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Got an icky sticky neck?

*Disclaimer if you have a super valuable guitar, or you're the type that will blame me if anything goes wrong, DON'T DO THIS. This is more for the guys with duct tape on the guitar straps, and old beer rusting their pickups.

*Don't do this if you have a nitrocellulose painted neck (many of the expensive fender recreations have this). Personally, I've done it on nitro, and had no probs, but nitro can be touchy, so do at your own risk. And my official word is DON'T DO IT.

Got a neck that jams up when you get sweaty? One that feels more like a basket ball court floor, than a smooth buttery neck? Yo can do this whole mod, without even taking the strings off and end up with a smooth neck for your non-precious, playing guitar.

Finish in 20 min.

1) get some rub on polyurethane. Any home depot, Do-it-Center, etc, will have it. Using this means you can use a rag, don't have to spray anything, and can do it on the kitchen table and make pretty much no mess. It'll be in the wood staining section of the hardware store. You want wipe on (rub on) polyurethane, matte finish. Don't get any with stains and other crap in them, just the simple matte rub on, and get the smallest container possible.

2) Get some extra fine "waterproof" sand-paper. Some regular hardware stores have them, otherwise, any auto-parts store will have. It's in the section for doing touch-ups on paint. You want to get at least to about 400 grit, preferably even 600grit. One sheet of each will work.

3)Start with the four hundred. give the neck a nice sanding, This shouldn't be precise. it should be more natural feeling. Or a "relic" type of sanding that is only on the parts of the neck most heavily used. Hold the sand paper in your palm, and sand the neck back just enough to roughen it up and get that top layer of poly off... But its ok if some is left there too. After a few min, the neck will already start to feel more slick and comfy. You can stop anytime you feel like it. We are not refinishing the neck in a proper way, we're just intentionally scuffing it up and opening up the raw wood a hair.

4) optional repeat with 600 grit for super smooth. I am good with 400, because it just feels nice to me. 600 will be slicker.

Now clean up all the sanding crap. Clean off all the dust, clean off your table, wipe the neck down with either a slightly damp rag, or some paper towels with either naphta or some rubbing alcohol.

Nothing crazy, just a quick wipedown.

Now with a clean table, comes the easy part.

Make sure the can of poly is mixed properly.

put a little on the rag, and apply a nice thin coat.

Let that have 5 or 10 min to dry and do it again. You're just getting a spot about the size of a quarter on the rag, and evenly covering all that you sanded.

It will barely look any different.

At that point, let it dry for a bit (it'll dry fast because we've applied such a tiny thin layer or two).

Done!

Your neck should feel much smoother and less susceptible to the sticky neck syndrome that can happen when hands get sweaty.

Hope you enjoy it!

THX!

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Daisy Chains Explained...

This is a repost of an article I wrote a couple years ago.


I have often been asked to explain the “daisy chain," so here is my best attempt at explaining it in the simplest terms possible.

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There is little bit of math in this but it is VERY basic. Don't let it scare you!

If you’re unfamiliar with the term "daisy chain" it is a nick-name for a group of “male” power supply plugs, linked together so that they allow you to power a handful of pedals from one single power supply. Often, the chain’s main source is the extra female jack on the good ol’ tuner pedal. While the daisy chain is a great and economical solution for many players, there are some things that need to be considered when using one.

Milliamps: Without getting into a bunch of tech-talk, the amount of milliamps or “mA” is very important. Aside from making sure your “wall wart” is the correct polarity, regulated, and 9V (for most FX), the amount of mA’s (current) is the next most important number. To save yourself having to figure out the polarity and “regulated” part, it’s best to stick with any of the usual power supplies specifically made for effects pedals.

For an example, let’s use a garden-variety 9V power supply you’d get at your local music shop.

A typical power-supply will give at least 300mA. Just look on the box or power supply itself and it should be listed but we’ll use 300mA for our example.

Here’s a common question: “How many pedals can I power with my daisy chain?”

The simplest answer is that your power supply could care less if you have 1 or 100 pedals, as long as the mA's aren't exceeded. Overdrives and fuzzers don't need much juice to keep them happy. A Boss DS-1 for instance (the old faithful orange distortion) is only going to suck around 4mA. So in theory you could run 75 of them off one output! Obviously this would be silly, not to mention noise issues and such.

However, it’s not uncommon for a digital delay to use around 65mA or more. That’s more than 15 times our boss distortion. Theoretically if you had four delays, you’d almost be using all your little wall-wart can give. Add to this the rule of thumb that it’s a good idea to leave an extra 75-100 mA overhead just to play it safe and we’re talking around 200-225 mA for our example. Now, with the higher amount of juice the delays need, and our 75-100mA safety buffer, our math has changed in a big way!

(BTW, the 65mA approximation for a digital delay is just that... an approximation. Check the user manual to find out your specific pedal’s draw).

To keep things simple, lets say they’re all the same pedal, drawing 65mA.
Now we’ve got:
300mA - 75 (for safety) = 225mA
225mA ÷ 65 = 3 digital delays (3.5 actually but I haven’t yet come across half a delay pedal).
If we had all Boss DS-1’s pulling 4mA each we get:
225mA ÷ 4 = 56 pedals!
Quite a big difference. To figure out a mix of pedals, it’s just simple addition.
Two delays and two DS-1’s:
65 + 65 + 4 + 4 = 138. Well within the safe zone for our supply.

One caveat: If you’re using a tuner pedal for your daisy chaining, the tuner itself must also be accounted for when totaling your mA’s needed.

So what happens when one exceeds the power supply’s limits? A nasty hum and a fried power supply most often.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion involving the use of daisy-chains on your pedal board. IMO, daisy-chains are fine for very simple set-ups involving four pedals or less. Beyond that, it may be time to invest in a VooDoo labs, Fuel Tank Jr, or similar quality isolated output power supply.

Matthew Holl/Owner, Wren and Cuff Effects

*Please note that this article does not address vintage style pedals requiring (+) positive tip adapters. Any pedal needing to see a positive ground CANNOT be daisy chained with standard "boss-type" neg-tip adapters (which 99% of effects use). Bad things will happen if you do this.