Stay in Tune vol#22
By luthier Patrick Podpadec
I believe that spring has finally sprung. It seems that it came on kinda quick this year. One minute we had a foot of snow and the next week we had 50 degrees and sunshine. Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year. It's the time of new beginnings . The time when new things arrive and and put an end to all the dreariness of the winter cold. It's exciting!
I was hoping to have pictures ready of my new guitar, but I 'm sorry to say that it is not completed as of this writing. It won't be long now though. I just glued the neck to the body and hope to have it in the spray booth in a couple more days. It has been a challenge to have built this guitar in such a short time. I will have logged about 140- 160 hrs in it in about 8 weeks. You have to take in consideration that at least 30 hrs were used up in making forms or setting up jigs for one process or another. Maybe another 20hrs for figuring out all of the design issues and ordering parts and stuff. I've been keeping a fairly accurate log of my everyday activities on the building process and hope to be posting it up soon on my “Liam Guitar” facebook page and my new website at www.wood-n-strings.net. ( please check it out).
The excitement of me participating in this guitar show in Florida is almost overwelming at times. It's been a dream that I've had for ever. I'm mostly excited about meeting all the other luthiers that I've been reading about in all the magazines and web searches that I've looked into. There are so many new styles of playing these days that has brought on a new sense of playability in the guitar world. Which in turn has fostered a whole lot of new technology in the designs and sounds of the new guitars. It has been said that there is no better time than right now to be a luthier. The best guitars in the world are being built as we speak. The project that I'm involved with now “the Sonic Sitka Project” is proof that the industry is trying to come up with better solutions to try to prove that the guitars we build today will sound even better in the years to come. I'm excited to know that a guitar that I built will be tested every year for next 10 to maybe 20 yrs and beyond so that it's “sonic projections” will be monitored and recorded ( by some of the best players in music today) so that the results can be documented ,studied and discussed in many different forums and magazine articles. I believe that “Fingerstyle” magazine is doing live interviews and will be posting concerts of the guitars being played on youtube and on there website. It is very exciting indeed!
Even though building guitars is extremely exciting, I can't forget that my loyalty still lies with the repairing and restorations of the many fine instruments that have already been built. Perhaps they have met some unfortunate demise and just need a little help to get back to making beautiful music again. I'ts because of the many instruments that I've had the pleasure to fix that I've been able to study the many different styles of designs that are available out there. I like to “steal” or I should say “borrow” the designs that I like or make sense to me as a luthier. .One for instance is the idea of individual adjustable saddles for an acoustic guitar. I saw one on a Washburn guitar the other day and said to myself, “ that's a good idea”! I think I already mentioned in another article, ( that's why you should read all of them ) that laminating the soundboard braces with either graphite or denser hardwoods (ebony, rosewood,etc.) to stiffen up the top with less mass is a good way to add sustain without the extra weight. There is a multitude more of cool ideas and new technologies waiting around every corner you go. You just have to be open to the possibilities.
There is a new breed of players out there that are experimenting with the sounds of the “harp” guitar. For those of you not familiar with this legendary style of guitar you should try a visit to a website known as www.harpguitar.net .It is hosted by a tireless curator known as Gregg Minor. He is a master of knowledge on the history and development of the harp guitar. You will find that his website is the leading source of well documented info on the subject anywhere. He also has a good selection of new and used “harp “ type instruments for sale through his website.It's easy to spend hrs looking at all of the many styles of guitars that have been built for hundreds of years and most of them you never knew exsisted.. You can also see a picture of the “Dreamcaster” that I built for Mr. Brian Henke back in 2003.(more on Brian at myspacebrianhenke).
The next article I will share a lot of the highs and lows of my guitar building experience . This week it's all to fresh in my mind, so it's difficult for me to wrap my brain around all that has happened so fast lately I'm just so focused on getting it completed by April 1. So wish me luck and I will do the same for you! Till next time
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings