Last night I had the pleasure to present photographs on my guitar building processes to a group at the NJWA, North Jersey Woodworking Association. I also had Frank Sole, musician, teacher and builder of guitars who performed several pieces, classical, jazz and contemporary for the group.
The NJWA has monthly meetings with demonstrations in a variety of woodworking topics by various presenters. They also have a monthly raffle and share information on woodworking methods, tips, tools, and finishing.
There were about 40 people who attended. One or two who have built a guitar so this was fairly new information for those who have never built an instrument. My presentation was fast paced covering many aspects of the building process and passing around lots of parts and pieces so the folks can get a good sense of guitar construction.
In all the meeting lasted 2.5 hours and I showed about 330 images of the building process. From what I gathered they enjoyed my presentation very much and it was an enjoyable experience for me as well.
If you have an organization or group that would like me to present on this topic please contact me.
This handbuilt guitar “Domino” features a radial soundboard bracing pattern similar the the Kasha Classical guitars. It is built of spruce and Myrtle. The goal was to emphasize the bass and treble response yet because of the Myrtle it has a beautiful midrange appeal as well. To strengthen the torque resistance on the soundboard without over stiffening the top an ebony bridge plate which extends from the cross bar to the sound hole reduces the rotational arcing imposed by the pull of the strings.
The Soundboard is mostly floating and does not attach directly to the transverse brace allowing more vibration across the plate. The neck block is anchored to the transverse brace via ebony dowels. The fingerboard extension is also floating part of the way toward the sound hole.
The bracing drawing
The bridge torque reducer
ready to close
As I built this as an experimental instrument I provided an access port to allow the easy installation of different pickup configurations or microphones placed directly within the instrument for recording purposes. Currently It is outfitted with an LR Baggs Anthem pickup.
This instrument can be seen at the Artisan Guitar Show next month in Harrisburg, PA., April 13 through 15th. 2018
This instrument is a 17 Inch acoustic semi-archtop guitar, 25.5 inch scale length. Named Apollo, this guitar features a fine Sitka soundboard, Curly Claro Walnut body, mahogany neck with an african blackwood fingerboard and head plate with a Gabon Ebony bridge, tailpiece and pick guard. (not shown, these photos were taken during construction phases). The tailpiece uses pins to hold the string ends similar to the Doolin/ Elliot pinless bridges.
The neck has a two-way adjustable truss rod which is accessible by lifting the cover held in place magnetically. The neck is stiffened with carbon fiber bars. The back of the head plate is a curly maple burl veneer. The bracing for the soundboard is an “A frame” design with a cross bar support. The bridge is a fixed height design. The back bracing is a floating system similar to the design of the Kasha classical guitars. The binding is Rosewood with curly maple purfling. The finish is hand applied French polish. The final version will have an ebony pick guard to match the tailpiece and head plate.
I am pleased to tell you about the upcomingArtisan Guitar Show in Harrisburg, Pa.
This show will feature hand-built guitars displayed by their makers. The event will highlight the work of many renowned builders and the amazing instruments they create.
There will be lectures, workshops, masterclasses, exhibitors, historic and vintage guitar collections and special events throughout the weekend.
I am pleased to be exhibiting my instruments there once again. You will find me hiding behind table #58. I will have some special instruments for sale. I will also have my guitars featured in a one hour concert on Sunday by Tim Farrell.
The Dates: Friday, April 13th, through Sunday, April 15th., 2018. The Central Hotel & Conference Center, Harrisburg, PA. https://artisanguitarshow.com
On Saturday, at 8 pm., Livingston Taylor will be performing. Tickets are available.
On Sunday, Tim Farrell, guitarist, performs a one hour concert featuring Rosenblatt Guitars from 12: to 1 PM. Tim Farrell is an amazing musician. http://timfarrellmusic.com
I confess, it has been quite a while since my last post. So lets catch up.
In my last post, June 17, I was getting ready to present at the A.S.I.A Symposium in Stroudsburg, PA. That was a great success. My presentation went off well and my class which was supposed to be 90 minutes long went on for over two hours. Some of the attendees went to other classes in the middle but many stayed on to the end. I was told that it was very interesting. In the presentation I displayed about 300 photographs and processes on guitar building, tools, forms, jigs and steps to help the aspiring luthier.
In the shop I have been busy with all sorts of things. Currently I have completed a Kasha radial braced type steel string guitar. This employs a Kasha bracing pattern with a floating transverse brace and fingerboard extension. The sound board has been enabled to vibrate over its full length and not be impeded by the transverse brace locking it down above the sound hole. This instrument also features a Pinless bridge where the strings are mounted to the top of the instrument. The are hooked on steel posts that are anchored to the top. The bridge is Kasha style in shape but is laminated of Rosewood and Ebony with a fully compensated saddle. The body is Oregon Myrtle (Laurel) finished with french polish. This is a large full bodied amazingly resonant and responsive guitar.
Jay Rosenblatt Luthier
Kasha Bracing on Steel String
Kasha Bracing on Steel String
Rosewood and ebony pinless bridge
Myrtle with French polish
Rosenblatt Guitars Kasha Braced Steel String
Rosenblatt Logo on headstock
Rosewood and ebony pinless bridge
I have also been busy in the shop with a variety of instrument repairs. From inlays to bridge replacements, neck resets on a classic Martin Tenor Guitar and general repairs and set ups. The customer is always pleased to get their instrument playable and right.
Rosenblatt Guitar Workshop
Domino dot inlays
Kasha Braced Steel string in construction
Diamond after build inlays on Customers guitar
Repairing neck joint on tenor guitar
Resetting neck joint on tenor guitar
Conversion righty to lefty on tenor guitar
Replacement bridge on customers guitar
I had a chance to travel a bit. In May I was exhibiting at the LaConner Guitar Festival in LaConner, Washington. That was a hoot. Met so many great builders and people. I also had a chance to get to to the LMI warehouse which by the way you would have to make visiting plans in advance to visit as they don’t usually give tours, but I had a few minutes to look around. I also visited with Tom Ribbeke at his shop. That was great.
Exhibiting at The Laconner Guitar festival, May 2017
Brent McElroy, Sheldon Schwartz and myself at LaConner Guitar Fest.
Woods at the LMI Warehouse
Woods at the LMI Warehouse
Myself with Tom Ribbeke at his shop, August 2017
Well thats it for now. Please check back to see and hear the newest instruments just finishing up.
I have just completed putting together my presentation which includes over 200 photographs and guitar building sequences for my class this Saturday morning at The ASIA Symposium, (The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans).
The Symposium will commence on Wednesday at The Stroudsberg University in East Stroudsberg, PA, and runs through Sunday with classes Thursday through Saturday.
There will be over 35 builders sharing their knowledge, skills and talents with the attendees plus lectures and informational discussions. I am thrilled to be included as a presenter. There will also be vendors selling woods and materials.
My presentation on Saturday Morning titled “The Basics and Beyond” will highlight many topics on building and show several processes using hand tools and small power tools.
You can still register for this event by going to http://asiartisans.org. Anyone who either has a desire to build or learn repair will benefit from this event.
The ASIA Symposiumt and organization are open to the public to join and to attend. The symposium will cover topics on guitar and stringed instrument building, maintenance, repair, inlay, marquetry, finishing, restoration and creation of acoustic instruments. My presentation will be on the basic tools and forms needed to build acoustic guitars and what they do, Saturday Morning, 6/10 from 9:00 to 10:30AM
A host of great presenters and some of the masters or lutherie will be there sharing their knoweledge including; Linda Manzer (Linda Manzer Guitars), John Monteleone (Monteleone Guitars), Dan Erliwine (Stu-Mac), John Hall (Blues Creek), David Nichols (Custom Pearl Inlay), Michael Gurian (Gurian Guitars), Chris Herrod, (Luthiers Mercantile), Matt Laravee and More. A full schedule of classes and presenters can be found on their website http://asiartisans.org/content/.
About two weeks ago I had the pleasure to exhibit at The Artisan Guitar Show. This was put on by John Detrick, promoter. It was held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The show attracted a great gathering of guitars makers and luthiers in many areas of instrument making including acoustics, arch-tops, basses, lap steels, electrics, and included amp makers, vintage guitar resellers and accessory manufacturers.
Instrument exhibitors included Linda Manzer, John Monteleone, Woody Pfiffer, Roger Sadowski, Ervin Somogyi, Lee Garrett, Benoit Levoie, Ken Parker, Peggy White, Michele Pellirin, John Slobod, Brian Galloup, myself, and many many more. The weekend also included discussions and lectures, workshops and concerts.
For me it was an excellent experience. It is a place where I could see the work of these great builders that I so admire and also learn and share ideas with them, when possible and between talking with the attendees who stopped by my booth. It was a pleasure to meet and see all of you there.
For a first show of this type in the Harrisburg area the attendance was pretty good. I met people from Philadelphia, Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Maryland, also many locals who attended.
I look forward to doing it again next year. Thanks John for putting this together for all of us.
An now some of the photo memories.
The future: In June I will be a speaker at the A.S.I.A. Symposium. The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. The A.S.I.A symposium is a bi-yearly gathering of guitar and instrument makers. A place where builders can learn techniques for instrument making. It is a wonderful gathering of great builders sharing their knoweledge. It will be held at The Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, PA, June 7 thru 9th.
My presentation will be called “Basics an beyond”. It will be a photographic presentation on the basic small shop tools that i use to build guitars, the things you will need and the things you can make, forms, jigs, etc, for the beginning builder . Along with that I will show images of my go to tools and various builds including; A basic x-braced guitar, a Weissenborn Lap Steel, the romantic I just built, and the Kasha classical. All geared the new builder to get inspired and try different things.