Monday, July 09, 2007

i was headed home the other day from an installation when i passed a home that had a extremely large tv sitting in the front yard. the tv was pushed out next to the road and had a note taped to it that said "FREE-NEEDS TUBE". i called my buddy bo to come and meet me so that we could load it up and take it off of these folks hands. my truck was already full of tools, so we laid the tail gate down and let the tv ride there on it's back. bo made the remainder of the trip home sitting on top of a saw that was in the back of the truck while he kept one hand on the tv so it wouldnt slip off the tailgate. im sure we looked like red necks. this sort of activity may be illegal depending on what part of tuscaloosa county you are in.

you can see by the photo that this is more that just any tv. not only is this a tv, but it is also a record player, cassette player (yes), a tuner, and an eight track player. it is a curtis mathis brand and is made to look like it is constructed of all wood. funny that i cant find any real wood in it what so ever. lots of press board, particle board, and Masonite. the plastic parts even have embossed textures to recreate the heavy grain you might find in oak or hickory.

all i need is more junk that doesnt work in my shop. really... that's all i need. matter of fact i live for it. i own an old waffle house jukebox, a couple of broke guitar amps, a PA system, various shop tools, and two old organs. all of which do not work correctly, if at all. sometimes i like breaking into the guts of old electronics just to look inside. lots of times there are cool inspection stickers, wire bundles, wire harnesses, transistors etc, all of which can come in handy from time to time when one of my lightboxes needs a small detail. there is something about bundles of colorful wires running in unison that reminds me of muscle tissue drawings that you might see in an anatomy book. it interests me how the organic shape of the wires contrasts with the other parts of the electronics that are shaped in a manner that is very stiff, mechanical and man-made.
i told bo if the thing worked then he could have it, but he and i both knew it didnt work. the sign said so. the cassette player and the tuner however do work. i had an old copy of Ramones "Loco Live" laying around in the shop and we put it in to find out that the speakers actually sounded great. the turn table motor was blown, but the needle was still working. because of the blown motor, you can spin the record forwards or backwards. i also had an lp of Bread's "greatest hits" and put the needle on the record, in both directions. no backwards messages in any of the Bread recordings. bo said he had never heard of Bread. i keep thinking i can figure out a way to texture up some home recordings with the turntable. vein ambition.

after bo left that day, i took the back of this thing off and realized that there never were any tubes in there to begin with. this thing is solid state. that may not be technically correct, but regardless, there was no place for tubes to be found.

a few years ago my friend chet asked me to make him two speaker cabinets for him. a 1x15 for organ and a 2x12 for guitar. i wasnt sure what he wanted out of the design. all he kept saying was that he wanted them to be like pieces of art. i needed more direction than that, so in an effort to get my wheels spinning he sent me an old 1970's advertisement for a magnavox console television. the add that chet sent over that was pretty similar to this monster that i had picked up from the side of the road.

chet is in the Immortal Lee County Killers and he planned on using the cabinets as part of their live show. they travel in a gold astro van. chet insisted that he be able to use his rear view mirror, so that left me with height restrictions and he said that JR needed half of the space for the drum kit, so that left me with width restrictions. its hard to make art with restrictions, especially if it is supposed to be functional.

the photos show you what i came up with. not really groundbreaking in the realm or furniture or art, but unusual for speaker housings. unlike the folks at curtis mathis tv, i used absolutely nothing but solid wood and veneer on top of wood core. thank you.
sweetdog and i co-own chets old les paul that he used during the Quadrajets days. the guitar is beat to hell and is well worn, so i knew he was going to be hard as hell on these cabinets. the first thing i told him was that he really needed to get some flight cases made before he started trekking all over the US with the speaker cabinets. it wasnt six months later when he told me he needed me to repair the corner of one of the legs.

chets cabinets are made of southern red oak with a blood red dye stain you can get from behlen. they have Celestian Red fang Speakers and they sound like a million bucks. they look like they belong up there on stage with the ILCK. the back of the cabs have a tilt back mechanism much like the flap on the back of a desk top picture frame. this way you can get the same floor to ear direction much like the arms on the vintage fender amps. this tilt back arm is my design. i have not applied for a patton on this idea and im sure that someone will make a bunch of money from my idea someday. you saw it here first.
if you play in a band or are a collector of gear and would like me to design and build you a custom speaker cabinet, i will gladly provide you shop drawings free of charge. if would like me to actually do the work, i charge one million dollars, per cabinet. thank you.