News from Blackbeard's Den

We Bring You Bronear!

Through our online journey we have met countless entrepreneurs & tech experts all looking to make their mark within the digital space. We have forged some strong allegiances, noticed areas for future development and yet we still have a long, long way to go.

We recently co-built Bronear. The idea around Bronear is to offer premium men's watches and other fashion accessories as not so premium prices. We've noticed for a long time that the fashion industry over prices its value i.e paying beyond the actual value of the product, and more for the price attached.

The Bronear model is that our assets (or the price we pay for them) should never define who we are. The clothes we wear or style we adopt should define our own individuality regardless of the price attached.

All items on Bronear have been designed with the modern man in mind. Products range from Quartz, Skeleton, Mechanical watches categorised by Maximus (oversized) and Minimalist (normal or smaller sized) watches,

For all Blackbeard's Den readers, they are offering 15% off of any order place. Use the checkout code DONCORLEONE to active.

Until next time, 

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Versofy - Attract. Engage. Convert.

Calling all music teachers!

I stumbled across this platform the other day that may just solve the problem all of us who have been a freelancer over the years probably would have experienced - getting more leads. As a small business owner or freelancer we are always looking for more business to keep the cash coming in, the problem is the costs associated with marketing. We hear about Google AdWords, SEO’s, Social Media marketing, writing blog posts etc, etc, etc, which, lets be honest, can be both daunting and extremely time consuming.

Versofy

This new South African platform - Versofy.com - is looking to solve exactly that problem. It’s a “Reverse Classifieds” approach & allows you to simply sign up and list your areas of expertise. When users come to the platform and look for a service, instead of getting taken to a list of results (think google, gumtree, etc) the platform sends on the lead to any qualifying suppliers who can then bid for the work should they wish to pursue. So with Versofy you will receive ALL the leads from customers looking for your service and don’t have to worry what page on google your website is on.

From what I can see they have just launched and are looking for suppliers to sign up and join their database. And the best thing about it is it’s completely free, so why not?

We supply the guitars, now it’s up to you guys to get them playing! Join the platform as a supplier, let them know that you hold guitar, piano or any type of music tuition (or any other service) & wait till someone requests your services (-:

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you” - B.B. King

 

 

 

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DIY Guitar Necks Now Available

Good evening! Hope the weekend was good to all of you.

We've recently had another new development at Blackbeard's Den. We're now stocking singular guitar necks!

Our end goal has always to be able to provide custom parts in order to allow our customers to build a 100% custom DIY Guitar. Due to capacity constraints we started Blackbeard's Den by selling whole kits with little or no variation in the parts supplied. I.e if you chose a Bass Guitar Kit you had to make do with the parts we decided to package it with. But this is slowly (but surely) changing.

Since our launch we have continued to grow our product range & we don't plan on stopping anytime soon. We now offer finishing products (see them here) such as strap button, guitar strings, wood stains, sealants etc and also now individual guitar necks to fit either one of our bodies or to fit your own guitar body. Maybe you're building your own custom body & need a neck or maybe you recently snapped your neck & need a replacement.

Necks are a temperamental product though because they may never fit just right. Usually a neck is cut to fit a certain cavity i.e the body & the neck are cut to fit each other & thus supplying a stock standard neck does sometimes require some craftsmanship to get it to fit just right i.e you may need to sand it down slightly to get it right.

To begin this collection we've started with 2 x Tele necks. 1 with a maple fretboard & a factory shaped headstock, 1 a rosewood freeboard with paddle stock & lastly a rosewood Strat neck with a paddle headstock. You can see our product range of guitar necks here.

Now that we have individual necks, we plan on growing this range whilst also starting to retail individual guitar bodies.

Once again we value your feedback regarding our new products & would love to know what you think about our individual necks & also if you have any products or guitar shapes you would like to see on Blackbeard's Den please get in touch with us via our contact us page or by commenting on this blog post.

Paint. Assemble. Play.

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DIY Guitar Kits in South Africa

Hello all!

It's been a great 3 years for us so far and we still continuing to broaden our range of DIY Guitar Kits available to you, the South African market. Before we started on this venture we weren't really sure how successful our kits would be. From a personal experience we were aware that there are many enthusiastic as well as talented guitarists here in South Africa - but the question we needed answered was, would they be interested in actually painting, assembling and paying their own guitar? Or was it something reserved for only such a niche that to market them through e-commerce would serve little purpose?

Fortunately for us we were pleasantly surprised by the collective interest in our products here in South Africa. There are many out there who would like a unique guitar that presents a personal personality which the restrictions of a pre-painted range hanging on the walls of your local guitar shop is unable to provide you with. There is no uniqueness there. There are countless others strumming the exact same looking instrument somewhere else in the world, or maybe ever your neighbourhood.

The luthier market in South Africa is tiny and unfortunately almost inaccessible for the average joe wanting to go through the motions of turning a beautiful piece of maple or basswood for example, into a beautiful Tele or Less Paul as other examples. More so, the skill set required to do so is far beyond that of most and too daunting for some to even consider.

Air aim is to provide the South African market with the most simple form of a guitar, already  pre-shaped into a popular and recognised shape that a customer might want, which is why we are continuously adding to our range and why we also take requests. Should we get enough requests for a particular shape, we go to production and within a month or so we have that shape.

We've often been asked if we stock individual parts i.e necks, pickups etc and our simple answer is 'not yet'. Our capacity so far has only allowed us to manufacture complete kits but as we grow we are moving into new avenues and as of about June 2015 we will begin to stock individual necks specifically shaped for Tele's or Strats but can be customised to fit any body. We will also stock a few other parts too.

 

Until next time!

 

Paint, Assemble, Play!

Blackbeard's Den

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Sneak Peak at What's Soon to Come

Hello all,

Yes, yes - we have been very slack with updating our blog... apologies. It's something we're committing to change!

Any way, for those DIY Guitar enthusiasts who are waiting for our new stock to arrive, there is not long to wait now I promise. By early March 2015 we will have replenished all of our current shapes & will also have some new awesome additions to the family. These newbies include:

 

1: Les Paul Jnr

We decided to manufacture the Les Paul Jnr on a whim. We honestly haven't had too many requests for it but as popular as the common Les Paul is we thought we couldn't go wrong with it and so far we seem to have proved ourselves right (-; We are currently taken pre-orders on all of our shapes and current confirmed pre-orders for this baby surpass any of the other shapes, so far at least.

 

2: Thinline Tele & Thinline Tele with Bigsby Trem

 

These two classics were always going to make their way into our inventory. Their sleek design & classic appeal make them an absolute must heave. Either if its destined to be a show piece on the wall or on a guitar stand in the lounge. We have two versions, one with a Bigsy style trem and one without. Also one with a maple neck and one without. Both just as cool as each other.

 

3: Jazz Bass

For those bassists out there, we will soon have the shape you have all been asking us for - the  4 string J-Bass! Pre-orders for this shape have already almost sold it out completely so we're going to be working relentlessly on manufacturing more of these. It comes with a perloid scratch plate and all the other classic features which make it the master piece it is already.

 

Other then that, all other shapes will be replenished. If you have any suggestions on DIY Guitar shapes you would like to so on Blackbeard's Den please feel free to reach out to let us know.

Till we chat again!

Blackbeard's Den

P.S. We promise to update this blog more regularly)

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Pickmaster - Make Your Own Plectrums!

Hope you all getting excited for the weekend!

We're ecstatic to officially announce a new product to our product range - the fantastic Pickmaster!

Since I first heard about this product I was intrigued - the ingenuity of it is what drew me to it. I love simple yet effective ideas & creating a product that allows you to cut your own plectrums from any piece of plastic is simply genius and I knew that it would be a fantastic addition to Blackbeard's Den and would compliment our Custom DIY Guitar Kits as well as the other products we have.

The Pickmaster solves a specific problem that any guitar player knows about. The problem is 'where did I leave my flippen plectrums?' This issue no longer has to exist and as long as you have an old credit card or any piece of plastic (presuming its a good thickness and not too hard) lying around you are good to go!

You might be thinking, 'well I don't always have plastic nearby' but you're wrong. Take a minute to think about how much plastic is actually around you at any given moment. Milk bottle, old cards, cards for shops you never visit, that card your Vodacom sim arrived in, the hard plastic your boxer shorts arrives in, coke bottles, the container your Woolworths mini hamburgers are sitting in - its all good enough to become a plectrum!

Until the 19th September 2014 we are offering 15% off any purchase. Simply use the code '1000' at checkout to have this discount automatically apply.

Once again, if you have any products that you think would be a great addition to our website please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!

Yours truly,

Blackbeard

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Our Top Spots in Jozi to Find Vinyl Records

Good morning SA!

It's cold outside but that's no reason not to enjoy the weekend to its fullest!

I turned my Rega RP1 this morning to hear it 'cogging' which sounds like a sort of screech. Anyone know what that is? I did some research and its supposedly a common occurrence when the O-ring belt slips very slightly on the sub platter just as the motor goes from zero torque to maximum almost instantly. Any way, if yours makes a similar noise then don't stress! Its perfectly normal and happens more so when it's cold.

Anyway, the reason for our blog post today is to introduce those Vinyl enthusiasts who are looking for more channels to source Vinyl in SA.

I'm going to start with my top three traditional brick n' mortar type stores and then move to my favourite, the online platform!

So we probably all know that Musica & Look & Listen have a few bins with some vinyl's but if you have been through these you would have probably realised that although there are some fantastic finds, there isn't really a huge selection and these stores all stock exactly the same prints. The reason for this is that they are all pretty much from Sony, who is one of the companies that has again embraced the return of the record (because yes they are awesome but also because they cannot be pirated).

Now if you were wanting a larger collection to chose from, you would need to look for a place that sells 2nd hand records. Someone else's golden treasure of a record can now be yours at an absolute steal of a price! Below are my favourite spots in Jozi to find some record's.

 

1) Record Mad

 

Record Mad can be found at Shop 11 Linden Place, 59 Fourth Avenue, Linden. They have a large selection of both 2nd hand records as well as a great selection of new as well. You are pretty much always certain to pick up something of quality. The guys working there are also very cool and quick to make recommendations to you or source particular imports for you. If you visit them regularly you will also begin to see some familiar faces.

Funnily enough they are the only retailer of records who actually play record's in store on their turntable. It has a good feel to it and you can spend a good 2 hours or so flicking through the various artist's. They have also be categorised by genre and also alphabetised as much as is possible which makes it a lot easier to be able to browse.

 

2) Collectors Treasury

 

The collectors treasury is in the Maboneng district in town. There exact address is: 244 Commissioner Street. I have to recommend that any Vinyl enthusiast makes at least one stop there sometime in their lifetime! It is the definition of chaos! As you walk into the massive 8 storey building you will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things in there. From antiques to paintings to just about anything old that you can think of is cram packed into this building. As you walk between the mountains of stuff you can get a little disorientated. If someone makes their way towards you, you both have to scramble in odd directions in order to allow each of you to pass by.

Of the 8 floors, each floor is stocked with different items. If you are there for vinyl's then if I remember correctly, it is the 6th floor you will want to go to. But in order to get there you can't just take the stairs, you need to wait by a sort of cargo lift and wait to be collected. When the lift comes past the operator will swing open the metal gate and you can get into the lift. Despite how big the lift is you will only be able to fit about 3 people in the lift at a time because it too is cluttered with all sorts of things.

On the 6th floor there are records galore, literally stacked to the roof. You honestly don't even know where to begin browsing & it would be impossible to ever get through all of the records. You would literally turn into a fossil while browsing.

There is a trick to browsing here though. It seems as though people's old record collections have been added to the collection but never categorised so everything is everywhere. The trick is, if you find an album you like - continue looking in the same area because who ever donated that pile of records would have had a similar music interest to that one you have just found - so if you find a Led Zeppelin for example, continue looking and you might find a Pink Floyd near by.

Here's a pic from The Collectors Treasury compliments of JHB Live: 

 Collectors Treasury Vinyl

3) Micogram

 

Micorgram is an awesome music store in Northcliff Corner shopping centre. They stock CD's, Casette's, LP's and pretty much everything else. At the back of the shop is where you would find the record's. They have majority 2nd hand stuff but also a couple new ones to look through.

If you make it to Micorgram on a good day just as a new batch has arrived you will pick up some quality records! The best day is probably nice and early on a Saturday. You can also stay in touch with the owners in order to find out when they get a new batch in.

The owners constantly have more batches arriving and first come first serve for the best ones! If you looking for some technical information on how best to set up your equipment these guys are also the ones to talk to. They have a wealth of knowledge not just about the hardware but also about the history of vinyl and what makes a particular vinyl a quality one. They have a Beatles Master Tape in the back signed by John Lennon himself!

 

4) Mr. Vinyl (online store)

 

My personal favourite store is an online store dedicated entirely to vinyl, called Mr Vinyl! I first heard about Mr Vinyl on Mix Fm (93.8) and they were doing a tie up with them. If you subscribe to their newsletter you will be kept up to date with new stock and they can help you source a particular record that you might be looking for.

This past Friday I managed to get hold of a SA print of Bad Company which was pretty much in mint condition. I have also picked up a Rodriguez record from them before. They also have a Howlin' Wolf which I think i'll be picking up in the next few days. I always find Blues the hardest genre to find when browsing at different shops, but these guys have a fairly good selection to choose from.

Mr Vinyl are constantly acquiring new stock & adding different genre's to choose from. Either you can choose to have your record delivered or you can collect it from their at-home offices in Athol, Sandton. 

Keep an eye on these guys! E-Commerce is the future of shopping and these guys have adapted selling a 'retro' product via new technology!

 

Well thats it from me! There is going to be a Vinyl Fair at Katy's Palace in Kramerville every first Sunday of each month. See you there! You don't wanna miss out on that.

Till next time,

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Youtube Guitar Lessons & Tablature App

Hello!

Someone asked us a while back if we knew of any good free guitar lessons on Youtube. If anyone else is looking to start playing a guitar or simply looking to learn a few new songs to strum along to, we highly recommend giving Marty Schwartz's videos a look at! His channel is Guitar Jamz Dot Com.

We're pretty sure he's a massive stoner but that doesn't subtract from his ability to not only play the guitar like an absolute pro but he is also a great instructor. Marty also sells DVD box sets which can be purchased from his website. I bought a few dvd's a few years back and pretty much nailed every song. He teaches simple techniques and simple embellishments that can add a whole new element to your playing.

You ever get that feeling that you're bored with what you can play & feel as though you've hit a plateau? I get it all the time & i've figured out that the best way to get over it is to be taught something you don't already know i.e a brand new song. You all of a sudden get that same knock of inspiration that you had when you first nailed 'Don't Look Back in Anger' by Oasis or 

Marty Schwartz is just one example of guitar lessons on Youtube but if you do a simple search you will find plenty! By subscribing to their channel you'll also get immediate updates when they add new content.

Another great way to learn other than Youtube is an iPad (or any smart phone) app called Ultimate-Guitar. The app mirrors the website where they have thousands upon thousands of tabulators for almost any song you can think of. They also have bass tabs, drum and ukulele. The tabs are also rated by other users so you have a pretty good idea of which is the correct one to choose.

The iPad app is subscription based. I recently decided to rather pay a once off fee of around R300 and have the app for life. It also includes a scrolling feature where the iPad will scroll the tab for you as you play and on certain tabs you can also play the tab so that you can hear how the riff will sound.

Other great nice-to-haves is that the app is low on data and stores your favourite tabs for quick view and even off-line view.

There are other free tab applications but I don't suspect any are as good as the Ultimate-Guitar one seems to be. It has inspired me all over again! As I sit here writing this blog post i'm racing through songs I want to learn how to play as soon as I get back home!

Whether you elect Youtube guitar lessons or a tablature program i am confident you will be happy with either, or both!

Have a good weekend everyone! Below i've added a link of Marty Schwartz playing The Black Key's 'Tighten Up' with Jamie Allensworth. Lesson is in the description of video.

Blackbeard

 

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New Logo & Web Layout

Hi all,

Hope the weekend is treating you well (-;

So as the more perceptive of you would have already realised, we have finally changed our logo! To accompany it we have also decided to adjust the colour layout and format of our website to suite a more 'mature' theme. Not that we are by any means 'mature', but change is always good!

We would love to hear your feedback regarding the changes.

Our previous logo was designed in about 20 minutes flat. We always new it was going to have to be professionally designed sooner or later - we just didn't expect it would take us 2 years to get around to it...

We made contact with Jenny Coulson via her website www.notaboutjenny.com and decided to utilise her creative ability in order to make us a more professional and textured logo. The final result was exactly what we were after and has been adopted along all of our digital mediums. Any one looking for some professional design work, I would recommend you give Jenny a call. She is based in Cape Town.

Here is a look at the final logo:

Feedback, thoughts, complaints, compliments all welcome!

On a side note, we are continuing our quest to providing our customers with an array of guitar shapes which will allow you create and play your very own Do-It-Yourself Guitar. We currently have lefty shapes as well as some new models (including a 5 string bass!) in production - more details to follow soon!

Have a good Sunday!

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Building Your First DIY Guitar Kit

Hello all, hope you are all having a fantastic July so far!

I was doing my best to think up some content for another blog post and whilst brainstorming someone asked me a question which was 'what was it like building your first guitar?'. My mind suddenly darted back to my first ever built DIY Guitar and here is its story:

I built my first DIY Guitar Kit back in the early days of 2012. Afterwards I made the decision that building a guitar was something that I wanted to allow other people to do too and one thing lead to another and finally Blackbeard's Den was born (-;

The shape we worked on and finalised was the ever popular Les Paul shape. This specific one had a basswood body with a flamed maple top. The frets were rosewood and neck also basswood. We left the headstock as a paddle so that we could shape it as we wished. We finally gave this exact model the name 'EG LP 20s' which is a set-neck guitar and subsequently a little more difficult to build than a bolt-on (more info here).

We were absolutely amazed with the quality of the final product and could not wait to get started on the paint job. Because it was our very first ever build we decided to have it custom airbrushed. Over a few cups of coffee Leonard from Custom Studio & I brainstormed what we would like to be airbrushed. We scanned through page after page of Google search results and finally decided on a photo of Jimmy Page in his younger days, smoking a cigarette with sheet music behind him. It was decided!

Leonard from did a fantastic job with the airbrushing and the detail was out of this world. Still to this day I am unable to understand how someone is able apply as much detail to a free-hand portrait using only an airbrush. The only time a ruler was used was to make sure the lines for the sheet music were perfectly straight. Once the artwork was complete it was time for the assembly (-;

Because this particular model was a Set-Neck guitar it was required for me to drill the bridge and tailpiece holes. Bolt-On neck guitars already have these holes pre-drilled. At that time I was in between houses and had no idea where my electric drill was so I resorted to using the assistance of a joinery. They had a massive press drill which made the procedure much easier and less daunting. I had measured the exact distance needed after glueing the neck to the body.

Once the neck was glued in and the bridge and tailpiece holes drilled it was time to bring out the hammer and screw drivers (-;

We started knocking in the bridge and tailpiece holes, screwed in the tuning pegs, fed the wires from the pickups and selector switch to the cavity. We screwed in the strap studs, and input jack input, connected some wire, made a few adjustments on the bridge heights and then connected it to an amp and strummed a couple cords.

Its amazing how much you can learn about an instrument by building it yourself. You realise why and how it does what it does. How the position of the selector switch impacts which pickup is being used, how the height of the strings and the action is a preference and you can decide what your preference actually is. You make an instrument that is truly unique and your own. No mass produced brand name attached to it, a 100% unique instrument that you can be sure is not duplicated anywhere else in the world.

Since The Jimmy Page I have assembled countless guitars and I enjoy it every single time! Each one has its own set of challenges to overcome but the thrill of plugging it in and hearing it make a noise for the first time is a feeling that never fades or gets old!

Plenty more to come (-; I thought i'd share. Please email me at info@blackbeardsden.com should you have any questions about any of our products.

Regards,
Blackbeard

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