Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In (and out) of the workshop...

Earlier this week I burnished up Julio's guitar and today I will be fitting Alesi tuners, a nut and saddle and then stringing it for the first time. The shellac finish is looking highly polished and I couldn't resist taking this picture. My tools reflect rather nicely as does the lamp and the workshop clock!

I recently paid a visit to David Dyke over in East Sussex. David has been one of the leading musical instrument maker suppliers for many years now, and many makers who have visited his place in Horam will recognise the scene below.

On this visit I was accompanied by Mike Francis who made a guitar with me a few years ago. Mike has recently returned from a year learning guitar making at Newark College, and had all sorts of tales to tell of his guitar making adventures there...

This is David's packing bench. Note the high-tech scales and the rolls of different gauges of fret wire hanging from the ceiling. I was paying a fleeting visit and only needed a few small items, but the next time I visit I will take more pictures as there are always exciting things to see.

The picture above shows a bridge being glued on to a rosewood and spruce guitar that has a story to it. A few months ago I was commissioned to complete this unfinished instrument, the maker having died some time earlier. His friend, who had been left the guitar, wished to have it completed in memory of the maker. I had made an initial assessment of the guitar, but it was only when I was looking at it the following morning that I realised that there was a signature on the endblock and that the guitar maker was Richard Slack. Although I did not know him well, we had met on various occasions over the past 20 years at local guitar events. Richard turned his hand to making many different types of musical instruments (I remember admiring a fine hurdy gurdy he had made) but I think he was best known for his classical guitars. I had seen him last about 5 years ago when I visited his workshop in Worthing.

Completing this guitar has been a thought provoking process and I have taken as much care as I can with this guitar. That Richard will never hear this guitar is a sad thought indeed but I am sure many of us will leave things unfinished or unresolved. I strung it for the first time earlier this week and to my great delight it sounded lovely; no one could be more pleased than me.

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