DIY Strat – The Return of the Legend Part 2: Choosing a paint scheme and more…

Posted in Guitar with tags , , , , on January 18, 2011 by misterjrtaylor

So, I have an old Aria Legend strat copy in pieces and the almost unlimited inspirational resources supplied by Google. How should I re-paint the Legend? Initially, I felt a DIY Van Halen style Frankenstrat would be the way to go. Then I discovered – a man with an awesome guitar collection. Vintage style would have to be the way to go, especially after scrolling half way down the page and seeing this:

Lake Placid Blue, white stratchplate & switchgear, with rosewood (well, mahogany) fingerboard. Sorted.

I would, of course, have to replace the pots and switches – it’s been over 10 years since I played the Legend, but I can still remember adjusting the tone and volume to the “sweet” spot to eliminate the crackles. So, more Googling and a recommendation from a friend brought a couple of retailers selling replacement items, but why stop there? Surely the sound could be improved upon by replacing the cheap, stock pickups? Probably. Somewhere at this point, I decided that a bridge humbucker (with coil tap) would make my vintage-inspired strat-o-copy something slightly different.

Now “Fat Strats” are nothing unusual, but I wanted more than just the standard coil tap. Being able to choose which coil on the humbucker to “tap” would surely lead to a wider variety of tones and sounds… some further Googling brought me to, a website with a simply stunning depth-of-knowledge, presented in an easy to understand way. And so I learnt about pickups, wiring schemes, 3-way coil taps and phase. Whilst not wanting to be overly ambitious, the Advanced Wiring section contained something too good to miss: a Sweet Switch to instantly knock-off some brightness. Notes were taken, and a plan devised to include it in the final scheme.

This just left the choice of pickups. In order to perform the coil tap, I would require a 4-wire humbucker – Google didn’t disappoint: Tonerider seem to be a relatively new company, but I can’t find a bad review. Best of all, they’re cheap.
I didn’t want anything too hot, so have settled on the Classics humbucker with Alnico IV magnets and nickel covers.

The wiring scheme will require 2 extra switches; one for the coil tap, and one for the sweet switch. The only dilemma is where to mount them… here aesthetics and ergonomics clash – it remains an unsolved problem…

Continue to Part 3


DIY Strat – The Return of the Legend Part 1: Rebuidling my Strat-o-copy

Posted in Guitar with tags , , , , on January 18, 2011 by misterjrtaylor

My first guitar, an Aria Legend strat copy, currently lies broken, in pieces, up in the attic and has done for over 10 years. In a somewhat misguided attempt to improve the paint scheme (I’d seen a silver-grained black colour-wash sunburst strat in a magazine), I disassembled it and began what I thought would be the simple task of stripping off the paint. Modern guitars are finished with a polymer lacquer which can only be described as indestructible. After many hours with paint stripper and an orbital sander I had one half of the body back to bare wood. And that’s where the project ended. Frustrated by the lack of progress, the bits were boxed up and put in the back of a cupboard until recently, when after going to a gig, inspiration struck and I decided to rebuild it.

There’s a certain sentimental value to still owning your first guitar and maybe even being able play it. Only it wasn’t my first, or even second: first came an ancient EKO Ranger 6 acoustic borrowed off my cousin, complete with a solid wood case made by my uncle. I was probably 8 or 9, when he brought it round with a new set of strings and a handful of plectrums. After a year or so, I’d decided that electric was the way to go. Again, my cousin pitched up with a guitar and amp for me to borrow; my second guitar was a red Aria Pro-II Les Paul. The amp (which I still own) was a Carlsbro Stringray Super. My fourth (and currently only serviceable guitar) is a Squier Tele, bought on a whim whilst at Uni.

Which brings us (almost) back to the Legend. This is my starting point, I have a half-painted body, neck and all the hardware.

So, what to do with this guitar? The journey starts, as with lots of things, with Google.

Continue to Part 2

2010 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 by misterjrtaylor

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2010. That’s about 17 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 52 posts. There were 28 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 139 views. The most popular post that day was GIMP Tutorial: How to create a vintage toy-camera Black & White Photo.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for vintage photography, goldfrapp, hitchcock, vintage poster, and retro poster.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


GIMP Tutorial: How to create a vintage toy-camera Black & White Photo February 2010


Retro Grunge Goldfrapp Poster January 2009


Hitchcock Retro Poster January 2009


Hitchcock Poster No. 2 December 2009


Vintage Retro Cameras: Food for Thought February 2010
1 comment

Ukulele’s and t-shirts?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 12, 2010 by misterjrtaylor

Yes, I recently purchased a ukulele. I like it so much I’ve made some tshirts – check out my Zazzle store:

Paint Splatter Ukulele shirt
Paint Splatter Ukulele by seekandukeshallfind
Browse Uke T-Shirts

Peace, Love and Ukulele T Shirts |

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 by misterjrtaylor

Peace, Love and Ukulele T Shirts |

Even More Camera Swag!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2010 by misterjrtaylor

Just got a Lomography Spinner 360 for my birthday – I’ve yet to use it, but the results look amazing!

More camera swag!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 11, 2010 by misterjrtaylor

I’ve just been given some more vintage cameras, this time all dating from the 70’s

I have a Praktica PL Nova L:

Praktica PL Nova L

A Chinon CX

and a Rollei XF35

I’ve been and bought a big bag of 35mm film (5 rolls for £7.99 – thanks Boots!) so it’s time to start experimenting!