Arlo Mudett | The view from Faraway Farm: a time to learn | Chroniclers
I feel very blessed with the weather these days. I have time to learn about the many things that interest me. Although I don’t want to be a pilot, I really enjoy reading and learning about various aircraft. I have a subscription to Flying magazine, and I am a keen observer of the Flightradar 24 site. My adoptive father interested me in flying very early on. He had his pilot’s license and did a lot of co-piloting with the owner of the company where he worked. The plane they flew was a twin-engine Cessna Super Skymaster. The Skymaster featured a high wing and a double boom tail. This unique configuration made it possible to have one engine at the front and another at the rear. I have made several flights in the Skymaster and was very impressed with its performance and roominess.
I started collecting guitars when I retired. I’m focusing on bass guitars right now. I recently bought a Fender Squire precision bass. I plan to modify it with upgraded components. The Squier is Fender’s budget line with licensed factories in Korea, China and Indonesia. The used model I bought for a bite of bread was made in Indonesia. This is a great platform to learn the basics of guitar setup, i.e .: intonation, pitch or string action, tuning, and neck adjustment. The string action on the Squier was high when I first got it which made it more difficult to play. I have a Sire Marcus Miller V7 bass and a Fender Mustang bass, both of which have a much better level of playability. The goal is to bring the Squier closer to the standards set by the Mustang and the Sire.
I spent a lot of time learning the guitar tuning and applied it to the Squire. I quickly noticed a knot in the neck. This would partly explain the high action. I spent some time tightening the truss rod in the neck of the guitar. He’s there to adjust the arc. I turned the tuning about a quarter turn at a time each day, then put the guitar aside. A few days later, I can see improvement in the arch, and the neck is almost flat. I will replace the neck if my settings do not bear fruit, yet another opportunity to learn how the guitar works.
I already put on a new set of Ernie Ball strings and treated the fingerboard with lemon oil designed for guitar fingerboards. While the metal frets are pretty cool for me, I’m also learning to level them and file the edges. With a little elbow grease and a little luck, I hope to have an accurate and smooth bass playing when done. My other bass guitars are either low scale models or jazz bass models, so the result should allow me to have a bass guitar with a low bass for a classic bass sound.
I also build a counterfeit Fender Telecaster kit, or T style guitar as they call them. I am currently smoothing out the base coats of paint on the body and getting ready to apply the color coat. Once this is complete, I will paint the routed parts of the body with shield paint to prevent the electronics from developing a buzz. I researched and found a specific finish for the neck of the guitar which is flat, non-shiny, and which is the preferred finish for ease of playing. All of this broadened my knowledge of the instrument. I learn the how and the why of construction techniques. What is the purpose of all this learning?
For me, it’s about the desire to learn. I’m not trying to become a luthier or an airplane pilot. I want to learn more about guitars and airplanes, automobiles, motorcycles and other fascinating gadgets and devices. Why? Quite simply because they interest me. I am lucky to have the time to learn and I don’t waste a minute.
“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” airs Monday through Saturday mornings on Oldies KOOL FM radio stations 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and above Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.