Learn to Kit Build a Guitar. Learn to Scratch Build a Guitar. Learn EVERYTHING Guitars Here!
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 Post subject: Not exactly NEWby
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:29 pm
Posts: 4
Hi all!

I'd like to introduce myself. Howdy!

I know my 'join date' is several years back. I stumbled on to this place, joined and life got in the way! Now that I'm retired... I'm getting into building guitars.

I'm a musician (as are most folks here I suppose?) and I play strings. Been playing guitar for 45 years or so. Started out learning Woody and progressed to Prine and then got bit by the Bluegrass bug. I wasn't a very good flatpicker so I picked up string bass. Played bass for a good 15 years. Then the Scotch/Irish bug bit me and I learned to play New England style fiddle for contra dances. I played for about 20 years on fiddle. I still play backup guitar (sock guitar) for fiddlers.

While playing fiddle I learned a lot about how it's constructed and had a friend who actually built them. I watched and by osmosis learned and eventually had the luck to seriously learn from Juan Mijares in Colorado Springs. He held a class on the 1st Tuesday of each month. There was about 3 or 4 of us attending. We'd pay him $20 each class so it was beneficial for him. Took me 2 years to build at that rate. I have 5 violins under my belt thus far.

I've always 'tinkered' with my guitars, so there's a natural curiosity there. I was a 'tech guy' in real life. Electronics and mechanical technologies.

I always wanted an L5 jazz guitar and figured "They're expensive, why not build one?" so I did! Actually two of them. The 2nd sounds the best - probably because I left too much wood on the 1st (have to revisit that at some point)? They're not much different than carving a fiddle (or cello in this case), so I took a stab at the Benadetto book and plan and 2 yrs later finished #1. #2 didn't take as long. Oh and I could have bought 2 really fine archtops for all the investment in equipment, but it wouldn't have been as much fun!!

What I learned is that building a guitar is WAY harder than a fiddle. There is the binding to perfect and the frets that a violin doesn't have. It takes a long time to get those two done when one would be finished with a violin already.

So, after 'suffering' through 2 archtops I'm now building an OM cutaway! I'm such a glutton for pain!!

I still play guitar for contra dancing (you'll have to look it up). I quit playing violin because I left the Irish band for greener pastures. Actually, it was fortuitous because when I played fiddle the tips of my fingers on both hands had this eczema thing going where the skin would crack and peel. I got really good with a Tefla pad innards and superglue keeping them from bleeding all over the place. I never understood why until after several years later I figured that I was either allergic to the rosin dust (my face was always in a cloud of rosin dust fiddling), or perhaps the aluminum on the strings that rubs off on the fingers...? In any case, thankfully, my fingers are back to 'normal'!! It took nearly 2 years for them to 'repair'....

Not sure if anyone has experienced that sort of thing? I know they make hypoallergenic rosins, but they just don't work like the real deal. Kind of like a carbon fiber guitar doesn't sound like wood??

Anyway, that's my story and it's subject to change as life goes on (and I'm stickin to it!).

I hope I can contribute knowledge along the way, however I think I'm in a brain trust here that supersedes my qualifications!


 Post subject: Re: Not exactly NEWby
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5793
Location: Hegins, Pa
yes allergies hit people different ways. As a machinist I developed allergies to the cutting oils. Took years to get over it
Looking forward to your posts
thanks for sharing

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans

 Post subject: Re: Not exactly NEWby
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:40 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 1133
Welcome! I played guitar in a group for contradances, years ago. A couple of the people in the group were rather good. The rest of us...weren't, but it was a lot of fun, anyway.

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

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