Stay in Tune vol #79
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
So where did the summer go? It seems like you close your eyes and turn around and it's fall already. My furnace kicked on the other day and that is a sound I'm not quite ready for.. One thing that I am looking forward to is hunkering down in my shop this winter and producing some awesome new instruments. I have just finished drawing up some models for future builds.
I have a very cool body shape for a mandocello that I have recently fallen in love with. For those of you you are not quite sure what a mandocello is , you should check out a video on youtube that was posted by D'Addario strings of a master player named Mike Marshall. ( http://youtu.be/KAMe9pZwogY).
This instrument has a warming sound that seems to capture tones that can make your belly rumble. There is certain notes that each individual person has a connection with and the tones produced from the mandocello and the cello itself seems to be the ones that talk to me. I once heard it said that the C chord on this instrument seems to “take over the world”, and I have to agree.
I have been finishing up a lot of projects in the past few weeks. One was an old early 30's Kay Kraft guitar that has spent far too long in my shop. I'm sure the customer is even happier than I am to have it finished . It required me to build a complete fingerboard replica to the original. I even improved it by using a grade A ebony fingerboard blank. I had to copy the scale length and inlay patterns on to it. A complete fret job along with some detailed engraving on the inlays were also done. After repairing a few cracks, reglueing some cracked braces, replacing some intricate binding and adjusting everything, I'm glad to say that it plays like a dream. It is so rewarding to bring back a vintage guitar back to it's almost original condition and have it make beautiful music once again. Wow!
Another fun project I have been working on is turning a “toy” ukelele into an actual working instrument. I'm using the original body of the uke which is made out of tin. It's an extremely small body that I 'm building a real neck & fingerboard for it. Sometimes I take that saying “If you can dream it, I can build it” a little too far! But, I have to admit it is one of the funner things that I have done lately. I'm sure that it will be a “show stopper” when people see it.
I have been working on putting a sustainer system into a guitar. This is an electronic “gizmo” that has the capability of making your guitar notes ring with an infinite sustain. It is almost like what an “ebow” does bit it also can change the harmonic too. I's very cool . I have been putting together a series of videos to go along with this repair and hope you all have a chance to see them at www.liamguitars.com.
This project of doing videos have finally given me the kick start that I needed to make more videos on subjects of guitar repair and building. In the not so distant future I hope to have a wide variety of topics to choose from. I know that there are a lot of “how to” videos out there already, but I figure it never hurts to learn a different and possibly better way to do something. I know myself I watch videos of certain techniques and sometimes I will adapt it or try to improve on it. I may have seen a certain jig in use or think of some other application that a procedure might be useful on. Whatever it takes to improve the quality of my work . It's always nice to find a faster way to do things, but if it does not improve the overall quality, I usually don't do it. I often choose the safest way instead. After all, I want to have all of my “didjits” intact so that I 'm able to continue my profession for many years to come.
Patrick from Liam Guitars / Wood-n-Strings