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    Guitar forensics - Juan Estruch, very small guitar

    by Jane is K.O.

    Note: This instrument is not for sale. I am looking for a second, similar one, though. If you want to offer one, or just want an exchange about small vintage 1/8-sized Estruch parlor guitars, please use the comments below.

    I found this beauty (see below) in summer 2013 in Gracia, Barcelona in the backroom of Guitarland SCP, hidden behind a line of average modern classical and Flamenco guitars. It must have been waiting for someone to look behind the front of shiny new instruments.

    I instantly fell in love with this thing, and the owner, who wasn’t very proud of this instrument, gave it away to me almost for free.

    Guitar from front

    Later on i found out, that this tiny guitar was built by the Juan Estruch family, probably by Juan Estruch Pipo, the grandson of the founder Juan Estruch Rosell, who built guitars since 1880.

    Being approx. a 1/8 instrument, the guitar has a scale length of only 498mm, a total length of only 790mm. (Very similar instrument was on sale here)
    I am not an expert in woods, so i can not say, which woods were used. However, the guitar appears rocked down from decades of busking (including plastic scratchplate attached later i suppose), but is yet very sturdy and nicely playable. It seems to have been made for Flamenco-type of music. It hasn’t much bass due to its size, but is very loud with a rather low string height and responds super well to finger expression.

    It’s been a constant companion to me on lots of travels and stages, for it’s special and charming character. It has the bang of a flamenco guitar, it is loud, so you can entertain even a medium stage without amplification or microphones. At last it even fits into my tiny biking backpack, so you tend to take it anywhere, really, and due to it’s size and light weight it sits between your arms and hands without s strap nicely.

    As i am now looking for a second one of that type for my partner (who would love to just steal it from me) i got back into investigating, when this instrument was built and if it might have been part of a series. The label inside only seems to show up on the Dutch website Romantic and old guitars (scroll down for article). This informative article there indicates, that the model he is restoring and which carries the same label, was built in 1925.

    Another deceased advertisement for a sale of a similar guitar only left an image on the web, dating to 1940s-50s.

    This one shows a similar label, but without the “Made in Spain” tags, dating 1902-1922. That sort of indicates, that my guitar might rather be post WW II.

    Label view

    Estruch small guitar

    Juan Estruch luthiers website today (only flash, not much info).

    I am grateful for any hints regarding the age and availability of the model i have. The size seems to be 1/8 almost.
    Please use the comments below.

    Thanx much!




    Estruch fretboard

    Rear body

    Estruch rear side


    Estruch side


    Estruch head plate from side

    And at last: Is that a penciled number, #4, or is it an initial, a “y.” ??

    Here’s a sister of this guitar, in South France

    Again, if you should have more info on this instrument, or one alike: Please comment and/or get in touch.

    Korg NanoKEY 1 raw midi implementation

    by Jane is K.O.

    Korg NanoKEY 1 raw midi implementation, found using Midi Monitor (free, thank you) on OSX 10.9.5

    CH: 1
    Range: 48-71 (normal) + 4 octaves down/up (total note range 0 – 120)
    Velocity 0-127
    Note On/Off

    CC Mode
    CC 14-31 (c-c-f), 80-83 (f#-a), 85 (bflat), 86 (b)
    Range 0, 127 (on/off)

    Pitch Down/Up
    Range -8192 – 0 // 0 – +8192

    CC 1, Range 0, 127 (on/off)

    Korg NanoPAD 1 midi implementation

    by Jane is K.O.

    Korg NanoPAD 1 midi implementation, found with Midi Monitor (free, thank you) on OSX 10.9.5

    Note: Hold, Flam and Roll are internal functions, which cause no direct MIDI output.

    X-axis vertical CH 1, CC 1, 0-127
    Y-axis CH 1, Pitch Wheel, -8192 – +8192

    Scenes 1-4
    all SysEx Korg 11 Bytes
    F0 42 40 00 01 03 00 5F 4F 00 F7
    F0 42 40 00 01 03 00 5F 4F 01 F7
    F0 42 40 00 01 03 00 5F 4F 02 F7
    F0 42 40 00 01 03 00 5F 4F 03 F7

    That’s all i can find, as this PAD’s mainboard seems broken on the pads. Pardon me.

    Korg Nanokontrol 1 midi implementation

    by Jane is K.O.

    Found with Midi Monitor (free, thank you) on OSX 10.9.5

    Nanokontrol 1 RAW MIDI implementation

    Knobs 1-9
    CH: 1
    CC 14-22
    Range: 0-127

    Sliders 1-9
    CH: !
    CC 2-6, 8, 9, 12, 13
    Range: 0-127

    Button 1
    CH: 1
    CC: 23-31
    Range: 0, 127 (on)

    Button 2
    CH: 1
    CC: 33-41
    Range: 0, 127 (on)

    << CC 47
    PLAY CC 45
    >> CC 48
    Loop CC 49
    Stop CC 46
    REC CC 44
    all CH 1 / all 0, 127 (on)

    Scene 1-4
    SysEx Korg 11 bytes 00 F0 42 40 00 01 04 00 5F 4F 00 F7
    SysEx Korg 11 bytes 00 F0 42 40 00 01 04 00 5F 4F 01 F7
    SysEx Korg 11 bytes 00 F0 42 40 00 01 04 00 5F 4F 02 F7
    SysEx Korg 11 bytes 00 F0 42 40 00 01 04 00 5F 4F 03 F7

    Pro audio on a JBL Charge 2+ speaker?

    by Jane is K.O.

    If you’re oftenly traveling as a musician and need to find a listening situation, that doesn’t increase your travel load much – what do you do? (You can answer on comments.)
    I am always hassling people to supply me speakers and amps here and there, but at last at my temporary home or hotel i have nothing but a pair of Sennheiser HD650 to trust in. Those headphones are LOVELY, but they are still headphones. No body sound experience in there.
    So what to do?
    Recently i ran into a JBL Charge 2+ Bluetooth speaker, which now travels with me.
    So just let me introduce what i found to you.

    Hip 90s style image
    JBL Charge 2+

    This enticingly small (8×8×19 cms) stereo speaker by JBL has the usual psychoacoustic simulation of “bass” going (75 Hz – 20 kHz/nothing great, but adaptable). This device is actually made by HARMAN International Industries, which is only a problem, when you try to register your product online. Because you’ll get a 404 by .. Infinity Speakers, which is yet more absurd. You’ll feel kind of lost.

    not able to register a JBL Charge 2+ speaker

    However, there’s a printed quick guide within the package. Unfortunately the letters are very small and i had to go to a convenience store to get even tougher reading glasses. No fun. We’ll there’s a pdf on the JBL website. Got downloaded. But is the same!

    On my Mac with stable 10.7.5 since 4 years i just paired the thing over Bluetooth and hoped for the best.

    Here’s what i found.

    - easy to carry around, just make sure you cover the 1.75” membranes at either end not to damage them. I just use an old t-shirt wrapped around.
    - sounds more rocking than those Bose thingies at half the price – but see CONS below.
    - battery lasts quite some time – they say at least 4 hours, or up to 10.
    4 at almost full volume when it’s new, i’d say.

    - despite a “workable” sound – there is no REAL bass. What’s there at 80-120Hz is 3-10 dB to loud in order to compensate for the missing sub bass. Plus there isn’t much real pushing or pulling frequencies, as a kind of multiband compression seems to turn any sound to the same anyways. So beware, when mixing, even if Bose speakers seem much worse!
    - stereo field imaging useless for audio production (unless you put your head right before the Charge 2+ .)
    - BIG AUDIO DELAY on Bluetooth connection (approx 0.5-0.7 seconds!) – the visible position of your DAW will always be way ahead. Workaround: Use a mini headphone cable to connect instead.
    - no proper manual anywhere. There’s a quick start guide (even online).
    - battery not exchangeable. See Youtube for hacks, though (yet seem only available for the predecessor model Charge 2.)
    - high frequencies above 10k seem missing (despite them saying 75 Hz – 20 kHz). Will have to technically reconfirm with a measurement mic session.
    - despite
    - Bluetooth connection only stable after boot. Switch the Charge 2+ off or change your audio driver and you’ll need a restart to reliably establish a new connection to the Charge 2+. If ever there are few or many other Bluetooth devices (usually smart phones) in the room, they will try to connect to the JBL, too. The Charge 2+ gets confused then, even if you paired it to your mac before. Not content with that workaround: Use a mini headphone cable to connect instead.

    Hope it helps. Let me know, what you found.

    Online life in the post-Facebook era

    by Jane is K.O.

    In the era post Facebook, when awareness towards issues of privacy, surveillance, company data collections etc. become normal there is now a few options/initiatives to change from an annoying social media company to something better and respecting the wishes of users.
    Facebook for instance hassles users today with enforced real name policies in their TOS and limits on available information even to your friends, personalized ads generation in real time etc. – which is why i recently quit using all my accounts there.

    The loss of networking is momentarily apparent, but help might be on the way.
    A number of new sites offer similar services and user-respectful policies. I tried some out.


    Ello.co – Check the feature list.
    - no chat just half a personal messaging system by sending comments or statuses @somebody
    - no events.
    - no image galleries.
    - easy to use, once you “arrived”.
    - interesting artist-type of community.
    - easy image, video, audio posting features (the usual Youtuve, Vimeo, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and few others.)
    - hash tagging.
    - good style in standard layout, retro looking, clean interface.
    - easy distinction between “Friends” and “Noise” among the ones you follow.
    - only storing minimal data (Your account and the posts).
    - not really a text medium, which i would prefer.
    Seems they work on multilanguage support. Das wird sehr gut. Grows fast.
    Currently hosts jayrope


    Despite Google being just another big player not unlike Facebook itself i find every service here, that i am used to need, like chat, events, following/liking etc.
    And i can use whatever name i please. That way my private life and my online life can stay separated to the degree i wish.
    - no replies to comments, so also no notifications upon replies.
    - ugly design, not customisable.
    - posts lack a language identifier (would be easier to sort through the international world).
    - shared snippets of others in status updates contain no real text info.
    If you post without your own text to it, you’ll only produce anonymous images.
    - free upload of own images is limited to 15GB, so watch your data.
    - Google could change their TOS to anything they wish, so having a public identity other than your private one could go quickly. But this applies to any social community besides minds.com (see below).


    Promises to pay 90% of the ad money they make back to users. I’ve no idea, if that’s reality. The idea is ambivalent, though, because this also means, that your private details are still logged for the purpose of personalized advertisement, only you agree to this in hope to get paid back. I’ll keep you updated.
    I turned out uninterested in payment and bailed out of tsu some months ago.

    - another pay for content site. They send regular reminders, if you didn’t login for long and award you with some points upon login, which you can use to reach a bigger audience for a post. But teh audience is a problem.
    - Minds is full of gamers, conspiracy people and pseudo esoterics. Contentwise it seems Minds is a waste of time.
    - Design/interface ugly/unfinished.
    *Wall posts can’t be edited. * But deleted.
    Blog articles, audio and video embedding unobvious or not working.
    Generally slightly buggy, as only in alpha state (Aug 2015).
    No events.
    Users can stay anonymous, as this
    is supposedly an Anonymous-connected initiative. – says it all, that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is there already.
    Encrypted chat/messaging system. All messages can be forgotten (at least) by changing the basic encryption password.
    Open sourced.
    Ability to feed your own site using RSS.
    Design is announced to be changeable soon (Aug. 15). Software can soon be run on your own server, creating your own micro community while staying in touch with the whole.

    I am not convinced. Seems to corporate already to trust. Waste of time.

    NOTE: I don’t use a mobile device to check this. Am on a proper computer. :D

    To be continued/updated. Aug. 15 / EDIT Sept. 16