This past October, 2013 was the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase in Woodstock, NY. I was thrilled to have a table there exhibiting my guitars. I also had LR Baggs pickups and pre-amps and Phil Jones amps for sale. Business was good.
Many people stopped by. It was a flurry of activity and conversation about guitars, pickups and amplification for three days. Many musicians played my guitars too with great enjoyment.
The amazing Vicki Genfan stopped by and played my Cocobolo and vine guitar. That was amazing. She is amazing. More about Vicki and her music here http://vickigenfan.com/
John Sebastian (The Lovin Spoonful ) also stopped by to say hello and pick a quick tune. Very nice of him indeed.
I was lucky to have Frank Sole, a fabulous guitar player and friend help me all three days of the event. Frank entertained visitors to my booth with his great talent and helped sell allot of amps.
Al Petteway stopped by to ask a few questions about my guitars for a moment. Learn more about Al here http://www.alandamy.com/
All in all it was a great event and I was glad to be part of it and hope to do it again next year.
On May 8th., 2013, I held a presentation on how I build my JR Acoustic Guitar at the Central Jersey Woodworkers Associations monthly meeting. http://www.cjwa.org. I was assisted by my friend and right hand man John Grunberg, and Frank Sole’, musician, who helped me set up and video taped the presentation.
My exhibit included six completed guitars, one of which Frank built, guitar bodies under construction, forms, woods, templates, materials, and about 250 images in my powerpoint presentation. I spoke for almost two hours. I am pleased to report the the interest and admiration of the audience was outstanding. I was told by many that it was the most informative and interesting presentation they have have had at their meeting in a long time.
To wrap up the show Frank Sole played finger-style on my recently completed Redwood and Cocobolo guitar to a huge applause. He was great! It was great!
I was very pleased to represent some of the companies who generously provided woods or from whom I purchase parts and materials that I use in my building process.
On May 8th., 2013, I will be showing photos and speaking about how I build acoustic guitars.
The presentation will contain over 200 images highlighting the building process of my acoustic guitars from start to finish, the tools I use, woods, jigs, brace layout and assembly, attaching the back, top and sides together, creating my geometric rosette, making the bridge, bindings, neck forming and shaping, and the basic assembly process that I have documented while making several of my guitars.
This event will be held at the Central Jersey Woodworkers Association Monthly meeting at the Old Brick Reformed Church, 490 Route 520, Marlboro, NJ, in the Church Parish Hall, located behind the church .
I will have some of my completed guitars on display and my friend Frank Sole will play a few tunes on one of my instruments for you listening pleasure. I will also have samples of the woods used in the building process and templates to pass around for review.
I want to thank the sponsors who are my suppliers of the woods and tools I use in the building process and have generously donated materials, tools and templates to help me demonstrate some of the steps used in making guitars. I hope you will contact them for any of your instrument parts and needs.
It has been almost 5 months since I have written a post (sorry for the delay) and about the same amount of time since the 2012 Woodstock Luthiers Invitational that was held at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY . This event would not be possible with it’s creator Baker Rorick.
I had the great pleasure of not only attending and photographing the event, seeing all the beautiful hand-made instruments and meeting their builders, also meeting the tone-wood vendors and buying select woods for some of the instruments I am building, but also hearing all the amazing musicians whom performed on many of those beautiful instruments.
Some of the builders there showing their work.
Aside from being around all those guitars (feeing so in my element) and meeting their builders, an amazing thing happened. I had a chance encounter with John Sebastian (The Lovin Spoonful) himself. While going out to my vehicle I met him and just as a hoot asked him if he would take a look at a Maple Parlor Guitar that I built.
With a smile and without hesitation John followed me to my car and picked up my parlor guitar. For a moment or two he just humored me and picked a few notes. Then his ear moved toward the sound hole followed by his hand reaching into his pocket and pulling out some finger picks began to play. For the next 5 minutes Mr. Sebastian picked out a bluegrass tune and other melodies while we both tapped out feet and smiled. (I was in heaven) Fortunately for me I had a camera around and my friend John Grunberg grabbed a few photos of us together. At the end of his playing he smiled and said to me “beautiful”. My heart soared. What a blast. What a gentleman.
At the event I met some amazing instrument builders, master luthiers and prominent people in the music industry. Ervin Somogyi, Ken Parker, Michael Gurian, Tom Ribbeke, Linda Manzer, Dick Boak of Martin guitar, my friend, teacher and luthier Frank Finocchio, Randy Muth, Machihiro Matsuda and a host of others. My aplolgies to all the other fine builders not mentioned here as that would take up a page in itself.
This was such a great event that anyone who appreciates fine instruments, woodworking, guitars and music should attend. The variety of talent walking around the room is phenominal. You never know who you will run into there.
To sum this all up; What better way is there to hear music than to have great players playing great guitars, mandolins, banjos and violins that were created by some of the finest instrument builders on the planet? There is none. What better was is there to spend a day anywhere? I just dont know. I do know that next year you should put the Woodstock Luthiers Invitational on your calendar for a must-go-to event.
Keeping busy in my shop. Recent ongoings have included a Guild D-40 repair, the completion of a modified drednaught sized guitar and one of my larger sized guitars on my workbench.
I have been making great progress on this Cocobolo and Redwood acoustic. This baby is getting alot of time and alot of handwork.
The bracing on the top and back have been installed , the body has been assembled, the box closed and removed from it’s form. It has been waiting patiently for bindings.
I decided to try my hand at a bit of complex inlay and cut a vine style inlay into the fingerboard. The inlay is gold/white MOP with Abalone leaves and thorns. This is totally experimental and my finl decision wether I will use this on this guitar is still to be made. Although beautiful, it is a bit flashy.
I was playing with combinations of bindings purfling and although I considered a pearl purfling , I decided to stay in line with the guitars earthy feel and use a wood rope purfling with thin strips of black and red wood and a cocobolo binding to match the rosette, with a thin white strip to separate the binding from the sides from the sides.
That’s it for now, more to come soon. Thanks for looking
To make a guitar, any guitar, small, large custom or simple requires lots of little steps. Many processes along the way, the little things that in the end add up to a finished instrument.
This week It began by marking up and making a set of braces.
I like to use templates in this process. I have a set of braces completely made for each of the instrument styles I build. In the photos here you will see a completed set in the background and the marked up pieces of spruce in the foreground. The template braces have the proper radius for the instrument being built. It is a simple step of tracing the braces onto my blanks and a complicated step of re-shaping and duplicating that radius by hand. I do the final scalloping after they are glued to the top or back, but having the basic shape gives me some guidance as to where I want to wind up.