Sunday, November 14, 2010

Job well done...

The picks have been delivered with smiles all the way around.

Neal was surprised and delighted. He slipped them right on and began to play. I think he played all evening with out a pick flying off his fingers.

Perfect fit!

Now he has to find something new to bitch about because he can’t complain his fingerpicks fly off. I guess now it will be his thumb picks, capo or slide goes missing. The picks looked and played as good as anything professionally made. Lonnie was very satisfied and Neal was all smiles.

Job well done!!!

Now back to basses...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The super sized picks are DONE!

The custom made, super size, Bass Monkey Dobro picks are finished!!!

Once again I am amazed by Lonnie’s skill (and persistence) on this project. I think he surprised himself too. I watched him form these picks from a flat piece of stainless steel into the final product is pretty darn cool. Lonnie knows metal just as well as he knows wood…maybe even better.

Sammy Shelor picks on left, Lonnie picks on the right

My rough translation for the creation of the picks is they came from flat stainless steel sheet stock, to being hand cut, shaped over and around several objects. Then he hand filed and polished them. There are several steps from the porous stainless steel to the highly polished finish.

Though I am not sure of every step, there was wet sanding, then dry crocus cloth, then buffing compound and a buffing wheel. These picks gleam they are so highly polished, I really can not tell a difference from his Sammy Shelor banjo picks. I know he is very excited to present them to our Dobro playing friend Neil. I hope Neil can adapt to these new picks, as Lonnie has put a lot of effort into making them custom just for him.

Once again it was nothing more then a personal challenge to see if Lonnie could not only make the picks, but make them look and feel as good as the finest made Sammy Shelor banjo picks. I expect to see two grown men trade a handshake and a hug on Thursday night when Lonnie presents the picks to Neil. I know it seems like a silly little thing…a set of super size custom Dobro picks for an experienced and seasoned player. Some how I think it will mean the world to Neil (and to Lonnie). Someone actually cared enough to hear his lamenting (for years Neil has said nothing fits his fingers) and do something to change it…ask nothing in return but satisfaction and a smile.

Pretty darn cool.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Progress from last night until tonight...

The first pick is almost done. Lonnie needs to get some fine polishing cloth and finish detailing it.

The pick on the left is his Sammy Shelor banjo pick, the one on the right is his super size pick.

Hi never fails to amaze me. This was all done by hand, he does not have a machine shop or power tools…all by hand. He could not be more tickled with the results.

The one on the left is his super size pick.

We sure hope Neal has that million dollars he promised…or maybe just a million dollar smile of appreciation will be payment enough.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Slight Detour…

What's going on in the workshop isn’t always about basses? Lonnie has taken a slight detour with an idea to fabricate some SUPER SIZE finger picks for a jam friend.

We have a regular Thursday night jam with the locals at the community center; one of the regular pickers is a Dobro player with HUGE hands and fingers like stumps. He is a great Dobro player but you can always count on him to have a finger pick fly off or drop during a good break. His fingers are so large for years (he is 72 years old) he stuck the largest finger picks he could find on the very tips of his fingers and then glues them on…yes…glues them to his finger tips. The finger picks barely go around his finger and they cut into his cuticles.

Well, Lonnie being a welder and fabricator for many years once told Neal…I’m going to make you a set of picks that fit your finger. Of course Neal looks at him in disbelieve and say “I’ll give you a million dollars if you can do it”. As I said before…don’t challenge Lonnie and say it can’t be done…because he will prove ya wrong. Last Monday after work he stop and got the flat stainless steel…certain grade, right thickness, blah, blah. He got them cut out and roughed enough for a test fit Thursday night. I think Neal was in disbelief and still doesn’t think Lonnie can deliver the goods. Tonight Lonnie is shaping the metal and smoothing the edges. He is going to make some fancy design in the band and the polish them up like a new shiny penny. We even have a little box with velvet lining to put them in for presentation…we are crazy…I know.

The best part is Lonnie knows he can do it and Neal will be left speechless…well maybe not speechless but at least we won’t have to watch him pick up his finger picks two or three times a night. Lonnie will get back to the bass soon; right now he is on a mission. He knows he should be working on the bass but he loves a new challenge…Bass Monkey custom size finger picks.

Stay tune for pictures of the final out come…it should be fun.