Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Time is a valuable commodity at the moment with much going on. The exhibition guitar is now complete and ready for its first coat of polish. The picture above shows the fingerboard being prepared for gluing. Now I take a deep breath and start to polish...
Guitars coming and going at the moment. Louise from Norway dropped by with her 1981 Sakurai for some repair work. On Sunday Iain took delivery of his new cedar/Indian rosewood guitar. I first met Iain 19 years ago when I was working out of my first workshop in Ditchling Road. I did some polishing and fret work on his Spanish made guitar and then out of the blue in 2009 Iain phoned again requesting a few more adjustments and the desire for a new guitar. An inherently musical player, he gets a fabulous sound from the instrument which delights me. He was delighted in turn by the responsiveness and power of this particular instrument.
(Malcolm Maxwell, Florian Vorreiter, Jim Westbrook and David Whiteman)
Another visitor to the workshop this week was Canadian based luthier Florian Vorreiter. Florian had come over to draw FE 18. He didn't have one of his own guitars with him but he showed me some fine looking photographs of his work. It is always interesting to talk to fellow guitar makers and exchange ideas.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa)
A stunning set of cocobolo found its way into my workshop recently thanks to fellow guitar builder, Frank Cousins. Frank started building guitars in my workshop a few years ago and has completed a fine spruce/Maccasar ebony instrument and is well under way with several others. Frank has also been laying down stocks of fine timber for future guitars and recently acquired 2 sets of this spectacular cocobolo, and graciously offered me this one. This is fresh timber and is now slowly drying in my workshop but one day will make a stunning guitar.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The anatomy of a guitar

This was the view of my workbench a few days ago, just before I closed the box on the blackwood/spruce guitar. This is one of 2 strutting systems that I use and it could be seen as half lattice, half fan. I have made good progress with this guitar since the picture was taken; the back is glued on and the guitar is now completely bound. After the weekend I shall fit the neck and complete the fingerboard.
Also nearing completion is the cedar and rosewood guitar which will shortly be burnished up and strung. The Weissgerber restoration is complete save for stringing, but that will happen next week. Earlier on in the week I had a visit from Martin with a couple of guitars of his that needed some adjustment. The weather has been so dry this year and I have heard of a number of humidity related problems recently. Fortunately Martin's instruments only needed some minor action adjustments, but it was good to catch up with someone I hadn't seen for years.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The clamps have been out in force this week, with much progress made on the exhibition guitar. The exhibition in question is the CordeFactum Guitar Festival in Puurs, Belgium in May. I shall post some more details in the very near future. I am very much looking forward to this event as there will be lots of guitar makers there, and there will be much to learn and to be inspired by. I am looking forward to seeing Marc Peirelinke after 20 odd years; Marc and I were students at the London College of Furniture and both of us continue to make guitars professionally.
The workshop is hectic this week. I seem to have used all the tools I possess and progress has been rapid. Today a top largely strutted and a heel carved. Tomorrow the bracing on the top will be completed. For me this is the part of guitar making I love the most, as the delicacy of the struts and the potential of the whole soundboard wholly absorb me.