Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sister Tenor (IW#86)

When I make a thing, I often find it helpful to make it again to work out the kinks.  As it turns out, I only was able to work out a few of the kinks, but repeating the process is always instructive. 

After making the first tenor guitar, I set out to make a sister instrument that used the same dimensions and forms and materials, but that tightened up some of the details.  I made the neck slimmer, enlarged the sound hole, deepened the sound box.  I also strung it with mediums, not lights, and it really has quite a presence.  This has become my go-to guitar, and it has seen a lot of use in the last few months.

The sides and back are chestnut, and I love the bookmatch on the back, I call it "Devil eyes."  A Cuban friend was in my shop not to long ago and he agreed "ojos del Diablo!"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Left Hand Banjo (IW# 85)

A friend out in Colorado asked if I'd make him a banjo, and sent me these really nice bottle caps from the Left Hand Brewing Company.  I do love a good bottle cap, and these were those.  He is one of the best furniture makers htat I know, so I took out a piece of (slightly) flamed maple I had been hoarding for the neck, and used one of my best pie tins.  "Mrs. Robinson's" pies must have been quite thing in their day: you had to pay a deposit on the tin.

I do love these bluesmaster banjos.  They are fun to play, and nothing else sounds quite like them.  Here is this one:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Exploration (IW#84, TG#01)

I suppose it was inevitable:  Eventually I would have to make a "real guitar."  Well, it happened.  Using the classic Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology by William Cumpliano and Jonathan Natelson (as well as leaning heavily on my friend Tom Fay and others for support) I built a guitar.  A real guitar with bent sides and X-braced top and dovetailed neck and the whole shebang.  I learned a lot, and am now smitten with the process.

All of the material in this instrument came form cast-off pianos, so it is chestnut and spruce, but except for a couple of screw holes on the back of the neck it does not read as being made form anything other than wood.  Which flies in the face of what the Instrument Works is meant to be about, but there it is.

So following are a lot of photos of this, the first of what is likely to be at least a few more of these.  It is a tenor guitar, of course, because I don't know how to play 6 strings anymore.  The body is tiny tiny, closer to a Bari uke than a guitar.  This was driven by the available material, though for upcoming instruments that will change.  True to form, I am going to build a second model exactly based on this one to work out the kinks, and then move to other bodies and necks.  Here are a couple of build photos, followed by a video of playing it at two days old. 

And here is how it sounds.  Pretty ok!