Finished Project – MEOW-TRON (Mu-tron III)

I just finished a new build. Before I post the pictures, let me give you a bit of back story. I will try to keep it short. If you just want to see the pedal, scroll down.

Back in 1998, my brother Brian adopted a kitten from a humane society near Chicago. He named him Jerry Garcia. My brother already had one cat, and he could only have the one at his apartment. We took ownership of Jerry Garcia that same year with the promise that we would take good care of him.

Jerry was the first kitty that Jaime and I owned together, and was very special to us. He was a living connection to my brother, who died in 2011 unexpectedly of a brain aneurism at 40 years old.

Unfortunately, we had to have him put down on December 12, 2014, about a month and a half ago. He had chronic hyperthyroidism that we managed for several years, but age caught up with him. He rapidly developed lymphatic hyperplasia, and deteriorated quickly after losing his coordination and appetite. He lived 16 and a half years, and we took good care of him until the very end.

A few days after we had Jerry put down, a card arrived in the mail. It was from our vet, who is a friend. He and his staff had all written very touching notes– the entire card was full. Included with the card was an ink pawprint. Unbeknownst to us, our vet had taken Jerry’s pawprint on the day Jerry died.

So, to commemorate Jerry Garcia, my cat, I built the most appropriate effect that I could think: the Mu-Tron III.

I have always wanted one, and this was the perfect justification. I decided to use a pre-made PCB (Naughty Fish from MadBeanPedals). This made for a nice, easy build. I used premium components, namely the fancy-pants sausage resistors. These were a bit big for the layout, so if you build one, use regular ol’ 1/8-watters. I used a Hammond 1590TRPB, which afforded a little bit more room than the recommended 1590B.

I etched Jerry’s pawprint into the enclosure. Considering I haven’t etched a pedal in quite some time, I am extremely pleased with the results.

I present to you, the MEOW-TRON:

1960s Eko 995 Broken Truss Rod Nut

My last post was about a 1960s Eko 995 bass that made its way into my hands (link). My intent was to restore it to playable condition.

I thought it would be pretty straight forward. Clean it up, rewire it, fabricate a bridge and pickup mounting ring, and string it up. Well, that isn’t going to be the case.

Jaime was all excited to get the bass cleaned up this weekend. We got all setup, and started pulling parts. First to go was the truss rod access cover. Three screws later, and this project is pretty well over, for now.

It turns out that a piece of the truss rod broke off in the nut when someone tried to adjust it. Here is what it looks like:

If you look closely, you can see a small brass plate where the wider portion of the nut sits. The broken rod is inset the distance of the thin part of the nut, obviously.

It can be fixed. I can remove the brass plate (someone already tried, I can succeed). Stewmac sells a tool that allows you to drill around the truss rod so you can re-thread it. Unfortunately, the tool costs more than the guitar would be worth.

And then, I would have to have a custom truss rod nut fabricated, which I cannot imagine would be cheap.

Anyone have any ideas? We have set an artificial deadline of October 2015 for having a repair strategy. If I can’t figure out a way to fix it by then, it will be parted out on Ebay with the proceeds used to buy something musical for Jaime.

New Project Bass: 1960s Eko 995

Oh boy, this is going to be interesting.

The story goes that my wife Jaime‘s uncle, as part of his job, is tasked with clearing junk out of the forest preserves in Cook County, Illinois. He stumbled upon a bass, and told Jaime’s cousin about it. Jaime’s cousin asked on Facebook if anyone knew anything about it. I researched it, and shared what I found. Jaime’s cousin said she could have it. Jaime’s brother got the bass from their uncle, and brought it to my mom’s house with my Christmas gifts. My mom brought it to my sister’s house on Christmas, and gave it to my dad. My dad drove it down earlier this week.

And here it is…

Yep, it is disgustingly dirty. Jaime and I will be cleaning it up this weekend, I think. And yeah, it is missing some parts– namely the bridge and a pickup mount. But all told, it is mostly there. The frets are good. The neck looks straight. There isn’t much corrosion, and no rust.

We’ll see how this goes. More to come!