Tag Archives: gift

Guitar Retrospective #11: “HB Adventure Strat”

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It’s been awhile since I posted a guitar retrospective. There are still quite a few to go to get caught up to present times, so here we go!

This guitar started life back in early 2008 as a guitar kit. I had been looking into other means of obtaining guitars to refinish and after doing several Squier strats (“Wild Horses”, “Koi Flower”, “Miartisme”) I wanted to try these kits I had been reading about. I had done an LP style guitar from a Saga kit before, but I had tracked down some strat and tele style electric guitar kits made by Grizzly, which was a big woodworking and metalworking machinery company that had a local store, so I was able to go and pick a few up to try out. It wasn’t a typical place you would think to find guitar kits. Turns out the owner of Grizzly was a luthier himself, who made some pretty amazing guitars, so he offered these kits and other guitar parts through his company. You can still get guitar parts there, but it appears the kits are no longer available. It was your standard electric guitar kit, decent body and neck, with a blank headstock (the stratocaster and telecaster style headstocks are copyrighted by Fender so couldn’t be reproduced and sold), and probably lower end hardware and electronics.

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I remember the reason I wanted to try guitar kits was because you started with a complete guitar, and the body was a blank canvas, you didn’t have to do any work to strip it down before you could refinish it. But it was wise to do a rough assembly of the guitar to make sure everything fit together ok, so there wouldn’t be any fun surprises at the end.

For the finish, I had this cool looking green fabric, I don’t even know how to describe it. If I were to free associate I would use words like; Celtic, hippie, natural, earthy, lavender, forest, green, free, peace, love, unity. I felt it was a great opportunity to use on one of these strats, and it really worked out for getting a good placement on the guitar to maximize the graphic element and still remain a cool subtle look. I started with the front and decided to finish the back with fabric also, with a more subdued section of the print, but it works to keep continuity. Here are some shots of the process. Pretty simple with this one, used the standard material finish process I’ve come to know: glued fabric on, sanding sealer, cut it out, more sanding sealer (a lot), sanding, paint, clear coats, final wet sanding and polish.

The Front:

 

 

The Back:

 

 

The Pickguard:

The kit came with a plain white pick guard, I didn’t feel this particular look required a matching pick guard, so I didn’t apply fabric to it, but I didn’t want to leave it stark white either. I  decided to paint it the same color as the edges and burst of the guitar, which was a seafoam green. I thought that color worked really well to compliment the graphic on the print as well as brighten it up overall, as the main color of the guitar was a dark green. Man I can’t believe I used to have time to think about stuff like that.

 

 

The Headstock:

As I said earlier, the kit came with a headstock blank, which looks like this.

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It’s just a paddle, which doesn’t look very good. I didn’t feel like dealing with this again myself, like I had with the Les Paul style guitar. So I talked to some people on the guitar forums I visited at the time, and found somebody that would cut them out for me in the traditional “strat” style. I sent them off, and they came back all nice and pretty, ready to go.

Also, during the process of refinishing this guitar, it became apparent who I was making it for. Some very close friends of mine were getting married, and try as I might, they just wouldn’t push their wedding date back so I could get this thing properly done in time to give it to them. (I know right!? So selfish.) I thought about my options, and realized I would just do as they do, and go with the flow, and use the opportunity to make it really personal, so I hand wrote the name on the headstock and added a personal note on the back. I don’t think I’ve had to admit this yet, but I did this on the day of their wedding  before leaving my house. I was working on this thing to the very last minute. It is by no means fancy, but I think it’s fitting, and it works, and that’s what I tell myself.

 

HB Adventure:

You’ve been wondering this whole time, “What the hell is HB Adventure”? I purposely waited until the end to tell you, because I worry about your attention span and wanted you to earn it. Let me be the first to say, Congratulations! Here it comes. HB stands for Hannah and Barry, two very dear friends who I knew separately and then came together to create a beautiful life, incredible love story for sure. <humor>You see Barry was my ex-boyfriend and Hannah was a chick I knew in High School, at least that’s how I remember it. </humor> They really lived life proper traveling and had a blog to tell us all about it while I stayed home making guitars and checking in on their adventures. Life is still happening over at HBAdventure.com, to the fullest to be sure. I really admire my friends who have always seemed to do life right, exploring and capturing the very best life has to offer, and leaving the rest. They teach that now to their two beautiful daughters.

But back in August of 2008, they were just getting married, and I had made a gift for them. I had taken the neck plate in to be engraved, as I was known to do for special occasions. (Mostly this is so they don’t forget who it came from, I hope they don’t know any other “Joe’s”.) 😉

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j.

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The Gift of Music

A few months ago, my wife was days away from giving birth to our second child. She posted a video of a Native American flute player to my Facebook page saying it would be good to have him present during the birth. 🙂 I’m half Native American so I know she meant this as a joke but obviously there’s truth to it, soothing sounds would do nothing but help in that situation. An acquaintence of ours from high school who has knowledge and experience with flutes saw this, and being the sweet and generous person she is, offered to gift our family with a flute from her collection.

Native Flute 1

It is a Stellar brand Native American flute made from red cedar in the key of G, with a custom made block carved by the giver, Tee. It is really beautiful.

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Flute 3

It plays really well, and offers a beautiful sound that is very soothing. For years I’ve wanted to get a flute like this, but never pulled the trigger. This was an incredible surprise and I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the gesture. I started playing it right away, and was able to make some nice sounds despite not having any experience. My 2 year old daughter loves it and my 3 month old son perks up as well when he hears it, and I enjoy being able to pick it up from time to time and breathe into it and see what comes out. It’s great having a small, organic instrument around that is easily accessible and allows me to easily share music with my young children. They are the best audience because their response is genuine excitement and love.

Here is a recording I made days after receiving the flute, it’s the first thing I played on the flute, which I thought was a nice little melody. I took a drive, trying to put my daughter to sleep, and stopped at a great lookout spot near my home once she nodded off. It was a beautiful sunny day. I took a few pictures to document the moment, pulled out the flute and played this melody looking out into the beauty with my daughter sleeping behind me. It was a very peaceful moment that I was able to capture in this simple video I put together. Enjoy.

A very special thanks to Tee for the flute, we will treasure it!

j.