Stay in Tune Vol#19
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
Hello again to al of you Voice fans! We had an extra week between issues so I’ve got a little extra to
talk about. Now all I have to do is remember what I was going to say. Has that ever happened to you?
I am really excited to tell everybody about all the things that have been happening to me since the
beginning of the year. Before the new year my string repair business was operated more so on a part time
basis, due to the fact that my main source of income was generated from me working in the construction
business as drywall hanger, finisher and painter and sometimes carpenter.
I am happy to announce that as of the first of the year I have decided (by a combination of fate and lack of any
other work) to take my Wood-n-Strings repair business to a whole new level! I’m currently working full time
in the shop and am glad to say that in part from some of the loyal readers of the Voice and the many other
musicians out there, I have been very busy. I feel very blessed to be able to have the opportunity to do the
things I am so passionate about. Repairing and building instruments has been a dream of mine since as long
as I can recall. Which sometimes only goes back to lunchtime, but seriously, I want to thank everyone that has
used my repair services or anyone that is thinking about using it. I have a lot of fun fixing instruments.
I have mentioned before about my new guitar projects, but for those who have not heard about it I figure one
more time can’t hurt. I have started to build two guitars for a guitar festival that is to be held in Miami Florida
on April 16-18 http://www.newportguitarfest.com/ Check it out if you have time. The who’s who of guitar
builders will be there. I got a sneak preview of some of the instruments that are going to be displayed, and I
know that I will certainly have my work cut out for me to be able to keep up with the competition. The good
thing is that it is not a competition. It is a gathering of many fine artists and musicians sharing ideas and skills
and I am honored to be a part of this prestigious event.
So far I have got the tops ( both sitka spruce) and the backs (one is Rosewood and the other is walnut ) joined
and thickness sanded to about .095. (that’s about 3/32 thick) I have cut the braces for both of the tops and
have built a 30ft radius “dish plate to help in the sanding and gluing of the braces to the top. I’ve decided to
laminate the main X bracings with a thin strip of rosewood between two strips of spruce as was done by the
Larson Brothers in the 1920’s. For those of you who are not aware of them , they were building many of the
high end guitars ,mandolins and harp guitars along with Gibson and Martin between 1900 and 1940. Many
instruments such as Stahl, Prairie State, Marauder, Dyer and others were built by the Larson brothers. I had
a chance to play one of the harp guitars at a festival in 2006 and have never forgotten the beautiful tone that
it produced. I’m not sure that the laminated braces were the only factor but I feel it certainly is worth a try.
There are other builders experimenting with the idea also with some satisfying results. The theory is that by
laminating the braces they will be stiffer so that they me be reduced in size ,reducing mass which allows the
tops to vibrate more freely. It sounds like it might just work. I’ll let you know how it works out .
I ‘m putting together a website ( along with the help from some friends and relatives) I will be posting pictures
and info on all of my current work.on the guitar projects and repairs that come in the shop. It will be a nice
extension of the things that I talk about in these articles. I hope to have it up and running by the release of the
following Voice issue on the 17th. I’ll keep you posted.
Before I go I would like to make mention of a very worthwhile event that will be coming up on Feb27-28 It
is called “Eric’s Song” and is being held at the Beachland Ballroom. It’s from 7:30 to1:00 on Sat night and
5:00 to 10:00 on Sun afternoon It is a tribute to a dear friend of mine and many others who unfortunately
passed from cancer in 2007 far before his rightful due date. Eric Robertson was a gifted singer /songwriter
who touched many of local souls (you know who you are!). Eric is actually responsible in part for me naming
my new line of guitars (Liam Guitars) We were standing in my shop a few years back and my son came
in and I introduced him to Eric. After I said “this is Liam” ,he turned to me and said, ‘that would be a good
name for a guitar!” And as it turns out he was right! Eric was always very encouraging with anyone’s dreams
and ventures and always willing to help in any way he could. Getting the encouragement on me starting my
repair business many yrs ago from such a talented musician was very helpful to me. There will be many star
studded appearances from locally famed musicians such as the Alan Greene band, Jimmy Black and friends,
Morticia’s Chair, John Solomon, and a all star jam with members of Eric’s band, The Secret . Sunday the
Brick house Blues and many others will grace the stage. Portions of the event will go to Good Intentions
Foundation to help families in need through music and the arts, An organization that Eric formed before he
passed You can purchase tickets through www.beachlandballroom.com. Hope to see you there!
Until next time ,Please Stay in Tune!
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings