Mage Music is very proud to announce that we are now an authorized Levy’s Leathers dealer, and have received our first shipment of killer straps into inventory!
About Levy’s Leathers
In Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1973, with a handful of leatherworking tools, a few hides of leather and the exuberance of youth Dennis Levy began crafting and selling a variety of leather goods: belts, watchbands, gun slings and yes – guitar straps. A few years later he met his wife Cheryl Clarke, and together they invested their life savings and hearts and began building the company millions of players have come to know and trust today as Levy’s Leathers Ltd.
Jerome MacPherson was hired to assist in 1975, and together with a small group of leather craftsmen Levy’s began expanding across Canada, quietly developing expertise and improving its products. Harvey Levy joined in 1979. As a lifelong guitar player he was a good fit and had ideas for guitar strap design, recognizing its importance as a fashion accessory.
With their dedication to quality and craftsmanship, hard work and integrity, Levy’s started to grow. Starting locally, it wasn’t long before we were selling our straps nationally and soon enough, with our participation in the major music trade shows in the United States, Europe and China, we expanded our reach world-wide. Levy’s guitar straps are now available in 80+ countries.
From the outset we have kept pace with the ever-changing world of leather making and processing. Innovation is a constant, with equipment and technology always changing. Our buyers and designers, selecting leather from the same tanneries as the elite fashion houses of the world, annually visit fashion-leather shows and leather equipment and technology shows in cities across the globe. Visiting these shows in New York, Toronto, Milan, Las Vegas and Hong Kong we are always looking for the latest trends in leather and techniques for working it. As a result every item Levy’s makes is made from the finest materials which are tailored specifically for each use.
While adopting the latest technology we have not forgotten our art of hand crafting. A video documenting the production of an MSS17, from start to finish, showing the hands-on care given to the creation of each strap –can be viewed in ‘Building Our Straps’. As you will find, the majority of our processes continue to be done by hand.
In our ongoing desire to make the ideal guitar strap for every budget, we boast the widest range of strap options in the world. From the ultimate luxury of the MSS17 to the utilitarian serviceability of the M8, we truly have a strap for everyone, and a strap for every taste – country to blues, rock to jazz, heavy metal to rockabilly.
The dependability and style of Levy’s guitar straps are what make us a favourite of just about every major artist from Merle Haggard and B. B. King, to James Hetfield and The Edge. It would be hard to find a serious guitarist who is not aware of or uses our straps.
Now, 42 years on, a new generation of Levy’s is making its mark, Danica Levy in design, DJ Levy in accounting, and both contributing to and overseeing many operations within the business. With this mix of old blood and new, we have found a certain harmony and continue to grow and evolve while holding true to our roots, all of us dedicated to making the finest guitar straps in the world. Because . . . Your Guitar is Worth It.
So head on over to our Levy’s Leathers section of the shop, and see what we have in stock! Also, we can order anything from the catalog, so have a look at the awesome straps and bags on the Levy’s Leathers website, and if we don’t have it on hand, we can get it for you!
Why That Schematic And Repair Documentation Provided By Mage Music Is So Unique And Valuable
The poor, misunderstood schematic….
When we can find a schematic, manual, or specification sheet for a piece of audio equipment we are servicing for you (which is nearly every time…), you will be provided a copy of that schematic and documentation with your invoice. That schematic (or manual / spec. sheet) will also contain notations stating what we did to your prized piece of gear. It will detail the work that was performed, any parts that were replaced (especially if they weren’t in-kind replacements), any oddities that were found (and may or may not still be that way ;), and general info that will be invaluable to the next person that gets in the thing.
This is something that is severely lacking in the service and repair landscape, and it really shouldn’t be that way. If your technician is competent enough to repair your gear correctly, then they should easily be able to document to you how they did it!
We do. Most don’t.
The highly valuable, and sometimes irreplaceable schematic….
That documentation is more valuable than the invoice as far as I’m concerned…
Say in 5 years you bring your amp, or whatever noise-maker isn’t making noise to whomever, to have some work done.
I know I won’t care a whole lot about seeing my previous invoice, let alone someone else looking at a 5 year old invoice from some other shop!
Now, I can usually recognize our work, but if I can’t, and you show me that schematic with our handwriting on it? Well, then I’ll know. :)
And if you show it to someone else? I would assume (I know…) that they will be appreciative. And – Bonus! Your repair bill just might even be a little lower, since they won’t have to spend a bunch of time and frustration hunting down a schematic, or figuring out what the last guy did!
So keep the schematics!! They’re not just chicken scratch, trust me. Well, I have to partially take that back. As evidenced by the picture accompanying this post…. my shining example…. there’s some actual chicken scratch now and then, but you get the idea… o_O
There’s a wealth of information there for the next dude or dude-ette that fixes your baby.
ESP Guitars has always been a company who takes seriously our responsibility as a manufacturer of wood-based instruments. With the most recent amendments to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), all instrument manufacturers face increased scrutiny to ensure that the raw materials used in their products meet the requirements as designated under this international treaty.
Particular to the current version of CITES is the use of the wood genus Dalbergia, with several species known commonly as rosewood, which has been overexploited in the wild. To remain compliant with CITES, ESP has researched a number of replacement materials for use in some of our products’ fingerboards. Note that in some cases, the replacement materials are a running change via our various manufacturing facilities, and as stock is depleted on earlier versions, the use of new materials will go into effect.
LTD “200 SERIES” & “400 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS Moving ahead, fingerboards on this series of instruments will use jatoba to replace rosewood. Jatoba is a wood found in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America that is commonly called “Brazilian cherry” due to its appearance. Some of the current 200 Series instruments have replaced rosewood with Blackwood, an engineered wood made from sustainable pine. Both materials have been tested by ESP’s specialists for tone and aesthetic appearance, and meet all of our standards for high-quality instruments.
LTD DELUXE “1000 SERIES” and LTD SIGNATURE “600 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS ESP is making two changes to these instrument series. First, most of the guitars in these series formerly offered with rosewood fingerboards will soon be manufactured with Pau Ferro. While Pau Ferro is colloquially referred to as Bolivian rosewood, it is not actually part of the rosewood genus that is restricted via CITIES regulations, and is an excellent, high-quality substitute for rosewood on guitar and bass fingerboards. Second, on certain models that had been previously offered with rosewood fingerboards, we are making a design change to offer them with Macassar ebony. We are also changing current models in these series being offered with African ebony to using Macassar ebony instead. This is a wood native to Indonesia, and is much less vulnerable than true Rosewood or African ebony as a sustainable material.
LTD ACOUSTIC GUITARS (AVAILABLE ONLY OUTSIDE THE USA) For all LTD acoustic models that previous used rosewood for fingerboards and bridges, the guitars have been manufactured since January 2017 using Blackwood, and beginning in July we have started to produce them with jatoba as described above. Any model that previously used rosewood for its back and/or sides will now make use of black walnut.
LTD “10 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS For our instruments designed for beginning musicians and to be made available at the lowest possible cost, the fingerboards of LTD 10 Series has been switched to a manufactured wood material that will act as an acceptable rosewood substitute. This is a running change that is still in progress, and we will announce the specific material at the earliest opportunity.
We are sure that you share ESP’s commitment toward staying in compliance with the current CITES regulations, as well as our enthusiasm for helping to conserve these important natural resources for the planet.
What do YOU think of ESP’s decision? Let us know below!
Let’s celebrate on this Independence Day the struggles, courage, and selflessness that gave us the freedom of thought, actions, faith and speech!
Land of the free, because of the brave!
We Americans have had the privilege of living free since birth. We get to choose our way of life, our words, thoughts, and deeds. We get to do these things because of the heroes that came before us and fought for those freedoms, and the heroes of today that continue to fight for those freedoms.
I recently had the opportunity to perform a bridge replacement on a really cool 70s era Ibanez Concord 699. These were really good guitars, and were unique in that they were all solid wood, with no laminates, and had spruce tops with maple back, sides, neck, and fingerboard. Yes, fingerboard. Don’t see a lot of acoustics with maple fingerboards, so I was definitely intrigued!
The original bridge had cracked through the string pin holes, and had completely come apart. Another unique feature of this guitar, the original bridge was also adjustable. It had a brass bracket holding the saddle, and screws at either end of this bracket to facilitate raising and lowering the saddle, and therefore, adjusting the string action. Pretty cool.
This is what the original bridge looked like at one time before it broke :(
Obviously, by the time the guitar got to me, the bridge had completely come off, leaving a bald spot on the gorgeous solid spruce top. A little sanding to prep the bald spot, and she was ready to have a nice new bridge glued on.
Sourcing the bridge was not an easy task, but I finally found one that was very close. The Retro Parts RP287. It’s a nice rosewood bridge with an adjustable saddle. It was slightly wider in the string spacing, but not enough to make a huge difference. The only thing missing was the hole for the bolt behind the bridge pins, but that would be easily remedied with a well placed countersunk drill hole, and a pearl dot inlay.
Retro Parts RP287. This will make a great replacement for our original Ibanez bridge!
New and (what’s left of) original bridge.
The placement of the bridge is critical to the intonation of the guitar, so I spent a good amount of time measuring the scale length, and marking the location for the new bridge. This is a fairly straight-forward process, but you only get one chance to place the bridge and glue it up, so I wanted to make sure it was right! Essentially, in order to get the bridge position, you measure the distance between the nut and the top of the 12th fret. This distance is equal to half of the scale length of the guitar. Since the 12th fret marks the halfway point, you then measure the same amount from the top of the 12th fret to a point on the guitar top. This point is the exact scale length. Now, the saddle needs to be placed at the point of exact scale length plus a small amount of compensation to account for when a string is fretted. When you fret a string, the pitch will raise slightly due to the increased string tension, so the saddle needs to be moved back a bit to compensate for this, and bring the note back to pitch. This compensation amount varies a bit with string type, desired action, saddle type, etc. but a good rule of thumb that has served me well on 6 string steel acoustics, is to add about 1/8″ (0.125″) to the scale length. If you are interested on more exact calculations, there is a fantastic calculator available at Liutaio Mottola’s luthier wbsite. You can check it out HERE. Note that with a compensated, or slanted saddle, I take this measurement on the centerline of the neck and top. That way, the bass and treble strings will be slightly compensated with the slanted saddle, but the D and G strings will land right on the scale length + compensation measurement. This will allow the maximum flexibility when making small intonation adjustments to the saddle later. Also note that this point on the top is where the top of the saddle needs to be placed, not the front of the bridge!
After the top prep, the marking of the bridge location, and a little masking with painter’s tape to protect the soundhole, I’m ready to drop the clamps inside the guitar, and get to gluing!
Always use a clamping caul when clamping…..well…..anything! There are expensive cauls out there, and you can spend some time making your own if you’d like. Here, I’ve used some scraps from a balsa wood project my daughter had. They are soft enough not to mar, but solid enough to provide good pressure, and they don’t split. They work great!
Clamps in soundhole, cauls present, getting ready for glue!
Next, I prep for gluing. I’m going to use standard wood glue for this bridge. I know, I know…..You can talk about hide glue and vibration transfer and tone until you are blue in your face, but you will never convince me that hide glue is any better than carpenter’s glue for a bridge. Hide glue is a pain to work with. Hide glue also results in lifted and completely separated bridges if the stars aren’t aligned absolutely perfectly, or the temp is .06 degrees off, or there’s a fly near your bench, or a molecule of dust gets in it, or……you get the idea. The stuff is finicky as can be, and I’ve had too many bridges pop off after using hide glue. Don’t get me wrong, it has its place…..just not under the bridges I do unless the customer demands it! But enough of my rant… Make sure to have any tools and items needed for cleanup at the ready before gluing. I always have some rags, a small bowl of water, some paper towels, and a small screwdriver near by. I do a “dry run” of placing the bridge, putting the clamps and cauls in place, and lightly clamping them to make sure everything will go as planned when the glue is in there. I take some measurements again to make sure the bridge is centered and in the right position. Then, I release everything, and apply a light coat of glue to the bottom of the bridge. You don’t need a ton of clamping pressure to get a good joint. Just enough to get good compression, and squeeze out any excess glue. Start cleaning up the excess right away by dampening a cloth rag and folding it over the end of a flat screwdriver or similar flat object that can be used to get to the very bottom of the joint where the bridge meets the top. Run the screwdriver/rag combo down the seam of the joint to wipe out the excess glue. This needs to be done several times. Tighten clamps, wipe away excess, repeat. Also, pay attention to any other areas of the bridge where glue will squeeze out. This particular bridge does not have holes cut through for the pins yet, but many do. You will want to remove excess glue from these areas also. Once the clamps are fairly tight, and all of the excess glue has been removed, leave the bridge clamped up overnight to cure.
Bridge all glued and clamped and resting for the night.
The next day, I remove the clamps, do any final glue cleanup, and prepare to cut the holes for the string pins, the bridge screw, and the saddle adjustment screws. At this point I tape up a vacuum cleaner hose to suck up some of the dust. This, of course, isn’t necessary, but I hate cleaning, so I try to do it as I go. ;) I also add some protective tape around the bridge to protect the top. I start with string pins. The RP287 has holes started, but not all the way through, so I center punch the existing holes and drill them through with an 1/8″ bit. A 3 degree tapered reamer is then used to finish the holes out to get a good fit to the pin. I’ve used a bit of painter’s tape here on the reamer to indicate when to stop for the hole to be the perfect size. This was done on the first hole by trial and error, reaming and then pressing in the pin until a proper fit was achieved.
Then it’s on to the bridge bolt/screw. Some bridges have these, others don’t. There was no provision for one on the replacement bridge, but the original had one, and the customer wanted to have one on the replacement. I had some 1/4″ pearl dot inlays left over from a fretboard project that would work perfectly to cover the new screw. I simply drilled a 1/8″ hole for the screw, and then counter sunk the hole with a 1/4″ brad point center bit. This will accommodate the screw nicely, and is the perfect size for the inlay. After installing the screw, I slip the washer and nut on through the soundhole, and tighten it down. Make sure it’s tight, because once the dot is glued in, it will be next to impossible to remove without some damage to the bridge! The dot inlay is them dropped in place with a drop of super glue to hold it in.
Finally, I drilled a 3/16″ hole at either end of the saddle slot to accommodate the screws for the adjustable saddle.
Reaming the bridge for the string pins.
Drilled, reamed, screwed, and in-layed!
Now comes the sanding. Lots and lots of sanding! I start fairly aggressive at 220 grit to get the inlay smoothed out, and then gradually work my way down to 2000 grit. Rosewood has a beautiful finish, and really doesn’t need any treatment other than a good sanding and perhaps some oil, but I usually just sand it down and let the beautiful grain shine through!
Sanded, and ready for strings!
After the bridge is sanded and polished, we’re ready to string it up! I do another test fit of the pins, and seeing they are good, go ahead and start stringing her up. Since this bridge is adjustable, we can set the action with the adjustment screws. This is really handy. Normally, I would need to file and sand the bottom of the saddle at this point to set the action, but here I just need to adjust the screws like on an electric guitar bridge! I like to aim for about 3/32″ on the bass side, and 5/64″ on the treble side at the 12th fret. Of course, if this bridge weren’t adjustable, I would want to do a final adjustment with the customer playing it to get it to their liking.
After setting the action, and stretching and settling the strings a bit, it’s time to check intonation. This is done with a good quality tuner, and fretting the open note, the note at the 12th fret, and sounding the 12th fret harmonic of all the strings. All of the notes on a given string should be the same (the 12th fret note and harmonic will of course be an octave higher). If the 12th fret notes are sharp, the string length needs to be lengthened. If they are flat, the string needs to be shortened. The intonation came out very well in this case thanks to a good bridge placement, and no additional adjustment was required. If adjustment were required, however, the saddle can be filed on the front or back of where the string breaks over the saddle to adjust it. File the front of the saddle to move the break point farther back to increase the string length, and file the back of the saddle to move the break point forward, and shorten the string length.
With the action and intonation set, it’s time to take a spin on this old girl who’s been given a new lease on life! She plays and sounds awesome, and I can’t wait to see the smile her owner’s face after being able to play her again!
This was a really fun project, and I think it came out really well.
A week prior to the Winter NAMM show, the Gibson booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas unveiled a new Gibson double cutaway solidbody electric guitar that looks more like a Paul of the Reed Smith variety than the Les.
Photo by Francisco Rivera
Not much is known about this new model, but it appears that the mysterious guitar features the ubiquitous stopbar tailpiece and tune-o-matic bridge found on most Gibson electrics. Also present are the standard two humbucker pickup set with a three way selector switch, but it appears to only have two control knobs. One could assume these controls are for Volume and Tone, but perhaps they could also provide some push/pull options?
Photo from John Cola
There’s a peek or two of the model in the video below, but Gibson appears to be silent on any details, and no mention of this new Gibson solidbody on their website.
I will, of course, post any updates here as they roll in.
So, what do YOU think of this new model? Can Gibson score with an innovative new design, or will it be snubbed by the traditionalist guitar community?
The Christmas Story of the Birth of Jesus – Paraphrased from the Bible:
This Christmas story gives a biblical account of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas story is paraphrased from the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible.
Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.
The Conception of Jesus Foretold
Mary, a virgin, was living in Galilee of Nazareth and was engaged to be married to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. An angel visited her and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus.
At first Mary was afraid and troubled by the angel’s words. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, “How will this be?” The angel explained that the child would be God’s own Son and, therefore, “nothing is impossible with God.” Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.
Surely Mary reflected with wonder on the words found in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling this event, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
The Birth of Jesus:
While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus and that he was the Messiah, God with us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he willingly obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah’s earthly father.
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.
The Shepherd’s Worship the Savior:
Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby, in the stable. After their visit, they began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way still praising and glorifying God. But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words and pondering them in her heart. It must have been beyond her ability to grasp, that sleeping in her arms—the tender child she had just borne—was the Savior of the world.
The Magi Bring Gifts:
After Jesus’ birth, Herod was king of Judea. At this time wise men (Magi) from the east saw a star, they came in search, knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring to Micah 5:2. Herod secretly met with the Magi and asked them to report back after they had found the child. Herod told the Magi that he too wanted to go and worship the babe. But secretly Herod was plotting to kill the child.
So the wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. (Most likely Jesus was already two years of age by this time.) They bowed and worshipped him, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh. When they left, they did not return to Herod. They had been warned in a dream of his plot to destroy the child.
Here’s a pretty nifty gadget that’s gathering funding on Indiegogo right now. It’s a guitar stand that’s almost flat, and you can click it onto the strap post on the bottom of your axe for a very portable guitar stand that won’t get in the way!
Danish musician “Muri” from “Muri & Mario” broke his guitar neck at a band practice two years ago. When it fell, he thought that there must be a simple item that one can clip onto a guitar to make it stand up by itself. No such product existed. After 2 years of designing with a team of dedicated engineers, a simple solution has been created to offer guitar players new freedom.
Standley has four adjustable feet that stand your guitar 5 degrees from vertical. This is where your guitar is most stable.
Standley is simple, elegant and looks great.
Fits any guitar bag
Standley is ideal for traveling due to its size and weight of only 140 grams.
Production and delivery
We work with a manufacturer in China with about 20 years of experience in production of high quality guitar parts and we have partnered with the leading shipping company in Denmark to ensure that you get the product within the scheduled time.
Standley gets in the stores worldwide in the beginning of 2017, but you can get it before if you pre-order now.
We have designed the click-on guitar stand with a low cost because we want to offer this product to all guitar players at a very affordable price.
Limited edition.- 25% off market price.
You get a great offer if you pre-order now.
Expected delivery of pre-orders: February, 2017.
1. How does it work?
Click-on Standley to your guitar.
2. Why hasn’t anyone thought about making a click-on stand before?
We won’t reject that someone might have thought about it before us, but we’re the first to realize the idea.
3. Does the guitar get damaged when clicking-on Standley?
No, not if you follow the instructions, but there is always a risk that your guitar can get damaged if you don’t use your guitar gently. Standley is designed to protect the strap-button from being damaged when clicked-on to the guitar. The four adjustable feet are designed in high quality rubber to protect the guitar from being damaged when used in daily routines.
4. Does Standley affect the sound quality of the guitar?
No, two independent sound engineers found no differences in the sound quality when comparing studio recordings with Standley connected to the guitar.
5. Why is 5 degrees from vertical the most stable?
An engineer specialized in geometrics found out that 5 degrees from vertical is the ideal angle for a guitar to stand at after 2 months of research and testing.
6. Why is Standley more convenient than regular guitar stands?
Five good reasons:
Integrated – directly connected to the guitar.
SGives guitar players a higher degree of freedom than regular guitar stands because the guitar player can immediately place the guitar on the floor.
Saves space in your home compared to regular guitar stands.
Enables the guitar to fit almost any corner in your home, which means that the guitar is always within reach in your home.
Makes your guitar look stylish when standing on the floor.
7. What are the limitations?
We don’t recommend using Standley in highly crowded environments or when performing on stage.
8. Are you interested in feedback from guitar players?
Yes, very much. We encourage you to share your experiences with us. Our goal is to increase the value of your guitar. Therefore, we very much appreciate your feedback to keep improving our products