December 25, 2010

GUITAR WORKSHOP I - Floyd Rose I: tuning & restring

There are too many guitar-player with a locking trems out there who have no idea how to tune their guitar, far less how to adjust their whammy. I have much phone calls to do it. Believe it or not, but there are two guitarplayer who bring their guitar around to restring them.
Now that I'm moving, I thought I could write a little blog. I also tune up and fix guitars.
I know a lot guitarrists who say: "I hate Floyd Rose/locking tremolo guitars, cause it's too difficult to tune them!"
What? I love locking trems. A well adjusted whammy is the best thing you can get. No more off-tune sound, no everyday tuning, a lot more sound capabilities etc. It's easy to restring them or tune them. It doesn't take more time as a fixed bridge guitar.

1st rule: do not change the string thickness much. Take if possible always the same strings.
Ernie Ball and ghs are my faves. I guess your local dealer will approve that they are one of the best strings for locking trems.
Okay, put a thin iron plate under the whammy like that:

Some people take wood, but there's a lot tension on the trem, so the wood could break and probably harm your neck. The plate should fit exactly in the gap between the tremolo and the body. If not, never mind, we'll fix this later! ;)
2nd rule: do not let ever the whammy relapre or to drop back fast!
Now change one string after the other. (first the thick E-string, tune it, than the A string... and so on...)
Let's see: Is you guitar tuned and does the tremolo lay softly on the iron plate. So you can pull the plate easily out? Perfect. Your whammy is well adjusted!

No? No problem. Let's continue until it's fine.
The tremolo is too high/in the air: First, let the strings a bit lose till the trem lies on the plate. Now open the back of your guitar. The tremolo is attached to 3 springs. The springs are too tighten, we have to relieve them a bit. Now try to tune your guitar. If it's still too high, you have to relieve the screws again, until it's fine. If you do it the first time or if the whammy's already very misaligned, it takes some time. But when it's done, you'll be very happy with your whammy bar.

tighten or release both bolts

I take a flat spoon :)

Can't put the plate easily out: You have to tighten the strings. Open the back of your guitar. There are three springs. Tighten the screws a little bit and tune your guitar. Is the plate going out easy? well done! If not do it again untill it's fine!

3rd rule: Guitar mechanics are very sensitive. You don't have to screw on or relieve any screws to much or too heavy. Try a little bit before ruin anything on your beloved guitar!

If your locking tremolo's adjusted once, you don't have that much efford. Use always the bolt for EVERY tuning (rule 4!). You won't have any problems with tuning. And if you see ther's a little change you can fix it fast.

5th rule: Change one string after the other. If you take the whole set down, it'll take much more time to tune the guitar.

If you want to polish and clean every corner of your guitar, take the string set down. (Don't forget the iron plate!) But you don't have to do it every time! Really not! That says someone who has been blamed to be a fussy guitar cleaner and polisher!

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December 11, 2010

Noeye People - Border Hater Brothers

Sometimes I have the feeling I'm drawing my own current feelings.
Or are there really art-destroying creatures in my sketchbook?

Noeye People - Noeye Toxic Mushroom

Another mushroom from my sketch-book. I don't like it, but my daughter loves it. She asked me to colour it...

November 27, 2010

AXES: X-Calibur - Ibanez RG

An Ibanez was one of my big dreams I had. I actually wanted a RG-350 but couldn't afford it. I know they only cost $ 450 in the US. But the double in Switzerland.
Someone told me about this guy who bought a RG-370. Actually the same guiar but without a pickguard, and black hardware. That's all. But I like chrome hardware and guitars with pickguards. Well, the guy bought this guitar and hated the black finish. He also hates locking trems. He screw around the bolts and the guitar was totaly out of tune. You couldn't tune it properly. However. He told me on the phone he'll sell it for 500 bucks. (Brand new guitar only used one time). Well I told him, the new price is around 800 and it's used... I told him I'll pay 450 and not more. Okay, we made a date and he told me later on the phone, he'll give it to me for 350 cause he can't find the guard for the back. 
The day I was there to test and buy it he said, he'll give it for 200 cash, cause, he played around with the trem bolts, and it doesn't work anymore. lol
Yeah, so I get an 800 $ guitar for 200.

Body: basswood
Neck/Fretboard: Wizard II, 3pc maple neck and rosewood fretboard with jumbo frets. Sharktooth inlays
Bridge: Edge III locking tremolo
Pickups: neck: INF3 hams, mid: INFs3 single coil, bridge: INF4
Black finish. Serial No. I060522337
I want to change the pickups later for some Evolutions (DiMarzio). Or maybe an Evo for the bridge and a Blaze (or a PAFF) for the neck. Let's see. 
Oh and this guitar had an accident, too. It was during the recordings to Immortalised. I was sooo irritated. 
I am one of the most careful person with my guitars. I do polish them all the time. Nobody's allowed to touch them. One of my former boyfriends was jealous for my guitars. And non of my guitars is in one piece. Shame on me! 

This axe is a dream to play. I really love it a lot. It is always nicely in tune, no matter  what you do. I used it as main guitar at my instrumental album: Immortalised.

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The Wilderness Downtown

 This is something I found today in the iNet. I am still so much amazed! It works also with Firefox not only with Google Chrome. Haven't tried iNet Explorer, Opera or Safari etc...

This is an interactive homepage. Enter your hometown, or the name of the city where you were raised up, or where you live... Or your just fave city.. and just enjoy!
Here's the link to my video:

Glasgow, UK

But at best try yourself with your city:

the wilderness downtown

I hope you enjoy as I did. I really have to say I haven't seen something amazing in my life for a long time! The guys did a great, great job!

PS: I liked the drawing part a lot! ^_^ And here's my postcard:

Wilderness Downtown Postcard

November 26, 2010

AXES: 'Black Pearl' - Cort bass

It was in 2006. I sat in the cinema watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. After the film there was a short message on my mobile phone: 'I need some help could you call me please?'
It was from a musician mate. We already played together and our kids were good friends. Well, as helpful as I am I called the bloke. It turned out, that they needed a new band member. But the clue was... they needed a bass player. I never played bass before.
At August the 1st. we had a band meeting, and I said; I can't promise anything, but I'll borrow a bass from somewhere, and I'll tell them in a few weeks.
I called an old band mate. He borrowed me his bloody old bass and it was horrible to play. I tried to learn these two songs, but I hated to play this bass. I called my mate up, and said: 'No, can't do it. I hate playing bass.' A day or two later I had this mail with a picture of this beauty of a five string bass. We drove to this young lad, with this 6 months old bass, and it was like heaven. I really fell in love with this axe.
I bought it, and as we sat in the car, with a brand new bass on my legs, I said: I call it Black Pearl.
My buddy laughed, cause he knew I'm really in love with this bass, and I'll join the band. And so I did. A few month later in spring 2007 we had our first gig, me playing bass.
Well, in the beginning I had my problems, but then I thought, it's a guitar with only 5 strings. People thought I had a special style to play. One guy, a bass player from a quite known band said to me: "You where born with a bass in your hands, aren't you." I laughed and said: no I started to play 8 month ago... but he didn't believe me.

Anyway, I always wanted to play bass on my solo projects.

To the details: A 5-string Cort action bass V. Serial Number: 040106726. Made in Indonesia.
But believe me this bass has power as hell. A very dark, deep tone.
Body: Agathis (bolt on)
Neck: Maple with rosewood Fretboard (Modern C shape)
Frets: 24/Large, white dot inlays
Pickups: PSJC-F & PSJC-R - 2 volume, 1 tone knobs
chrome hardware, bridge EB5(5)

November 25, 2010


Made it just for fun. I have weird ideas sometimes. Just sometimes (at least only once a day). Made in maybe 2 hours...

November 21, 2010

Featured icons

Wow! I was kinda surprised, when I visited my deviantART account.
You may remember my SNIA-snails (Social Network Icon Army)?
It was just for fun, and a guy from India nickname: atulperx at DA, featured them at
That makes me proud as hell. Check it out! Direct download

Here's a little reminder:

AXES: 'Hell Machine' - Epiphone SG

My problem child. I bought this guitar during the CD recordings for my 'Raven' album in 2001. I needed a badass hot guitar sound but I had not much money to spend. The producer of the album said he could borrow me a bit money, but I don't wanted any money.
Anyway, we went to a few guitar shops, and suddenly I heard someone playing this guitar. Remind me on Black Sabbath. There he was; a long haired guy, with an ugly olive-green SG.
I tested the guitar and it was beautiful to play, but the shop owner said, I'd have to take the green one. He won't order a new SG until this one's sold.
I went to the next guitar-shop and ordered this SG-Special. The owner said it's a crap guitar, because it's cheap. He called me on a Tuesday that my guitar arrived, but I had no time to fetch it until saturday. Next saturday, the same guy was so excited about the sound of my new SG.

My big fault was, I put some Zakk Wylde ghs strings on it and tuned it down to C. That was in 2009. And the guitar couldn't keep the thik heavy strings. The neck broke. I had always a few probs with my cheap Epiphone. Now I know why it was so cheap. But it sounds really great, and I will fix it again, but real. I probabl need a new neck or something. And if I only use it as decoration. I love this guitar. Actually I should buy a real good Gibson SG. (Or ask Tony Iommi to give me one of his.)

How ever, here are the guitar details:
Epiphone SG Special
Body: alder/mapl, black
Neck: bolt-on maple, rosewood 22 fretboard, dot inlays
2x open coil humbuckers
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November 20, 2010

AXES: 'William' - Ovation

It's funny cause when I bought my Ovation only country guitarists and singer played them. Everybody laught when they've seen my Ovation for the first time.
In my mind, they are the most beautiful acoustic guitars of all time. I had western guitars before but I hate the huge bodies. Ovations have 4 different bows, and I love the slim, shallow bodies.
Mine is the celebrity deluxe cc 257 cutaway. As far as I know they were just sold until the late 90's.
I love the cherry red finish, and the peculiar Ovation multi-soundholes. It reminds me of autumn. I also adore the curved head with the well designed Ovation logo. The diamond/dot inlays are pretty cool. A very well designed guitar.
You really have to love them or hate them. A lot people do not like the Ovation sound and the "plastic" back of the body.
But the coolest thing is the pickups and the equaliser, bass boost and volume. It's not Ovations invention, but one of the first guitars with an integrated EQ. Gorgeous!

The neck broke in 1998 in our bandroom. I went to spend a penny... and when I came back the guitar was in two pieces. (In the guitar rack...) The boys havent seen or heard anything... I was quite sad about it, cause I really love my William. I brought it to a local guitar maker, but he said it's a 50-50 job. He could glue it, but wood and plasic is a bit difficult, but he gave me an address of a company who do repair such guitars a lot more as he do. I'm still afraid, but it's still in one! I'm very thankful for that. (Knock on wood.)

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AXES: 'Blackie' - Mex-Tele

I don't know why, but I like Telecasters. They should be in a natural wood-tone or sunburst. I've got a black one, but that's because the Mex-Tele's sound like the old Telecasters, and they only come in black.
The new Mex-Tele's are of alder but mine has a poplar body. That gives them the 'old' sound. I wanted to grind off the old finish and varnish the body clear, but people said poplar is an ugly wood... How ever...
One piece maple neck with a C-shape 21 jumbo-frets. 2-Fender standard singlecoils; Six Saddle bridge, and chrome hardware.
And the whole thing is wornout to death. That's because; my students used it, my friends used it, some other bands used it... oh and I used it too... Sometimes!
No, I really love it. I actually like the shape of the head more as the Fender-Strat heads. It's just a cool axe.

My Blackie has a very beautiful clear sound. I used it on: Dead Black and for most of the clear parts at my 'Raven' album. I tuned it in an open G-tuning. You can hear it on 'Dead Black'.

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November 19, 2010

AXES: 'Richie' - Fender Strat

This is my first self earned non cheap "I want THIS"-guitar. A self tuned US Standard Fender Stratocaster.
It's quite a funny story, cause it was exactly like in Waynes World. There was this new sunburst strat, and I fell in love with it from the first sight. I asked the salesman to trying it out, and it was even more love. I worked near the music store and I couldn't keep the hands off this beauty. The stuff already knew: Oh she's here again to "try" it out; once again.
After a few weeks, the boss of the store told me to buy it or leave it. I told him I had already 1000.- $ saved. The new price was 1650.- $! I didn't want an other Fender Strat. I wanted particularly THIS guitar. After dashing to and fro for a whil he said: "We have a special offer next week anyway." He gave me the giuitar for 650.- $ cheaper! Actually I got every of my guitars a bit cheaper as the selling price.

But now to my baby:
Name: Richie, or Richard I (for non-friends)
The serial number: N7228809
N7 stands for the build year: 1997 - The same year I bought it! :) (plus 6 digits)
Body and neck were also build in 1997 (can't remember what month.)
Neck: 22 frets, dot inlays,  one piece maple
Body:  alder 3-tone sunburst
Hardware: chrome, Schaller tremolo

I used the guitar on my album 'Time Switch' and 'Raven' as main guitar.
This series comes in a 3-tone sunburst. I changed the original tremolo with a Schaller locking tremolo (a Floyd Rose like whammy bar). It's one of the best whammies I've ever played. You really can't kill it!
I also changed two of the original pickups.
A DiMarzio HS-1 stacked humbucker (black) at the neck. (I wished I bought the HS-2 insted or an other coil) It's actually nice but it could be a bit hotter. The double wired middle US-standard single-coile. (No buzz and no noise). And a Noisless Fender pickup at the bridge, to keep the typical Fender sound but without any disturbing noises.

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November 05, 2010

Noeye People - Noeye Evil Mushrooms

©2010 raVen MacKay
Again an unfinished scrap from my sketchbook. Finished with photoshop.

November 03, 2010

Noeye People - Whom Eye Is This?

©2010 raVen MacKay
NoeyePeople - Noeye boy
Whom Eye Is This?
NoeyePeople do not like eyes. 
This is from one of my sketchbooks. I thought I could colour some of them also with Photoshop before colouring with watercolours or crayons. I always drew skinny people and snails (sometimes caterpillars or worms, and moshrooms) while I'm on the phone or when I had to wait somewhere. I duped them before someone asked me: "Why don't you keep them and collect them." Now I have a few sketch-books, where I collect my stupid daubing.
I just saw how many artists at DeviantArt have similar drawings. I'm solouring my unfinished or ain't coloured scrawls with Photoshop. And will upload them here too, like my other arts. I'll also upload some watercoloured stuff too. Look out for future art bloggings. Or at best you follow me here at Blogspot! 8^P

November 02, 2010


Some of my No-Eye-People pictures:


First version of No-Eye-Boy

September 19, 2010

SNIA - Social Network Icon Army

I really should upload some of my killer snails. I adore snails. I played with snails as a kid and owned once a wee snail called 'Speedy'. We made snail racings as kids and we trained them. Well today kids play with Pokemon cards and we had snails. ^^
However... Most people, or creative people are drawing while they're on the phone, and I draw snails. I had this idea to draw killer snails, caterpillars, and butterflys. I never shared them with anyone yet. Except that my daughter showed mykiller snails to one of her friends, cause she also draws snails. Now she started to draw killer snails too. Darn, I should have made patents for them.

I also had this idea to make my own snail icons for my homepage, but they never fit to the page untill now. Well here's the idea and the execution:

Please visit my Bèhance page and don't forget to vote for my idea. You can download the 62x73 px .png icons for your personal use from my deviantART page.

September 10, 2010

Social Networks and Pages for musicians and bands

Most of you know howmuch I hate facebook. For me it's absolutely useless. Yes I tried it out for a year or something. I made a test because so many people said how cool an artist facebook-page is and how easy it is to achieve new fans.
Well, I had as I remember 29 fans and most if them were personal friends of mine. I made a lot promotion for that page, but no one cared.
I have way more luck with MySpace, but MySpace is making very bad changes. A lot people are leaving MySpace. I'm losing around 5-10 friends a week. No one is comming to have a listen and no one's care about the other artist anymore. Well, with the exception of a few user!
I have a ReverbNation account since 2009, I think. It's a quiet good network, but a bit of a mess. They made a lot changes through the years, good and bad. More good than bad, but there are too many informations! A lot musicians and bands are defecting to ReverbNation.

I get a lot invitations to new Networks at the moment. I thought it's time to collect them and compare them. Please send me every social network for musicians you know! (Not like Twitter etc.) I'd be very curious to hear from other musicians what they prefer and why!

Okay, for my part: I'm on MySpace, but they really have to think about their renewals. Facebook, no thank you. ReverbNation is pretty cool, but we need more bands and bit less mess. iLike is good, but nothing happens at my page. It's like ReverbNation two years ago. YouLicense is quiet good, but especially for composer. Soundcloud is useless for me...

I'm still looking for a for me good network, as MySpace was a year ago. I really miss the old MySpace and the chats with a lot bands, musicians and music fans. I've got already three pages in sight, but I'll wait for the right time. I don't need a dozen accounds.
It's the same with art, it took me 3 years till I signd up at deviantART and two or three years till I decided to make a behance account. 

September 02, 2010

at Behance Network

After I subscribed the deviantART Premium Membership the first time after 2 years at DeviantART I've decited to open a Behance Network account. DeviantART is cool, but there are a lot kids and people who confused DA with a family photo album. And people who like to show themselfs naked in a not artistic way...
Behance is a professional network for artists. I went to the arts school and worked for a few years as graphic designer and sign writer.
I couldn't work in the graphic or artwork industry anymore, but I'd really like to in addition to music. The job of my dreams was makeup artist in theatre or for film. Well, Stan Winston was and still is my big hero. I like to build scenery, but there's no chance in Switzerland, except for free in you spare time. It's a lot of fun, but we all have to eat, so I just built sceneries for bands or friends.
How ever, I'll take my chance in London in any of my creative talents.
To cut a long story short; here's the link to my Behance Network:

August 11, 2010

Even more news

Well, let's manage to write from on the go. :D

I am moving in March to London, and the Raven's Nest page have to die early 2011. :(
I moved ALL my pages & blogs to this page here. All other pages; incl. the score music blog, the diary and the portfolio are moving to this page.
It'll become my main page for my music AND art!

The older comments are not gone, I just added a for me better comment posting possibility. I used disqus already in other blogs. Your old comments are attached in a widget box... at the right side of this blog.

Feel free to pry around the new page/blog. ;)

Please follow my blog; there are 2 opportunities.
1. There's a follower box on the right. You can subscribe with your blogger account, Twitter, and/or other accounts.
2. Subscribe my RSS feeds. (scroll down to the related links.)
I'm still workin' on this page. As ever, I'm open for any suggestions. Feel free to write me.
Please visit also my other pages like: MySpace or iLike...

Don't forget to add this blog to your favourites before the other pages will be deleted in February 2011.

By the way, I'll doff my artist name "raVen". I'll keep it as a nickname in the iNet.
The problem is; years ago people used it as an epithet. I kept it cause I loved it, and because I'm addicted to these black birds. I was an exception who used 'Raven' as an artist name. Most people were disgusted by that name.
Today there are so many people who use Raven as an artist name or nickname. I'm sick N tired to be asked if I'm a fan of a particular artist. Or to hear that I copy a specific person! That sucks, big time!!! :(
Well, as I said I'm moving to England, and English speaking people can pronounce my name.
If you only know me under raVen, feel free to call me so, if you want to.
I was born as Leah Rachel Mackay, and I f**kin' hate Leah. I know it's a beautiful name, but Swiss pronounce it like the french: Lèa, and I really hate that. However, call me as ever you want, if you're able to say it in english; but I reverse Leah and Rachel...

A lot of information... lol

- Posted from Rach's iPod

August 06, 2010

A LOT news

I haven't post any news since a long time over here.

I am very busy at the moment. I am planing to move to London early next year. I'm planing this since one-and-a-half year now. We are in the end phase and that takes a lot time.
As you may know it is not easy for an artist over here in Switzerland. My daughter finished school, and would like to become a photographer, what is almost impossible in Switzerland. She shoudn't have to fight for every tiny little success like her mother.
There's no more time to waste for leaveing. I don't want to die over here anyway.

I had no time for music or art since I'm back from New Orleans, but I'll take time again.

I am even sure if I can keep this hompage address from the UK, but Raven's Nest will live on somehow. I mean the first Raven's Nest page was a Geocities page and moved to it's own address after years.

I became a big Blogger fan, so maybe I'll get a Blogspot page for my Raven's Nest as for my score music AND portfolio page.

I really can't wait to move. I never felt good in Switzerland. It's a kind of going home for me. Even if it's England. :) Don't forget to check the page out for any news.

By the way; I've deleted my facebook page. The period of probation is over. Everybody was convinced about it's push for success. And I knew facebook wouldn't help in any way. I don't need my personal friends in my fanlist. I need new listeners, fans and customers. MySpace is still my stage, and I've got my Twitter page, Reverb Nation etc... I don't need to be everywhere...