Monday, June 30, 2008

In designing a building, the architect makes sure that its foundation is sufficiently sold to support the weight of the entire structure. Similarly, in learning to play the guitar, the student must first establish the foundation of his technique.

Andres Segovia, preface, The Segovia Technique, 1972

The rosette of a cedar/walnut guitar that I need to complete the finish, I am using an oil varnish.
I recently replaced the fretboard on this guitar, it originally had a Honduran rosewood fretboard, it was very striking, but it is a little softer than ebony and I had a hard time with the frets not holding as well as they should. There were also dead spots only the neck as one played it, I hope that a new fretboard and new frets will correct that issue. The new fretboard is African Ebony, a very nice piece of wood with some mottling that is very characteristic of that species and it added some weight to what was a light guitar.

A new workbench is my latest project, I hope to have photos of that soon and photos of other guitars that I am working on. I am finding in difficult to pursue a hobby with a full-time day job, along with an 11 acre plot of land that demands attention and a 68 year old paper-maiche house, not to mention trying to maintain a blog that I am not sure that anyone really looks at. Ah, doubt. The new workbench is more or less a copy of Carlyle Lynch's woodcarver's bench, the plans that I picked up in the 1990's when I was worked at Hubbell Trading Post NHS. The materials are milled from old pine beams that I salvaged from the tank house that my grandfather built back in the 1940's, wonderfully seasoned and pitchy. I figured that since I was going to re-use the pine workbench top that was in my old shop, why not build the entire bench out of pine. The plans for the work bench are still available and can be purchased from www.toolsforwoodworking.com.

Please complete the poll on the right hand side of my blog and let me know what is most important to you when purchasing a new guitar!

I plan on auctioning one of my cedar/mahogany guitars on this blog this summer and put the money towards the purchase of a band saw. It is a great guitar and needs to be in the hands of someone who plays alot. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Review

Making musical instruments is a most satisfying art and, as a reaction to our mechanical age perhaps, many people are eager to learn once more the old skills which gave handmade instruments their special value.

Charles Ford, Making Musical Instruments, 1979


Remember this guitar from an older post? It's guitar #1, based upon an Martinez from the early 1800's, and it went to a musician friend of mine in Arkansas. He received it this past Friday and I received this email from him-

I was off work this afternoon but came in at the close of business to see if the Martinez had arrived. it had, so I brought the packing case home, opened it and oh my goodness.

All was well--no evidence of any damage from its trip. and it is a little gem.

I've played it for a couple of hours tonight and am way impressed so far. Action and balance are superb and the shape just asks to be held onto and played a little longer. it feels tight enough (loud when pressed but not "boomy") so that it will probably respond well to using a transducer (another wedding gig seems likely towards the end of summer.)

Scale a hair longer than the Richter, so is a shade more comfortable for me (less finger-crowding).

very handsome wood

and it just wants to be played some more.

gotta go.

more soon,

dave

It does my heart good to hear such wonderful praise.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Sunday

I know that I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.

Georgia O"Keefe, a letter to William Milliken, April 1937


A maple bridge for the Lacote. I made 2 out of padauk, but the handle bars kept breaking, and since this is a "concept guitar" for me, I figured I might as well go for broke and pull out some maple. This wood is not as brittle as padauk.

I had a good allergy attack this morning, something in the air got me going and spent most of the afternoon sleeping in the Lazy Boy, antihistimines can knock me out.

I received plans for a Barbero flamenco guitar and a Rodriguez guitar from GAL this week, I am very excited to start work on a Barbero-style flamenco guitar. I found it very interesting that the Barbero plantilla is almost exactly the same as the Hernandez y Aguado plantilla.

For those of you who haven't discovered Ottmar Liebert, a wonderful flamenco/world/Santa Fe guitarist, check out his website and especially his diary. The website for his diary is

www.lunanegra.com/www/diaryset.html

Eighteen years ago, my friend Andrea Gunderson, www.andreagunderson.com, a wonderful artist who just placed first at the Mendocino Art Center juried exhibition, loaned me a copy of Liebert's Nouveau Flamenco I have been listening to him ever since. Do check out Andrea's website.

Trout for dinner.

All Wood Double Top Classical Guitar

  Double top , or composite top, classical guitars are all the rage these days, especially among young guitarists and I decided that I would...