American Lutherie #120
Winter 2014

On this issue’s cover shows the interior of Catalan luthier Josep Melo’s acoustic flattop guitar, made of lovely figured bird’s-eye maple. The body shape and the bracing reflect the influence of Steve Klein, his friend and one of the luthiers featured in Josep’s book, Following the Masters.

Photo by Josep Melo

American Lutherie #120 – Winter 2014

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The Business of Doing Business

from his 2014 GAL Convention workshop by Evan Gluck

Evan Gluck is doing just great as a one-man guitar repair operation, working out of his apartment in New York City. He has some simple and effective ideas about promotion and customer relations that really hit the spot with his audience at the recent 2014 GAL Convention.

On this issue’s cover shows the interior of Catalan luthier Josep Melo’s acoustic flattop guitar, made of lovely figured bird’s-eye maple. The body shape and the bracing reflect the influence of Steve Klein, his friend and one of the luthiers featured in Josep’s book, Following the Masters.

Photo by Josep Melo

American Lutherie #120 – Winter 2014

$8.00$10.00

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The back cover montage shows Josep’s new workshop. Josep designed and built his ideal workspace in keeping with principles of Catalan architecture, which always maximizes the use and effect of light. That’s Jeff Elliott in the back pouring over some of the most gorgeous wood he’s ever seen.

Photo by Cyndy Burton

Meet the Maker: Josep Melo

by Mónica Esparza

Melo has been making guitars since the ’60s. In the ’90s he began to seek out and collaborate with the makers whose work he found the most inspiring. He published a gorgeous coffee-table book about it called Following the Masters. His deepest collaboration has been with fellow Spaniard José Romanillos. Ironically, they met at the 1995 GAL Convention in Tacoma. So there’s a life lesson for you, kids. You gotta attend the GAL Convention. Just sayin’.

Eight Days to a Dream

by David Smith

David Smith is a guitarist and lutenist who has wanted to make guitars and lutes for decades. But he was distracted by school, career, family, and stuff like that. His self-starting lutherie adventures never took off. Recently he signed up for an eight-day one-on-one session with lutherie teacher Robbie O’Brien, and finally got that guitar built.

Meet the Maker: Jayson Bowerman

by Tom Harper

Many of us in the Lutherie Boom generation started as pre-teen modelmakers or would-be wood crafters. Not Jayson Bowerman. He was studying manufacturing processes in college when he did his first woodworking in a shop class. Soon he was doing R&D at Breedlove.

Making Matching Templates

by Jayson Bowerman

Bowerman steps us through the process of making an exactly-matching outside template from an existing inside template. The process is useful for making body molds and side-bending jigs from half-patterns.

Building the Tanbour

by Nasser Shirazi

Mr. Shirazi has given us articles and plans about other instruments used in Persian classical music in the past. He adds to the collection with GAL Instrument Plan #69, the Tambour, a long-necked lute with three thin steel strings.

GAL Instrument Plan #69: Tanbour

Drawn by Nasser Shirazi

Reduced plan image appears in article. For more information on the full-scale instrument plan, see GAL Instrument Plan #69.

Ukulele Neck Pocket Joints

by Jerry Hoffman

Hoffman’s ukes look like their necks have no heels. They do, he says, but the heels are just on the inside of the body. He gives us a detailed look at building two different styles.

The Birth of the Tenor Lap Steel

by David Schneider

Keep it simple. Sketch an outline on a piece of butcher paper. Go down to the Home depot and get a few boards of that pink stuff that they call “mahogany.” Saw it up, bend it freehand, glue it onto blocks. Pretty soon you have a lap steel, no forms, jigs, or patterns needed.

Product Reviews

by Eron Harding

Techy gizmos soon go from being cutting-edge miracles to being commodified trinkets, and that can bring the price down like crazy. Harding ordered a cheap borescope from Amazon. The crazy thing doesn’t even have a brand name on it. But the bang per buck is hard to beat.

It Worked for Me

by Tom Harper, Jack E. Johnston, Greg Nelson, and Len Laviolette

Harper makes a downdraft table for a drill press sanding drum. Johnston hangs a speaker from a suction cup, and makes a special clipboard for sandpaper. Nelson makes a handle for sanding the bottom of a guitar bridge. Laviolette makes classic guitar arm rests from scrap.

Questions

edited by R.M. Mottola

How do I get vinegar stains out of wood? Shall I use a plain string or a wound one? How do I keep French Polish from imprinting? Where is all the red spruce coming from? How do I cut accurate slots for classical guitar sides? Do the different top wood species really have their own sound?