Volume # - 79 What's New

Written by Patrick Podpadec on . Posted in Northcoast Voice

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 also been buying and fixing up some relatively new instruments that have been slightly damaged at the distributor’s warehouse or during shipping. Some of the instruments have little or no visible damage to them Sometimes a bridge on a mandolin gets destroyed or the tailpiece may be damaged or scratched and the distributor cannot sell them . I come in and buy what I feel is a solid instrument and I am able to repair or replace what is needed and then sell them at reduced prices for any one looking for a good starter instrument or possibly a Christmas or birthday present for a new musician.. I currently have a few in the shop , such as an Acoustic Fret-less Bass, a very nice A style mandolin with a gig bag, a brand new guitar ( I still can't find what was wrong with this one), a brand new lap steel dobro with a hardshell case, a viola, etc. Anyone interested can give me a call at 440-474-2141 or contact me by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. One more great little guitar worth mentioning is a real Gibson Les Paul Special with a solid mahogany body , rosewood fingerboard, excellent condition and playing perfectly for the low price of only $600.00.

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.

So, if your out there trying to improve your instruments' sound or playability and you run across a snag, or just want to ask a few questions ( all answers are free of charge! Even the wrong ones) just free feel to call me at 440-474-2141 or email me a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And by all means, Please “Stay in Tune”!

Thanks Again!

Patrick from Liam Guitars / Wood-n-Strings