Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Guitars

All the efforts of the guitar builder, his attention to the shape, the materials, the method of construction, are for the purpose of producing an instrument beautiful to look at and easy to play, but primarily with these quality of tone.

H.E. Hutting II, Guitar Review no. 28, 1965

Today, now that I am 45 years old and have a few miles on the tires, whenever I play another classic guitarist's guitar I look at two things, how well does the guitar play and sound, to me they are one and the same. If it doesn't play well, or easy, as some would put it, why play it, and at the same time if it's voice doesn't make my heart sing it isn't my guitar. I really don't look at the purfling or soundhole rosette, to me, as a player, the construction of the guitar is secondary-the action and sound are all that I care about. Some guitars that I have played have necks that remind me of a Steinway grand piano, stable, playable and yet massive, others are more yielding and intimate. I ask you, what is a "real" guitar suppose to play/sound like?


The HyA is huge next to the Lacote. I followed Courtnall's plans as closely as I could to make a copy of the HyA, the asymetrical (forgive my misspelling!) bracing made alot of sense to me, that is why I had to make a copy. I also hope that the guitar is loud and alluring, a sound that comes from those 1950's and 1960's guitars we baby boomers (yes, I know I am at the very end of that group) grew up hearing on those wonderful LP's of Segovia, Los Romero's, et al, a sophistication (think of Frank Sinatra's singing, Martha Graham's choreography and Dave Brubeck's "atonal" jazz) that doesn't seem to exist anymore.


The HyA is getting trimmed out with ebony binding bordered with BW purfling. I learned today from Roy Underhill's, The Woodwright's Shop, that the French menusisiers called their holdfasts le valet. How appropriate!


The New Workbench

Before any definite work can be done, a bench, or its substitute, must be obtained.

Paul N. Hasluck, The Handyman's Book, 1903

The new shop, with the new work bench already hard at work holding the little Lacote. The timbers that make the stand I milled from recycled lumber, they were original boards and braces on the tank house. Of course, I am sure that my grandfather recycled those from somewhere else. The bench top is from the bench I had in my old shop, it is some ponderosa pine that I felled and milled on our property.

The northwest corner of the shop, a mess as usual. That is a cedar/maple guitar, after Hernandez y Aguado on the tool box. A new tool box is next on my list, I need a larger one to hold all my tools for our move to Yosemite National Park.

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