Stay in Tune vol#67
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I seem to get wrapped up in all of the excitement and don't know whether I'm coming or going. I've been trying to step in a different direction with the “Repair” part of the business. I have decided to start selling hand picked guitars and mandolins from a local distributor. I have the opportunity to hand select these instruments and then bring them back to my shop and do my magic to them. I start by giving them the full inspection and a complete over haul. I take each new instrument and level, crown and re-dress the frets. I then sometimes either rework the nut or if it is not to my liking, I will replace it with a bone nut. I also do the same to the saddle. The strings are replaced with a fresh set of phos/bronze strings and the action and playability of these instruments are superb. I am able to sell these inexpensive instruments at a great savings to the public. You cannot find a better playing guitar or mandolin in the music stores for the price that I can offer these for. I can guarantee the playability is above the average and they make great starter instruments for all you new music lovers. I am currently adding them to my website http://liamguitars.ecwid.com as I am able to purchase them. So if you are just starting out or know someone who is, this could be what your looking for. I am also adding some other instrument accessories such as straps, tuners, cases and various other parts for stringed instruments.
For those of you who might like to add something or change some little thing about your instrument to somehow personalize it to your liking, I will be trying to offer that service to my customers as well.
Speaking of personalizing your instrument, I am offering a special on inlay work thru May. You get a full 20% discount on any inlay . A typical small fret dot can cost as little as $8.00 each. The a full “block' style inlay in pearl can cost as little as $20.00 ea. With many inlay designs there can be fret removal and replacement involved but I 'm comitted to working with each design so that the the customer is getting the best value for the dollar. There are many different types of inlay material that can be used and prices can be controlled by this factor. Some other things to consider is the complexity of the inlay. Certain “font styles” are easier to create than others. A simple “ Arial” scrypt is easier than “Old English” for example. I have even taken a picture of a customer's dog and was able to recreate the image with different materials and inlayed the picture on the headstock of the guitar. It turned out beautifully. The sky is the limit when selecting or designing inlays. Its only bound by the imagination (and of course sometimes by the wallet).
In the last issue of the Voice I spoke about performing some workshops at some local music festivals. One of the workshops is “Bending Sides”. This has spawned me to dive into my “wood stash” to see what I had available to use as demonstration pieces. Of course every time a look at my wood I start thinking of all the instruments that I have been dreaming about building or creating. Next thing you know I'm drawing a picture of some new model of a guitar or a mandolin or some crazy spin off of something or other. This time I have come with a different style of mandolin. It's a bit larger and would be more appropriately labeled as a “mandola”. With a scale length of around 17” I believe it will produce a tone that is not heard in most traditional style music. I'm hoping the trend will take off.
Anyway , I've decided to start a new project with the new design and unique selection of woods that I have been collecting for years for such an idea. The nice thing is that I have a good amount of wood that is dimensioned just a little too small for a full size guitar and I had to come up with some sort of design that would be good for the size wood that I have available. And that is how new ideas are born!.
I also recently had a customer walk into my shop and inquire about building him a “Harp Guitar”. This to me is the ultimate challenge when building an instrument. In 2003 I was lucky enough to build the “Dreamcaster” for my good friend Brian Henke. That project was by far the most exilerating thing I have accomplished to date ( besides marrying my wife and raising my son ! ) I look forward to having the opportunity to build another harp style guitar. This one would be like the “Sullivan / Elliot style harp guitar that is best known from being played by Mr. John Doan. The guitar has 6 Bass strings and a bank of 13 treble strings located on the lower bout. Soooo cool!. I always seem to go after the odd or unusual projects. I guess it is from my odd and unusual personality? I never wanted to be tied down to having to build the same type of guitar all of the time. I guess by building the unusual ones it guarantees me that reality. It also might limit my guitar production but that is ok for now considering all of the repairs that I am performing . I feel very blessed to be doing the things that make me happy and I thank all of you that helps make that happen. So next time your guitar breaks just remember you could be helping someone (me) out by letting repairing it for you So till next time, please stay on track, stay in your lane, and make sure you Stay in Tune!
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings / Liam Guitars