Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of Keys and Such

Of keys and such

I used to drive a KIA Sportage for a couple of years as a commuter car. Not the cool looking new version, the first generation one, looked cheap and it was. Got decent mileage and it didn’t cost a lot.

Sometimes the key would be hot when I took it out of the ignition after a long drive. I know that this is common with other cars that have the chip in the key that is read by the car’s security system.

One day I went to see my buddy Gary who is our local amp and pedal guru. I was picking up an amp he had serviced and we were going to talk about a Tube Screamer modification that he does to cheap Rogue distortion pedals (the old plastic case ones) that really sound incredible. I took one with me.

Standing in his shop I started to feel a sensation on the top of my leg while we were talking. I scratched my leg and continued to discuss pedal mods.

Then I felt some discomfort in the same spot. I put my hand in my pocket and discovered that my car key was pretty hot (5 minutes or more after getting there).

That’s odd I thought. Gonna have to get that ignition switch looked at I guess.

Then I got a pain like I was getting burnt with a match. Put my hand in the pocket again and pulled out my keys and threw them on the floor yelling a few choice profanities.

Gary looked puzzled and asked me if I was alright. I told him about the hot key issue and wondered if the chip in the key could short somehow and make this happen. He said he doubted it but agreed that I probably should get the car looked at.

I put my amp in the car and drove home a little perplexed and uneasy, wondering if the car was going to burst into flames.

When I got home I went to change clothes and check out the burn mark on top of my thigh. It was at this time when a new 9 volt alkaline battery fell out of my pants pocket. I had taken one with me for the Rogue pedal and forgot about it.

Evidently it had been arcing across the car key blade in my pocket and probably could have started a fire had it been left that way long enough. A friend told me that they teach Boy Scouts that they can use 9 volts to start fires now in emergencies. I can vouch for the fact that it probably will work.

File that one under ignorant and also under emergency preparedness.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Replacement Ready

Last year I blogged about Old #8 coming home - the gold tele that had been sold years ago and then stolen from my friend Phil, only to turn up on CraigsList for me to buy and recycle into a great demo guitar for the shop. Phil had found a body and neck on eBay last November and dropped them off at my shop to get his tele level back up where it should be.

Skipping the cop chases and car crashes, I had some knee trouble, allergy trouble, throat trouble and trouble in general getting this project moving. My bad.

I got Pat Wilkins of Wilkins Guitars to do the fantastic tint and finish of the body and fretboard, David Sprowl of Stringwalker Lutherie to do the fret crown, level and polish, and installed a set of custom No Caster pickups from Thomas N of Cream T Pickups in Norway.

The guitar came out great - I called Phil today and I hope he can't pick it up for a week so I can play it more. The neck is cocobollo with a maple fretboard and the body is hefty mahogany with a figured maple bookmatched cap. A Gibson style 3 way toggle switch for the pickup selection, and a volume knob, the secret tonebender tone circuit is tucked away in the control cavity. Schaller sealed tuners and vintage round nickel stringtrees top off the neck.

Here's some pics of the finished product.