Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 3 – BB King 6th and the BB Box

The Pentatonic Scale is the holy grail for guitarists. It’s easy to play and it sounds amazing.

This series will show you how to get the most out of our favourite scale, and how making small modifications will get you sounding like the pros and their signature sound.

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 3 BB King; 6th and the “BB Box”

In this article we will look at BB King’s unique note choice when soloing, and articulation techniques synonymous with the blues legend. Below is the A minor pentatonic scale.

Here are the notes and intervals of the scale:
A(root) C(m3) D(4) E(5) G(m7)

BB King 6th and the BB Box

Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

BB played these notes to great effect. But he also added different ones and incorporated them into an incredibly 
user-friendly “box” to solo over dominant blues progressions. It’s called the “BB Box” (see below).

BB Box

On the B & E strings, you can see familiar Minor Pentatonic notes (plus the 2nd). What gives this box the specific BB “flavour” is the use of the 6th on the G string, a note not found in the Minor Pentatonic. This box is also very versatile as you can play the Major 3rd as well with just a small half bend on fret 13. The blue note (b5) can also be added in between fret 10 and 12 on the E string.

This box will give you a brand new set of licks, as this formation of notes isn’t found in your usual pentatonic shapes.

On the right is a BB styled lick using the “BB Box” in A.

Article 3 - BB King


BB had his own way of bending notes and using vibrato. His vibrato is incredibly fast and achieved by almost hanging your whole hand off the neck. BB would also make these huge leaps up to the tonic note of the key. These ideas are demonstrated below.

Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

Pedal Board Build

Build Log: Pedal board build 

Terry Relph-Knight copyright reserved.

The commission for this guitar effects pedal board build was to build a fairly compact, rugged and portable effects board based around effects pedals the client already owned and regularly used. Both the sequence of effects connections and the layout was to be optimised without the physical order limiting the connection order.  

A Pedaltrain Pro Junior was chosen for the base, being both light and strong and available with a tough nylon carry case. Nine volt power is provided by a small and economically priced switching supply, the Diago Powerstation. Rather than rely on plugging the mains power lead into the small two pin figure of eight connector on the side of the Diago, the mains lead from the Diago was wired to a standard 3 pin IEC connector, mounted on a bracket at the back of the Pedaltrain base. Nine volt power distribution is via a 6 way Diago daisy chain cable. For the original board layout with seven pedals the seventh power connection was provided by an extra cable that plugged in to the auxiliary power output on the back of the BOSS Chromatic Tuner. 

Build Log: Pedal board build

The pedals were attached to the Pedaltrain base using conventional hook and loop self adhesive Velcro with the hook tape fitted to the Pedaltrain and the loop tape to the pedals.

The only pedal modification was to the VOX Wah Wah. This pedal had been previously restored – cleaned, pedal polished, base re-painted and a new control pot fitted. For use on this pedal board it was fitted with an external 2.1mm power jack, having previously been battery only.

Pedal connection order

Pedal Board Build

Pedal Board Build

Right to left – Guitar in to ….

Crowther Audio Hot cake …………….. white to Tuner in

VOX Wah-wah ……………………….. green to Tremolo in

BOSS Chromatic Tuner TU-2 ………… blue to Compressor in

BOSS Compression Sustainer CS-2 ….. black to Wah in

BOSS Tremolo TR-2 …………………. yellow to Delay mono in

BOSS Digital Delay DD-6 …………… red from mono out to Reverb in

Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb …. to amp

Hot cake eventually replaced by BYOC Tube Screamer and Boost

Diago Powerstation 9V switching power supply

Pedal board components and costs

Pedaltrain Pro Junior frame & soft case                 £86.99

Diago Powerstation 9V switching power supply £61.88

9V power extension cable £05.50

Postage returning the faulty Powerstation £04.10

Patch cables £04.99

1 x IEC mains cable £05.00

IEC socket and custom mounting plate £03.90

Cable tie bases £05.00


10/02/18 In for a clean up 

As received –

Guitar to Uber Scream Tuba

Tuba to BOSS Tuner

Tuner to Cali 76 compressor

Compressor to Viscous Vibe

Vibe to EP Booster

Booster to BOSS DD6 Delay

Delay to Holy Grail Reverb

Reverb to amp

Delivered with the VOX Wah to be restored to the board.

The Hot Cake is an always on buffer pedal. With the Hot Cake missing the pedal chain is no longer fed from a buffered signal. It seems the BOSS TU-2 may also have an always on buffer.

New connection order

Guitar to Tuner

BOSS Tuner to EP Booster

Booster to Uber Scream Tuba

Tuba to Cali 76 compressor

Compressor to Wah Wah

Wah Wah to Viscous Vibe

Vibe to BOSS DD6 Delay

Delay to Holy Grail Reverb

Reverb to amp

Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Repair Log:  30th of July 2010 SN:NCxx Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition ‘51 Nocaster made by Fender in Corona USA

Guitar Repair. Hello and thank you for visiting our Guitar Repairs London page. Please feel free to check out some of our guitar repair logs below. We are meticulous with our guitar, amp & effects repairs and catalogue all our repairs. We produce a full range of Guitar Tech services to keep your instrument in perfect health including restrings, setups, electrical work and parts replacement. If you need anything relating to you guitar fixing please contact us here at London Guitar Repairs today to find the perfect solution for requirements. Our pro Guitar repairs and luthier services are by experienced Guitar Techs, we specialise in bespoke guitar and amp repairs including servicing, re-strings, setups, re-frets, refinishing, neck resets & vintage guitar repair. With over 30 years combined experience, our guitar techs have been trusted to work on the guitars of some of the most elite guitar players in the country and around the world.

Copyright reserved Terry Relph-Knight 01/10/17

Current value – Can be found on offer for £1,700. Purchased from Wunjo’s for £2,000.

Delivered with a rectangular cream and maroon Fender Custom Shop hard case, including a custom shop certificate and other documentation.

Strung 10 to 52 Ernie Ball STHB


Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Description – A Fender black guard Custom Shop replica of a 1951 ‘Nocaster’ Telecaster, reliced with all slot screws.

Body – Light swamp ash body in the traditional blond finish. Relic wear under the forearm and around the back edge. The black 5 hole pick guard does indeed appear to be made of a thin (0.0625 inch 1/16) sheet of un-bevelled phenolic material and the top surface is lacquered to make it look blacker and shinier. A small area below the top E string has been rubbed away to simulate playing wear.

Neck – One piece, fat soft V, maple neck with a walnut skunk stripe. Wear through on the lacquer up to the eight fret. 21 thin vintage frets. Headstock carries only the script Fender logo in silver with black outline,  Fender Custom Shop V logo on the reverse.

Repair Log Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster

Hardware – Kluson style tuners. A single round string tree next to the G tuner. Custom Alnico 3 Tele pickups (bridge pickup has flat magnets). Nickel plated folded thin sheet steel bridge with three brass barrel saddles, 4-40 height screws?. Through body stringing with flat ferrules. Four bolt, chrome plated steel neck plate stamped with the NC77 serial LIMITED EDITION and the Fender Custom Shop V logo. Standard Tele control plate with a three way switch and solid nickel plated brass flat top (slight edge radius) knurled knobs. All cloth wired. Tone and volume controls are modern CTS pots. Unfortunately these pots have no stress relief clip, the pot shaft slides in the collar and is only held in place by the locating post into the middle of the steel clip on cover.

This guitar as shipped from the Custom Shop was originally wired to the ‘51 Nocaster schematic with a 15K (wired between neck and middle on one half of the switch and an 0.05uF cap (wired from the other half of the switch – neck terminal – to ground). These components have been removed and the guitar re-wired to modern Tele wiring by a previous owner.

The original ‘51s had no variable tone control. The wiring offered –

Neck pickup with a set bassy sound (no variable tone control)

Neck pickup with no tone control at all

Both pickups with the second rotary control acting as a blend for the bridge.

The neck pickup has the North of the magnet poles up and the bridge has the South up. The pickups do seem to be arranged for hum cancellation in the middle position.

Centre saddle low E to middle 12 fret 327mm, 325mm high E. 257mm front edge of bridge to middle 12fret. Bridge plate is 3 3/8” long.

Problems – Brought in for noise (hum) and a loose output jack. Guitar occasionally produces loud crackles and hums. Seems related to the tone control.

Work done –

Tightened up the nuts on all the controls, on the switch and on the output jack. Dabbed on some clear nail varnish to help lock the output jack nut in place. Replaced one of the rusted ‘reliced’ pickup screws with a clean screw. Re-bent the cover tabs on the tone controls loose cover, shifted the output jack ground over to the back of the volume control where all the other circuit grounds are. Sleeved the long bare wire on the tone cap. Placed an M3 nut inside the Tone knob as a spacer to stop it scraping on the control plate. Replaced the missing switch tip with a barrel tip (the original barrel tip was included in the case, but the slot for the switch arm was so gouged out that it would no longer fit securely).

Having removed the strings in order to lift the bridge I removed the saddles, sanded them down to remove old string notches and soaked all the screws and springs in WD40 to remove dirt and rust. Also cleaned the bridge plate. With the saddles re-assembled and replaced on the bridge plate I set up the action and intonation.

Diagnostics – Loose output jack. Missing switch tip. Pot nuts are loose. Control plate screws loose.

A quick fret rocker test shows fret 8 is high in the middle and one or two other frets further down the neck are a touch high. Fret surfaces look as though they have been levelled fairly recently, but not re-crowned.

A continuity test showed that the bridge plate and strings weren’t connected to ground. Removing the strings and lifting the bridge plate revealed that the ground jumper between the pickup ground lead tag and its elevator plate was intact. It turns out that all three reliced bridge pickup screws were so rusty they no longer made an electrical connection between the pickup elevator plate and the bridge.

Input jack tip contact seems slack, jacks don’t make a positive insertion. Ground lead from tone cap (cap added by previous owner when the guitar was re-wired to modern wiring) is not sleeved and runs over the top of the volume wiper where it could short out.

The tone control seems loose and repeatedly rotating it fully anti-clockwise often produces loud crackles and hums. Looking closely the steel back cover is loose on its four folding tabs. Ridiculously, the only ground return for the output jack is through a black cloth covered wire that is soldered to the back of this cover. With the tabs to the cover being loose the output jack ground has only a very sketchy and intermittent connection to the guitars circuit ground. Perhaps the 1950’s pots had more reliable connection to ground from the cover, the pots in this guitar are of course modern CTS pots. CTS do seem to have changed to using a thinner, softer steel for the pot casing and the fixing tabs are quite easily loosened through down pressure on the pot shaft.

Along with the bad ground connection to the bridge plate the grounding scheme seems very poor. Fender may have been intending to exactly copy a ‘51 Nocaster, (the Fender shop wiring drawings do show this as how the ground was wired) but in the process they seem to have done some really daft things.

Screws – American guitars have either 4-40 or 6-32 saddle height adjustment screws. The first number indicates diameter and larger numbers greater diameter. The second number indicates thread count – 40 is more per inch than 32.

4-40 is 0.112 inch clearance

6-32 is 0.138 inch clearance

4-40 are smaller screws found in Strat saddles.

So 6-32 is the larger size found in the early Tele 3 saddle bridges.

My DeTemple titanium 3 saddle Tele set has ½ inch long screws in the centre and 3/8 long on the two outside saddles. My Rutters is 3/8 and 5/16.

Bridges like the Wilkinson are metric and use M3 screws. They seem to be all 10mm long.


Black barrel switch tip.

Further work – 20/12/17

The original slot head saddle grub screws stick up and are sharp and uncomfortable under the palm of the right hand. I replaced the original screws (six 7/16” long 6-32 slot head) with two stainless steel 1/4” long 6-32 hex head screws for the high and low E strings and four stainless steel 3/8” long 6-32 hex head screws for the other four strings (1/16” hex key for adjustment).

Mastering the Pentatonic Carlos Santana

Article 2 – Carlos Santana – blend Dorian

The Pentatonic Scale is the holy grail for guitarists. It’s easy to play and it sounds amazing. This series will show you how to get the most out of our favourite scale, and how making small modifications will get you sounding like the pros and their signature sound.

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 2 - Carlos Santana; blend Dorian

In this article we will look at how Carlos Santana adds two notes to the pentatonic to create the latin-blues mix he is known for. Below is the A minor pentatonic scale.

Mastering the Pentatonic Carlos Santana
A minor pentatonic scale

A minor pentatonic scale

The two notes we need to add are the 2nd (B) and a major 6th (F#). Our scale now looks like this (see right).

the Dorian mode

the Dorian mode

These new notes create semitones within our pentatonic scale. This interval is key in sounding like Santana. If you were to add these two notes in both octaves of the pentatonic you would now be playing the Dorian mode, but more on that later!

We will now look at song examples where Santana strides between the pentatonic and Dorian:

Oye Como Va” Intro melody:

The song is in the key of A minor, hence our use of a minor scale. The melody ascends, making full use of the 2nd (B), before falling back to the tonic note. Syncopated (off-beat) notes also give this lick a latin flavour.

Oye Como Va

“Oye Como Va” Main melody:

Here Santana uses the 6th (F#) on the 7th fret of the B string. He mixes this dorian lick with a classic blues motif in the second bar.


“Evil Ways” Solo: (transposed to Am)

A quintessential Satana lick; starting on the “and” of beat 1 gives the lick a real syncopated feel. The first bar is strict Dorian, followed by a classic blues lick in bar 2.

Evil Ways Solo

“Samba Pa Ti” Main melody:

One of Santana’s most famous instrumentals. The following three licks are all taken from the opening section. Here we introduce a new Santana technique of grace notes. These quick notes add another latin flavour. Lick 1 is the opening melody, lick 2 its response, and lick 3 is a turnaround used to get back to chord I.

“Samba Pa Ti” Main melody

Article 2 – Santana

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier Repair Log

Repair Log – 1996 Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Terry Relph-Knight copyright reserved.

The Pro Junior is a 15W combo amplifier with two 12AX7 dual triode valves and a pair of EL84’s in push pull for the output. The power transformer is rated for 230V and a solid state rectifier produces around +319V for the B+. Note – check if this particular amp has an export transformer with adjustable input taps. Checked and it does, but only for 110V and 230V.

The semi-open back cabinet on this amp is of particle board covered in much worn lacquered tweed. A 10 inch 8 ohm loudspeaker is mounted on a ‘floating’ baffle board with a brown synthetic grille cloth with horizontal baize highlights. Top mounted controls on a chrome plated steel panel with white silk-screen legends –  Input jack, volume, tone, power indicator and power toggle switch.

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Various problems – Crackling and chronic instability. Also distorted output. Broken handle, and later on a ripped out input jack.

Fender Pro Junior

Work done – When first seen I simply replaced the blown Fender branded 10 inch loudspeaker with a new Eminence Legend 125 and cleaned all the valve bases with contact cleaner. The crackling problems seem associated with the old phenolic bases being fried by the output tubes idling at high dissipation. Later replaced all 4 mini Noval valve bases with ceramic bases and installed an output tube bias adjustment. Set bias to  2.7V (for that particular set of output valves) across one half of the output transformer. 

The ripped out PCB mounting input jack was replaced with a floating nylon jack connected via two short wires to the PCB.

At some point the output tubes were replaced with a matched pair of JJ’s and a new handle was fitted.

Parts –

4 x ceramic mini Noval valve bases – £ 13.44

1 x 50K preset – £ 1.64

Stripboard and wire – £ 2

Parts total – £ 17.08

Later on – A problem with almost no output. Turned out the phase splitter DC balance was completely out of wack. One triode was hard on the other off. This problem was extremely difficult to diagnose. It was eventually found to have been due to leakage currents through dirt on the PCB surface. Cleaned the PCB with isopropyl alcohol and the phase splitter returned to proper D.C. balance.

July 2017 – Latest problem – the amp squeals when flat out. First 12AX7 is microphonic. Swapping the first valve with the second cures the problem. However one of the set of JJ EL84 output tubes is running hot – the red silk screen logo on the valve is burnt brown (and the heater filament flares bright yellow at the pin connection when the amp is turned on !!!!). 

Work done – Replaced all the valves with new Electro Harmonix valves.

Continued …….

Diagnostics – 

Mains voltage setting check – The amp appears to be set to 230V and this is the highest primary voltage available. 

As wired 110V230V

Blk/Blu S1B S1B S1B Power Neutral, trans to switch

Black from switch CP4

Blk CP5 CP10 CP6


Blk/Red CP7 CP7 CP7


Blk/Grn CP9 CP9 CP9

Blk/Yel CP10 CP8 CP10

Blk/Wht CP11 CP5 CP11 Fuse SW and Power Live

CP5 connects to CP6 on the PCB and both go to the fuse and eventually mains power Live. CP7 connects to CP8 on the PCB, CP11 is an isolated connection parking point on the PCB.

The transformer windings are; BLK/BLU one end of the thermal protection, BLK/RED the other end of the thermal protection and the end of the tapped winding, BLK/WHT is the tap, BLK/GRN is the start of the tapped winding, BLK/YEL is the end of the second winding and BLK is the start of the second winding.


Fender schematics aren’t available at –

You have to ask for them!!

With a complete new set of Electro-Harmonix valves fitted and before any re-biasing, measured B+ 340.8V, red to blue 94.7 ohms 3.6V, red to brown 96.7 ohms 3.13V. Primary currents are 3.6/94.7 = 

0.038014784 amps and 3.13/96.7 = 0.032368149. So idle power is 12.818585165 Watts and 10.930723917 Watts. Maximum idle dissipation rating for the EL84 is 12Watts, so before re-biasing right on the dissipation limit for these valves.

Re-biased to 2.2V red to blue we get 2.2/94.7 =  0.023231257Amps or 7.866103485 Watts.

Output power test into an 8 ohm (5%) resistive load. 34V peak to peak @ 1000Hz = 18.0625 Watts

Temperatures of the output pair at 23 degrees ambient, left 130 and right 165 centigrade (viewed from the back of the amplifier). 

07/07/17 Ordered a complete set of Electro-Harmonix brand valves

EHX-12AX7-FT 2 £23.00

EHX-EL84-Pair 1 £25.00

   Subtotal £48.00

Shipping & Handling £4.25

Grand Total (Excl.Tax) £43.54

Tax £8.71

Grand Total (Incl.Tax) £52.25

Mastering the Pentatonic

Article 1 – Eric Clapton; add a major 3rd

The Pentatonic Scale is the holy grail for guitarists. It’s easy to play and it sounds amazing. This series will show you how to get the most out of our favourite scale, and how making small modifications will get you sounding like the pros and their signature sound.

Mastering the Pentatonic

Mastering the Pentatonic


Lick 1

A key ingredient to Clapton’s sound is blending the major and minor pentatonic. This can be most clearly heard the solo of Cream’s Robert Johnson cover “Crossroads”. The key notes we need to add are themajor 3rd and the 6th (see right), although I would recommend learning box 1 of the major pentatonic in its entirety.

Eric Clapton; add a major 3rd


major 3rd and the 6th

“Crossroads” Lick examples

This lick starts with a hammer on from theminor 3rd to the major 3rd. Not only a quintessential Clapton move, but a very bluesy sound also. We also have a half bend between these two notes in bar 2.


Crossroads Lick examples 1

This example utilises the 6th at fret 7 of the B string. This lick is almost split into major pentatonic in the first bar and then minor pentatonic in the second bar. Add vibrato to the C crotchet in bar 2 and pull off the semi quavers.

Clapton Phrasing:

Clapton loves groups of three. This stye of lick can be heard in the guitar ad-libs at the end of “Bad Love”. Use hammer and pulls offs when playing the triplet on the B string


Clapton Guitar Solos

Clapton Articulation:

Clapton’s solo playing is full of string bending, both huge full tone bends and subtle smaller bends. With the full bends, I would always recommend having multiple fingers push the string (1st and 2nd behind the 3rd finger that bends the note). The half bend on the 5th fret of the G string can be achieved with just your 1st finger. Listen to“Cocaine” to hear this in action.


Guitar Lessons Enfield North London

ENFIELD Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers 

Guitar Lessons Enfield North London. London Guitar Academy is committed to helping you to achieve the best results possible, no matter what your guitar playing ambitions are. One on one lessons give you the luxury of learning at your own pace and receiving personalised attention to your guitar playing. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Enfield, we welcome your enquiry. Subject matter includes music reading, harmony, theory, ear training, rhythm concepts, improvisation, songwriting, composition and arranging, chord and scale concepts, and performance. We also specialise in complete beginners and have an excellent rate of success with those just starting out.

ENFIELD Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers

Whatever style of guitar you’re interested in, we’ll be able to help you achieve your dreams of playing it. Students are constantly encouraged to seek their own personal tastes and follow their own musical path while remaining open minded to new challenges on the instrument that will be presented in the lesson. We offer multiple guitar lesson formats aimed at providing you with optionsflexibility, and maximum value. Edmonton, Southgate, Enfield & all over north London. Whether you’re learning to play as a beginner, want a technical upgrade for professional purposes, or just want to enjoy yourself while learning at your own pace, our lessons are structured to respond to your needs.

Guitar Lessons in Enfield North London

Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Enfield 

Guitar Lessons East Barnet New Barnet Guitar Teachers in Enfield, Edmonton & Southgate

  • Guitar Lessons Enfield  has some of the finest music teachers in London

  • Styles include Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country, Folk, Americana, Rockabilly, R&B, Soul, Funk, and Reggae

  • lessons are designed to ensure that you progress at the fasted possible speed when learning the guitar

  • Instant live feedback on your playing,  barre chords, improvisation, composition, as well as  many other aspects

  • Lessons cover all the theory required for a guitarist, all the different techniques you’ll need

  • Reading and Playing Guitar Melodies: A Step-by-Step Approach

  • Patient, direct and attentive with a sincere passion to share our knowledge

  • Have tons of fun while learning to play real songs

  • Our studio is equipped with quality amplifiers, tuners, capos, and metronomes that are ready to use

  • Time to pick up that old guitar and come in for a lesson

Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Enfield


Muswell Hill Guitar Lessons

1988 Black Gibson 335 semi-hollow electric guitar

Repair Log: 1988 Black Gibson 335 semi-hollow electric guitar SN Repair Log: 1988 Black Gibson 335 semi-hollow electric guitar SN: xxxxxxxx   23/06/18 Copyright retained Terry Relph-Knight Supplied in a tan Gibson hard case. Made in the Gibson...

Why middle C

Why middle C? By Terry Relph-Knight, copyright retained 03/06/18 Most people will have heard of middle C, but apart from knowing it is a musical note somewhere around the middle of the piano keyboard, won’t know it’s significance. Why C? Why middle?

Mixolydian and the minor Pentatonic

Mixolydian and the minor Pentatonic When faced with improvising over a dominant seventh chord...

Guitar Repair

Repair Log – 2005 Laney VC30-112, 30 Watt ‘class A’ combo 1 by 12 guitar amplifier Serial no JVxxxx.  23/03/17 Copyright reserved Terry Relph-Knight Value –...

Roger Waters British Summer Time Hyde Park On the perfect evening in the greatest city on the planet Roger Waters filled the hot summer air with some on the greatest songs ever written. In front of a enthusiastic capacity crowd of around 65,000, the legendary

Harley Benton PB-50 LH FR

Repair log: Harley Benton PB-50 LH FR (1950’s, Precision Bass, Left Handed in Fiesta Red) Vintage Series Copyright retained, Terry Relph-Knight 20/06/18 Cost - £ 95.82 + shipping Delivered with a black soft gig bag. Fender do not currently make a single coil...

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

by Terry Relph-Knight 27/02/18, copyright retained

This idea, that a screwed down stop tailpiece transfers vibration to the body and provides more sustain is an evil meme. It is perhaps something that some guitar journalist, who didn’t understand physics, wrote in some popular guitar magazine years ago and has been repeated mindlessly ever since.


For a start it is a contradiction – if the screwed down stop bar did provide a better mechanical coupling to the body then more of the string vibration would be adsorbed by the body resulting in LESS sustain. For sustain you want as much of your picking energy to remain in the string as long as possible. Bolting down the stop bar (and the bridge) reduces movement and lossy vibration in the components directly connected to the strings and that is why sustain may be affected. 



Secondly the standard stop bar is not designed to be locked down. The design of the slots in the bar and the collars on the fixing bolts means that the stop bar is more or less equally coupled to the body no matter what height it is set at. To be able to couple the stop bar rigidly to the body you would need to use bolts without collars.

All the Gibson guitars that use a stop bar and an Advanced Bridge 1 or a ‘Nashville’ bridge (should probably be known as an ABR-2) derive from a guitar design using a trapeze tail piece. The stop bar, with its collared bolts, is actually designed to allow the string ends to be raised to approximately where they would be if a trapeze tailpiece was used, otherwise why would those bolts have collars?

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

If the stop bar is set as low to the body as it will go, over time there is so much pressure on the Tune-O-Matic bridges that they gradually start to collapse and bend in the middle.

Some guitarists recommend ‘top wrapping’ the strings, fitting the strings with the ball ends on the bridge side of the stop bar and then folding them back over the top of the bar. This method of installing the strings to the stop bar does allow the stop bar to be screwed down, while still providing a shallow break angle for the strings behind the bridge saddles. However, if the standard collared bolts are used, this method still does not lock the stop bar firmly to the body of the guitar and many people do not like the rough feel of the strings over the top of the stop bar, which over time will get scratched and grooved by the top wrapped strings.


So why top wrap, when you can use stop bar bolts without collars, fit spacers under the stop bar, and both lock the stop bar firmly in place and set it at the height it was always intended to be, which by the way reduces tuning problems by minimising string friction over the bridge saddles and doesn’t collapse the bridge.

If you are interested in this sort of stabilisation modification for your stop bar equipped guitar then please contact me via or through an enquiry to the London Guitar Academy.

Slop in the Gibson style Tune-O-Matic ABR-1 and Nashville bridges

Like the standard Gibson style stop bar the Tune-O-Matic bridges rely on string tension for their mechanical stability and often have a degree of movement. The holes in the bridge have to be larger than the diameter of the support posts and the screw posts on the Nashville model are often not a tight fit in the threaded inserts into the top of the guitar.

Epiphone are to be applauded in their efforts in addressing this problem. Their solution, called  ‘LockTone’, involves fitting small stainless steel leaf springs in the bridge holes and in the slots of the stop bar. This solution does not firmly lock the bridge or the stop bar in place, but even so Epiphone have published test results that they claim show improvements in sustain

There are other solutions, from for example TonePros that will mechanically lock the bridge in place, improving sustain, tone and tuning stability.

Bass Guitar Pedal Board build

Build Log: Bass Pedal Board build


Terry Relph-Knight copyright reserved.

This pedal board was commissioned to easily mimic the bass sounds of Roger Waters for a Pink Floyd tribute concert tour. The pedals used were already owned by the client. The intention of the board was to provide a durable, compact and portable effects package that could be easily set up at each performance. A prime requirement was that the client needed to have three basses plugged in to the pedal board, with each one easily selected by foot switch and that the pedal board provide a DI output, as well as an amplifier feed. Bass selection was accomplished using a Boss LS-2 Line Selector and a SansAmp Bass Driver Deluxe DI provided the DI and amplifier feed.

A Warwick Stage welded aluminium frame was chosen for the base, with power provided by a MEMTEQ Caline Power 5 switching power supply. Two of these supplies were purchased, one as a back-up. The pedals were attached to the base with mushroom stud Power Grip super velcro and Warwick flat Rockboard cables used for the pedal interconnects.

Bass Guitar Pedal Board build

Bass Guitar Pedal Board build

Warwick Step up wedges were fitted along the back of the Stage base, raising the SansAmp Bass Driver Deluxe DI, the delay, tremolo and EQ pedals for easy access to their foot switches.

Since the client was using his pedals almost continuously, the board layout had to be designed through a process of sending a series of emails back and forth, with final assembly completed in one day.

A couple of the pedals, the Korg Pitch Black tuner and the EHX Big Muff, had seen hard use and required some minor repairs.

Pedal Function

Korg Pitch Black Tuner Tuner – mutes through path signal when activated

Boss OC-3 Super octave Frequency or pitch change – 1 octave and 2 octaves down

Has a polyphonic mode, dry/wet mix and can add distortion – 50mA

Big Muff Pi Fuzz type distortion (analogue)100mA
Nano Bass balls Filter – twin envelope filter (analogue)100mA
MXR cps 1974 Phase 90 Modulation – phase or notch filter (analogue) no LED – 2.2mA
Boss TR-2 Tremolo Modulation – amplitude (analogue)
TC Flashback Mini Delay Ambience – Delay (digital) 100mA has Toneprint BUT as far as I can see you can only program it with one Toneprint at a time and that sets the character of the pedal until you re-programme it. Some of the other TC pedals have a selector switch with positions for several Toneprints as well as various other modes. So if you load up an Echoplex Toneprint then the pedal acts like an Echoplex until re-programmed.

SansAmp Bass Driver Deluxe DI – 7mA

Boss LS-2 Line Selector / Looper – a two loop switching pedal. This can switch two loops in various selectable combinations – in parallel Loop A or Loop B or both, in series Loop A or Loop B or both. Or it can be used as an A or B to Y / Y to A or B switch. For example one input to two outs (to two amplifiers for example).

Behringer BEQ700 (its the boss copy)

Client needs to use three basses, to easily switch between them and may need to be able to drive two amplifiers. A DI output is also needed. This will be accomplished by using the BOSS LS-2 as a three way input selector and the SansAmp Bass Driver as a tone modifier with the effects in its FX loop and the two parallel outs and the DI out used for all the outputs.

Latest pedal layout scheme

Bass 1 into BOSS LS-2 FX return A, Bass 2 into BOSS LS-2 FX return B, Bass 3 into BOSS LS-2 input (via BEQ700 EQ pedal). With the mode selector set to A>B>Bypass, repeatedly clicking the foot switch on the LS-2 cycles through these inputs as indicated by a Green light for A, a Red light for B and no lights for Input/Bypass.

Build Log: Bass Pedal Board build

Build Log: Bass Pedal Board build

The output of the LS-2 feeds the Korg Pitch Black Tuner.

The output of the tuner goes to the input of the Tech21 SansAmp Bass Driver Deluxe DI.

The following effects go in this order into the FX loop of the SansAmp –

Boss OC-3 Super octave

Big Muff Pi Nano Bass balls MXR cps 1974 Phase 90 Boss TR-2 Tremolo TC Flashback Mini Delay (note – ‘One of these days’ may require Trem after Delay)

PedalTrain boards

PedalTrain say that for 9 to 12 pedals a Novo 24 or a Classic 2 board should be big enough.

Looks like a Novo24 is the one, at £179 from Scan with flight case.


Behringer BEQ700 7 12 L,R power on side 30mA 9V

BOSS LS-2 7.3 12.9 L,R power on back 25mA 9V

Korg Pitch Black Tuner 6.8 12 L,R power on back 120mA 9V

Boss OC-3 Super octave 7.3 12.9 L,R power on back 50mA 9V

Bass Big Muff Pi 14.4 15.9 L,R power on back 3mA 9V
Nano Bass balls 7 11.5 L,R power on back 3mA 9V MXR cps 1974 Phase 90 6.5 11 L,R power on side 2.2mA 9V
Boss TR-2 Tremolo 7.3 12.9 L,R power on back 20mA 9V
TC Flashback Mini Delay4.89.3L,R power on side100mA 9V

Tech21 SansAmp BD DI 24.8 13.4 L,R & Back 7mA 9V

Power supply requires 10 outputs and total current of – 360.2mA

Or without the BEQ700 and with a loop lead from the tuner, 8 outs and 330.2mA

Cioks DC10 – 8 x 9V out £187.14  from Thomann

T-Rex Fuel Tank Classic – 8 x 9V out £111.42 from Thomann

Memteq Caline Power 5 – 8 x 9V out £26.99 on Amazon Prime BUT it takes 18V in from a wart

Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus – 8 x 9V fully isolated outputs (the downside is it is not auto mains switching and comes in either 100, 120 or 240V models)

Width L to R

Nano Bass balls 7

MXR cps 1974 Phase 90 6.5

Bass Big Muff Pi 14.4

Boss OC-3 Super octave 7.3

Korg Pitch Black Tuner 6.8

BOSS LS-2 7.3

6 pairs of jacks @ 4.5 27

  Total 76.3

Depth front to back

Bass Big Muff Pi 15.9

Tech21 SansAmp BD DI 13.4

Power jack on back of Muff 2


Clients Notes

My mock up fits into 62cm length x 40cm deep. Nope 62 by 30 

“One Of These Days”
Sounds like the delay with quite a bit of saturation, (so I may add the big muff for grunt)
The Phase 90 is on all the time I think..
So even though I will use the Phase 90 and the Big Muff separately on other tunes,
on ‘One Of These Days’ I will need to engage the Phase, Muff, and delay preferably in one switch
And then the TR-2 Tremolo, (at the end of the chain?) I can press separately for the second sound.
I Also need to keep the dry signal strong within the sound until I activate the tremolo which takes over the whole signal.

I may need a another bass overdrive Terry as well, maybe you could help me with this?
Just so once the big Muff is set for its roles, I can have a secondary drive pedal of a different kind
for other stuff. Actually the SansAmp bass driver does this stuff so maybe I need to dial in a preset for that… Yes, Mmm..

On other gigs I do I often use a Boss synth pedal ( believe it or not….!) and a second Octaver.
So I wonder will I just be able to interchange those pedals when I need to?

If it’s of any use, I have a an interesting pedal here too, Its the Boss LS-2 Line Selector.
It does loads of interesting things. It may be worth having a look if your not familiar.
It may help my cause I’m not sure.
I was hoping to use two amps on this gig if they will let me. I’m not 100 percent, but I think I could use the LS-2 to switch between amps according to the manual I downloaded.
I’d be happy to know what you think Terry.

Measured 20/06/17

60cm wide

32cm front to back with clearance

with no clearance



but with 3cm between


Warwick STAGE board 61 by 31 £149 with flight case

Warwick Rockboard Step Up 1 14 x 8 x 2 cm £10.99

Warwick Rockboard Step Up 2 14 x 17 x 2 cm £12.99

Warwick Rockboard Step Up 3 14 x 25 x 2 cm  £13.99

Or all three at £19.95


Warwick STAGE board 61 by 31 by 7cm £140 with flight case

PedalTrain Classic 2 (60.9×31.7×8.9 cm) with flight case £149

Board and cables order

Ordered 2 MEMTEQ Caline Power 5 switching power supplies via Amazon on 28/06/17

Already delivered on the 29th.


Ordered on 03/07/17 from Hot Rox order no 100074408

1 x Warwick Stage pedalboard with flight case – £149

1 x set of all three step up brackets – £19.95

2 x 1M rolls of Power Grip super velcro – £19.98

Free Royal Mail 1st class delivery

Total £ 188.93

paid by HSBC Visa card 

Ordered on 04/07/17 from Gear4Music W1961703

Rockboard flat cables

6 x 10cm £18

2 x 20cm £6.98

2 x 30cm £8.00

1 x 60cm £4.99

Post and packing £ 5.99

Total £43.96

Grand total – £286.86 leaving £104.13

Latest board layout 20/06/17

Left to right physical layout

Upper – Tech21 SansAmp BD DI (on a Step Up 3), Boss TR-2 Tremolo (on a Step Up 1), Bass Big Muff PI (on a Step Up 2), Behringer EQ. Connections between these are 2 x 10cm Rockboard flat cables between the SansAmp return and the Tremolo and between the Tremolo and the Big Muff. 1 x 30cm between the SansAmp send and the Big Muff. 1 x 20cm between the Behringer EQ and the Boss LS-2 in the lower row. 1 x 60cm between the SansAmp input and the output from the TC delay in the lower row. 

Lower – TC Flashback Mini Delay, MXR 1974 Phase 90, Nano Bass balls, Boss OC-3 Super octave, Korg Pitch Black Tuner, BOSS LS-2. Connections between these are by 5 x 10cm Rockboard flat cables.

That leaves 1 x 20cm and 1 x 30cm unused from the order and I contributed one 10cm of my own.

Power connections – The Behringer EQ power is daisy chained from the back of the LS-2 and the Big Muff is daisy chained from the back of the Korg Pitch Black Tuner. All other pedals are wired back to the MEMTECH Caline Power 5.

10 pedals in total

Connection order

Jazz bass into the EQ into the BOSS LS-2 FX input, Bass 2 into BOSS LS-2 FX return A, Bass 3 into BOSS LS-2 return B

EQ into Tuner

Tuner to Octave

Octave to Bass Balls

Bass Balls to Phaser

Phaser to Delay

Delay to Sans Amp input A

Sans Amp send to Big Muff

Big Muff to Tremolo

Tremolo to Sans Amp return

Serial numbers removed when rubber back was peeled off 

Behringer Bass EQ N0532087400 date 0509

Boss LS-2 DS56680

Boss OC-3 Super octave AS11107

Boss Tremolo TR-2 R 1H2962

(Rockboard cables available as 10cm £3, 20cm £3.49, 30cm £4.00 and 60cm £4.99)

7 x 10cm Rockboard patch cables @ £3 = £21

1 x 20cm £3.49

1 x 30cm £4.00

1 x 60cm £4.99

Plus some spare cables

Parts ordered

28/06/17 – 2 x Memteq Caline 5 power supplies via Amazon £53.98 due tomorrow

Warwick board, flight case, set of risers, 2M of Power Grip

Another 1M of Power Grip tape ordered from Hot Rox on 17/07/17 £13.99


Korg Pitch Black tuner – Resprayed the case with matte black paint. Tightened up the very loose foot switch plunger. Polished the scratches out of the display window.

Big Muff – fitted washers to and tightened the loose foot switch.


The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones London Stadium 22nd May 2018

As a 25 year old, I was quite astounded when Sir Mick told me how he and the boys started “at the Marque Club in 1962”. That’s 56 years ago. My lifetime,doubled, and then some.

And it really was an evening of numbers. 6 decades of shows, 300 birthdays, 2 hours of hits, and 65000 fans, whose age gap was as large as the bands repertoire. They really are, in the words of Liam Gallagher (The Stones’ very well received support act), the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll stars.

Starting early, they jumped straight into “Street Fighting Man” and within seconds, everything seemed so familiar. Every movement, mannerism and sound from each individual synonymous with popular music history.
15 songs later, the show really built to a crescendo. The final sprint of “Start Me Up”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar”, before an encore of “Gimme Shelter” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was live music at its very best.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

As a guitarist, did I worry if the boys could still play? Of course. However, not only did Keith’s bluesy noodling soon put me at ease, but something else became clear. The sheer gravitas of the band I was lucky enough to be stood in front of would outweigh any technical difficulties these 70 year olds now face.

They had a great contingency plan too. Flanked with talented session musicians, led by Chuck Leavell (The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, David Gilmour, John Mayer), The Stones could relax and enjoy themselves, and it showed in their performance. Special mention to Sasha Alan who sang the legendary top line in “Gimme Shelter” perfectly.

The Rolling Stones London

One thing that needed no back up was Sir Mick Jagger’s showmanship. It was a full course of dancing, clapping, “YEH”-ing and hosting. The original and ultimate frontman.

With Gibson going bankrupt last week, and the absence of guitars in the charts, it’s easy to hop on the “guitar is dead” train. However last night fills me with confidence. At every turn you saw air guitars from young and old, teenage girls with Keith Richards lighting up their iPhone backgrounds, and Ronnie’s guitar solos awarded the loudest cheer. It may only be Rock ’n’ Roll, but a lot of people still like it.

Rolling Stones

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