An Interview With the Mad Mastermind Behind the Indy Custom FlyCaster


The Indy Custom FlyCaster

My Indy Custom FlyCaster

If you’re a regular reader, you know I recently posted all my guitars.  You would then also know that I like weird guitars.  You may have even seen me in a guitar-related Facebook group defending this beauty of an axe.  What is not to love?  The thing is fantastic.  It is a sight to behold.  It probably shouldn’t even exist, but it does an I needed to have it.

Mine is serial number 059.  I have even connected with a few other owners out there via a Facebook Fan Page.  I had expected to swap out pickups and drop in some rails… but, man this thing sounds beautiful.  The neck feels great.  It hangs well when standing.  It is just a great damn guitar.

I would say it is probably in my trifecta of ire along with the Dewey Decibel FlipOut and the Galveston B.B. Stone.  I have had people at shows come up just to tell me that they hate them!  Ha ha.  It amazes me that a music genre predicated on the idea of just pissing off the previous generation has so many purists who must adhere to some sort of imaginary rules of guitar design. and tired traditions.  It would be a fascinating sociological study to see exactly how that can be.  It’s OK to enjoy the classics and get a little wild sometimes.

Of course, many people get the joke and love them too.

In with posting All My Axes (did you see parts 1 & 2?), I really got to wanting to dive deep into the story behind each of these if I could.  The creator of the FLyCaster, Jimmie Bruhn was easy to find online, and seems like a great guy.  I would even say he found me in an “ugly guitars” group or two.  Check out my questions for him and his fantastic answers below my embedded Instagram Post of the FlyCaster.  The interview was conducted via the highly professional Facebook Messenger.

 

🤘

AiXeLsyD13: Who is Indiana Custom Guitars?

Jimmie Bruhn: There was no Indiana Custom Guitars. Indy Custom was that particular brand. Its actually a much bigger thing… SHS International was the parent company. It was an international music wholesale company that distributed products to music stores. Its where music stores nationwide (and globally) got a lot of their stuff. We designed, imported and sold products. Here are some of the following brands of SHS International (this is not the full list but the highlights)

Morgan Monroe Bluegrass Instruments
Eddy Finn Ukulele Company
Indiana Guitar Company
Indy Custom Guitars
ModTone Guitar Effects
Bean Blossom Instruments
Tune Tech Tuners
SHS Audio
Devlin Guitars
College Guitar Company
Sundown Amplifiers

I worked as a media producer for the company for close to 30 years and my fingerprints were on most everything from every brand. I wore many many different hats and guitar design was a tiny part of it. Fun but it wasn’t the bulk of what I did. That’s a whole other story. Suffice to say, anything you saw from any of those brands, I had a major role in bringing to life.

In addition I’ve played professionally for a long long time. I’m a writer, singer and I play a lot of different instruments. Guitar is one part of it but probably the biggest part as I am a lifelong collector and nerd. The collection is out of hand but I simply can’t help myself. I still have my first guitar. I never get rid of anything! You can hear and see my work on YouTube. Oh…one other thing…if you ever see Indy Custom Relic guitars, that was me. A one man side business I started where I produced over 400 hand relic’ed guitars. In that time I still played all the time, traveled and played all over.

Ⓐ⑬: Do they have a website?

JB: Not any more.

Ⓐ⑬: Do you have a website you’d like me to link to?

JB: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC36We-7C4ghOW5tlsG0G-tQ (Jimmie Bruhn’s Jam TV!) This is a place for my various artistic ideas. A little of this, a little of that…you never know what you’re going to get.

Ⓐ⑬: How did you come to be a guitar designer? Have you designed any other guitars?

JB: I’ve been collecting guitars for over 40 years. It was natural that my need to build and tinker with stuff would spill over into my professional day gig.
Yes, I designed many guitars and would then send my renderings to the factory for prototypes and then on to a bigger run of them. When I say “designed” I in no way want to make it seem that I am some schooled luthier or anything of the sort. I just came up with designs and through trial and error, we would arrive at something unique but I wasn’t in a workshop running a saw!

Ⓐ⑬: How was the Indy Custom label to be different?

JB: By trying to get the best things we all liked about particular models into an affordable recreation that was a Big Bang for the buck. There were some really cool models that came out. I can’t say exactly how many but there were lots of designs over the life of that line.

Ⓐ⑬: I know you were in part inspired by the Zakk Wylde guitars with an SG top & a V bottom… did anything else go into it?

JB: Yes, comedy. It just made me laugh. Another thing that REALLY inspired it were people around the company who were genuinely disgusted by it. That made me want to get them produced even more. Yes, it was stupid, yes it was hideous but I knew it could get a lot of attention for the rest of the line. The powers that be couldn’t see the value in that but here we are all these years later still talking about it. ZERO advertising dollars spent. I wasn’t wrong!

Ⓐ⑬: Was it a hard sell getting in into production? (Convincing everyone else at the company/factory to go with it?)

JB: Some understood. Some did not. The ones that didn’t inspired me to push that much harder. The point was, good or bad…it was getting a major reaction. The only bad press is no press.

Ⓐ⑬: Where was it manufactured?

JB: These were all manufactured in China once final prototypes were approved.

Ⓐ⑬: Were there any issues with manufacturing? (Seems like a big body to be on a manufacturing line.)

JB: There are always issues in manufacturing especially trying to do it from thousands of miles away. Visiting the factories can keep quality control in check but ultimately once production starts things can go wrong. Not always, but that potential is there. Overall, there were no problems in the Flycaster. Even my Chinese contact remarked that the guys on the factory floor thought it was “a weird guitar” which meant even a cultural and language barrier cannot deny that The Flycaster is globally offensive!

Ⓐ⑬: Why “FlyCaster?” Everyone who sees it calls it a TV or a Tele-V. Ha ha. Was that by design?

JB: Because it needed a name, an identity. Plus it had some weird fishing connection so…

Ⓐ⑬: Why 100? Why not 200 or 50? Were they all sold?

JB: The idea was that we would only do limited runs of guitars for the Indy Custom line which we did on other models besides The Flycaster. I think they may have even commissioned a second small batch to fill an order. The dealers that understood the value liked them and they helped bring attention to the other models. Limiting them to 100 kept it fresh and helped if a particular model completely tanked. That way you aren’t stuck with so many. If it’s a hit? Make more! Yes, they were all sold.

Ⓐ⑬: I love mine. I love that it just seems to enrage purists, and it just “outs” so many people as not having any sense of humor or whimsy. Was any if this in your original intent?

JB: This was absolutely the intent from the beginning. I love music, I love comedy and this thing was both. It was just so incredibly stupid that one has to laugh or at least, I did! The ones that were truly offended because they had such a death grip on tradition well, as previously stated, that just fueled my fire!

Ⓐ⑬: Why are so many guitarists stuck in traditional designs and setups, when rock n’ roll at its core is about rebellion?

JB: Because they are either afraid or don’t have the slightest concept of being original. They are too worried what other people think.

Double FlyCasters!

Image Provided by Jimmie Bruhn, from his digital book.

Ⓐ⑬: I know one burst prototype exists. Do you ever play it?

JB: I play it occasionally but I see it every day as its hanging on the wall of my studio.

Ⓐ⑬: Did you ever have any other color schemes in mind? I would love one with an antigua finish!

JB: I wanted it to get to that point but those in control saw otherwise.

Ⓐ⑬: Do you have a guitar collection? What are your non-FlyCaster favorites?

JB: Yes. I have a pretty big collection. It’s fairly insane. I have everything from top shelf vintage stuff to weird a wacky. Lots of stuff I built in the shop, some wonderful mutts and some serious collector stuff too. As I said, I never get rid of anything. I come from a musical family.

Ⓐ⑬: Have you seen any other weird guitars out there & thought “I wish I came up with that!”?

JB: All the time! That’s the great thing for me about the world of guitars, its constantly evolving. There are some absolutely great things being produced and it seems people aren’t so brand conscious as they used to be.

Ⓐ⑬: Anything else you would like to add?

JB: Just a thank you for taking the time to even ask me this stuff. It was an honor!

Ⓐ⑬: Thank you for your time and information!

JB: Of course!

 

🎸

 

This is a pretty great article/review too:  Premier Guitar | 2011 Indy Fly-Caster in TV Yellow

 

Check out Jimmie Bruhn’s Jam TV YouTube Channel here.  Here’s a video, too:

 

Here’s my creepy basement demo:

Here’s a random one that I found by Googling:

 

Posting #AllMyAxes. 🎸 (Part 2)


Did you see part one?  I felt like posting all my guitars online simply for something else to look at, and I thought others might enjoy.

I still plan to blog about some of the more interesting ones.  Hopefully you guys enjoy the content.  Thanks for the likes on social media.  I don’t think anyone else started to use the #AllMyAxes hashtag.  Oh well.  Ha ha.

Show me some of yours in the comments, tag me on social media, or use your own hashtag!

 

The Family Ukuleles & Mandolin

The Kids' Guitars

 

Danke Daka


Did you read about my trouble with the One-Touch Can Opener?  How about my attempt at emailing them in Chinese?  Well, sadly they wrote back, and it’s quite boring.

The word is…

From: info info
To: Me <_____________@_____.___>
Cc: info <info@onetouchproducts.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: Re: One-Stuck Can Opener

Dear Eric,

Thanks for your email.

For the can opener issue, please try to press and hold the reverse switch at the rear of the can opener.

The cutter will move in the reverse direction to the start position and the can lid will be released.

You may also check the instruction manual for trouble shooting ways.

Please download and keep the user manual from our website (as per below link) for your reference.

http://www.onetouchproducts.com/CanOpenerll.htm

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Best Regards,
One Touch

There’s a reverse switch?  The answer is that simple?  I’m so disappointed, I haven’t even tried it yet.  Why not mark the switch?  I don’t remember the thing coming with instructions!  Bastards.

There may be a slight language barrier here, and a large cultural one.

Also, I decided to further my communication with Astrid at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Apparently this was going too far…

From: Eric <_____________@_____.___>
To: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

Thanks Astrid,

We’ll have to go with the store credit then.  This is absolutely not a problem.  I always want to buy many things every time we’re in a Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Do you have a favorite can opener, or other cool kitchen gadget?  Perhaps we could get that.  Maybe some time my wife & I could have you over for dinner & we can use our new can opener.  What’s your favorite canned food?  I generally prefer fresh vegetables over canned… but I do like to make chili with a lot of canned ingredients.  Do you like chili?

I’d like to suggest that you guys carry P-38’s.  They really are useful, and don’t have any moving or electrical parts that can break or get stuck.

I like chili served over mashed potatoes.  I like mashed potatoes.

Rock on!

-Eric

I have as of yet not received a reply.

English: A small plate with a serving of mashe...

I like them.

Bed, Bath, Above & Beyond. Daka & One-Touch refuse to answer.


Google Translate

Google Translate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

如果我尝试在中国吗? (That’s “What if I try it in Chinese?” or “If I try in China?” according to Google Translate…)

Well, I never got anything from our friends at Daka about the One-Touch Can Opener that won’t relinquish the lid.  So I decided to use Google Translate to try & express my frustration in Chinese through the wonders of technology.

The added opening line is…

Hello, going to try in Chinese (with the help of Google Translate) because I haven’t had a reply yet.

Here’s what it gave me…

你好,去尝试在中国(谷歌翻译的帮助下),因为我还没有答复。

你好能征服者!

今天我写信给你,你必须有遇到过的问题。目前我是我的第二个单触式开罐器…它已被卡住盖子无行为能力。请参阅所附的图片,从字面上说明我的困境。正如你可以看到,盖仍然是牢固地掌握在单触式开罐器。这是不是第一次,这已经与本单位发生。有时,我能够说服放弃后,一个额外的按钮按盖子的开罐器。这个时候,所有的额外的感人不能正常工作。现在只剩下我与数额是多少,我的厨房柜台上的电池昂贵的塑料和金属摇滚。这可以大开眼界来岩目前有没有目的(以外恼人的我,每次我看到它)。我只有一两个月。它具有新的电池。在此之前它毫无用处,它并没有得到多大用处。

我以前曾拥有 单键开罐器,最终遇到同样的问题。我能看过去的事实,产品名为单键操作了几个涉及到很多出师不利后。我是能够处理的事实,偶尔会削减微小的,可以标注彩带和拖放到我的食物。的下脚料,一般很容易找到,并挑选出。我是能够接受的,它偶尔会倒下了,一个能完成后,取下盖子,也可能在可以敲的过程中。它仍像我获奖的辣椒或轻松舒适的食物9 CAN蔬菜汤,做的事情时节省时间。 (虽然,我投注的人…我会放在我的钱,在一个P-38的军队打开了一罐开罐器更快。)

我曾经以为,当我试图强行从我的第一个触盖子开罐器我可能爆发的东西。它不再回应我的接触。我检查了电池。我尝试不同大小的罐。我试图使用武力。 (我想在第一道曙光,并最终黑暗的一面。愤怒确实恨,就像尤达说。的仇恨也最终导致了我的钱包的痛苦。)我和平的企图都是无济于事。也许用钳子野蛮撬从盲目单键的强大抓地力的盖子是个坏主意。我粉笔我是一个傻瓜,辞职只是一个新的购买。

我买一个新的,从床Bath&Beyond的,我相信,我们已经到达的情况,我在此电子邮件的开头介绍。我离开卡住所附照片的盖子,并在无用的单触式开罐器。

我也不知道是什么,什么我的游戏结束在这里。我的计划是给你写信通知你的情况,看看是否有别人谁也遇到同样的问题,看看你可以提供一个解决方案。我想说的行动可接受的课程将包括(但不仅限于)以下:

如何正确地得到单触式开罐器放弃的盖子,它深深地拥抱的建议。
一种新的改进功能的单键(如果存在)。
价值约20美元,美国军队发出的P-38或其他运作非电动开罐器。我来到这个大致的数字(和我向下舍入):$ 15为单触式和5美元的名牌电池。

当然提供更同意recompensation,如果你想,我很开放的建议。我觉得我应该得到的东西,至少你的产品对我的失败而快速连续。当然,你同意吗?最合理的人。

谢谢您的时间和援助。我期待着您的答复和建议的解决方案。我急了,除去20元的塑料从我的厨房柜台金属装饰的无功能的一触式岩石。

愿力与你同
– 埃里克

。趣乐的习学人疾残使,笑好不的真这

Here’s what happened when I translate that back into English:

Hello, try the help of China (Google translation), because I did not reply.

Hello can conqueror!

Today I write to you, you must have encountered the problem. I my second one-touch can opener … it has been stuck lid incapacitated. Please see the attached picture, literally, to explain my plight. As you can see, the cover still firmly rests in the one-touch can opener. This is not the first time this has occurred with the unit. Sometimes I was able to convince to give up, an extra button lid opener. This time, all the extra moving can not work properly. Now left with what amounts to expensive battery on my kitchen counter, plastic and metal rock. This can be an eye-opener to rock at present there is no purpose (other than annoying me, every time I see it). I have only one or two months. It has a new battery. Prior to this it is useless, it does not get much use.

I previously owned one-touch can opener, and eventually encounter the same problem. I can see past the fact that the product, called one-button operation involving several to many false starts. I was able to handle the fact that occasionally cut a tiny, you can label the ribbon and drag it to my food. Scraps, usually easy to find and pick out. I was able to accept, it will occasionally fall, a complete, remove the cover, may also be in the process that can be knocked. It is still like the award-winning chili or relaxed and comfortable food 9 CAN vegetable soup, do things to save time. (Although, I bet the people … I will be on my money in a P-38, the army opened a can opener faster.)

I once thought that when I tried to forcibly from my first touch the lid opener outbreak. It is no longer respond to my touch. I checked the battery. I tried a different size cans. I tried to use force. (I think at first light, and eventually the dark side. Anger really hate, like Yoda said. Hatred eventually led to the pain of my wallet.) Peace attempt to no avail. May blind one-touch powerful grip pliers barbaric pry the lid is a bad idea. I chalk I’m a fool, resignation just a new purchase.

I bought a new one, from Bed Bath & Beyond, I believe, we have arrived, I introduced at the beginning of this email. I left stuck in the attached photo of the cover, and in the useless single touch can opener.

I do not know what is what my game is over here. My plan is to write to you to inform you of the situation to see if there are others who have encountered the same problem, see if you can provide a solution. I want to say an acceptable course of action will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • How to get one-touch can opener to give up the lid, and it deeply embrace recommendations.
  • A new and improved features one-button (if present).
  • Worth about $ 20, P-38 issued by the U.S. armed forces or other operation of non-electric can opener. I came to this approximate figure (and I down rounding): $ 15 one-touch, and $ 5 brand name batteries.

More agree recompensation of course, if you want to, I am open to suggestions. I think I should get something, at least you my failure in rapid succession. Of course, do you agree? Most reasonable people.

Thank you for your time and assistance. I look forward to your reply and suggested solution. I am anxious to remove the plastic from my kitchen counter without metal decoration features a touch of rock.

May the Force be with you
– Eric

. Interest in music, then learn the Disabled to laugh it really true

I ought to do this with all of my emails from now on.  This is much more interesting.

One-Touch Can Opener

Friends don’t let automatic can openers drink & open cans.

At any rate, I shot out an email to Bed Bath & Beyond too, and they seemingly always stand behind their reputation.  I can get store credit if I bring in the stuck lid and whichever card we used to make the purchase.  Thanks to my wife’s memory, we bought it on the same day she bought a flour sifter not too long ago.  I doubt we have the receipt, but we still do have the card that made the purchase.

Their initial response:

From: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Subject: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

 Subject
PRODUCT INQUIRY
 Discussion Thread
 Response Via Email (Astrid) 05/29/2012 04:27 PM
Dear Eric;Thank you for your email.We sincerely apologize for the situation described in your email. At Bed Bath & Beyond, we want our customers to be 100% satisfied with our customer service and merchandise selection. You may return this item to any of our stores for an even exchange or store credit. You can receive a refund in the manner you paid for the item if you have your receipt. Please note, there is no time limit to make a return and we do not require the original packaging. We are also forwarding this information over to our buyers and the vendor for their consideration and improvement.We hope this information has been helpful. Please email or call us at 1-800-GO-BEYOND (1-800-462-3966) if you have any questions.Sincerely,Astrid
Customer Service
Bed Bath & Beyond

My reply:

From: -mE. <_____________@_____.___>
To: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: Re: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

Aloha Astrid!

 Thank you, your reply was rather quick!  I have not had even as much as an acknowledgement of a receipt of my email from the manufacturer.  Apparently they don’t stand behind their products.  Perhaps you ought to review or do more rigorous tests on the things that you sell.  Has anyone else complained of this issue?

I’m not sure if we still have the receipt, as it was purchased some time ago.  I’m sure my wife or I purchased it with one of our debit cards though.  Would you be able to find the transaction from the card?  I know some stores can do that, and I know you guys have a pretty awesome no-hassle returns policy.

Were you able to view my entire message?  I know I was unable to attach photos.  Perhaps you would like to see the entire message (with photos) on my blog.

If I bring in the One-Touch can opener, can I leave the stuck lid?  Do you have any P-38 can openers for sale?

Rock on,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

Their secondary response:

From: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

 Subject
PRODUCT INQUIRY
 Discussion Thread
 Response Via Email (Astrid) 05/30/2012 10:08 AM
Dear Eric;

Thanks for responding. However, as I have explained you are able to return this defective item back to any of our stores for an exchange or store credit, if you do not have the receipt and use the credit towards the purchase of a new can opener of your choice. Please keep in mind that you may bring your return as it is with no problem. Unfortunately we do not carry P-38 can openers in our selection.

If we can be of further assistance please email us again or call our eService Center at 1-800-GO-BEYOND® (1-800-462-3966).

Sincerely,

Astrid
Customer Service
Bed Bath & Beyond

Heh.  Astrid does not seem amused.

One-Stuck Can Opener


I have a problem.  The problem is the One-Touch Can Opener.  It’s a rather expensive useless plastic & metal rock.  In fact, they ought to market it as “Pet Rock: With Batteries!”  Maybe an actual rock would be more dependable in opening cans.  We just recently bought our 2nd One-Touch Can Opener.  I have no idea why we’re on a second one.

The first one was fine for a while, but it didn’t get much use unless we were making Nine Can Vegetable Soup or Chili or something where we had to open a bunch of cans at once.  One day a lid got stuck.  The can lid was successfully removed from the can, but remained under the blade of the One Touch.  It remained securely under the blade.  It wouldn’t come out with a gentle pull, or a labored tug.  Pressing the button to try & turn it back on didn’t do anything.  I think I eventually got some pliers to yank it out.  After that (of course) it ceased working.  Perhaps I yanked too hard?

Figuring it was my fault and that I broke it… I bought another.  I thought that the lid getting stuck was a fluke & it didn’t occur to me that it may (would?) happen again.  Boy, was I naive.  It happened again.  This time I didn’t try to dislodge the lid.  I have tried pressing the button.  I gave it several touches, to no avail.  I set it down & took some photos… intending to write to the manufacturer wight a verbose ranting “WTF?” kind of letter.  (You know, my usual.)  The problem being that I couldn’t find the damn manufacturer.

One Touch Can Opener - with Stuck Lid

What a wonderful piece of engineering! What excellent modern technology! I mean… What a blunder of engineering! What excrement passes for modern technology?

One Touch Can Opener - with Stuck Lid (Closeup)

What a grip!

English: A typical "As seen on TV" l...

Unless you were watching another channel.

I mean, I have some pretty cool photos to send, and I had no idea where to send them.  Googling One Touch Can Opener brings up several “As seen on TV” websites.

I emailed one of them, and they basically told me to go fornicate with myself…

From: As Seen On TV Customer Service
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:50 AM
Subject: One Touch Can Opener [Incident: 120523-000134]

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

Subject
—————————————————————
One Touch Can Opener

Discussion Thread
—————————————————————
Response Via Email (Allana) – 05/24/2012 08:50 AM

Dear Eric,

Thank you for your email. We are sorry to inform you that we do not have the referral contact information you seek. Please feel free to do a general web search for more information.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Best regards,

Allana
Customer Care Center

Customer By Web Form (Eric Carroll) – 05/23/2012

Hello, can you put me in touch with the manufacturer of the one-touch can opener?  (Email or mailing address preferred.)

I’m having problems with my 2nd one now.  It’s terrible.  The lids keep getting stuck.

https://www.asseenontv.com/one-touch-can-opener/detail.php?p=296306

Thank you,
-Eric

Question Reference #120523-000134
—————————————————————
Category Level 1: Product inquiry
Date Created: 05/23/2012 09:13 AM
Last Updated: 05/24/2012 08:50 AM
Status: Solved
Order Number:

[—001:001194:41928—]

Beans!

It’s great for sitting on top of cans & doing nothing until you press the button 4 times & have 2 false starts. (Photo credit: Carol Browne)

What helpful chaps who stand behind the products they sell!

Taking Allana’s wonderful advice I tried to Google One-Touch Can Opener Manufacturer.  As you can see, there are several possible foreign manufacturing services for this tiny incredible modern convenience.  I think I have it narrowed down though, to the correct one… It appears that Daka manufactures all of the One-Touch Products.

So, I sent them an email:

From: Eric Carroll <____________@_____.___>
To: “USA@onetouchproducts.com” <USA@onetouchproducts.com>; “info@daka.com.hk” <info@daka.com.hk>; “info@onetouchproducts.com” <info@onetouchproducts.com>; “Customerservice@cricketholdings.com” <Customerservice@cricketholdings.com>
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012
Subject: One-Stuck Can Opener

Ciao Can Conquerors!

I’m writing to you today with an issue that you must have encountered before.  I’m currently on my second One-Touch Can Opener… and it has been incapacitated by a stuck lid.  Please see the attached pictures to literally illustrate my predicament.  As you can see, the lid is still securely in the grasp of the One-Touch Can Opener.  This is not the first time that this has happened to me with this unit.  Sometimes I am able to persuade the can opener to relinquish the lid after an extra press of the button.  This time, all the extra touching is not working.  Right now I am left with what amounts to an expensive plastic and metal rock with batteries on my kitchen counter.  This can-opener-come-rock currently has no purpose (other than annoying me each time I see it).  I have only had it for a month or two.  It has fresh batteries.  Prior to it being rendered useless, it did not get much use.

I had previously owned a One-Touch can opener that eventually encountered the same problem.  I was able to look past the fact that the product named One-Touch took several touches (after many many false starts) to operate.  I was able to handle the fact that would occasionally cut tiny ribbons of the can label and drop it into my food.  The scraps were generally easy to find and pick out.  I was able to accept that it would occasionally tumble off of a can when finished removing the lid, possibly also knocking over the can in the process.  It was still a time saver when making things like my award-winning chili or my easy comfort-food nine can vegetable soup.  (Although, were I a betting man… I would place money on me being faster at opening a can with a P-38 army can opener.)

I had assumed that when I tried to forcibly remove the lid from my first One-Touch can opener I possibly broke something.  It no longer responded to my touch.  I checked the batteries.  I tried different-sized cans.  I tried to use the Force. (I tried the light side at first, and eventually the dark side.  Anger does lead to hate, just like Yoda said.  Hate also eventually led to my wallet suffering.)  All of my peaceful attempts were to no avail.  Perhaps using pliers to savagely pry the lid from the mighty grip of the mindless One-Touch was a bad idea.  I had chalked it up to me being an idiot, and resigned to just purchase a new one.

I did purchase a new one, from Bed Bath & Beyond I believe, and we have arrived at the situation which I presented at the beginning of this email.  I am left with the stuck can lid and useless One-Touch can opener in the attached photos.

I’m not exactly sure what my end game is here.  My plan was to write to you to inform you of the situation, see if there were others who have encountered the same problem, and see what you may offer as a solution.  I would say that acceptable courses of action would include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Advice as to how to properly get the One-Touch Can Opener to relinquish the can lid that it so dearly embraces.
  • A new improved functioning One-Touch (if that exists).
  • About $20 worth of U.S. Army issued P-38’s or other functioning non-electrical can openers.  I arrived at this figure for roughly (and I’m rounding down): $15 for the One-Touch and $5 for name-brand batteries.

Of course if you would like to offer a more agreeable recompensation, I’m open to suggestions.  I feel that I deserve at least something after two of your products have failed on me in rather rapid succession.  Surely you concur?  Most reasonable people would.

Thank you for your time and assistance.  I look forward to your reply and suggested resolution.  I’m anxious to remove the $20 plastic & metal decorative functionless One-Touch rock from my kitchen counter.

May the Force Be With You,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

I hope I get some sort of response.  Until then, I will stick with my favorite can-opener: The P-38.  I will race a functioning One-Touch (if you can find one), and I will win.  It’s simple, small, and for the cost of one One-Touch I can get 50 of them from Ralph’s Army Surplus.  I’d even take a P-51, or an Australian FRED.  My grandma always kept a P-38 inside an old pill bottle in the drawer beside the silverware.  I learned to use that before I learned to cook, I think.

Size comparison of P-51 and P-38 openers

Size comparison of P-51 and P-38 openers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A can opener that incorporates a smal...

F.R.E.D. – Currently employed by the Australian Army and New Zealand Army in its ration kits. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What kind of can opener do you use?  There is a ridiculous amount of different types of can openers out there.  May I persuade you to not waste your time or money in purchasing a One-Touch?  You will most certainly have to touch it several times.  It’s false advertising.  I feel stupid for having to have purchased two of them before I realized that it was not operator error, but a terrible product.

Inspiration from Hoke·E·Geez (My new ‘New York Pro’ Strat copy)


So, I bought a guitar this past Saturday.  I wasn’t looking for a guitar.  This guitar was looking for me.

Hoke·E·Geez | INDOOR FLEA MARKET · CRAFTS

...and SO MUCH MORE.

Some of my extended family had rented out the lodge at our church camp for the weekend.  My cousin & I were out killing time and exploring while the ladies stayed in for their main objective; scrapbooking.  When in the area with time on my hands, a trip to Hoke·E·Geez is an absolute must.  It’s located right on Route 30 in Bedford PA by the Sheetz(Sheetz is a good bright red & yellow landmark, right?)

In what was once (perhaps obviously for people my age and older) an Ames department store, rests the one of the craziest/coolest places I have ever been.  My first trip there was in search of antiques… I collect old Coca~Cola & other glass bottles.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Hoke·E·Geez is full of …Everything. 

Stuffed Squirrel on display (& for sale!) at Hoke·E·Geez (Bedford, PA)

"Help! I'm not dead! Some redneck just stapled my nuts to this driftwood!"

It’s got crafts, antiques (from old pop bottles to the machines), furniture, a weird leather biker-jacket section, a hardware section like someone emptied a Harbor Freight in 1978 and dumped it there, of records, new stuff made to look old (think the store in Cracker Barrel), toys, tools, books, records, a section chock full of cassette tapes (mostly hair metal), musical instruments of all varieties, a stuffed squirrel that my cousin photographed with his phone, nunchucks, swords, toilets, knives, flooring, gun parts, cabinetry, pistol crossbows, stuff you’d see in a thrift store or at a garage sale, a Weinermobile pedal car, … and other scattered oddities/treasures.

Yeah, I said musical instruments.  Of course, I flock nearly immediately to the old guitars.  Hoke-E-Geez also serves as an aged acoustic graveyard.  They have several dried out yet beautiful acoustics ravaged by time & strings that pull the neck past the point of no return. They would be great as decorations, or for this…

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

In fact, if I ever find one for the right price, it might make a cool antique bottle shelf… with some glass shelves & a light or 2.

Back to the story at hand though…  There we are strolling through the wonderland that is Hoke·E·Geez, like a bee doing its “tell the others where the honey is” dance. We were exclaiming “Woah!”, “Look at that!”, or “What is that?” with each erratic hop to the next section.

Toy Accordion (or Button Box?)

I can already play "Iron Man" and "Happy Birthday" (very poorly).

The first beauty I spied was this toy accordion for $12 and change.  It seems ridiculous and awesome.  Maybe I’ve seen The Bloody Seamen one too many times lately.  Looking online, it seems to be a fair price… and not difficult to master. I’m not sure of the name brand.  I have no idea if it’s a Hohner, Schylling, Barcelona, First Act, or something else.  I have found a bunch online that look similar.  This doesn’t match the colors of any others exactly, and of course it has no brand/name/logo in it.  Also, it appears that I have been shorted a book.  Also, is this really an accordion, or is it just a button box?  What’s the difference?  Are the butterfly-like designs up top too girly?

The next thing of interest that I saw was this beautiful New York Pro Strat knockoff…

New York Pro - Natural Finish Strat Copy
“Psst… you, yeah you… buy me. Yeah. I know I’m not a goofy guitar, but you need me. Look at my woodgrain. It’s not fancy or elegant, it’s just ‘there’. Buy me. I probably have really crappy electronics and hardware. Buy me. I bet no one has ever heard of ‘New York Pro’ or knows where we’re made. Buy me!
New York Pro - Strat Copy

New York Pro - Strat Copy

Well, the photo to the left is the photo that I sent to my wife along with the price, asking (only half kidding) if I should buy it.  There was some other black no-name Strat copy behind it.  The body on that black POS wasn’t nearly as solid, hefty,  or well-cut.

My cousin pointed it out I believe, & remarked on the natural finish.  I was stuck drooling over the $95 price tag since the neck was straight, there were no cracks, and it was nice solid body.  This was about the time we got into a conversation with a local cat who was into weird guitars and punk rock… and actually in a punk rock band up that way.  I can’t remember the name of the band.  I need to pop stuff like that into my phone.  The guy stopped & asked if I really had an accordion in the box marked “Accordion”.  I showed it to him & he’s the one that remarked that it was a button box & not an accordion.  After talking forever about weird guitars, rocking out, and goofy venues… we moved on.  He mentioned that there were other guitars “over there” pointing to a little music store-like area within the hallowed walls of Hoke·E·Geez.

This is where we happened upon some beast, made by a local cat that goes by Merle Kegg or Merle R. Kegg.  One of his custom-built axes had the letters “M R K” on the headstock.  The first one I spotted was a doubleneck… one 6 string guitar & one mandolin neck.  Yeah.  You read that right.

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

I apologize for the horrible quality cell phone photos, but I’m sure you get the point.  I find it an odd placement for the pickups… but then again some people like that neck pickup sound.  I generally stick as close to the bridge as possible.  The custom cases are pretty cool.  Then I came upon this one…

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

It caught my eye, and I believe the price was only $64 or $65… but I didn’t even take it out of the case once I got a closer look.  If there was a Regretsy-like site for homemade guitars, this may top them all.  I mean, I love the shape… and I respect the intent and the labor that went into this beast, but… wow.  The placement of the bridge directly up the neck’s ass is crazy.  The pickguard looks like flooring or wall tile.  I’m hoping this cat is Amish or 97 years old or has 7 fingers total or something.  I hate to be so harsh, but when I think a guitar is ugly, we have a problem on our hands.  There was no attempt to smooth out the edges or anything… the paint is applied like it’s the side of an outdoor shed… not a guitar.  Wow.  I’d like to see more of his work, maybe these were the odd ones out.  If you know anything more about his work, please post in the comments!  There were some other cool guitars (not made by Merle), ukuleles, mandolins & other stuff in that section.

I still hadn’t received a reply from the wife.  I got the accordion, my cousin picked up a few things, and off we went.

When we got back to camp, I asked my wife if she had seen the text with the photo.  She hadn’t.  She checked it out & liked it.  She asked that if I got it I could place it on the stand in the living room instead of my Batman Logo guitar.  She liked the wood (which I have since come to learn is mahogany).  We talked it over and she suggested that I go get it.  I told her it would need new guts, but she was still behind the idea.  After lunch, my cousin went to a nearby farm to hunt coyotes, and I went back to Hoke·E·Geez to hunt that guitar.

I came back with my prize:

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

I also managed to stop by the Bedford Banjo Shop.  It was small but very cool and reasonably priced in there.  They had banjos, guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, & more.  They were also very friendly and quite busy.  I tried to stop by another store nearby, but they were closed as it was after 2:00pm.

I have plans for this guitar… GFS Lil Killer rail pickups, some wooden knobs, a leopard-print pickguard, black hardware (& bridge & tuners), and I guess a leopard-print strap.  As soon as I put away some money, I hope to get all this stuff & have it all set up nice & pretty.  My go-to guitar guy has been Aaron at Lawrence Music lately.  He helped set up the Batman Logo guitar… and dropped in my Seymour Duncans.

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

You didn’t think I’d leave it alone did you?  It needs something in order to fit in with my other guitars.

I’m still at a loss with any concrete information about the New York Pro brand.  I’m not sure if it’s pumped out of a Chinese factory that puts many different brands on the same guitars?  They do have an odd cut in the top of the headstock that seems to be on every NY Pro guitar I’ve seen online.  I’ve seen them as kit guitars, for $99, for $149.99 and for $279.95.  Maybe they’re made by Galaxy Guitars and the same as their Starfire line?  It looks like they might call it the “Galaxy New York Pro Star Gazer”.  They may be distributed by Lou Capece.  I may have to write to them for more information.

If you have any comments/stories about Hoke·E·Geez, any information about the accordion/button box, any info on that other guitar store in Bedford, any information about the New York Pro brand, or any comments/suggestions about my plans for the guitar… I’d love to hear ’em!  Please share in the comments below!