The Ones I Kept
I thought there might be a little curiousity about the guitars
a 20+ year luthier has decided to keep... hence this page. The
common trait of the 4 below is my standard neck width of 1 7/8".
This neck width has seemed so right to me for so long that I couldn't
imagine that it's not right for many others. I now find playing
on narrower necks difficult.
I felt my number 40 was a major step toward getting the tone and
volume I wanted from a cutaway guitar. This one has a 12 fret
neck with the hybrid style of bracing for silk & bronze strings.
All my subsequent cutaways have been an adaptation of this guitar.
I play it a lot and have had to refret the guitar three times
so far. I have never worn the frets badly enough on any other
guitar to warrant a fret replacement. The guitar was made in 1994.
The excessive fret wear may also be attributed to my much greater
use of string bending and vibrato since I've started looping.
Number 40 has one of the old L.R. Baggs "Micro Duet" sytems with
a piezo pickup and an internal mic. I find the mic useful because
it picks up the occasional percussion I use tapping the guitar
body in various places.
Number 54 is my "digital" guitar. It is also a silk & bronze string
hybrid as is the guitar above but with a 14 fret neck. It is the
guitar I talk about on my "orchestral guitar" page. It has an RMC midi pickup and onboard pre-amp/control
panel installed. The pickup is a piezo type that also sounds pretty
good straight. (without the synth)
|Number 53 actually came about from a shop accident. It started
out to be a larger guitar. The top had already been inlaid with
an abalone rosette but was accidently damaged during the thinning
process. Since the damage was near the edge, I realized that the
piece could be salvaged if I used it for a smaller guitar.
Upon stringing it up, I was rather surprised that it had the volume
and bass of a seemingly larger instrument. For it's small size,
it's fairly deep. Another happy accident was that this guitar
fit quite nicely inside a standard classical guitar case. If I
had continued building, I would have definitely made more of these
sweet little guitars.
||Number 55 is the only archtop I've made. Although I've always
liked the looks of archtops, I've never really cared for the sound
of the ones I've played. After reading Bob Benedetto's excellent
book, I was inspired to build one.
As far as archtops go, this one is pretty small. I used the same
shape as my flattop cutaway models. A couple of deviations I made
from Benedetto's design are- my wider fingerboard and the use
of a saddle in the bridge. Benedetto prefers the sound of non-adjustable
bridges. I came up with the idea of using a saddle ala a flattop-styled
bridge. This would allow some "adjustability" without the use
of any "sound-damping" metal hardware.
This guitar still sounds like an archtop but has a bit more warmth
and sustain than the examples of archtops I've played. I thought
I had better keep this one though I rarely play it..
So there you have it... the guitars I've built and kept. I also
own a couple of guitars that I didn't build. The most notable
being a Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennesean. I bought the electric guitar
in 1967 when I was playing in a high school dance band. I rarely
play it now and keep it mostly out of sentimental reasons. My
very first guitar was a black, single pickup, Montgomery Ward's
Airline electric. It's shape was similar to a Les Paul but you
would never confuse it with one....a very cheaply made guitar.
Nevertheless, if someone knows where I can get one, let me know.
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