2006 G.A.L. Convention
Overview | Presenters | Music | Exhibition | Auction | Miscellaneous | Open House | Staff & Helpers

Now we are getting to the fun part: the GAL Benefit Auction! Here at the preview we see quite a large donation of cellos by Hammond Ashley Associates.

Steve Kinnaird got some wood donated by Ervin Somogyi at the silent portion of the auction. He is scampering off, quick like a bunny, to the cashier so he can get back in time for more bargains.
At the live auction, Harry Fleishman brought a crew of his alumni up on stage to testify to the value of his guitar making course. Must have worked. The course was successfuly bid for by Natalie Swango of Luthiers Mercantile.
The crowd is jovial, but also ready to pounce on a bargain. Our staff auctioneer, Kurt, gives each bidder a nickname. This year they included Original Beardo, Mean Guy, Renaissance Man, Pretty Lady, and Alaskan Madman.
Duane Heilman donates an instrumenat made of a Spam can each time: it’s a tradition. This year’s model was special. It is made of a Spam With Cheese can! Chris Herrod was the lucky bidder. Duane says that missing this year’s convention was more painful than the kidney stones that kept him home.
And speaking of tradition, “The Little Man” was back from Ohio where he spent two years with Don MacRostie of Stewart-MacDonald and gained a lovely dial indicator. And now he is on his way to Alaska with lucky bidder John Mickelson (auction nickname Alaskan Madman).
The Duke of Pearl found something he liked at the auction: Jay Hargreaves’ snazzy hand-painted shoes. They weren’t for sale, but he can dream, can’t he?
Auction Party
by Bon Henderson
After four days crammed with lutherie learning action, what's left to do on Saturday night? Party and buy stuff at our fun fest of frantic bidding hilarity, all for the benefit of the good ol’ GAL!

For the fourth convention in a row we called upon GAL staff blabbermouth Kurt Kendall to facilitate the auction fun. And fun is the word, as Mr. Kendall tries to auction off stuff he has no idea about, while giving the bidders weird nicknames such as Original Beardo, Mean Guy, Renaissance Man, Pretty Lady, and Alaskan Madman. It’s a laugh-riot that has become a highly anticipated convention tradition.

Another important tradition involves GAL good-guy Fred Carlson. Fred makes the most amazing woodcut banners for the stage backdrop in Lagerquist Hall where our lectures and concerts are held. He is two conventions into a three-convention project to make a complete whimsical luthiers' alphabet of banners. At the end of each convention he generously donates the banners to the benefit auction. As each letter comes up for auction, Fred will read an original poem about the letter of the alphabet he’s depicted. The banners are used to promote the convention, for beautiful backdrops, and their sales chalk up a tidy monetary donation for the Guild. It’s the triple crown of donations! Thanks Fred.

There’s another Fred that has been a major auction donor since our very first auction in 1984, and he hasn’t been to a convention in years! This time Fred Lyman donated well over a hundred chisels. Nice to know those tools will go on making fine instruments for years to come. The only way to make these donations better would be for Fred to show up at the convention in person!

Another generous donor who unfortunately had to stay home this year is Duane Heilman. He was all set to join us, but at the last minute his doctor stepped in and put a stop to the fun. (We’re happy to report that Duane is well again.) Even though Duane couldn’t make it to the auction, one of his instruments did. He is the maker of the hilarious and prized Spam collection, simple instruments with bodies made from Spam cans. This year's model was created with a Spam With Cheese can. Would that be the Spam “Royale with cheese?” Movie quotes aside, this year a lucky Chris Herrod took home the prized Duane Heilman instrument.

And speaking of treasured traditions, there’s nothing more traditional to the GAL auction than “The Little Man”. As most know by now, “The Little Man” was a clay figure donation from David Freeman that was somehow dropped and broken to bits back in 1990. Instead of throwing this unfortunate donation item in the garbage, it was auctioned off by John Jordan to a laughing Fred Campbell, using spare-change donations from the audience. From there started the tradition of adding to “The Little Man” and then donating him back to the next auction. In these last sixteen years, “The Little Man” has traveled to California to be attached to a plaque; to Michigan to get a MOP star background; back to his homeland of Canada for a new amp; down south to Texas where he exchanged his electric guitar for a lute; to Grass Valley, California for a new top hat familiar to his hostess, The Duchess of Pearl. His last vacation stop was Athens, Ohio where he stayed with Don MacRostie and acquired a new dial indicator. We hope “The Little Man” has some little long johns because he’s headed north to Alaska with John Mickelson. Brrrr.

Once again three lutherie schools came through in a big way, generously donating unique learning experiences to our auction. These special donations not only provide large proceeds to our benefit auction, but they also promote the Guild's primary goal of information sharing. It was a treat to see Harry Fleishman bring his enthusiastic former students to the stage as he personally auctioned off his Luthiers School International course. GAL boosters from Canadian schools were also major donors: a week long course was donated by the Summit Guitar Making School in British Columbia, and our old friend David Freeman donated a full 7-week course at his Timeless Instruments school in Saskatchewan!

This year’s auction included one big surprise for our own Deb Olsen from the GAL staff, for the great job she’s done all these years. In case you don’t know it, Deb single-handedly put the “organize” into the GAL organization. Staffer Jon Peterson spied a bright red, woman’s high school letter jacket with the name “Debbie” beautifully emblazed on the back at a local thrift store. The jacket’s original “Debbie” had lettered, not in some sport, but in art! Jon purchased the jacket and had the Guild logo sewed on by his wife Ruth (who is also Tim Olsen's sister). The staffers lined up on stage and called for the unsuspecting Deb, who was busy cashing-out one of the bidders and wanted no part of the hijinks. Finally she was dragged up to the stage and the hilarious and fitting tribute was presented.

In a event fraught with traditions, the biggest Guild auction tradition is that everyone gets great bargains, laughs a lot, and has a blast, all for the benefit of the good ol’ GAL! Thanks to all the generous donors, we set an all-time record for auction revenue, over $18,500. Now that’s a tradition!

2006 GAL Benefit Auction Donors
Allied Lutherie/Todd Taggart: Panama rosewood set, lacewood set, cocobolo setBrady Anderson: fretwireHammond Ashley Associates: 31 cello bodies (some necks), cello posts, strapsBrent Benfield: bone blankDave Bertoncini: mandolin necks, fretboard blanks, tailpieceAlan Bieber: Les Luthistes bookPaul Bristow: electric sitarGéza Burghardt: hand-carved European maple and spruce wood chips from double bassChris Burt: pine billets for mandolin carving practiceFred Carlson: 32 original hand-colored woodcut bannersJames Condino: orbital sanderDuke of Pearl/Chuck Erikson: Guitarmaker’s Canvas bookDynamic Hardwoods/Launie Gratto: SE Asian rosewood setJeffrey Elliott: telescoping mirror and magnet set, 2 inspection lights and inspection mirror set, 5 fret files and truss rod, scratch stock, 2 banjo heads, 3 handscrew kits, 3 case holders, swivel knife sharpener, bass string sets, jointer plane, draw plane, drill, 4 Hauser plan t-shirtsPete Estes: book Manual of Guitar Technology, 5 guitar books, 2 violin- and cello-making books, books American Guitars and The Guitar Book, 6 dulcimer books, 8 lutherie books, 3 acoustic books, 12 American Lutherie back issues, DeVilbiss sprayer, regulator, and instructionsExotic Woods Co/Gulab Gidwani: 3 ebony fingerboards, 2 Madagascar kingwood fingerboards Ron Fernandez: French polishing and violin-bow rehairing DVDs, Fustero Deluxe guitar tunersCraig Finnegan: scraper sharpenerJames Flynn: Building the Balalaika bookGilmer Wood Co: Amboyna burl, camphor burlYvonne Hargreaves: gourmet cookiesDuane Heilman: Spamdolin, 2 fret filesHigh Mountain Tonewood Co/Shane Neifer: 2 sets AAA spruce, 2 sets master-grade spruce, fret slotting bladeHibdon Hardwoods: koa set, lacewood setStephen Kinnaird: handmade luthier’s knife set in caseDavid Kirchmeir: 3 classical soundboards, OptivisorSaul Koll (aka Luas Llok): custom made Harvey Thomas replica electric guitar, fingerboard blanks, truss rodsBob Laughlin: Modern Luthier video, Irish bouzouki planLuthiers Mercantile International: Macassar ebony sets, cocobolo sets, brass hide glue pot with warmer, quilted bubinga sets, AAA Adirondack spruce, Mickelson Iboney pin and end pin set, curly cedar set, flamed redwood top, koa humbucker ring, African blackwood fingerboard, Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology bookLuthiers School International/Harry Fleishman: hands-on guitarmaking courseLuthiertool Co/Chris Klumper: binding cutterFred Lyman: 18 Swiss-made gouges, 13 Henry Taylor gouges, 6 Cornell palm gouges, 28 small gouges, 6 palm gouges, 79 more gougesDon MacRostie: “The Little Man”Lloyd Marsden: dado bladeGraham McDonald: The Bouzouki Book • Phil Morris: 2 koa/koa ukulele sets, koa/Sitka ukulele set, koa/cedar ukulele setNew Violin Family Association: 12 new violin family CDs, 6 plans New Violin Family instrumentsNorthwest Specialty Woods/Frank Andy Johnson: 6 Sitka spruce guitar sets, Sitka spruce violin and viola blanksNotable Woods/Bruce Creps: AAAAA walnut set, AAA koa baritone setRalph Novak: Overholtzer dreadnought mold, '70s era Guitar Player magazines and misc. catalogsIsaac Olsen: original GAL staff caricature drawingsRescue Pearl/JoAnn Tompkins: pearl, abalone and Teflon strips and dotsNick Robison Family: collection of wood species samplesJosé Romanillos: book featuring José Romanillos signed by himRobert Ruck: European maple back, 7 1/2 western red cedar sets, 7 German and Swiss spruce sets, flamenco CDErvin Somogyi: 12 rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) setsGary Southwell: World Cup soccer shirtStewart MacDonald: fretting tool set; aluminum radius sanding beams; Waverly tuners with nickel and ivoroid knobs; 3 fret-slotting templates; AA to master Sitka topwood; AA, AAA, and AAAA Engelmann topwood; mahogany, rosewood, curly maple, and walnut sets; neck blanks; Jaws 1 & 2; Erlewine neck jig with accessories; AA to master cedar topwood; fret scale rules; Dragon rasps; nut-making tool setSummit School/Sigmund Johannessen and Mike Jarvis: 1 week trainingTimeless Instruments/David Freeman: 7-week acoustic guitar construction course, 4 sets bearclaw spruce, 2 sets AAA spruce, 2 sets AA spruce, maple and agoya head veneersJim Westbrook: book Guitars through the Ages, signed by author Jim WestbrookJeffrey Yong: 2 amboyna guitar sets, Maylaysian blackwood head veneer.

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