The body is a semi-hollow Masonite and plywood Flying V loaded with lipstick humbuckers. I bought the neck used on Ebay and finished the headstock to match the body. I pretty much set out to build the most un-metal Flying V I could imagine. The mid-century kitchen yellow was the most obvious choice for me. Oddly enough, I think that cutting the pickguard was the hardest part of the build.
This month we have the new Hot Cherry Overdrive from Dang! Creative Services! This overdrive is the second stomp box in our Funktronic line of effects pedals. A clone of the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker, this pedal is a great example of a somewhat transparent overdrive. I brings a nice, natural sounding distortion with out bringing too much crunch to your tone.
These pedals were also finished in bright red by a friend of mine using a really fantastic automotive-grade two-stage polyurethane finish. Coupled with the cool, retro graphics, brought to you by Dang! Creative, the results, again, are absolutely stunning.
ON DARK evenings in late 1916, a frail 76-year-old man could often be seen shuffling furtively between The Dove, a pub in west London, and the green and gold turrets of Hammersmith Bridge. Passers-by paid no attention, for there was nothing about Thomas Cobden-Sanderson’s nightly walks to suggest that he was undertaking a peculiar and criminal act of destruction.
Between August 1916 and January 1917 Cobden-Sanderson, a printer and bookbinder, dropped more than a tonne of metal printing type from the west side of the bridge. He made around 170 trips in all from his bindery beside the pub, a distance of about half a mile, and always after dusk. At the start he hurled whole pages of type into the river; later he threw it like bird seed from his pockets. Then he found a small wooden box with a sliding lid, for which he made a handle out of tape—perfect for sprinkling the pieces into the water, and not too suspicious to bystanders.
Those tiny metal slugs belonged to a font of type used exclusively by the Doves Press, a printer of fine books that Cobden-Sanderson had co-founded 16 years earlier. The type was not his to destroy, so he concealed his trips from his friends and family and dropped his packages only when passing traffic would drown out the splash. There were slip-ups, all the same. One evening he nearly struck a boatman, whose vessel shot out unexpectedly from under the bridge. Another night he threw two cases of type short of the water. They landed on the pier below, out of reach but in plain sight. After sleepless nights he determined to retrieve them by boat, but they eventually washed away. After that he was more careful. Continue reading →
Fresh off the workbench is this pair of stomp boxes designed here at Dang! Creative Services. These beauties will be marking a couple firsts for us. Firstly, La Calavera is the first in a series of pedals completed under the Funktronic label. Last year, we built the Funktronic Envelope Filter and decided to keep the name as an overall brand.
Secondly, these pedals were finished by by a good friend of mine who owns an auto body shop here in town. He was kind enough to paint these using the same two-stage process used in automotive finishing. The results are absolutely stunning.
This is the first in a series of pedals that I think represent some of the best work I have ever done. The “Calavera” concept art was appropriated from the popular Mexican card game, Loteria. I actually designed and built these with a buddy in mind who plays bass in a local Gothic/Pshycobilly band.
The pedal itself is a clone of the now-defunct Ampeg Scrambler. The Scrambler is a really interesting octave up ring modulator/fuzz pedal that produces a really sick, synthy-sounding fuzz. What makes this pedal really great is the Balance knob that acts as a wet/dry mix – an indispensable feature if you’re using effects with bass guitar. The Texture knob sort of increases the amount of octave-like effect.
Last few weeks I’ve been working on a little stompbox project. I designed three stompbox shells and will be building them out over the next few weeks. Here we have an Octave Divider, an Overdrive and an Octave Fuzz. The Octave Divider will be built from an original circuit designed by The Valve Wizard, while the Overdrive and Octave Fuzz will be clones of vintage pedals.
These will be pedals made almost entirely by scratch. I’ve etched the circuit boards and have been soldering the components in place. I’ll be posting images as the project progresses. I’m in the box-finishing stage now – one thing of note, is that a friend of mine with an auto body shop was kind enough to help me with the finishes. They look really fantastic. I should be sanding them and applying the decals today.
The Funky Popsicle has a really fun little design on the box that I recycled from another electronics project I did several years ago. I was looking for a retro graphic that was a both nostalgic and, well, funky and modern. The box itself is painted a really cool automotive metallic root beer color, that doesn’t really render onscreen well, but I think the image sort of speaks enough to communicate the look I was going for.
The pedal itself is clone of the ever-popular Electroharmonix BassBalls Envelope Filter complete with a few really cool mods suggested by Mark Hammer at diystompboxes.com. By itself, I always felt that the EHX BassBalls was more of a novelty than a useful pedal. It sounds really cool, but in practical use, it’s not really all that effective. However, with a few mods, it can be really cool. I highly recommend adding the Decay knob and the Mix knob (the Mix adjusts the emphasis between the upper and lower sweep). This adds a whole new realm of usable and dynamic sounds to the pedal. And with a Boss OC-2 Octaver before it – look out – synth bass ahoy! I also opted to keep the stock fuzz circuit, because after hearing the Bassballs demos, I actually liked the froggy vocal character it produces. Now mind you, the easiest, and most common mod is to mount the internal trimpots on the outside of the box, but after hearing a few demos and actually building the pedal myself, I felt that moving the trimpots isn’t a worthwhile mod. Most of the sounds aren’t very usable, and as far as adjusting the lower filter, there’s a really only small window of usability. Mark Hammer’s suggested mods, do include mounting the upper filter pot on the outside, and this does add extra dimension of cool tweakability.
Another little point I might add, this was my first stab at etching my own PCB. Initially, I tried using the more friendly vinegar and hydrogen peroxide method, but it didn’t work for me. I ended up buying some etchant at Radio Shack and it worked great! I hate the using nasty chemicals bit, but I love that I now have two extra PCB’s and another Funky Popsicle box on my workbench.
In the end, this is currently my favorite envelope filter pedal. It sounds great, and when it’s blended into my dry signal, it makes for a really fun effect. It can produce a lot of really cool sounds and it is intensely dynamic and responsive to touch. The li’l lady seemed to be impressed as well. When I first tested it, she happened to walk into the garage and she said, “I really like that – it sounds like coconuts!”
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for band flyers – after all, I got my start as a graphic designer by doing band flyers. I always played in bands as a teenager and young adult, and luck would so have it that I was usually the guy in the band with a visual arts background. Back in the day, we didn’t have Adobe Creative Suite, so I had to make use of things like black construction paper, dry transfer type, old newspapers and magazines to create elaborate collages that would reproduce well on a black and white Xerox machine. I remember my friends and I hitting the streets armed with a staple gun and a stack of 500 fliers the thick, black toner still warm on the paper. We’d plaster all of the telephone poles downtown, only to come back the next day and find them all covered or torn down. Oddly enough, I’ve seem some of these old flyers for sale on Ebay for $10.
I’ve been getting a lot of requests for band flyers these days, largely because I recently started playing music again in a local band. Today, I’m pretty much doing the same thing – using old photos and setting type to create a visually engaging piece that exudes cool and says just enough about the music to make people curious enough to remember the name of the band. Photoshop hasn’t changed flyer design much, however, most of these flyers designed to be posted on Facebook or texted on a smartphone.
Band flyers I have always considered the fun part of my job. If you play in a local band and need poster for the gig or a cover for your upcoming CD, feel free to contacts us here at Dang! Creative Services. We’re always happy to accommodate musicians and work with various budget constraints.
Done to Death has just published a recently discovered collection of photographs of 70s daredevil, Evel Knievel. For any boy who grew up in the 1970’s, there are few cultural icons who could inspire as much awe as this red, white and blue clad madman. He would jump over rows of flaming cars on his Harley, strap himself to a rocket and shoot himself over the Snake River Canyon, survive horrible crashes, break bones and endure third degree burns only to get up and do it again. What mind of a 10 year old boy wouldn’t be blown out of the stratosphere?
At the height of his fame in 1972, Evel (real name Robert) was invited down to the Oklahoma State Fairground to wow the crowds by local businessman Jack Cooper, the owner of Cooperville Car Dealership. Four decades later Jack’s grandson Garrett Colton found a box of slides in his grandfather’s attic which captured that very special visit with vivid old school charm.
WOW! Here’s a beautiful series of screen prints on Kickstarter almost taylor-made for photo and design geeks alike! Jerome Daksiewicz set out to pay homage to the glory days of film’s yesteryear by working to create this series of prints based on old film boxes. There are still some spaces for $30 backers left.
The Photo Film prints are 11″x14″ serigraphs on 100# paper from the French Paper Co. in Niles, Michigan. Screen printing will be handled by VGKids in Ypsillanti, Michigan. Prints will be stamped and signed on the back, rolled and shipped in a heavy-duty kraft tube. Final print colors will slightly vary from what’s shown on screen.