Stay in tune vol#80
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
I'm looking out the window and I see that about 90% of the leaves in the neighborhood have fallen off of the trees and I think that the wind we had last week have pushed them all into my yard. I guess I'll just call my neighbors and tell them to come by and get their leaves. At least I was able to pack away most of the lawn “ornaments” and take down the Gazebo before all of the nasty rain and wind we had last week.
In the last article I had talked about a lot of the things that I had been doing and this week will be an extension of that. I have gotten three calls in the past week from customers that are interested in having me build them guitars. One of the instruments is a ukelele, a harp guitar and I will be building a dreadnaught style guitar that will be raffled off at the Riverside Music Festival in Cambridge Springs Pennsylvania on April 20th of 2013. This will be a very fun event that no one should miss, so put it on your calender and we'll see you there.
I'm very excited about building some new projects. When I first started repairing guitars it was my goal to eventually start building instruments. Well I think that the time is right and the interest from customers that have seen my work is finally starting to blossom into what I have always dreamed of.
Of course this will mean that I will have to by a few new things for the shop, which is okay. with me because I love adding stuff to the shop. Just give me a reason to buy some new tools and I'm there. Possibly a few new routers, some more clamps,finishing supplies, and to stock up on new wood, fret wire, strings, etc.
Another good thing about building new things is that I get to go through my shop and rediscover all of the things that I already purchased for projects that I have either passed by or have forgotten about. I already have a good selection of wood that could be used for many instruments if I were to go through it and designate it to particular projects. I went up in my attic space above my shop the other day and found a whole stack of quartersawn black cherry that I had been saving for at least ten yrs. It was like Christmas to me. The cool thing is that this wood is from a tree that I had cut down in my yard and now it has cured and is stable enough to produce instruments out of it. I think that will give the instrument a little bit more character knowing that it was built from wood that came from Madison Ohio. (at least for someone from Madison).
I think the other thing that gets me so excited about the building process is the fact of designing the instrument. There are plenty of pre made blueprints that are commercially available for almost every different instrument out there, but I find it much more exhilarating to try to design a better one. To me that is where most of the fun is. To come up with some new idea or even “revamp” an old idea and reuse it somehow in a design is very cool. I have seen many great ideas that other luthiers have come up with in the past, but for one reason or another it never caught on because it wasn't very practicable to mass produce or the design was too intricate for a certain instrument. (some things work well on one type of guitar, but not on another.) I'm somewhat of a traditionalist, but I do have a side of me that wants to experiment with the unknown. I'm not afraid to try something out of the ordinary. I believe that new instrument designs could very well produce musicians with avenues of new playing styles that could take music as we know it to a whole new level. I know that sounds a little “futuristic”, but who knows?
The main thing with me is that I would love to do anything I could to help musicians keep on playing the wonderful music that has inspired me to take on this profession in the first place. To be able to make any kind of a living from it would be a bonus. I have always had a interest in becoming a good player myself, but for me personally it would take far more practice than I have the time for to become the player that I inspire to be. I find it much more rewarding to be able to produce or repair the instruments for others that have the “God” given talent or that is willing to put the dedicated time into becoming a quality musician.
I'm always searching for ways to to make sure that we all can all “Stay in Tune”. Doing things like refretting guitars or replacing plastic nuts and saddles with bone or even changing an old set of strings can make a huge difference in tone and playability that can help in being able to play an instrument in tune. Of course many instruments come by the tragic fate of destruction by way of neglect, misuse or even by accident, but I am here to take care of those poor unfortunate instruments that need to have their voices heard by the masses.
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings / Liam Guitars