Guitar pickups, of course, are built to — wait for it — pick up noise. As a guitar player, I’m assuming you really just want your pickups to pick up intentional noises that you make with the strings of your guitar. Unfortunately, depending on the environment you’re playing in, there’s potentially lots of noise pollution that can cause interference and result in persistent humming. Shielding the cavities of your guitar may help to reduce this hum and improve the overall sound of your guitar.

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Of course I say “may help” to cover my ass a little bit here. As with most things related to guitars and the sounds they make, there’s lots of debate on whether shielding actually makes a difference. I would love to take a scientific approach to answering this question in the future. However, my personal take on it is that I can’t see how shielding wouldn’t have an impact. There’s so many different types of signals around us all the time, from cellphones to the electrical noise from fluorescent lights. Some argue that shielding doesn’t help because you can’t make a Faraday cage due to the fact that the pickups must remain exposed. My professional experience as a software engineer that’s worked on mobile devices for 15 years tells me otherwise. One thing we often have to do is test what happens when the phone loses its signal. The way we would do this is by wrapping the phones in tin foil. I know, really high tech stuff we’re talking about here. It’s true that if we didn’t fully wrap the phone, the signal would not be lost. Even the smallest opening would allow the phone to maintain its signal. However, the signal does weaken drastically in those cases, often going from four bars down to one bar. So, even though you won’t be able to remove all interference, I do think you can drastically reduce it. And, I think that’s all anyone is claiming when it comes to shielding guitars. …

I’m kicking off a new guitar build, codenamed Smash. I spend a lot of time combing through Reverb for parts. A few months back, this gorgeous Warmoth Goblin Flake Stratocaster body came across my feed. Goblin Flake is one of Warmoth’s new finishes for 2019. It’s a brilliant lime green with gold flaking that sparkles like crazy. Even the most pretentious of descriptions don’t do it justice, nor the pictures I’ve included here. You just need to see it for yourself.

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I watched this body for weeks. Luckily Warmoth bodies aren’t cheap. So, the listing lingered on, waiting for a builder like myself to properly justify the cost in their head. The justification process was slow for me in this case, due to the fact that I couldn’t visualize the final build. I loved the body, had know idea what to do with it. A normal plastic black or white pickguard didn’t seem appropriate. And, I couldn’t see building just any old Stratocaster. Standard treatments just didn’t make sense to me when I looked at this finish. …

Don’t be a slow poke, Mr. B. Angels don’t wait for slow pokes.

— BioShock little sister.

Back in 2007, Irrational Games released their critically acclaimed first person shooter, BioShock. In February of 2018, I wanted to build a guitar, and decided that BioShock’s most iconic character — Big Daddy — would be my inspiration for the build.

BioShock takes place in the 1960s, in the ruins of the fictional underwater city of Rapture, a disemboweled capitalist utopia meant to free its citizen of political oversight and social/religious interference, allowing them to just focus on their creative endeavors, in pursuit of personal gain. ADAM, an elixir capable of manifesting super-hero-like powers, was a prime example of the type of advancements that could be made in Rapture. It also lead to the cities downfall. Prolonged consumption of ADAM had some nasty side effects. Violent insanity. Incurable addiction. …

Project Emergence is a popcorn movie in the form of a novel.

What’s the one thing that all popcorn movies have in common? Great action sequences, of course! Jamie Zakian can write action sequences. The pace is exciting and really grabs the reader. I loved the opening sequence. It’s frenetic. Anxious. It fulfills introductions and let’s you know exactly what each main character is about. When it’s time for the shuttle to launch the characters on their journey, you’re invested in seeing how things turn out, even if you’re not quite sure what’s going on, yet. …

As I write this, my daughter is demonstrating an amazing feat of excellence to my wife. Butt flops on her bed. The warning of possible breakage of said bed will not deter her from her goal. She lifts off. Sticks the landing. The sound of bottom impacting bed reverberates throughout the house.

How does the mattress feel about this interaction? Is it bored with its existence, its role in the slumber of a seven year old? Does it long for these moments when the monotony of being a child’s sleep place is broken? Or does it loathe such a disrespectful usage of its coils? These are the kinds of things I think about now, since reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things. …

Mike Foster

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