American Lutherie #128
Spring 2016

This issue’s cover shows a statuette of St. Pancràs in the shop of Gabriel Fleta, a third-generation maker of classical guitars in Barcelona, Spain. That’s a coin that the saint is holding, not a cigar. Maybe you looked at the photo and said, “Hey, St. Pancràs is smoking a stogie!” Close, but no cigar.

Photo by Josep Melo

American Lutherie #128 – Winter 2016

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Considerations in Replicating Vintage Guitars

from his 2014 GAL Convention lecture by Alan Perlman

Perlman runs through a restoration job on a Torres guitar, replacing a side and copying fancy purflings. Then he builds a replica of a Stahl Style 6 flattop. So when you are copying a century-old American guitar, how far do you go in the name of authenticity? Do you match the faded tones of the purfling, or use the nice bright colors that the Larson Brothers liked? Do you let the glue blobs roam free like they did, or get all tidy like a nervous modern maker?

This issue’s cover shows a statuette of St. Pancràs in the shop of Gabriel Fleta, a third-generation maker of classical guitars in Barcelona, Spain. That’s a coin that the saint is holding, not a cigar. Maybe you looked at the photo and said, “Hey, St. Pancràs is smoking a stogie!” Close, but no cigar.

Photo by Josep Mello

American Lutherie #128 – Winter 2016

$12.00$14.00

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Additional information

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The back cover shows a few of the shop’s everyday tools.

Photo by Josep Mello

Meet the Maker: Jeff Manthos

by Pat Megowan

People come to lutherie on many different paths. Some of us were nerdy model-making kids, or spoiled lefty college dropouts. Or maybe the garage band was our gateway into the opium den of guitar making. On the other hand, Jeff Manthos was a helicopter aircrewman and rescue swimmer in the Vietnam era. Then, unexpectedly, he went to the Violinmaking School of America in Salt Lake City. He has made a career of it, first in other shops and now on his own.

CNC in Small-Shop Mandolin Making

from his 2014 GAL Convention workshop by Andrew Mowry

Andrew Mowry was a one-man mandolin-making shop known for precise high-quality work. When he made the jump and brought a small but capable CNC mill into the mix, he was not trying to flood the market, but rather to further improve his work. All the tools and methods he shows here are well within reach; you don’t need to be a factory to afford it, and it won't turn you into a factory if you try it. Mowry still runs a one-man shop known for precise high-quality work.

Meet the Maker: Gabriel Fleta

by Cyndy Burton with Jeff Elliott

His grandfather Ignacio Fleta was a violin maker who started making guitars after repairing instruments by Torres, and his father Gabriel Sr. made guitars for decades as one of the legendary “hijos” of Ignacio who made guitars for Segovia, John Williams, and many others. Gabriel Fleta Jr. has been making guitars since the 1970s and has now inherited the family business. We visit his shop in Barcelona.

A Large New Set of Stiffness Data for Lutherie Woods and a Proposed Standard Test Method

by James Blilie

We all have ideas about the stiffness of brace wood, probably based on a combination of intuition, hearsay, and informal flexing. Blilie aims to accumulate more quantitave data. Here he reports on his latest tests. He also describes his methodology and the reasoning behind it.

In Memoriam: Jim Forderer

by James Westbrook and John Doan

Guild members knew Jim Forderer as the guy who brought an RV full of important antique guitars to the GAL Conventions and let us play them. Disabilities advocates and Neil Young fans knew him as the co-founder of The Bridge School. Sometimes the angels don’t look like angels. Maybe all the time. Read his memoriam.

It Worked for Me

by Terence Warbey, Sjaak Elmendorp, Harry Fleishman, and C.F. Casey

Glue temporary tabs onto your guitar plates to align them during construction. Add a straightedge to your shooting board setup. Turn a rat-tail comb into a string wrangler. Make an adjustably-magnetic screwdriver. Find fretboard dot positions quickly and easily.

Reviews: McDonald’s The Mandolin — A History reviewed by G.D. Armstrong; and O’Brien’s Fret Work

reviewed by John Calkin

Graham McDonald has written books about mandolin-family instrument construction as well as speaking at GAL Conventions and writing for AL. Now he has written a book about mandolin history, and long-time GAL member GD Armstrong likes it. John Calkin gives a good review to a recent addition to Robbie O’Brien’s large and deep online lutherie instruction catalog. This one focuses on Kent Carlos Everett’s fret work techniques.

Questions

edited by R.M. Mottola

What can you tell me about this old French guitar? And what’s the best way to get better at lutherie?