Stay in Tune vol# 24
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
Wow! I just got back from Florida ,where I was participating in a guitar show as a exhibitor at the Newport Guitar Festival. It was awesome! I have never been in a room with so many talented woodworking geniuses. It was a dream come true for me.
Table after table, row after row, guitar after guitar, one cooler than the last one ,Then another cool design and then another spectacular wood species, then, “Wow!” “Look at that”. I couldn't seem to get enough pictures .
I met a “boat load” of people and came home with a full head of new ideas . It's so much fun to see all of the new designs and the new technologies that are available to the new age luthiers. One interesting product that I was introduced to was a new type of inlay material called “GemLam”. It's actually precious gem stones, such as
opals and other rare fossilized ammolite. The process is that the thinly sliced gem (about .010 thousands thick )
is laminated between layers of thin polymers and adhesives ( about .030 thick) This material is easily sanded and shaped and is scratch resistant , solvent resistant and polishes to a high gloss finish. It is absolutely beautiful. It is a bit expensive, but the look you can achieve is like no other commercially available product that I have ever seen. It truly will bring a new look to the inlays of the future It is a new process and is expanding
it's product development as we speak . I hope to be using it in my guitars very soon.
I also saw and played three or four different guitars that had completely new bracing designs. That sounded very good. One of the designs was developed by a luthier named Brent Brunner from Switzerland. Phil Keaggy is one of the owners of his new design . He was playing it two tables away from mine. It was very inspiring to
watch, listen, and participate in this event of “high end” luthiers. There were many great guitar players playing
a lot of great guitars.
There was also another very large ballroom where all of the electric guitars, and vintage guitars and fancy amplifiers where setup in. I saw vintage Fender “strats” for 35,000 dollars and D'Angelico archtop guitars for 50,000 dollars. I know it sounds crazy but there was all kinds of very cool stuff, like axe shaped basses and guitars made from bamboo and composite made guitars to ones that had computer generated video displays playing in the guitar to the music that was being played. Yea, it was wild! Cool art deco style guitars from J Backlund guitar designs. (check him out on the web)were just one of the many attractions there.
I was very lucky to have had a very good response to my creations also. I was able to take the “Dreamcaster” (built for Brian Henke) and the “Fish” (built for Alex Bevan) Thanks! To those guys for loaning me back the guitars for display at my booth. They both got a lot of looks and and were photographed to be published in a upcoming boo k about handmade guitars, I also got very high marks from a great guitar player named Peter Farber from Florida., on my “Sonic Sitka guitar that I made for the show.( I named it ,the “Maverick”, after Bret Maverick from the t.v. show “Gunsmoke”) I was lucky enough to have Peter demo my guitar on two different occasions through out the show.
There was about 30 to 35 “Sonic Sitka” guitars there with many different styles and shapes. There is a website that is hosting posts from many of the luthiers that were involved with the Sonic project . If you want to know more about it please go to guitarbench.com and read it.
There was another 15 or 20 guitars that were being displayed in the “Blue Guitar Project” The only criteria is that the guitar is “blue” in color. The designs and shapes are endless. I will be posting pictures and wall posts on my facebook page and my Liam guitar facebook page so that anyone that is interested can see some of the cool things that is becoming available to all of the, would be, the wanna be ,and the will be, guitar virtousos out there.
Well after any great vacation ther is the harsh reality of the very much needed work that has to be done now that I'm back in town. At least I will never run out of things to write about.. I must go now and start reviewing all of the cool brochures and promo materials that I collected at the show. For those of you guitar nuts out there that have never visited a good guitar show, I highly recommend you do so as soon as you see the next one in your favorite magazine. I will sure to be posting any of them that I here about in this article and on my website and facebook page. Until then , please “Stay in Tune” and don't forget to change them strings!
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings