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How much does a Megatar weigh?

This has to do mostly with wood choices.  

Typically the weight is between 8.5 pounds (3.85kg) and 9.5 pounds (4.3kg).

For reference the average electric bass guitar is usually in the 8-12 pound range.

That is to say, that Megatars are not unusually heavy. 

The included strap is quite comfortable, doing a great job of stabilizing the instrument in the proper playing position and distributing the weight around your body.  Customized 3" glove leather straps are available as an upgrade and are highly recommended.  

If weight is a primary concern of yours, an ultra-light model can be put together with appropriate woods, hardware and electronics choices.  Inquire.

Attachment points can also be built into a Megatar to allow the use of 'lap bars', 'belt hooks' and other forms of support.  Inquire.

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Is Buzz Feiten Intonation Really a Thing?

The Buzz Feiten intonation system is a series of subtle intonation offsets that stretch the tuning slightly to account for the interaction of different string gauges and scale lengths. The result is kind of like the ‘stretch tuning’ commonly used on pianos to make them sound more ‘in tune’ to our ears. Pianos have used this advanced system for 700 years. But guitars never had such an adjusted tuning until Buzz Feiten, a southern California studio musician, developed the system.

Megatar instruments sound more in tune with other instruments thanks to the improved intonation, which is a good thing.  The real benefit is that the instrument is in tune with itself all over the fretboard so that individual notes, harmonies and chord structures are more pure and focused.

Here is link to the Buzz Feiten website:   

http://www.buzzfeiten.com/

 

[Techie/Geeky Warning: Rather technical info following] -

Our factory shop recently got an email from a Buzz Feiten authorized shop in Italy, with the following question. 

>I’m having trouble intonating the 4th melody string using the formula for BassBottom tuning because it keeps being sharp. I tune it C# no offset (at fret 2), then intonate +2 cents at the 14th fret, where I intonate. And then it’s increasingly sharp further up the fretboard.  This bugs the owner.

Now intonations can change over time, and I cannot see the instrument, but it sounds like the owner has a misunderstanding about how Feiten works, and the authorized shop is not able to explain it to him. (Or maybe this particular shop doesn’t quite understand the Feiten system, could that be?)

Here’s our shop’s response –

 

Thanks for writing.

First I want to make sure I correctly understand what you said –

You have set the 4th melody string intonation to no offset at fret two.
Then you set the 4th melody string intonation to +2 cents at fret fourteen.
Then you noticed that the string is sharp *above* fret fourteen, that is frets 15-25.
Is that correct?

If I have understood you correctly, then here’s what I think is true …

Of course the string is at least 2 cents sharp above fret fourteen, because the formula tells you to make it sharp by two cents at fret fourteen.

And in fact, the string should continue to become sharper as you move further toward the bridge. For example, fret 17 or fret 20 or fret 25 should be *more* than 2 cents sharp.

And of course, any string that is set to be sharp halfway up the fretboard will be even more sharp higher up the fretboard. If you had zero offset at fret fourteen, then you’d expect zero sharpness above fret fourteen. But if you’ve sharped the string at fret fourteen, then as the string length is reduced as you move higher up the fretboard toward the bridge, so it will continue to become increasingly sharp at each successive fret as you move further up the neck.

As you go down the fretboard from fourteen toward fret two, of course the sharpness will go away until there is no sharpness at fret two. Because that’s how we set it.

Another Illustrative Example of How Buzz Feiten Intonation Works

If you had set the offset at fret 22, for example, to +2 cents, then as you came down to fret 14, then fret 14 would be "less" than 2 cents sharp. And so if you set fret 14 to be 2 cents sharp, then of course fret 18 or 21 or some higher fret will be more sharp.

In other words, that’s exactly what we set it to do. That’s what it’s doing. And that’s how it has to work.

It will not be different on any other string, and it will be exactly the same on any other string, where there is a greater sharpness at 14 than at fret 2.

Buzz Feiten Intonation and Your Ears

However, you may notice it less on some other strings. For example on bass strings and strings that are lower pitched, our ear hears less. And at lower frequencies, there will be less change one fret to the next in terms of actual frequency of vibration.

On some strings where the offset is less, there will be less additional sharpness further up the fretboard. So string #3 will be less, and there should be NO sharpness on strings #2 and #1.

Precision Fret-Placement Needed for Feiten Intonation System

Each fret is in one place, the same for all the strings, on parallel fret instruments, and so one string cannot act differently than another string. Even on fanned-fret instruments, the principle is the same.

And we use computer-controlled, high-precision machinery to cut the frets, so that we have no variance on the cutting of fret slots. That is, they’re not cut by hand, and there’s no human error when they’re cut. So we can assume that the fret is in the correct place, and of course it cannot be in the correct place for string #3 and string #5 and be in the wrong place for string #4.

String Gauges and the Buzz Feiten System

There can also be some slight differences between plain and wound strings, and between one gauge and another. These are largely the differences that the Feiten intonation improves. But the formula you have is the one given us by the Feiten folks, and the strings gauges you have are the ones we used to set up the formulas. (If Fabrizio has changed to different gauges, then that’s a new can of worms!)

So What to Do?

We are left with this –

Now, that particular string #4 is the lowest-pitched plain string.

If you ears and the owner’s ears say that string #4 is “TOO SHARP” as you go up the frets, then the two of you should TRUST YOUR EARS.

That’s how Buzz Feiten and Greg Back developed the formula. They *listened* and set the offsets to what sounds the best to their ears.

So if you think that string #4 is going TOO MUCH sharp as you go up beyond fret 14, then CHANGE THE OFFSET at fret 14 to a lower value. Do this till it sounds correct to your EARS. Test against the other strings by playing simple major triads up and down the strings, if you want to really check your ears.

That’s what Buzz Feiten did.

How to Correctly Play While Setting Intonation

Now, one last thing –

As you test the intonation and as you set the intonation, PLEASE do this by TAPPING on the string. Do NOT fret the string and pluck it. Set the intonation at fret two by tapping the string, and set the intonation at fret fourteen by tapping the string. (You can get very different results picking and tapping, and this instrument is designed to be played by tapping.)

Tap ON the fret, and turn up your amp, and tap softly to do the work.

Happy intonation!

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Do you build custom guitars?

Megatars are spec'd and built a-la-carte.  That means that each and every one is built specifically to match your desires and preferences.  

For an even more one-of-a-kind experience, a custom neck can be built up of any available woods.   Scroll down to see some sample images of different possible wood combinations.   

Figured woods, burl woods, and unique specimens are also available.    

For more information on wood choices, click here.

In addition, instruments based on the Megatar platform can have a custom headstock shape, custom body shape, custom inlay, custom graphics, string spacing, etc.   

Full custom from the ground up is also possible.  

Contact Megatar to talk about your ideas.

Serious inquiries only please.


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What does CNC mean?

CNC is short for "computer numerically controlled" and refers to a type of machinery commonly used around the world for manufacturing of all types, especially guitars.    The machine is basically an overhead router that instead of using templates for repeatability and precision, uses a computer generated coordinate system.

The majority of the time spent building a Megatar is still hand work.  But the CNC does a lot of the loudest and dirtiest processes such as the basic shaping of the body contours and cavities while also offering a higher level of precision than would normally be possible for some key processes such as the fret slots.  

Although almost all instrument makers are taking advantage of the increased efficiency and precision of CNC equipment, most of them use that fact as a way to increase profits.  At Megatar we see it as a way to make better instruments more affordable.    And where most manufacturers are assembling instruments from a kit of pre-fabricated components and calling it lutherie, Megatars are individually hand-built from rough lumber to finished instruments right here in our northern California studio.  Compare our sound, features, playability, design and quality with any other maker and you will see that the Megatar represents the best value of any tapping instrument available today.

 

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What sort of Amplification will I need?

What Kind of Amplification will I need?

How do you amplify your fretboard tapping instrument?

How do you amplify your fretboard tapping instrument?

We cannot answer this question exactly, because your music and your ears will determine what’s true for you. However, as an overview, here is some information about the different ways we’ve seen people amplify their tapping instruments –

TWO AMPS

Because the instrument has bass and melody outputs, some people simply use a bass amp for the bass side and a guitar amp for the melody side. 

Of course two amps cost more than one amp, and you have to carry them both around, but it is a fact that bass amps are built so as to be very kind to the sound from bass strings, and guitar amps are built so as to be very kind to the sound from guitar strings. So this two-amp plan does work pretty well for getting a great sound.  

Having separate signal chains means control over the sound of the two string sets individually such that the bass side can be a bass and the guitar side can shred or jazz it up or whatever.

Best if you think of the instrument like a bass and a guitar on one neck, and want a separate sound for each of them.

ONE AMP

Some players treat the instrument like it is all one animal with a wide range rather than as two separate things.  Mono output and one signal chain, with one sound, and one amp.  For example the bass player who plays the instrument like a 12-string extended-range bass.

If you’re selecting a single amp, the thing to beware of is this:  Some bass amps will be weak in the higher registers and some guitar amps will leave of the lowest bass frequencies. However, some bass amps and guitar amps can produce excellent results.  High-end bass amps will generally reach high enough into the upper frequencies for good projection on the highest Megatar strings, and are generally preferred over guitar amps.

Your ears must be your guide. And most any guitar store will let you try amps as much as you like.

ONE MULTI-CHANNEL KEYBOARD-TYPE AMP 

Some players use this particular method, because it allows them to have one easy to carry amp that can handle very low and very high noted. Keyboard amps or PA-type amps are made to handle a full range of frequencies.

Some combo amps have multiple input channels.  This works great for the stereo output of your Megatar, and often allows for additional instruments or a microphone as well.

As this type of amp is not optimized for the sound of a bass or a guitar, Integrating some sort of preamplification, EQ, conditioning, modeling, or effects can go a long way toward sweetening the sound.

This type of setup is great for players who use MIDI or heavy effects, taking the sound outside the normal realm of bass and guitar.

Home Stereo

With the right adapters, you can plug the instrument into the auxiliary input on your home stereo.  The draw back (or is it an advantage?) with this setup is that the melody will be in one channel and the bass in the other, although this could be overcome with certain measures.  If you have a good quality stereo setup this can be quite effective.  It also gives you the option of using headphones to practice.

Computer or Home Studio

With commonly available adapters you can plug your Megatar into your computer, laptop or even smart phone or tablet allowing access a whole world of digital recording and effects possibilities.  Plug it in, grab some high-quality headphones and you're in sonic heaven.

Also, remember that you can *start* with almost anything, because your earliest practice will be getting the feel of it. Luckily, your past training will transfer quickly, and the process is a lot of fun. And after a couple of weeks playing through *anything*, you’ll probably be in a better position to specify what you’d prefer more exactly.

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Owners Manual

Click the link below to download the Megatar owners manual.  It is left over from the the companies previous owner and is somewhat dated, but there is still a lot of good info in there, especially for beginners.

Get owners manual

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Is that a Chapman Stick?

No.

It is a Megatar.

The Chapman Stick is a unique fretboard tapping instrument assembled and sold out of Woodland California.  The Stick is guitar-like in it's origin, but the design, details and tuning are highly specialized, resulting in a distinctive sound and look that is centered around a certain musical technique and style.   The Stick is available with 8, 10, or 12 strings and several other variations of the idea are available, the most recent of which is assembled around a machined aluminum body.  The creator of the instrument, Emmett Chapman, is a primary contributor to the popularity of fretboard tapping techniques, both as a musician and as an instrument builder. Thousands of enthusiastic Stick players around the world practically worship his theory and technique.

The 10-string  Chapman Stick 

The 10-string Chapman Stick 

The Megatar is also an instrument designed to be played primarily with touchstyle techniques. Other than that, the design, construction and details of the two instruments have little in common.  Manifesting as a 12-string extended-range bass guitar, tuned like a bass, the Megatar is built using traditional lutherie (guitar making) practices which give it an authentic bass/guitar sound and feel   Unlike most extended-range basses where the strings are arranged in order from low to high the Megatar has it's 12 strings  divided into a bass and melody string sets arranged on the fretboard in the way familiar to guitar and bass players and so that the hands do not need to reach all the way across the fretboard.  The Megatar is focussed on existing guitar and bass players who are voyaging into the realm of fretboard tapping and are looking for more headroom, as well as new recruits looking for a unique and surprisingly accessible way to make amazing music.  The Megatar can also accommodate chapman stick tunings, expanding the sonic palette available to existing stick players.

The Megatar 12-String Bass

The Megatar 12-String Bass

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Who is Patrick Nicholas Anders?


This is the guy you are talking to:

This is the guy you are talking to:

Patrick Nicholas Anders lives near Mount Shasta, California with his wife and four children.  He studied architecture at the University of Detroit and is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. As much an audiophile and musician as craftsman and designer, his northern California studio designs and builds innovative musical instruments and other works of functional art.

From 2006 until 2013 Patrick worked for the Mobius Megatar company as Shop Foreman and eventually as Production Manager.  During this time he was responsible for all aspects of instrument production from raw lumber to finished instruments packed and shipped.  He got to know the process pretty well, having personally built almost 250 Megatar instruments.  In late 2013 the Megatar business was sold to Patrick and he began working on renovating and old barn into a new purpose built shop, redesigning the instruments and a creating a fresh image.  In spring of 2014 the Megatar was reborn and production resumed on a small scale.  In Late 2014 a new website was launched that began a new era for The Megatar as the instrument of choice for discerning touchstyle musicians around the world.

 

 

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Location, hours, shop visits.

Click here to be taken to the "contact" page.

The Megatar shop is located at a private residence and as such is not open to the public.

Visits can be arranged with advance notice.  

Use the contact link above for more info.

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