Stay in Tune vol# 115
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
Well it's finally Spring. My wife has most of the flowers in and we plan on putting down mulch next week. The grass is green (and needs cutting) the garden is prepped and ready for vegetables and things are looking up. I've said this many times before, but this is my favorite time of the year.
Many new things are starting in the shop for this spring and summer. I have a lot of plans for some expansions to the shop and different work stations and also some ideas of getting into selling some of the inventory of instruments that I have collected over the years. I had sent out a request about a month ago about looking for someone to work with me as an apprentice. I did get an interested person named Carmen that had called me and I'm sending this apology out to him now. Days after we had spoken I had changed over to a new phone and after I activated it I realized that I had no way of getting in touch with this person. I would like to ask if "Carmen" is reading this to please give me a call (440-474-2141) so that I can arrange a new time for us to get together. Again I apologize for not getting back with you, but it is in no way that I was trying to ignore you.
Any rate, I have a boat load of instruments that are good candidates to be torn apart and used for learning purposes. There are some that are "seconds" from the factory and need to be fixed and often completely redone. These type of instruments are good for someone to learn the types of repairs that sometimes come into the shop. It takes a certain amount of evaluation on how you would go about fixing a problem that was done wrong at the factory to begin with. I have seen mandolins that have no bracing in them and fret jobs that I wouldn't hit a dog in the #$^$#& with. Some guitars are not fit to be sold and I can't understand why anyone would try to build something like a musical instrument with so much disregard for the craftsmanship and quality that it takes to play music. It's almost a slap in the face to the musicians that spend the many hours that they do to learn how to play an instrument. The poor people that have run into these type of instruments only get extremely frustrated in trying to play them that sometimes they just give up. I'm on a mission to rid the world of these terrible instruments by trying to teach other "would be" luthiers how to build, and or at least fix them correctly. Please join me in my efforts to do this for the rest of the musical society! Sometimes you can get lucky and just by upgrading the tuners, putting on a new bone nut and adjusting the action you can get these instruments to play pretty good. It is my believe that if you have an instrument that is easy to play that it will also be easy to make it sound good also. I think that many seasoned players would agree with me (at least to a small degree).
I have signed up to be at a few music festivals this year where I plan to do workshops on repair techniques and building processes that I go though on a regular basis. I hope to have a list of festivals posted soon on my website and Facebook so that any interested parties can come and visit me and have a good time listening to music too.
For those of you who are just starting to learn how to play an instrument, whether it be guitar, banjo, mandolin, flute , or whatever, I think that many of the festivals are a good source of learning. Most of the time seasoned musicians that go to these type of events are there to have fun and play with other musicians. If you are patient, most every player I have ever come across would be glad to show you one "lick" or another to get you started along your musical career. Often they will let you "set in" (if your respectful) and teach you any thing you have the ability to learn. It can be a very gratifying experience. It's important to get over the "fear" of playing in front of people. Usually that becomes controllable with time and experience. So many of the good musicians I know have started out just that way. Because of their love of music they have perused every avenue to be able to learn, practice and get better with every time they play. Learning new songs can often give you new perspectives on how you approach or adjust your playing style. It's good to try a different "genre" of music now and then so that you can learn some new chord progressions and timing values. After years of practice you will find that you have a very large bag of musical tricks to be able to draw from. Of course the more you know the more interesting of a player you become. Just to make that statement valid, please give a listen to "Tommy Emanuel" when you get a chance .
Well, again the time has come that all this talk gets me motivated to get in the shop and get something done. My customers are patiently waiting ( God bless them!) Until next time, please stay in your lane and "Stay in Tune".
Keep Smiling !
Patrick from Liam Guitars/ Wood-n-Strings