Archive for Music

Make Your Own Guitar Wall Mount

Hangin' Around

Guitars look great on the wall.  They are works of art, and it makes you look cool and cultured if you’ve got a guitar hanging on your wall.  Or maybe just like a liberal hippie…whatever.  Keep the incense to a minimum and you’ll be fine.

Walmart carries these hooks around the tool section for around $2.  Most likely available at Lowes/Home Depot also.  Anything meant to hold a spade shovel is good enough for a guitar right?  They are rubber coated steel hangers and are perfect for this.

Lowes or Home Depot has tons of small decorative trim pieces of wood.  What you pick is up to you.  I found this piece and like the size and simple design.

Materials

  • Decorative wood piece
  • Tool hanger
  • Hacksaw/Dremel tool
  • Drill
  • Drywall anchors and screws
  • Stain(optional)
  • Wood plugs(optional)
  • Guitar

Steps:

  1. Cut off around 3/4″ of the threaded screw from the hanger.
    1. This is the hardest part.  With a hacksaw or Dremel tool you’ve got to shorten the length of that screw unless you’re using a super thick piece of wood
  2. Drill a hole large enough to accept the hanger screw.
  3. Drill screw holes above and below the hook hole.
    1. To make it look nice I suggest counter-sinking the screws.  First drill a hole big enough that your screws will fit through.  Then use a bit that is slightly bigger than the head of the screw and drill about half way into the wood.  This will let the screw fall into the wood a bit and hide it.
    2. If you want to be extra pro go to your hardware store, Michaels, etc… and pick up some wood plugs to fit in the holes.  I’ve planned to do this for months.  Do it now or forever hold your peace.
  4. Stain your wood.  This is optional and to your taste.  I chose this color because I had it laying around so it was my favorite at the time.
  5. Using drywall anchors(please don’t just put screws into your drywall.  Your guitar is definitely going to fall that way), attach your new wall mount.
  6. Learn some John Mayer.
  7. Bring home babes to see how cool you are.
  8. Play them sappy love songs.
  9. Fall in love and live happily ever after.

SD Card Case Guitar Pick Holder

I am 1) a computer nerd, 2) a musician, and 3) forgetful.  This means I frequently lose guitar picks and have an empty case that used to hold an SD card(where the hell is that thing?).

I found that these little cases that come with SD cards are perfect for holding 5 or 6 picks in a neat little package to throw in your guitar case or pocket.

On a little diagonal, the pics stay put great in the tabs for holding a card.

Rock n’ Roll

Custom audio input hack for XM ready car stereos

If you’re reading this, we probably have the following in common:

  1. Love for music
  2. Dislike for the number of dollars in your bank account.

I have a huge collection of music that I can transfer to any sort of mobile mp3 player.  Many radios are now coming stock with input jacks to plug in your mp3 player so you can rock your whole Huey Lewis discography through your bumpin system.

But what if they don’t?  Yes, you can buy a new stereo for $200+.  But a lot of new car radios(like mine) are also DICs(Diagnostic Information Centers) that monitor your oil life, give trip meters, adjust what your key fob does…basically change all the bells and whistles of your car.

So I decided to do this:

Pirated tunes go here.

Note the input jack below the screen.  Looks stock right?  Pimp My Ride.

*This was pulled  from my 2007 Pontiac G6.  From system to system, the wiring is going to be different, but if you have an XM ready radio, the basic process will be the same.  This is for information only…don’t cry to me if you fry your radio.  You live, you learn*

To use it, you just switch to the XM channel.  Plugging an MP3 player into the input jack will cut out the XM signal and replace it with your iPlayer, Zume, or Sony Walkman.

Requirements

  1. XM Ready radio
  2. Solder and the skills to use it
  3. 1/8″ Panel-mount headphone jack
  4. Patience
  5. Very tiny tools
  6. Electrical tape
  7. Thin gauge solid wire

1) Disassemble the radio

Grab hold of the dials and pull them straight off.  They will click straight out of the radio face.

*Not pictured* : remove 2 tiny screws from the left and right sides of the radio holding the face on.

Once the screws are out, pry the face straight off with a small screwdriver.

*Not Pictured* : The bottom is held on with another tiny screw.  Take this out and pry off the bottom metal plate with your little flathead screwdriver.  This will expose the circuitboard underneath.  If your palms are getting clammy, maybe you should think about another project.

You’ll have to find some wiring diagrams and pinouts to figure out which inputs are what.  The large solder points run to the back of the radio and connect to the wiring harness that runs in from the XM receiver.  I found out what mine were:

Basically, the XM signal comes in through the receiver and into the back of your radio.  The connection on your radio runs to the points I’ve labeled “Left in” and “Right in” on the above picture.  The signal follows the traces up the board(like a very simple maze…you can do it…) and up to the “In to radio” spots.  The simple idea of what we are doing is breaking that signal and replacing it with our own MP3 signal.  Note the Cut trace.  I just scraped along with the tip of my pocketknife for a while until it was sufficiently dug into the board and breaking the line.  Professional, I know.

Now that the signal cannot reach the radio, we will be replacing the link with our own wiring.  This is where the input jack will go.  I found this great program “MSPaint” to help me illustrate:

The input jack has 5 pins.  One will go to the ground point.  When nothing is plugged in the circuit is completed and will work exactly the same as before the trace was cut.  The spring connections inside will let the audio pass straight through from the receiver and into the radio board.

Once you plug in the cable from your mp3 player, the spring contacts are pushed away from the XM signal wires and make contact with your headphone plug.  Now the XM signal is cut out and your Britney Spears live in Stockholm album is replacing it and will be passed into the radio and out of your speakers for everyone’s enjoyment.

Here you see the wires soldered to the points.  The black wire leads to the ground point on the jack, while the other pairs attach as shown in my totally pro diagrams.  (Seriously, who needs a Mac for multimedia?)

Throw some electrical tape over the connections so when you replace the metal bottom it doesn’t short out.  I also like to put a dab of hot glue to keep the wires steady while you’re hot rodding around.

Once you’ve made the connection its up to you where you’d like the input to go.  You could use very long wires and route it to your glove compartment.  If you’ve got a ’97 Camry, you could just hang them out anywhere.  I went for the stock look and mounted it to the front faceplate.  Didn’t get pics, but there were some 6 very tiny screws holding the board to the plastic front.  I removed those, drilled a hole and threaded the input jack through.

FOR YOUR SAKE!!!  REMOVE THE BOARD FROM THE FRONT WITH THE BUTTONS FACING DOWN!!!  IF YOU DON’T THEY ARE ALL GOING TO FALL OUT AND YOU’LL HAVE TO PUT THEM ALL BACK IN AND SWEAR AND NOT BE HAPPY.  I’VE GOTTEN OVER IT…DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!

Now reassemble everything in reverse and you probably won’t be good to go.  It most likely won’t work right the first time so plug in what you can and try it out before you put your stuff together.  Trust me, I do half-assed work like this all the time.