"At RL Custom Shop, all our guitars and bass are equipped with caps from Tundratone. Our high-end products could not ring as well without these components of high qualities. Never an RL guitar or bass will have other thing in the stomach than Tundratone caps. Because, as you say it, "bad tone isn' t cool"!"
When things go bad to worse, or "Where the @#$% is my harness dude?"
Of course, the title is meant to be humurous, but let me tell you, it's been a rough year so far. Don't get me wrong, business has been exeptional, orders are a coming in at a nice clip. We're easily way ahead of last year's pace so far. But dang it, it could be even better if life would just leave me alone.
Most of you know by now that I've been battling some serious back issues - scoliosis, Spondylolisthesis, stenosis, ruptured disc, and degenerative disc disease. It has caused paralysis of the left leg from the mid-thigh down (I can only stand for about 10-15 minutes). Knee pain has been a new issue, Excruciating pain when I try to stand. Like both of my knees are fusing and locking up. I've been battling this since early last year and it's getting worse. It also has limited my time at the workbench.
Add to that the death of my wife's father in mid January. MIke was a great guy. If you met him, you'd love him. Easy going, positive attitude and a good word for everyone. Mike's health problems go back about 15-20 years, and forced an early retirement. Since then, heart attacks and subsequent surguries, diabetes, loss of feeling in his legs and about 3 1/2 years ago, his kidneys failed to the point where he had to go on permanent dialysis for the rest of his life. As the rest wasn't bad enough, it was the dialysis that would ultimately claim his life. Dialysis on a 68 year old with a bunch of co-morbidities is not an easy thing to tolerate. Nausea, severe weakness and sleepyness and severe cramping would inevitibly follow his 3 per week sessions. For him it was becoming a quality of life (as in, there isn't any) issue. He threated to quit, and would often ask the question "if you got hit in the head with a baseball bat, would you keep coming back for more?".
Mike was wheelchair bound and one day, doing laundry, he got his right leg caught in the heavy door to the laundry room. One of the side-effects of dialysis is the weakening of bones. His leg crumbled like a pretzel rod. For the next few months his llfe was surgeries, dialysis, infections, more surguries, more dialysis, living in hospices because his wife was unable to meet his considerable needs. Anyway, you get the picture. Life had become hell for Mike.
One day, he simply decided he'd had enough. He talked to his kids, to clergy, etc. trying to get an answer to the question, "Is it wrong to just quit and die?". Well, he prayed on it, asking for a sign, and one day he got that sign. He said it was like sun and clouds. He had his answer, and made the decision - no more dialysis. The doctors gave him 5 days to two weeks max. He lasted 6 days. In the first few days family and friends from around the country would come and see him (now back home) to give their condolances and pay their respects. All the time, he was calm, gracious, outgoing, yes even happy. You certainly couldn't tell this was a man facing his death. But eventually, he weakend and his tired body gave out. It was a very sad moment for his family who never were far from his side.
In the following days, there was a visitation and a funeral. Again, people from all around the country came to see him. He clearly had an effect on people, Mike did. Mike, if your listening now, I hope it's everything you thought it would be. Cheers, my friend. You were a good man and gave me the greatest gift any man could want - your daughter as my wife. I promise I'll take care of her and cherish her as I have until now, forever.
Anyway... what was the point of all of this? Oh yeah, it all set me back about 2 weeks on harness orders. While I was not here the orders (god bless computers) kept rolling in. So, not only did I lose two weeks, I gained a couple of weeks worth of orders over that time. Right now, my lead time would be 4-5 weeks! So if you're wondering where you harness is, it's coming, it's coming.
Also, until I catch up, I will be disabling harnesses for purchase from here. Components and kits will still ship next day or two at the most.
Sorry for the delay my friends. Be healthy, and go give your loved ones a hug. Why wait until it's too late?
TundraTone Custom Guitars has been a reality now for about 4 months, with the first "official" guitar sold being a Blackguard Telecaster. Since then there have been 6 others (including a couple that never made it to the website!) and a couple of custom builds (yes we will do custom builds if a customer has a specific request). The feedback has been tremendous so far! All positive, including some constructive criticism (that's how we get better - listening to our customers!) pointing out a couple of things we could do better or differently. Everyone has loved their TundraTone guitar so far. We're working hard to make sure that type of experience never changes.
Why should you buy a guitar from TundraTone when there are so many other options? I mean, the list of some of the better known builders - Nash, K-Line, Danocaster, RS Guitarworks, etc., etc., etc., is full of some really great guitars for really reasonable prices. Well, I'm not going to say we're building better guitars than anyone else out there, I'm not that conceited (or crazy), but what we do offer is a high quality product that is geared towards the musician, is set up and ready to play right out of the case. Something that is built using only the best parts, and setup with great care. EVERY single guitar is built with a minimum of 20-30 hours of labor with painstaking attention to detail. We build every guitar like it is the only that matters. That's because we only build them one at a time and we strive to make sure that each guitar is best one yet. They all matter. I won't build anything that someone else will see, or use, or purchase, unless I'm absolutely certain that it is the best that it can be and that I'll be proud to put the TundraTone Custom Guitars logo on it.
Every harness, every guitar, every component packaged for shipment is the best it can be or it doesn't leave the shop.
So, why "TundraTone Custom Guitars"? Well, each one is unique. We don't have a line, a model, a catalogue that we offer guitars from. Each one is first a conception - what would be a cool guitar, what wood, neck and pickup combination would work great together, etc. - before we start gathering the parts. No two are alike. Similar, maybe. No two are exactly alike though. This month saw another Blackguard. That is the first "similar" guitar we've offered (remember the first one was a Blackguard), but that's where the similarity stops. Different necks, different electronics, little tweaks here and there, all add up to a guitar that plays and sounds not at all like the other. Sometimes, I'll change caps or pots several times before I think a guitar sounds as good as it can. And as you all know, every guitar IS different. Two guitars with identical necks, body materials, pickups etc. can sound totally different due to age and dryness of the wood, grain of the wood, weight, etc. So each guitar is as unique as the serial number that gets added to the headstock prior to sale. Every guitar has different requirements so every guitar is truly "custom".
Watch for more killer guitars to surface in the next months. My time allows for, at most two or three each month. I'm out for quality here folks, not quantity. Also, look for a "Custom Order" part number to show up in the next few days. As always, thank you for being a TundraTone customer! We could not exist without you!
TundraTone is proud to offer a new line of guitars - TundraTone Custom Guitars!
We have been busy here at TundraTone! Introducing the first TundraTone Custom Guitars Tele! Built from the finest components available (nothing "off the shelf" here), equipped with Rumpelstilstskin handwound pickups, MJT vintage finish bodies, TundraTone electronics (of course), hard shell cases and expertly setup and ready to play. Just add musician!
The first one "off the bench" just had to be a Blackguard Tele. I mean, what else could it be? Why not start at the beginning, right? And this one is a beauty:
Butterscotch "Blackguard" finish by MJT (Mark and Matt Jenny) Finishes. 100% nitro finshed - aged to perfection to look like a 60 year old Tele.
Swamp ash body by Wildwood Manufacturing
Musikraft flame maple chunky neck - 1" at the first fret to 1" at the twelfth fret. 9.5" radius for easy play and med-jumbo 6105 frets. This is a gorgeous piece of wood!
Aged kluson vintage style tuners
Rumpelstiltskin 50s Black Rope pickups! Neck is about 7.2k and the bridge is 11.9k!
All body cavities lined with copper foil to combat noise
All guitars come with aged Dunlop straplocks and buttons
Completely slot-head screws throughout. Period correct, no phillips head
All hardware hand aged
TundraTone 4-way Telecaster harness with ITW (one of my favorites) .047 tone cap, RS Superpot for volume. Oak 4-way switch. Heavy knurled domed nickel knobs. Aged round switch tip.
Gator hardshell case included
Guitar weighs only 6.88 lbs! Bright and resonant acoustically!
This is only the first of many new guitars to come. Coming up are a Thinline Tele, Blind Faith Tele (complete with a strat neck!), Telemaster, three different Strats and more! These are all setup by hand, and sound and play beautifully. This Blackguard is a winner. I hate to sell it really. It's the best playing Tele I've ever played.
Here are a few more in progress pics
This guitar is available for purchase now. If you are interested, drop me an email!
Announcing the Power Telecaster 5-way harness, $80 and now available at TundraTone!
A complete 5-way Telecaster, or Tele style harness! All harnesses include a OAK 5-way switch, CTS 250k vintage style pots metered and matched to 5k, Switchcraft jack and your choice of capacitor! The 5-way option is a great way to give your Tele more tones.
The switch positions, from bridge to neck, are:
bridge only (normal Tele)
neck and bridge in series and out of phase
neck and bridge in parallel (normal Tele)
bridge and neck in series (fatter sound like a humbucker)
neck only (normal Tele)
Built one at a time, configured as YOU want it! Features include:
OAK 5-Way Telecaster switch
CTS 250K 10% vintage style pots, metered, marked and matched to within 5k. These are brass shaft and brass bushing pots. Very high quality, with a nice taper.
Your choice of capacitors in .047uf or .05uf. Choose from NOS American PIO, NOS Russian PIO, NOS ceramic or new orange drops.
Vintage style, genuine Gavitt waxed cloth wire - just like Leo used on the originals
Split or solid shaft pots, or vintage style (shown in pic) in split shaft only
280k RS Superpot in volume position (upgrade fees apply)
Your choice of capacitors including NOS Illinois Toolworks (ITW) Paper, NOS USA PIO, NOS Russian PIO, NOS ceramic, orange drops. Upgrade capacitors include 50s bees, Vitamin Q, Luxe Repro (as shown in pic).
I am VERY proud to announce that we are now offering Aaron's (Rumpelstiltskin) line of Telecaster pickups. For those of you that know Aaron's work, it's no mystery about these pickups - you already know they're good. For thos of you that have never heard of Rumpelstiltskin pickups or know of them but have never heard one, you NEED to check them out! I have my two Tele relic repros equipped with Aaron's 50s Black Rope and White Rope pickups and they are, hands down, the best I've heard. I don't blame you if you're saying "of course he's going to say that, he's selling them". What you need to know is that I was USER of Rumpelstiltskin pickups before I started SELLING them! I liked them so much I wanted to sell them.
The Black Rope line is based on the earliest Blackguard Teles and uses the same materials and windings you would find on an early blackguard Tele. Hand wound using 43 gauge plain enamel wire on the neck pickup, 42 gauge wire on the bridge pickup and alnico 3 magnets in a flat no-stagger fashion with black vulcanized fiber flatwork. The neck pickup uses a chrome plated nickel-silver cover. The sound of this set is a thicker twang and warmer neck pickup.
The White Rope pickup set uses materials and windings you would find on a mid 50's to early 60's Tele. Hand wound using 43 gauge plain enamel wire on the neck pickup with alnico 5 magnets, 42 gauge wire with staggered alnico 5 magnets on the bridge pickup and black vulcanized fiber flatwork. This set is for those who love a more scooped mid range and bright twang, without being thin. Very traditional Tele tones. This my favorite at the moment and the set I have in my MJT sunburst Tele with maple neck.
The 50s Black Rope set contains a bridge pickup modeled after the earliest Fender guitars, namely Broadcaster's. This pickup uses larger diameter alnico 3 or Alnico magnets hand wound with 43 gauge wire. The sound of this pickup is slightly twangy with an added "grunt" and fatness. This is the set that I have in my MJT Telemaster with maple neck. Think bluesy, fat and smokey tones.
I've got about eight pair of these great pickups on hand and hope to have more soon. I'll also be carrying the Strat and P-90 lines in the future. Check out a pair today!
Not only are there new products, but we're also making improvements to make the website more useful for current and future customers. Some of you may have already noticed some of the new features. but here's a quick list of some new features added to the site:
Customer Testimonials. You can now leave a comment on the website, or a testimonial on a product you've purchased here. We highly encourage and welcome any and all feedback. It's what helps other customers know about the customer experience and it's what helps us provide a better product!
Frequently Asked Questions. Though not yet enabled, we are working on configuring an FAQ area that will hopefully address many of the questions we get asked most often here at TundraTone. Have a question about lead time, components, installation, troubleshooting, soldering, etc.? Check the FAQ area first. It may already be answered. This is naturally a work in progress!
The TundraTone Blog. You're reading it now! this is where you'll find news about new items, changes to the site, as well as articles and information on products here at TundraTone.
Account, Login and Session Box. If you look on the right side of the page, you'll see an information box titled "Your Account". This great for easy access to account information, order history, personal info, etc. It's great for quick access and editing all of your account information.
Of course, not all of the changes are to the store itself. We have added more products and more are on the way. In the next few weeks and months, we'll be adding pickups, more hardware and kits, and also a line of TundraTone Custom Guitars with finishes by a well-known guitar finishing artist, pickups wound by Rumpelstiltskin and harnesses by us of course! More on this during a later blog :)
We're very excited about these changes and upcoming products. Please watch us while we grow, and thank you for your continued support. None of this would be possible without you, the customers. Thank you!