2018 Recap

Thinking back about 2018…

2018 was a good mix of building, repair and finishing work. The mixture of the three keeps things from being too monotonous I guess. The shows I attended this year involved travel to some new locations (Koblenz was fun) and it was a good year to spend some time thinking about changes to my building.

I don’t really think about how much my instruments have changed over the years till I see a guitar I made in the past. Right now, I have a guitar I made in 2013 in for french polishing and I look at it in astonishment. It is a testament to how we are always growing and learning and slowly changing no matter what. In regards to that, I am now starting to build the 3rd and 4th iteration of that “floating tie” type bracing. I was enamored with first two instruments I braced with those changes and so am now working on a third and fourth to start the year.

The shop has also changed a bit. This past year, I finally got rid of some wall cabinets and a workbench I had taken with me from my previous location that never really fit my current space. It was a wonderful feeling to destroy them and build a new bench. The newest addition is finally putting some better speakers on either side of the bench. As that is where I spend most my time, it is nice to have a good stereo image for music listening. I got a par of ELAC Speakers on sale and they are a big upgrade to what was previously downstairs in the shop.

Here are some random photos from this week showcasing the mess on and around my bench, the new speakers, a vihuela rebuild and a cool Framus Fret Jet circa 1965 that came in for a refret and some other minor work. Yes, the speakers are upside down so that I have the tweeters at ear level.

New Bracing /Floating Ties

New Bracing /Floating Ties

floating ties bracing design

Voicing the guitar is a big part of the fun and challenge of building. I’m always working on “dialing in” or improving on the sound. The process involves understanding your materials, because every piece of wood is different, and then working with all the variables at your disposal. When you play with all the variables over time you get a feel for how each element affects the way the guitar sounds in the end. Usually, that means playing with the bracing pattern and doming of the top… changing the lengths and heights of braces as well as changing the placement of braces; making the top stiffer or more flexible in specific areas. Most of the time you are gluing the braces to the top itself to stiffen or discipline the top. This project pictured above was something completely different for me and I wasn’t very sure of what the guitar was going to sound like when it was all said and done.

I’m not sure what to call this at present. These “floating ties” are braces that don’t directly discipline the top but are one step removed as they are notched into the braces above and are controlling the braces instead of the top itself. It is adding some across the grain stiffness but in a completely different way than a brace glued directly would do. This guitar is thus so very different sounding than any guitar I have ever made. The guitar sounds very “open” with a warm treble and lush harmonics throughout and is still very balanced all the way through from low to high with a good sustain. In some ways it makes sense to me now. These floating ties allow the top to resonate more freely with very little added weight while still disciplining the top in a different way. Anyway, I’m enjoying the guitar very much and I think I’ll have to make a few more guitars with these superstructures to really see if I’m on to something.

Here is some video. Thanks to Ryan Walsh for stopping by the shop and recording some snippets.

This guitar is available and will be listed in the inventory on my website shortly.

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June 2018

I'll be attending the 2018 Guitar Foundation of America International Convention and Competition at the University of Louisville this week.  I'm gonna miss the first few days but will be there Wednesday thru Saturday.  I'll have a  western red cedar and east indian rosewood guitar there to display.   I hope the heat and humidity don't kill me.   Come down and check it out if you can.    https://www.guitarfoundation.org

Also,  here are a few photos of a uke I made for a long time friend.  I was really excited to deliver this uke in person.  It's a bearclaw swiss spruce and claro walnut tenor with some black mother of pearl.  

2018 Koblenz International Guitar Festival and Finally Some Videos!

I just got back from the 2018 Koblenz International Guitar Festival.  I met a lot of great people: mostly all amazing players or fellow luthiers from around the world.  I didn't bring my nice camera on the trip but I took some photos with my phone while I was there.  I mostly subsisted on fried potatoes and beer during the trip. That picture of beer, fries and currywurst is indicitave of my diet.  Below are some photos which include:  Pictures of the town, a blurry photo of Fabio Zanon (whom I always enjoy hearing), the ceiling of the symphony hall which I thought looked cool,  Swedish Luthier Heikki Rousu showing off an 11 string guitar, Guitarist Miguel Mandelli checking out my guitars, and a random food cart pod event going on Sunday night where half the carts were American style BBQ and most the trucks had a rock n roll theme with flames painted on the sides!?!

Secondly,  I'm going to try to make videos on a regular basis for my instruments.  Here the 1st video; a performance of "La Paloma" by Sebastian Iradier and performed and arranged by Guitarist Ryan Walsh.  The guitar is a 2018 western red cedar and East Indian Rosewood guitar. This is the 1st video I've uploaded.  More to come later.  

Been a While

Been a While

Shop photos, construction and pictures of finished guitars