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22 February 2015

A Ukulele Handbook for Beginners (2015)

Today I'm going to give a plug for a new Ukulele Instruction book that comes to us all the way from Oregon, USA.

"A Ukulele Handbook for Beginners" by Aaron and Nicole Keim is published through Lazarus Books and can be purchased from The Quiet American on-line store.

21 February 2015

How to build a Dying Battery Simulator MARK 3

Here's an update on my Dying Battery Simulator project. This is my first attempt at building something that goes beyond breadboarding or simulating on iCircuit. I burnt myself on my new soldering iron, but other than that I'm feeling pretty good with myself!

Here's the final box. It love the retro look. I haven't finished the wood at all and right now I have no intention of doing anything more to it. Read on for a bit more detail of how I got to the end of the Mark 3... 

15 February 2015

"The Lost Man" is published!

I never thought I had another comic in me, especially so soon after the last one. Today I published the fourth installment of the Bad Moon series on Lulu. Let me tell you a little bit about it...

With "The Lost Man" I let my imagination run wild. It's a story that I love, that I have loved for years. This idea must have been knocking about my head for the best part of 30 years. I've tried to write it down in the past, but always I'd fail. Perhaps the time just wasn't right?

Finally, having set the scene with my earlier comics, I've managed to get to the end of the road. It kind of wrote itself. My biggest fear in turning this into a comic, wasn't coming up with the story itself, it was more me wondering whether I had the skills to do it justice.

On reflection, I reckon this might be my best comic yet.

14 February 2015

Dreaming of building a Piezo Buffer

Today's post has taken a bloody age to come to fruition. It's a tiny step in a giant journey. I'm working on a new electronics project to build a Piezo Buffer. The problem I have is that I'm starting from knowing diddly-squat about Electronics. There has been so much to learn that it's been quite overwhelming at times. I’m going to try and give you as much info as I can as I work through this. Let's hope that I can string it all together. Today, things are mainly theoretical. Come on… let's get stuck in...

First of all, I'll set the scene by revealing what a Piezo Buffer is, and why I think I might possibly need one.

You've seen a handful of posts from me over the years where I've discussed piezo pickups. I've fitted them into some of my instrument builds and always wrestled with getting a good sound out of them afterwards. I've had varying degrees of success, but it's never felt like I've ever properly cracked it.

The piezo pickups that I've been using are the ceramic under-saddle variety; They sit under the bridge and operate by turning the vibration generated by the moving strings into AC signal.