Stay in tune vol# 48
By luthier Patrick Podpadec
I have been finishing up a lot of loose ends in the shop lately, trying to get ready to go on a short vacation. My wife, son and I are going on a “camping expedition” . (It sounds better than just going camping). We own a small older camper and enjoy all of that outdoor stuff so we thought fishing, swimming, bike riding and eating outdoors would be a good way to start out my son's summer
I still have many more projects in the works that will be patiently waiting for me when I return. I have just spent some time last week cutting up and dimensioning some wood that I have been collecting over the years to build some guitars with. I found some beautiful flamed Koa wood that I almost forgot that I had . I have enough for one full size guitar and a couple of ukeleles . I also came across some real nice Bubinga (a nice red tone with some fine “ribbon” look to it) I have a very limited amount of Brazilian Rosewood that I would like to use for a very special project too. Along with the many repairs that I am doing I still am desperately trying to build some new instruments. I don't think that I have enough yet.
It always amazes me when I start talking to clients or friends that bring their instruments in to get repaired, the conversation usually turns to how many guitars that people own. In all of the time that I have been repairing instruments (over 25 yrs or so) I have only encountered 2-3 people that have only one instrument. Most of the time people who are avid players have at least three guitars and many times more than that . I personally own over 25 or more instruments. I own 2 cellos , a viola, several violins, 4 mandolins, a psaltry, a zither , a autoharp, a couple of electric basses and a acoustic bass, ukeleles, and a whole %&#load of guitars. I also own more used parts for guitars than you can shake a stick at. Please keep in mind that over half of my instruments need some sort of repair, but just the same, over the years I have been able to snag a few gems along the way.
I'm not sure if you could categorize me as having some sort of “condition” but I know that I'm not alone in this infliction that I have. Not only do I own a lot of instruments, I find myself always wanting to talk about, see, and buy more all the time. I don't ever let this “condition” get in the way of my everyday bills, but when I have a few extra dollars I find myself looking at garage sales and flea markets for any kind musical stuff to either fix or to show off some how. It just makes me feel good! I guess it could be worse (my wife might disagree)., but I feel that since I have finally started making a living from fixing musical instruments, I should be allowed to “rescue” all of the poor misfortunate guitars that have been neglected over the years because they may not play as well as they used to. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I have heard about organizations that rescue animals, certain plants, etc, why not instruments? I actually met a guy a couple of months ago from P.A. That goes around the country and takes his large collection of instruments on tour to different places and sets up what he calls a “Petting Zoo” for his instruments. He takes them to different community centers and libraries and displays them to kids of all ages and demonstrates how they are played and so on. He lets people play them too. What a cool idea!
I'm constantly coming across very cool guitars and other musical instruments that I feel it would be a shame not to tell people about them. You never know, maybe if we get everybody looking we might find that long lost Stradivarius in the attic.
So get out all your instruments and dust them off and get them ready for show and tell . I'll be waiting to hear from you.
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings/ Liam Guitars