Everything you wanted to know about piezo discs

Piezo Disc Elements


I chose to use two Piezo discs in a recent guitar build project to blend with one Humbucker pickup. The sound will be unique because of that blend, but very often I mention these elements and I don’t fully explain them, so I thought that I would do that. The first thing I will do is give a basic explanation of what a Piezo disc is and what it does.


The Piezo element consists of a thin metal disc bonded to a thin ceramic disc. Wire leads are attached to the separate discs and when current is passed through the discs it stimulates them in one of two ways, either to produce sound or to transmit sound dependent upon the way you wire the disc. You may not realize it but there are Piezos discs in everyday items you have contact with. Smoke Detectors use them as a speaker to transmit that blaring beeping sound. Your Cell Phone probably has one in it to use as a speaker or microphone or both, and there are plans for practical application of the Piezo as a charging unit using the vibrations of the Piezo and converting it to current. The Piezo is a versatile device.
The Piezo element can do an equally good job at picking up vibrations in the soundboard of your guitar and turning those vibrations into sound. Preserving the Acoustic quality of those sounds as well. You have probably had experience or at least heard of under saddle Piezo elements that pick up vibration through the Acoustic Saddle and change that into sound. The Piezo disc works in exactly the same way except that the placement can be whatever you choose.
Placement of the Piezo Disc
Most of the string energy transfer will come directly through the bridge saddle on an acoustic guitar and radiate out into the soundboard from that point. There will also be energy transfer at the nut on the headstock and at the string mounting points on the bridge, whether that be pegs or a pegless attachment at the bridge or elsewhere, but that will be a very small amount compared to what will occur at the saddle. The saddle is where the majority of the string energy transfer occurs. That energy is transferred into the soundboard and then causes the soundboard to vibrate. That vibration produces sound which is then reflected off the back and sides of the guitar and out the sound hole. Acoustics in its most simple direct form. It’s the same thing that happens when you hold a glass to a wall and the press your ear to the glass. You will clearly hear the sounds from the room on the opposite side of that wall. That is sound energy transferred into the wall and then traveling through that wall via vibration and once again becoming sound as you place the glass against the wall. So, the closer to the source the better the vibration will be, the more your Piezo will pick up and convert to sound.
For that reason the best placement is usually the bridge. There are other placement options directly on the soundboard, either on top via a two sided tape or underneath via a bonding agent of some sort. Behind the bridge, sandwiched into the bridge if you are building a custom application, or attached directly under the bridge and cushioned in some way to defect the harsher sounds of the traditional Piezo. There are other ways as well, probably as varied as any builder can make them.
I have not seen a great many Piezo discs used in the way I am going to use them unless they are in a cigar box application. But I wanted the ability to have that acoustic sound and since I have converted the guitar they will be installed in to an adjustable bridge my options were limited.
A word on the harshness of the Piezo disc or even the Under Saddle Piezo. It is part of the design of the Piezo, they pick up sound very well. Fingers tapped against the top of your guitar, or accidentally tapping the soundboard as you play and so when Piezo discs are mounted directly to the wood they are much harsher because they are picking up all of that string energy transfer. The under saddle Piezo has a coating in most cases that reduces the effectiveness of the Piezo and so cuts down on that hardness/harshness in the sound produced. The disc has no coating at all and so a direct to wood mounting would pick up all the sounds in that top/soundboard, string zings, finger taps, maybe even slight buzzes from string changes. Because of that it is usually recommended to coat or shield the Piezo disc from the wood or mounting point. Recommendations include rubber, leather, plastic, silicone or epoxy. The harder the product the more energy transfer, the harder/harsher the sound will be.
Most of the discs you can buy are about 1 1/2” in diameter and you can cut them down to suit your tastes. As long as you make sure the areas that are wire attachment points are not disturbed they will still act as a pickup. Because of that you can fit them nearly anywhere at all. Still, the close to the bridge they are the more the energy transfer will be and the clearer the notes will be.


I used the silicone method of mounting the Piezo discs. I used two discs, one directly under the bridge the other one back a few inches where the vibrato mounts. Very close to the screw mounts for the vibrato in fact. I drilled about a 1/4” deep 1 1/2” hole in both spots and then over drilled the holes so that the Piezos could fit in them loosely. Next I filled each hole with pure silicone to the tops, making sure I left no voids within the silicone. I then pressed the discs into the hole with finger pressure and set them so they were about 1/8” deep, so there was the recommended 1/8” of silicone between the Piezo and the wood to act as a cushion and reduce the harshness of the Piezo discs. The one under the bridge will receive the most string energy the one further back will pick up the sustained energy through the tremolo mounting points. In the past that has produced a prolonged ghosting sound that seems to seep into sustains, almost seeming like a second wind in the sustain. Subtle but I really like it. I did this on one of the first guitars I built from scratch and the sound it produced has always stayed with me. I liked it that much. It may not be for everyone though, so you might consider a few other things as far as mounting goes.
First, you may want to consider doing the actual mounting of the Piezo discs at the very end of your build, that is if you have access to the area you wish to mount them in and you are in no danger of damaging the guitar as you mount them. This way you can use tape to temporarily mount them and check the sounds as you change materials and positions until you find something you like. I have done this a few times and I know what sound I am after so I don’t have as much of a concern in that area. The way I mount them, with the hole only slightly over drilled, the edges of the Piezo discs are bound to contact the sides of the wood. They will pick up sound in theses contact areas more easily, even so this is not a large or thick area, but the very thin profile of the disc itself. The rest of the sound will be cushioned by that silicon and it will produce a mellower sound, without the sharpness or harshness, the two should blend well and sound good as they have in the past. Blended with the Humbucker and the on-board EQ I should get just about any kind of repeatable sound I want. This is about the fourth or fifth build where I have done them this way and the sound reproduction has been the same to my ear each time.


Wiring the Discs
I wire these discs parallel; in other words one disc per circuit. You can wire these in series the same as any other electrical project, lights, speakers, etc. But wiring in a series changes or lowers the over all impedance of the circuit. You would end up getting less sound from the paired units. If you were wiring the Piezo as speakers that might be desirable to achieve a certain impedance coming out of an amp/driver. But as a sound pickup it isn’t all that desirable.
Controls


Here is the nice part for me. You can wire the Piezo directly into a 500 k or 250 k Volume potentiometer control or Pot as we call them. In other words the standard pot that came with the Strat donor wiring harness I am going to use. Humbucker into one, Piezo, Piezo. That output goes to an EQ/Preamp I could run it directly to the amp as a matter of fact. It doesn’t need the EQ/Preamp, but I want that to be able to tailor the sound to what I want so it will run into the EQ/Preamp and from there to the amp.

This saves a great deal of time. I have the donor Strat wiring harness I procured. I don’t have to do much more than solder my Piezos and the Humbucker into the circuit. I will note that a Humbucker will work with a 250 k or a 500 k pot. The pot will affect the amount of treble that is allowed to leak or bleed from the circuit before it reaches the amp. Generally a 500 k pot will leave you with more treble than a 250 k pot will. To throw a little more into the mix, remember that I am preamping this setup and running it through an EQ before it ever reaches the amp, so I could use even lower pots, 25 k to 100 k. So since I have not tried this particular setup before, and since if I go in any direction it will be down, not up, I will stick with the 250 k pots which I think will be fine, and change them out all the way down to 25 k if need be. These are things I can do after the guitar is assembled and playable, and really that is the best time to do it. And you may find that is also the best time to decide on your Piezo placement, or you can explore other alternatives such as the Tuneomatic style adjustable bridges that have the Piezo elements built right in to them.

The Finished Guitar
I hope you learned something about ceramic Piezos, Geo Dell.


Read more about this custom guitar build: https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Three-Custom-Builds-ebook/dp/B00XNPXHQI

Dell Sweet’s Earth’s Survivors series on iTunes, Nook and Smashwords

Dell Sweet’s Earth’s Survivors series on iTunes, Nook and Smashwords


I-Tunes: Apocalypse, free eBook… Free eBook Friday! Get it right now from iTunes!

Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe.

A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise.

Los Angeles: Billy and Beth start out with a small group and wind up on their own as they make their way across America trying to find others and safety.

Apocalypse: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Rising From The Ashes: I-Tunes From L.A. To Manhattan lawlessness is the rule, eBook…

Los Angeles: Billy and Beth started out with a small group and wound up on the East coast, camped in a field where they can watch what is left of Manhattan as it burns. Now they have to decide what is next for their growing encampment. They have been south, most of the south seems to be gone. They had pinned their hopes on the East coast, but it’s clear that New York is no better than L.A..

Manhattan: Adam Has found his way out of the Dying City of New York only to get pulled back in as he finds a group of survivors coalescing around his leadership, that want to stay close to the city. But New York is firmly in the hands of the Gangs. It’s only a matter of time before the gangs tire of threatening him and come after his small group of survivors and he knows it…

Rising from the Ashes: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


The Nation: I-Tunes. The Nation takes shape and the people who will build it, eBook…

This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, and Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

The Nation: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Home In The Valley: I-Tunes Building the first and most important settlement, eBook…

Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to power and leadership positions across the former United States. In This book the first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties will join together and become one under the flag of the Nation.

In this book the seeds of the Fold are sown and the beginnings of Alabama Island are explored through the eyes of the men and women who will found it.
Mike and Candace have left New York in search of the land Billy and Beth swear exists in the former state of Alabama. Their journey will take them across most of the easy coast. They will lose people close to them as they travel, and the fight against the plague that is just beginning to take shape will be bought home to them forcefully in a way they will not forget…

Home in the Valley: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Plague: I-Tunes. Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead across the country, eBook…

Plague steps back to the first days of the catastrophe that nearly destroyed the world and takes a look behind the scenes at the government and military agencies that were involved in manipulating the data the world received, and developing a virus based drug that would enable soldiers to fight longer, harder, without food or water, even gravely wounded. Although never approved for release, one man took the circumstances and used them to his advantage, justifying the release of the virus worldwide in order to help mankind survive the coming catastrophe. The results of those actions are now being felt everywhere…

Plague: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Earth’s Survivors: Watertown. Fast paced action in this sixth book! Free Previews…

Major Richard Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection. From there the infected would go on to infect even more, where it stopped was anyone’s guess.
Knowing it was one of the two did not solve the problem of how for him though: There should have been no way to get it out. Every area of the facility was under surveillance. There had to be more than just one of the two involved.
From Complex C they were stripped down, showered: Out of the showers naked and into a locker room where they could retrieve their own personal clothing they had stripped out of that morning: Dressed, frisked, metal wanded and then allowed into the elevators that would take them six stories to the surface. This theft was not something either of them could have committed alone…

Watertown: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Earth’s Survivors: World Order, Book 7. The Last book in the series. Free Previews!

We lost David outside of Arizona. We had been fighting the dead as we traveled, and they seemed to have become less and less. One morning we were searching the remains of a small border town, deserted we thought, when we were suddenly attacked.
The dead had been easy to handle. They seem sickened. Slower, barely there. Like they had contracted some disease that was taking them out. I can not count the times we have come across corpses scattered on the highways or roads. Vacant buildings. It is unnerving. Especially since we do not know why it is. David fell into an old well while he was running. We managed to pull him out hours later, but he was gone. Janna was destroyed: She still is, I really don’t know if she’ll make it.
For the record I would like to say that David’s death is on the shoulders of The Nation: We were not given a choice in our leaving. Since this journal will be part of who we are, will document The Fold as it continues to grow and is established, I want the understanding to be there from the beginning of our creation. They forced us out, simply because we challenged them. They forced us out in the cold of winter with nothing but the clothes on our backs…

World Order: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords



Humor on many subjects and a free short story Mister Bob

Posted by Geo 07-28-2017

Today is an assortment of humor and a free short story, Mister Bob, at the end. This is all stuff I have written and set aside. There is so much of this sort of stuff that sometimes I wonder how I get any work done at all. Please take it all with a grain of salt, or two, or three…

My Friend Bob.

My friend is a little slow. He called me up and said…

“Listen, I’m really worried.”

“What’s wrong, Bob,” I asked? I was concerned. Must be serious for him to call me.

“Well, I’m concerned about this Trans-vaginal mesh thing on the T.V.,” Bob says.

“Oh… Wife?”

“Huh?”

“Wife had the surgery?”

“You know, I never even thought of that,” Bob says.

“Oh… Mother… Sister?”

“Jesus, now I’m really worried… I was worried about me… That time I had the surgery for the hernia.”

“Um… Okay… So you were worried what, that they used trans-vaginal mesh to repair it?”

“Oh, that’s bad,” Bob says. “I didn’t even think of that… But no… When I went to see that shrink a few years back he told me I had to get in touch with my inner Vagina.”

I choked. I couldn’t help it. “He said that?”

“I think so… The thing is he was saying a lot of shit, I really wasn’t paying attention. Inner feminine side, vagina, something.”

“Okay… Well, is it possible he said inner child? And … Get in touch with your feminine side?”

“Maybe,” Bob allowed. “But you know we are all female in the womb and that means we must have a vagina and that’s what’s got me worried.”

Things on TV that I don’t want to see or hear:

“If you have an erection that lasts more than four hours contact a doctor”

“Less leakage with our pads.”

“Let’s talk about our bums.”

“Hail to the V.”

Important things to consider:

Bears can not wipe their asses at all.

Beavers are really an animal with buck teeth they can cut down trees with. How does that equal a vagina? Oh… never mind.

Groundhogs are really just rodents so you don’t have to listen to anything that they say. Such as, I don’t know, predictions from that fat bastard groundhog in Pennsylvania.

Boogers, there was a time as a child when you considered this food.

Assholes, what if everyone that was an asshole had to look like one? I know, right?

Hamburgers have no ham in them. Is that a lawsuit or what?

Politicians, what if everyone that was an asshole had to look like one? I know, right?

Loose ends

Riddle me this the big Dummy asked: What wind speed would it take to knock a 270 pound Idiot-Man flat on his butt on an icy driveway, while shoveling, in the middle of a blizzard?

You may ask, “Well, what was the idiot doing out there shoveling if it was a blizzard?” But that is self explanatory, he’s an idiot.

You may say, “Shouldn’t he have a Prozac and watch the snow pile up from somewhere safely inside?” But that should also be self explanatory.

Give up? Well, um, apparently all it takes is 16 mph winds from the West. I checked with the weather service after I got up. And although you didn’t ask, I’m fine. Just fine, and bonus, I apparently provided a smashing show for the guy driving by in the green truck. Happy to be of service, Guy in the Green truck…

Tough guy lines

“Hey… Hey, let me have your fucking attention for a moment if I might. Why don’t we do this. Let’s just shut the fuck up and accept what I’m gonna do or else I’ll put a fucking bullet right in your fucking eye… Okay? Are we cool with that?”

“Okay… Okay… I see. You are objecting to the way I’m handling this problem… I got that right, right? You don’t think I’m being fair? Okay. Well then, obviously I gotta make a change. Fair is fair. So why don’t we compromise and do it this way. You’ll have your say and then I’ll do what I was gonna do anyway and you’ll shut the fuck up and quit jabbering about it. That way I don’t gotta shoot you in the fuckin’ knee… Now who says I can’t compromise?”

Things a dolphin might say if a dolphin could talk

1: Please don’t eat me.

2: So, you a fisherman?

3: I hear the Snapper is good.

4: Well, you could take me home… Keep me in one of those little bowls…

Things a dolphin might say if you get them drinking.

1: “So, me and my buddy were over by the coral reef when this huge frickin’ shark cruises in like he owns the place. Well, I says to my friend, let’s just see about that. So…”

2: So, she says to me. “You come here often?” Often, I says. Often? It’s the freakin’ ocean! Whad’ya’mean often!

3: Well I used to be a Loan Shark.

4: Sushi… I mean Susie… Ow! Stop it! Why are you eating me!

Truth in advertising

Used Cat, 2013 model with gray striping. Yellow/green/red/demonic eyes. Very low miles, sleeps all the time. Has claws, poops in the house, does not respect humans, dogs, bugs or pretty much anything else. Has chewed the cords off seven mice and three power supplies, still all in all a very likable cat.

Bad dog. Very cute. Has piddled or pooped in every spot in the house. Dug up garden. Bit mailman and killed neighbors cat. Very affectionate. Cheap. Papers included, newspapers I mean, because he is sure to crap all over your house too.

Microsoft Backup in the old days

Waiting for a backup is like watching paint dry… Nope, the paint is dry and the damn backup is still ongoing. I suppose, as a writer, that I should feel fortunate that I have so much stuff to back up, once upon a time I only had those first few words too. It has said … ‘About Four Minutes Remaining’ … for like twenty minutes now. Oh, what a surprise, I wrote that, went back and checked, and it still says … ‘About four minutes remaining’ … Figures. I do not believe that Microsoft Windows Backup can count. See, I wrote that too and it still says it!!!! ARRRGGGG. Lol. The Backup dilemma, do I have five hours to waste today to do a backup?

Scenes of Elvis I have cut out of books I wrote…

… In a rusty old trailer, in the Palmview Park trailer court, in Miami Florida, a dark haired heavyset man sat at his kitchen table.

The power had been off for days, and the cheap plastic cassette player’s batteries had finally run-down. He had tried to be careful, had tried to only play it occasionally, but they had run-down despite his efforts.

He no longer wore the white leather outfit. He had hardly ever worn it anyway, only occasionally, only when he needed to, when he wanted to remember.

He had put it away two days ago, and he had no intention of ever wearing it again. It hung in the musty closet in his bedroom at the rear of the trailer, and as far as he was concerned it could hang there forever.

He removed the dark sun glasses and rubbed his tired eyes, started to put them back on, and then decided against it. They too had to go. Old stuff. Stuff that wasn’t important any longer, he knew. He ran his fingers through his thick hair, as he carefully set the glasses aside. He had thought of cutting it. Like maybe he should cut it, but he hadn’t been able to do it. In fact, he didn’t want to do it, so he had left it, along with the long graying sideburns. He liked them, they suited him, and he couldn’t let them go. He supposed they looked silly, even made him look older, but he didn’t care. And besides, he thought, he was old. The hair made him feel young, the hair made him remember, and if only for that reason, he wanted to keep it.

He sighed as he stood up from the table, glancing once more at the cheap plastic cassette player. It was time to go, time to leave, and although he didn’t want to go, although he really wanted nothing at all to do with people again, he knew that he had to go.

He had known, just known, when the batteries had finally died, that Florida was about to die too. He had to leave, unless he wanted to die right along with it. He levered the old door open for the last time, and stepped out into the warm morning air.

He took one last look at the rusted and faded trailer, and then set off through the park.

He walked slowly, looking around at the run-down park for the last time as he did, and headed for the marina that was just down the road. He hoped to find a boat of some sort, and leave.

And… Go where? He asked himself.

He pushed the thought away. It didn’t matter where he went, only that he went…

From a later book

… Aaron walked slowly out of the bedroom and into the kitchen area. The music had cut off, and suddenly too. And for just a second there. For just one small second there, he had felt as though the last ten years had slipped away, had been made unreal somehow, and he was back in the run-down trailer in good old Palmview trailer court, in Florida. Which was ridiculous, had to be ridiculous, and even he knew that it was ridiculous, but it had felt that way.

It had, thank God, nothing to do with that though. It was ten years later, he wasn’t in Florida, and everything was… Well, regular. The damn breaker had flipped again.

Ira, had helped set it up, and most of the time it worked just fine, but sometimes  like this time, he thought  it didn’t.

Sometimes when the sun slipped behind a cloud the thing just shut down. And the reason was clear. The electricity was solar, and they had hooked up a battery back-up, but the back-up was shot, kaput, done, finished, the damn thing couldn’t hold a charge more than fifteen minutes on a good day, and the last several day’s had been far from good days. Barely any sunlight  six days running  and it didn’t look as though there would be any real quick.

No big deal, he thought, as he switched off the main breaker, and then reset the one that had tripped. It wasn’t like there were factories just pumping out batteries any longer.

He had come a long way since his days as the king of rock and roll. And, he really had been the king for a while there, even after he died, after he was supposed to be dead, he had still been the king: Still on top, and no one had come along to knock him out of that top spot either.

The Star Reporter had still been doing articles about him ten years ago. ELVIS LIVING AS A VEGETABLE IN BRAZIL, was his favorite.

Really? Please, give it a rest. How much, he wondered now, did they have to pay those people to say those things? Probably, he concluded, as he always did, with a dry chuckle, absolutely nothing. They were glad to say it, needed to say it even, and would say it regardless of whether they were paid or not.

Wouldn’t they be surprised to know that he had really spent those years since he was supposed to have died flipping burgers in a run-down diner on the outskirts of Miami?

No, he decided, that would be too boring to print. They would have never gone for that.

Aaron chuckled once more, and walked back into the bedroom. Ira had stopped by just a few hours before, and invited him over to dinner, no time to think about Slander Sheets now, time only to get ready, and not just for dinner with Cora and Ira. After all, there was some serious business ahead. Very serious, and Ira might not know it yet, but Aaron did, he knew it for a fact. And he also knew, had a feeling really, that this time… This time the king might really die. He might really die, and…

He chuckled once more, an uneasy chuckle, and again began to trim the bushy sideburns that had been one of his trade marks so long ago. It made no difference. Not to him, and most surely it wouldn’t make any to Ira. If it was time, it was time. Life hadn’t been so bad, at the least the last ten years hadn’t, not at all. In fact the last ten years of not being the king, of not living in the shadow of being the king, of not reading all that garbage every day, those years had made all the other years more than worthwhile. If he died so be it, Mamma would be there, and Aron would be there, and he had spoken to Ira about death, so he was no longer afraid of it. It was a known thing now, an understood thing, and if he had to go he would.

The sound of a motor came to him from outside, slightly loud. The exhaust, he knew, was going on Ira’s old truck. It was too dark in here to see all that well anyway without the light. He set down the scissors, and left the bedroom just as a short and feeble-sounding toot came from the truck outside. He could use a new horn too, Aaron thought as he opened the front door and walked to the truck…

A word from turtles

Thousands of turtles are run over each day, while doing nothing more than trying to reach their homes across the busy interstate. This wholesale slaughter can be averted. We are currently working to provide turtle overpasses on many of the nation’s busiest highways. Won’t you give to help this worthy project? Just ten cents a day could save the lives of these poor, unfortunate turtles who are being run down and left for dead as you read this.

For ten cents a day you can give a turtle a safe alternative to reach his home. Won’t you consider it now?


Okay. Hope you found some of that humorous. I am going to leave you with a short story. Before I do that I wanted to let you know that I will be gone a good part of this coming week, possibly into the next week. I have posted concerning that so I won’t reiterate it. I’ll be back as soon as I can with fresh posts and blogs for you. Until then, have a great week, try not to hurt anybody on your way through life. That’s it for me today, Geo.


MISTER BOB

Mister Bob is Copyright © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his asignees

Additional Copyrights © 2010 by Wendell Sweet All rights reserved

Cover Art © Copyright 2015 Wendell Sweet


This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

LEGAL

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s or assignees permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.


MISTER BOB

The Middle of the night: Lisa

She awoke suddenly in the darkness of the bedroom. Panic rode tightly in her throat, but nothing in the silence told her anything she needed to know.

The clock read 2:38 AM, green numerals lighting the bedroom in eerie, fairy half light. Spooky light, she decided. It was adding to her sense of something wrong. Would red be better, she wondered. She would pick up a new clock… Make sure it had red numerals.

Don slept on beside her, apparently undisturbed, but the sense of panic, touch of fear, would not leave her.

“Mommy…!” Alandra, sobbing, calling her name. She threw the covers aside and nearly leapt up, out, and to her feet in one motion: The cotton night shirt fell to her knees as she ran for Alandra’s bedroom. Behind her, Don grunted in surprise, but she barely heard him: Her mind had kicked into a higher gear; suddenly working overtime.

…Nightmare?   … Kidnapping? …Killers? … Burglars? … My baby! …

And why is it, she thought, as her mind threw all the worst possibilities at her, that your mind does exactly that? Why?

She pushed it all away as she pushed the bedroom door open to find Alandra sitting up, staring at the closed window that looked out over the back yard.

She reached the bed and gathered Alandra in her arms… “What, baby? … Bad dream?”

“No,” Alandra sobbed. “Not a dream. You have to stop them, Mommy. They were killing Mister Bob… He told me.”

Lisa let her eyes fly quickly to the window, and then flit around the bedroom, alighting here and there, in case there was some wack-job standing in the shadows… Closed window… Tree limbs outlined outside it in moonlight… Closed closet door… She thrust one foot at the darkness under the bed.

“Baby, there’s no one here.” She pulled Alandra’s head away from her breast which was already wet from her tears.

“Honey, Alandra.” She waited until she turned her tear stained face up to her own. “Baby, there’s no one here… See?” She turned her eyes to the empty room.

“Mommy, Mister Bob,” Alandra said. “Look at the window.”

Lisa looked more closely at the window, but saw nothing more. “Honey, are you saying that Mister Bob was at the window?”

Alandra nodded solemnly.

Dan was supposed to take care of getting the tree outside the window trimmed. Lisa had been concerned of just this thing: Someone climbing that tree and having access to Alandra’s bedroom window. A spike of fear lodged directly in Lisa’s heart. “Stay here, baby, okay?”

Alandra nodded once more. Lisa gathered herself, rose from the bed, and went to the window, wishing she had thought to grab her pepper spray. Better yet, her mind supplied, Don’s 9 mm. The window was closed, but the thumb lock was off. She eased up next to the window, holding herself in the shadows, and scanned the back yard. … Nothing … The bedroom door opened suddenly and she turned quickly, her heart hammering hard against her rib-cage.

“Whatzit?” Dan asked.

“Jesus, Dan,” Lisa said. One hand went to her throat.

“Sorry…” He turned to Alandra. “What’s wrong, honey-pie?”

“She said someone was at the window,” Lisa supplied.

“Christ,” Dan muttered. He walked across to the window: A big man who moved fast. His eyes scanned the yard.

“Well… I don’t see anyone now,” he said.

“I don’t either, but I thought…”

He nodded. “Tomorrow morning, noon at the latest. It’s spring… He’s backed up.” Dan shrugged helplessly. “I’ve been on him, Lissy. I have.”

“Dan.”

He held up a hand. “Or I’ll take the day off and do it myself… Promise… I’ll call him in the morning before I leave.” He sighed.

Lisa yawned.

“Honey, you want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy,” Dan asked?

“Uh, uh. What if Mister Bob comes back?” Alandra asked.

“Mister Bob?” Dan asked.

“He told her that was his name,” Lisa said.

“Were you dreaming, honey?” Dan asked.

“She wasn’t dreaming, Dan,” Lisa warned.

“Well… Cops… Should we?”

“There’s nobody… What do you say exactly? No… Just make sure it can’t happen again,” Lisa finished.

“Okay… Okay.” He turned back to Alandra. “Come on, honey. Sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight. Tomorrow we’ll make sure Mister Bob can’t wake you up in the middle of the night again.”

“Mommy will stay in here with you,” Lisa countered.

Alandra nodded.

Dan looked from Alandra to Lisa. Lisa shrugged.

Dan frowned and then turned and left the bedroom. A few minutes later he was back.

“Here,” he said as he handed Lisa her pillow. His own pillow and a wad of blankets were tucked under his other arm

“We’ll have a camp out,” Dan said. He looked at the floor, yawned deeply and then spread out the blankets and tossed the pillow to the floor.

Alandra giggled as Lisa climbed into the narrow bed and pulled her close.

~

Dan was already softly snoring and Lisa was sure that Alandra was sleeping too. Her own thoughts were getting farther and farther away from her. Her mind free falling into the spiral of sleep when Alandra whispered.

“Mister Bob is my friend, mommy.”

She came up from the edge of sleep just that fast.

“He talks to me every night.”

Lisa pulled her closer. “When, baby?” she whispered back.

“All kinds of times… Sometimes when I’m awake, sometimes he wakes me up. He’s not mean, mommy. He’s my friend.”

“But, baby, a man shouldn’t be climbing a tree to talk to you,” Lisa told her.

“But he doesn’t, mommy. He’s already there. Mister Bob is a tree. My tree.”

“Oh, baby… A tree? The tree in the back yard?”

Alandra yawned. “Uh huh. My friend, Mister Bob.”

Lisa nodded.

“He talks to me… He said… He said, they’re going to kill me, sissy. Don’t let them kill me.”

Lisa’s heart leapt in her chest. Sissy had been Alandra’s nickname until she had discovered that she liked her real name better in Kindergarten and had solemnly told she and Dan not to call her Sissy anymore. Lisa yawned in spite of herself. She pulled Alandra closer. Maybe it had been a dream after all.

“He calls you Sissy?”

“I told him I’m not a baby.” She yawned again and the rest of what she said was lost as she began to drift into sleep.

The fear that had been rising in Lisa’s heart bled out just that quick. Her own lack of sleep caught up to her. She yawned too, and a few seconds later she drifted down into sleep thinking about talking trees that spoke to little girls and called them by their nicknames.

Morning:

She heard the alarm from her own bedroom. Dan had turned over, pulled the covers over his head and balled the pillow up under his head. He slept on, oblivious. She recalled a dream of her own. Must have been after all that had happened, she thought. She had dreamed that she had awoken briefly to hear Alandra holding a conversation with Mister Bob. Something like, “I told her… She’ll make sure you’re okay.” And the impression of another voice. Deep, resonant. She couldn’t understand it. A weird dream provoked, no doubt, by what had happened earlier and what Alandra had told her. She looked down into Alandra’s sleep eyes.

“Want to sleep a little longer, honey?” Lisa asked her.

Alandra nodded.

Lisa kissed her forehead, got out of bed and then tucked her back in. She turned to Dan.

“Do you want to sleep in a little longer too, honey,” She asked.

The wad of blankets surrounding his head nodded.

“Well, you don’t get to sleep in. Come one. Get up.”

Dan groaned. He struggled briefly with the wad of tangled blankets that surrounded his head. Alandra looked over the edge of the bed and giggled. Lisa looked at her.

“You’re not going back to sleep are you.”

“Nope,” Alandra agreed.

“Well come on then. We’ll get breakfast and coffee going while Daddy gets his shower.”

Late Morning:

Lisa shifted through her email: Nothing too pressing. She closed the browser and popped open her scripting editor. She worked for the next three hours straight after she had gotten Alandra off to school. The website she was writing a script for was nearly done. She had written the site, incorporated the graphic elements, and was finishing up the scripting that would load the cart system for the site and control purchases. She had one small script to write yet, and a few graphics to tweak and that would be it. She reached for her coffee cup, found it was empty, and headed for the kitchen.

She had just poured the coffee when she heard the sudden roar of a chainsaw. She knew the sound. She heard it often enough in the spring and fall, but it was close. Much closer than it should be, and that rattled her. She took a deep sip from her coffee, set it down on the counter, and headed for the back door, glancing through the windows as she went: Two men she didn’t know were in her backyard.

At first it alarmed her and then she realized they must be there to trim the tree. She levered open the rear door and popped her head out anyway. They both looked over and nodded.

The bigger one held the chainsaw in his hand. A bigger saw than the models she had seen used for yard work. Somewhere, probably in the garage, they had one of the small ones tucked away for just-in-case themselves.

She smiled. “Here to trim the branch?” It made her blush. She felt a little foolish asking, but the saw was huge. Maybe they were at the wrong house… Wrong job… Something.

“The tree, miss,” the smaller man answered over the roar of the chainsaw.

The smile left her face. The words Alandra had said the night before surfaced on their own but she couldn’t quite get them. Something like, Mister Bob was her friend… A tree… This tree, in fact, and they were going to kill him… Trying to kill him

“The branch,” she said.

“Uh, uh,” the small one said. He pulled a notebook from his breast pocket, studied it. “Danny said… Danny said take the whole thing.”

“Well that just can’t be right,” Lisa informed him.

“Well, miss. I got it right here in black and white.” The big one was revving up the chainsaw and looking at the big tree with something like desire on his face.

“Well, see, I give Danny a good price, ’cause we’ll just cut this son-of-a-whore-tree…” He seemed to remember that he was talking to Lisa, met her eyes and blushed deep red. He turned away. He continued after a few seconds of silence.

“This ol’ tree, we’ll cut her up for firewood,” the bigger man continued. He had let the chainsaw fall to a rough, popping idle as they talked. From the kitchen came the ringing of the telephone.

“Excuse me,” Lisa said. She turned to go and then turned back just a quickly. “I’ll have to call Dan… Maybe that’s him. It’s only the limb though, not the tree.” She turned and headed for the back door.

The phone stopped ringing just before she reached it. She cursed under her breath, picked up her coffee, sipped at it, then picked up the handset, punched in Dan’s number.

The house phone was something that their friends considered an oddity and she considered a necessity. She liked it. She had a cellphone she rarely ever used. She had no real reason to. Her cell phone dislike wasn’t part of some strange phobia, it was just a habit she had never developed. She was a stay at home mom, what did she need a cellphone for, she asked her friends when the chided her about it. Secretly she hated it. More truthfully, she knew, she loathed it. It was something akin to being tracked everywhere you went. She had tried one for a year and that was how it made you feel. You didn’t have to slip it in your pocket, but you did. You didn’t have to answer it in the super market, but you did. While driving, while gardening, she had even tentatively answered it once when she had been in the bathroom.

That had been it for her. The cell phone had gone in a drawer, and the next time she had been at the big shopping center she had bought a wall phone with a built in answering machine. She had bugged Dan to get the house phone put in and things had been perfect. Calls went to the machine: If she felt like answering she did. But she didn’t rush to answer. She didn’t buy a portable phone to add to the line. She liked it the way it was.

Smooth silence greeted her on the line, then it clicked and a voice was in her ear.

“Hello? … Hello?”

“Hello?” Lisa answered.

“Miss Stevens?” A voice asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s so weird… It never rang… Just sounded as though a number was being punched in,” the voice said.

“You must have been there when I picked up to dial,” Lisa said. “Sorry.”

“No… No, it’s okay… Miss Stevens, this is Ms Edwards… Joan Edwards?” Alandra’s teacher.

“Is something wrong?” Lisa heard the panic as it jumped into her voice, but she couldn’t have stopped it if she had wanted to.

“No… No, but, well, Alandra’s upset… Very upset. I’ve honestly never seen her like this… She wants to talk to you… About Mister Bob? I know her father’s name is Daniel, and the explanation about Mister Bob is hard to understand… She”s upset of course, but whoever this Mister Bob is, she believes…”

“Someone is going to hurt him?” Lisa supplied.

“Well, yes… Her words were stronger.”

“Kill?” Lisa asked. Her words seemed forced, her heart hammered right at the back of her throat, fast, hot, her tongue was dry and hard to move.

“That was it… I know it’s unusual, but I’m here in the principle’s office…, She’s quite upset.”

“Put her on? Put her on,” Lisa told her. “Baby? Alandra?” The sound of Alandra’s sobbing came to her. “Baby, what’s wrong…? What about Mister Bob?” She was getting more than a little freaked out. Two men had come to cut down her imaginary friend the tree. But there was no way she could know that, was there?

“Mommy, they came to kill Mister Bob.” Lisa only understood it because she was listening for it. Otherwise, it was just broken sobs and syllables. In the backyard the chainsaw revved up to a high whine.

“Honey, they won’t cut down Mister Bob.”

“Kill, mommy, kill.”

“Kill… They won’t kill Mister Bob. They won’t kill Mister Bob… I promise.”

“Mommy, I want to come home, mommy. I want to. I want to see Mister Bob!” She sobbed even harder. The phone clattered and the teacher was back on the line.

“Miss Steven’s, I don’t know…”

“Ms Edwards… Ms Edwards I’m coming to pick her up. I’ll explain when I get there, but I’ll come to pick her up.”

“Well if you think…”

“I do… Thank you so much, Ms Edwards.” The phone was back on the hook before the teacher answered, and Lisa was palming the back door open. The big guy was getting ready to cut a notch into the tree. She waved her arms and yelled at the smaller guy who tapped the bigger guy on the shoulder. He seemed to hesitate, then he turned to face Lisa. She motioned impatiently at the saw: Reluctantly he shut it off.

“Did I say you’re not cutting down my goddamn tree?”

“Miss… The mister said…”

“I don’t care what the mister said. The tree stays.”

“Miss,” the big one soothed. “It’ll be quick. I’m insured if that’s what you’re worried about. Let me take this ‘ol bitch down and get it over.”

“It’s a he,” Lisa said.

“What?”

“A… Never mind. You’re not cutting down my tree… Are you really standing here on my property arguing with me about my own goddamn tree?” She took a few steps toward him and he stepped back, flinching as he did, despite the fact that he was easily twice her size.

“Miss,” he started, but the smaller one patted him on the arm. He turned, paused, and finally seemed to realize he would not be cutting down the tree after all. “We’ll be going,” he said after a long period of silence.

Lisa didn’t wait. She walked back into the house and was backing her Honda out of the driveway before the two men had finished loading up their truck.

Late Evening:

Lisa popped her head into Alandra’s room, but she was fast asleep. Dan looked over the top of her head.

“Okay?” He asked.

Lisa nodded, closed the door a little farther and then followed Dan down the darkened hallway to their own room.

“A talking tree,” Dan said, not quite laughing as he changed for bed.

“She believed it… Believes it… I can’t cut down her tree.”

Dan shrugged. “Willy and Timmy were pissed off.”

“So was I.” Lisa said.

“I heard.” He held up his hands. “Not that you didn’t have a right to be… I should have told you. I made a deal to just take down the tree. I figured I’d just end up trimming the thing for years… It’s a bad place… But, if it stays, it stays.”

“I didn’t say the tree talked to me,” Lisa said.

“I know,” Dan agreed.

“I feel a little defensive.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

“Don’t… It’s over.”

“Would you have done the same thing?”

“Are you kidding? Nandie crying on the phone? I would have run them both out of the yard.” He sighed.

Lisa smiled. “Okay, that made me feel better.” She reached for the light, casting the bedroom in half light from the glow of the red numerals on the clock. Dan noticed but said nothing.

“I didn’t like the other clock,” Lisa said.

He pulled her close. “Okay,” he agreed. “Red’s good.”

“Baby,” Lisa pulled back and looked up into his eyes. “Do you think, well, do you think trees can …”

“Talk,” Dan supplied.

“No, I was going to say feel pain… Weird, right?”

“Well, they’re alive, aren’t they? But pain? I don’t know… Are you serious?”

“Well, Alandra was so upset… So hurt and…”

“It was a bad dream. You know how a dream can seem at that age. Like everything… Real. Completely real to a kid.”

“You think?”

“I think,” Dan soothed. He pulled her closer.

Lisa snuggled her head into his chest, meaning only to close her eyes for a few moments, but she drifted off into sleep instead.

Late Night:

“Sissy…” Softly on the wind…

Alandra’s eyes opened in the darkness of her bedroom.

“Mister Bob,” she whispered. She sat up and looked to the window, got out of bed and walked over quietly raising the window a little. She sat down on the floor and looked up at the branches that were only a few feet outside the window. The blue-gray moon floated above the limbs far above the tree. The name came again on the wind. Softly… Barely there.

“Sissy…”

She smiled. “Mister Bob,” she whispered once more…


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Have a great week, Geo.

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Guitar Works Volume Seven: The Scrap Wood Build

Guitar Works Volume Seven: The Scrap Wood Build

The Scrap Wood build is exactly as it sounds. It is a slim bodied electric guitar built from scrap wood. I went further than that and carried the idea of conservation through the build by using all recycled parts with the exception of new pots in the wiring harness.
This build starts with rough-sawn, recycled timbers; the glue up to provide the necessary width. Rough-cutting and shaping the body: Routing for a loaded pickguard; mating a re-purposed neck to the body as a glue-in neck. Fretboard work, wiring, shaping, sanding, electronics and final sanding, prepping, staining and finishing round out this project. Start to finished project fully photographed.
The resulting guitar, a short scale slim bodied electric, is not only unique but very playable and something you can be proud of finishing and playing.


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