height adjustments. I am designing an adjustable nut for
each individual string height and spacing for guitar and bass. It is not
ready yet but hopefully soon it will be on the market. No slots to carve,
no anything just slip it on and adjust the spacing between strings and each
string height. No way to mess that up and can be readjusted at any time.
It will work on any guitar of any type. For now I hope this will get you
where you want to be with your bass.
Rick Andrews, Andrews Guitar
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