Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Delivery, A Look Back, and a Look Forward

I finished the guitar on Saturday morning, but Clark was gone all day. I left him a message and waited. I spent the rest of Saturday afternoon cleaning up the shop. By the time I left at 5:30 to go up to church to watch our children's program (the cuteness factor for this was off the charts) I had decided that I probably wouldn't be able to get Clark his guitar that day.

After the program Pam and I went to Home Depot to look at paint colors for Austin's old bedroom. Normally this would be pretty painful for me, but it's going to become my study/guitar room, so I've got more at stake in the decision. I want it to look good, but it's got to have a high guy/low chick factor.

On the way out of Home Depot Clark calls, so I go home, throw the guitar in one of my cases, and head over.

The moment when I open the case and Clark sees it is exceeded only by the moment he holds it in his hand. Which is only exceeded by the moment he first plays it. It's a very cool thing.

He looks happy, doesn't he?

It's cool to remember that we went from this:

To this:

People ask me if it's hard for me to let go of something that I've spent so much time on. Not at all, because I wasn't building for myself. This was always Clark's guitar, never mine.

It's home now.

Anyway, I'm ready to move on--and actually have, to a certain extent. I'm building two guitars at once. There's a lot of setup and take-down to do for different procedures, and once you have things set up, it doesn't take much longer to do it twice than to do it once. SoI'll spend more time actually building the guitar than setting tools and jigs up.

#004 is for my good friend Tim Quigley, and #005 is for Austin. When Austin was a senior in high school and talking about going into the Marines he asked me if I would build him a guitar with the Marine Corps emblem if he made it through boot camp.

I said I would, and he did, so I am. I've already commissioned the emblem to be inlaid in the headstock in white and gold pearl.

These are going to be identical guitars in terms of materials: bearclaw Sitka spruce tops, East Indian Rosewood back and sides, curly maple binding.

The only thing different with be the body: Austin's will be a dreadnought, and Tim chose a mini-jumbo like the #001 I built in Vermont. I actually started working on them while Clark's guitar was at the spray booth. The backs are already braced, sanded, and ready to be glued.

Here they are. Tim's is on the left, Austin's on the right:

If you are interested in having one of my guitars, just shoot me an email and we can talk about body shape, materials, and approximate cost. Understand this: I'm still learning, so it won't be perfect. It will have my name on it, so I won't let it go if it's not very good, but there are other builders out there who have more experience and will build you a high quality instrument that I can't touch right now. On the other hand, they are going to charge you $3000-$10,000.

And that's the other thing: it won't cost you anywhere near that much. Having said that, it won't be cheap. Materials alone will cost $500. That will buy you a really nice 0ff-the-rack guitar these days, and if what you are looking for is a really nice guitar for a few hundred dollars, that is definitely the way to go. People buy custom-built guitars for different reasons.

If you know what those reasons are and want to pursue them with me, let me know. Right now #006 and #007 are spoken for, as well as my first electric guitar, which I reckon I'll number #001E. So that's three guitars after Austin and Tim's.

In other words, it'll be a while. But there's room on the waiting list.

Thanks to everyone for following me on this journey of building Clark's guitar. I probably won't post much about guitar building after this, just periodic updates or reflections. I hope that you'll hang with me for my theological or biblical musings as well as the random bit of, well, randomness.


  1. Many thanks for my Eubanks! It is beautiful with looks and tone! - Clark