1. Squier Telecaster Thoughts, 6 Months Later

    It’s been half a year now since I made the purchase on a Squier Classic Vibe Tele.  With my Comanche being my primary road guitar, the Tele with it’s seemingly forever clean strings (by comparison) has been my choice guitar for rehearsals. As so, I’ve spent enough time playing it that I have good feel on how it compares to my G&L Comanche.

    Subtle differences:

    • The first time I gigged with the Tele was with Black Coffee. I immediately noticed that a Tele’s volume knob is a bit out of reach of my little finger for volume fade-ins and fade-outs. Obviously, this isn’t a manufacturing flaw, but it’s a quirk to acclimate to.
    • The neck on my Tele is incredibly similar to the Comanche, but a fast guitar lick in 5th position (Earth Wind & Fire’s “Got To Get You Into My Life”) reveals that the neck is wider up there and the strings are spaced slightly farther apart than what my fingers favor. (It was a bit embarrassing to find this one out during a Hounds rehearsal!)

    Things I’d change:

    • I have yet to add a string retainer to keep the high E string from popping out on string rakes, but it’s still a problem. I’ve adjusted to it by playing this guitar differently. Holding back on the guitar is not cool, so this is still something I need to add!
    • Finally, there is the lacquered neck.  It just doesn’t feel right. My fingers feel like they catch on the lacquer. I’m hesitant to use any fretboard conditioner on the lacquer for fear of a chemical reaction causing damage to it. Yeah, I know – it’s a cheap guitar and I should sand it off. I’ve considered it, but my other guitars have me sold on rosewood fretboards. I’d like to get a new neck that has a rosewood fretboard with a string retainer pre-installed on the headstock.

    Pick-ups, pick-ups, pick-ups. I’ve been playing my Tele through my Barker and my Ampeg Reverberocket. Though, it’s seen more time on the Reverberocket (a helluva versatile amp, I must say! And sadly, as a result, the J12T hasn’t seen much play time lately). At this time, replacing the pick-ups is low on my list of gear priorities. In fact, I’m pretty damn happy with how the stock pick-ups sound! Though, perhaps I am not a *true* gear head? I find that I use the pick-up switch and volume knobs far more often than on the Comanche. With the Telecaster, I spend more time tweaking the tone at the guitar.  With the Comanche, I find myself tone-tweaking at the amp.

    With all of that said, and no regrets, this guitar was everything I hoped it would be!

    This post is part of the thread: Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  2. Going Lightweight with a Fuel Bottle and a Spork

    fuel bottle size comparison
    The new fuel bottle (in green) is about as tall as a beer can and holds 8.5 fluid oz.
    For my birthday my parents sent me the fuel bottle and a titanium spork I’ve been eyeing up at Campmor.com. Both items reduce the overall weight of my pack.

    Since getting my new pack and building a soda can stove, I’ve wanted a smaller fuel bottle to go along with the light-weight theme. The new fuel bottle holds 8.5 fluid oz and is more economical for 3-4 day hikes when compared to my MSR bottle which holds 20 fluid oz. This is especially true considering most of my hikes are less than four days and I generally cook only once a day.

    A spork was another way to shave away at my pack’s weight. Until now I’ve been using a fork/knife/spoon set (the kind where the knife and fork piggy-back using two hooks on the spoon). I always have a pocket knife on me, so replacing the 3-piece set with a spork lets me ditch the weight of two utensils. The spork will also keep me from having to dig for multiple utensils in my pack (a common headache when the fork and knife dettach from the spoon).

  3. Soda Can Stove

    The second stove is taller than the first
    The second stove is taller than the first

    About three weeks ago I made my first soda can stove using the instructions at YGringas.net. His instructions are thorough, so there’s no reason to rewrite them here.

    I first heard of the concept while doing a section hike on the AT (I believe just south of The Pinnacle). A thruhiker I ran into named Badger had just picked one up and explained to me that it could boil water. With my new pack on the way (I had just ordered it), I saw this as an opportunity to whittle away at the ounces I carry on overnight trips.

    The taller stove, just after the jets kicked in
    The taller stove, just after the jets kicked in

    I found that the first model I made did not quite boil water. The stove was filled with denatured alcohol and my cooking pot had about 1.5 cups of water and no lid. The jets seemed to be working ok, so the only adjustment made on the second stove was height – I made it about a quarter inch taller to hold more fuel. Filling the second stove to the top (up to the fill-hole) did the trick. After 1.5 – 2 minutes, the jets were going, by 7 minutes water was boiling, and the jets continued burning until about 9 minutes.

    This should take care of any oatmeal, tea, or ramen noodles I’ll be cooking in the woods. At some point I want to measure how many ounces of fuel it takes for a single run. With that I can get a good estimate on how much fuel I need per hike.

  4. My New Pack

    My new Deuter ACT Trail 32
    My new Deuter ACT Trail 32

    A week or two ago I picked up Deuter’s ACT Trail 32. It’s an internal frame backpack that’s a little larger than your typical day hiking pack, yet big enough to carry enough gear to go on an overnighter or possibly a two day hike.

    If you want to take a tent and sleeping pad with you this backpack is probably not for you. In my eyes, this pack is ideal for warm weather trips where you’d need no more than a lightweight fleece bag or blanket and a hammock. But to my surprise, I was able to fit my 3 season sleeping bag in the bottom of the pack.

    The main compartment of the bag is accessable from both the top and the backside. The top has a draw string with a typical flap that buckles down after you draw it shut. The backside of the pack has a netted pocket (which I’ve been using for quick assess to trail maps) and a bungee mechanism for stashing a sweatshirt or fleece when you need to remove layers as you hike.

    The backpack fits firmly against your back and allows you to move without any jiggling whatsoever. It has a belt strap and a second strap across the chest to pull the arm straps closer together. On the inside is a pocket to hold a water pouch, with a hole in the front to route the drinking tube. On the outside at the bottom is a zippered compartment containing a backpack hairnet built to fit the pack. There are also numerous loops for tying down gear or clipping doodads with carabiners.

    I’ve taken the pack on two evening hikes so far (both behind Tussey Mountain) but have not yet camped overnight with it. One was two weeks ago around Bear Meadows, and the other was on a smaller loop off Kettle Trail and Shingle Path. I’ll probably do several more night hikes in the upcoming weeks until I can find a full weekend to backpack. And even then, I don’t foresee myself using this pack until June or July for weekend hikes, as I generally like to take my tent when I’m backpacking in colder weather.