American Lutherie #89
Spring 2007

This issues cover shows the ingenious peghead of an 11-string harp guitar by Harry Fleishman. Harry explains in this issue why the front edge of the nut is curved. It looks super cool, and it also improves the intonation.
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Mario Martello memoriam In Memoriam: Mario Martello by Richard Johnston
Mario Martello was a busy and well-liked guitar repairman in the San Francisco area for over forty years. Here's an affectionate eulogy by Richard Johnston. Read his memoriam.

End view of machine shop Low-Tech Prototyping Jigs and Methods by Tim Shaw
Tim Shaw used to make prototypes, custom instruments, and artist models for Gibson. Nowadays, he does basically the same thing in his role as Principal Engineer at Fender. He spoke at the 2006 GAL Convention about quickly setting up low-tech tooling for flattop guitar prototypes. Click to see his workshop.

Chris and his son, Jeremy, at the 2006 GAL Convention Meet the Maker: Chris Jenkins by Steve Kinnaird
Chris Jenkins makes his visually distinctive guitars at night. That's because he's busy during the day working as a veterinarian. Here's a “Meet the Maker” interview by fellow Texan Steve Kinnaird. Click to see Chris and his son Jeremy at the 2006 GAL Convention.

Two brass planes made by Ken Altman Making a Brass Plane by Ken Altman from his 2004 Convention workshop
Bowmaker Ken Altman guided several luthiers through the process of making a small brass plane in a hands-on workshop at our 2004 GAL Convention. Here's a step-by-step pictorial of cutting out, soldering, and shaping a lovely and practical tool.

Removing the bridge plate freed two large chips of spruce, leaving a gaping hole in the guitar top Mending a Bomber by John Calkin
John Calkin steps us through the repair of a super-ugly top crack on an older Gibson B-25.

Front view of a Mexican requinto The Trio Romantico and the Requinto by Fred Casey
Fred Casey gives us an intro to the music and structure of the Mexican requinto, the treble member of the guitar family. The article includes a reduced image of GAL Instrument Plan #54.

Dmitry Zhevlakov and his grandfather, Vasilij, inspect a finished rosette in their shop Meet the Maker: Dmitry Zhevlakov by Federico Sheppard
Dmitry Zhevlakov's grandfather began making guitars and specializing in intricate marquetry work after WWII. As old barriers continue to break down, Dmitry is able to sell his guitars and elaborate rosettes to customers in may parts of the world from his small apartment workshop in Tula, Russia.

Brent Benfield's top rim/sides assembly, ready to receive the back Jim Norris' Lattice Bracing by Brent Benfield
Shortly before he passed away, classic guitar pioneer Jim Norris showed Brent Benfield how he built his distinctive lattice-braced guitars. Brent shows us photos of Jim's process, and then moves on to his own interpretation of the design. See a eulogy to Jim Norris by R.E. Brune here. Click to see Brent's version of the braced soundboard.

Front view of a aluminum double bass Aluminum Sonatas: A Brief History of Aluminum String Instruments by James Condino
Did you know that string instruments made entirely or mostly of aluminum have been manufactured for well over a century? James Condino gives us the rundown and takes a detailed look at a violin, a mandolin, and two different makes of double bass.

Optimizing Playing Surface Geometry by R.M. Mottola
Before you ask, I'll go ahead and tell you that it is a computer-generated image of an extremely short-scale cylindrical fretboard which has been filed such that the fret surfaces form a section of a cone. That is, it's a multi-radius fret job on a constant-radius fretboard. R.M. Mottola tells you how, and indeed why, to do it.

Dean Jones drope the weight of a Chanlynn deflection machine on a dreadnought top The Chanlynn Deflection Machine by John Calkin
At Huss & Dalton, they don't measure the tap tones of the soundboards they make. But they do measure the deflection of each and every one. For this purpose they use a professionally machined jig to support the top and apply a constant weight to given point, plus measure the deflection at that point.

Quick and dirty vacuum-clamp using a plastic bag and a recycled pump form a disused refrigerator It Worked for Me by Harry Fleishman, Peter True, Harry Tomita, and Glenn Uhler
Talk about cheap and easy. Here's a clamping device made from a plastic bag and a cast-off refrigerator pump. Just one of five helpful hints in this issue's “It Worked for Me” column.

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