The “Church Guitar” completed! Pictures

Posted By on July 26, 2013

I’ve finally made time to post these pictures of the guitar I made for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick.  Troy Bennett of the Bangor Daily News took these pictures in my shop the day I delivered the guitar to its new (and still happy now, months later) owners.

This guitar was made of wood salvaged from pews that were rescued from the church building that burned down.  The back, sides and neck are ash (think baseball bats and Telecasters), and the soundboard is pine from the seat of the pew.

This guitar has a strong, mid-rangey sound, with nice note separation and chime.

UU guitar full frontal

UU guitar full frontal

UU guitar back

UU guitar back

UU guitar iso closeup

UU guitar iso closeup

UU guitar headstock

UU guitar headstock

UU guitar sound port detail

UU guitar sound port detail

UU guitar forearm comfort cut detail

UU guitar forearm comfort cut detail

UU guitar nail inclusion back detail

UU guitar nail inclusion back detail

1931 Martin OM-28 Restoration

Posted By on July 26, 2013

This guitar came to me from a client in Portland in terrible shape: it had numerous badly-done repairs from its past, a gloppy-looking refinishing job (probably urethane, given how hard it was to remove), as well as some replacement pieces — notably the bridge — that didn’t look even remotely original.

My task was to undo the bad, and restore it to playability with some semblance of  original appearance and material.  I refinished it (since the original finish was long, long gone) with French polished shellac, did significant structural repairs on the body, and reset the neck, along with other playability-related and cosmetic repairs.  Here’s the finished instrument:

OM-28 full frontal OM-28 iso OM-28 back OM-28 front OM-28 neck heel OM-28 soundhole det

 

…and after all that, boy, does this guitar sound amazing!

Electric mandolin prototype

Posted By on May 9, 2013

Here’s a picture of an electric mandolin prototype I recently knocked together.  The body is pine, with a curly maple veneer cap.  The neck came off a cadaver instrument  (this is, after all, a prototype).  And the pickup is one that I wound, using a block magnet as its core.  I’m pleased with the sound of it — it’s sweet and usable in a variety of styles.

I based the shape on an old Kay Kraft mandolin.  It’s a shape I like, as it seems to come from the same aesthetic palette as the f-style, but is less ornate.  It’s a classic, American mandolin shape that is less often seen and isn’t trying to be something else (like a scaled-down guitar).

I’d love to make more!

 

Prototype for the electric mandolin.  Now taking orders!

Prototype for the electric mandolin. Now taking orders!

12-fret archtop

Posted By on May 9, 2013

Yes, you read that right — a twelve-fret archtop.  I am making an archtop guitar in the shape of a late-twenties L-1.  The back and sides are mahogany, and the top is Engelmann spruce.   Since the bridge is moved toward the tail of the instrument from where it would usually be located on an archtop, I had to redesign the f-holes.  I kinda like ’em this way.  These are progress pictures, and there will be more to come!

 

The outside of the soundboard.

The outside of the soundboard.

Inner face of soundboard, showing the braces.

Inner face of soundboard, showing the braces.

Inside the back and side assembly, prior to attaching the top.

Inside the back and side assembly, prior to attaching the top.

Clamping the soundboard onto the body.

Clamping the soundboard onto the body.

Body assembled, standing on its own two bench cookies.

Body assembled, standing on its own two bench cookies.

I may have to do another one on this pattern once this one is done.

OM I completed building last fall

Posted By on May 8, 2013

Thought I’d post a few more pictures. This is an OM I built and handed off to its new owner last fall. Engelmann spruce top, beeswing cocobolo back and sides. Enjoy!

Back of the cocobolo OM

Back of the cocobolo OM

 

 

 

 

2012-09-16_15-38-51_859 Headstock of cocobolo OM Full frontal of cocobolo OM

Neck heel detail, showing the hemlock boughs I carved into it.

Neck heel detail, showing the hemlock boughs I carved into it.

 

UUCB Church Guitar now completed! Here’s the BDN story.

Posted By on January 9, 2013

I just completed and delivered the church pew guitar that I built for a fundraiser for rebuilding the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick, Maine.  Troy Bennett of the Bangor Daily News put together this really nice piece on it, with video and a slide show to boot: http://bangordailynews.com/slideshow/new-guitar-rises-from-the-ashes-of-brunswick-church-fire/

It’s been a fun project, and I’ll miss having that guitar around, but it isn’t complete until it’s been released into the world.  Here’s hoping it helps!

Church guitar on UUCB website

Posted By on October 22, 2012

Steve Wellcome has put together a page on the church’s website showing the progress of the guitar I’m building.  Right now it’s in finishing.  Here’s the link: http://www.uubrunswick.org/uucb-guitar.aspx

More pews in the news!

Posted By on October 15, 2012

The Coastal Journal has also done an article on this guitar.  Their new guy, Chris Chase, wrote it, and I think he did it up nicely.  Thanks for the coverage!

http://www.coastaljournal.com/website/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3671:a-guitar-built-with-faith-hope-and-love&catid=58:regional-news&Itemid=100070

-cr

Pews in the news!

Posted By on September 25, 2012

I’m featured in an article and online video in the Bangor Daily news.  This is a guitar that I’m making for our church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick, which burned down last year.  The body and neck are made of ash (like baseball bats and Telecasters), and the top is pine.  I’m hoping to have it ready in time for the annual fundraising auction on November 3.  It’s a long shot at this point, but I’m trying.

Here’s the link:

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/09/24/news/midcoast/pews-unscathed-in-fire-find-new-life-in-bath-luthiers-custom-guitar-to-benefit-church/

 

Neck heel carving

Posted By on August 11, 2011

Maple leaves and whirligigs on the heel of an L-26 I’m building.  I don’t do this sort of carving on every guitar (some folks like the neck to be smooth under the thumb), but I do love to challenge myself in new ways with this sort of thing.  This customer requested a maple leaf design, and left the rest up to me.  I hope he likes it!

In the second photo you can see something that looks sort of like a donut.  That’s the place where a strap button will be put.  I like to build that into the design, so the customer can have the strap button be in the right place without hurting the design.

Bass (player's) side, showing maple leaves.

Center/treble side showing maple whirligigs.

 

Bass side and center view, showing leaves and whirligigs together.