American Lutherie #138
Winter 2019

On this issue’s cover we see a flamenco guitar under construction by Mark French in the workshop of Robbie O’Brien. Mark was participating in a class under the direction of Spanish luthier Paco Chorobo.

Photo by Mark French

American Lutherie #138 – Winter 2019

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Tropical Hardwoods: Global Perspectives and Outlook

from his 2017 GAL Convention lecture by Michael Bashkin

Michael Bashkin’s lutherie cred is unimpeachable, and it turns out that he previously had a career in forestry, with years of experience in many places from the tropics, to the temperate zone, to the arctic. So he knows a lot about trees and about wood. How should we feel about using the earth’s dwindling supplies of fine traditional woods to make our wonderful, precious guitars? And will our clients give us less of their wonderful, precious dollars if we don’t? Let’s ask Michael. This fascinating article is based on his 2017 GAL Convention lecture.

On this issue’s cover we see a flamenco guitar under construction by Mark French in the workshop of Robbie O’Brien. Mark was participating in a class under the direction of Spanish luthier Paco Chorobo.

Photo by Mark French

American Lutherie #138 – Winter 2019

$14.00$16.00

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This issue’s back cover we see a student building a ukulele in the shop of Jay Lichty.

Photo by Corrie Woods

Flamenco on the Front Range

by Mark French

Author Mark French is walking the lutherie path in the reverse direction of many makers. As a physics prof trained in the crazy magic of CNC and industrial robot processes, he had made a lot of guitars before he did much in the way of traditional low-tech hand-tool work. As part of an intensive effort to fill in those gaps, he attended an eight-day course at Robbie O’Brien’s shop in Colorado to make a flamenco guitar with Spanish luthier and licensed bloodless toreador Paco Chorobo.

Electric Lap Steel Guitar Creation

by John Calkin

Got a used humbucker, a wall stud, some extruded aluminum, and a couple other odds and ends? Make a lap steel guitar! Author John Calkin likes to get right down to business. There’s nothing precious or over-thought here. Minimum tooling, maximum lutherie fun. This is how Leo Fender got his start, ya know.

GAL Instrument Plan #77: Arcángel Fernández Flamenco Guitar

by Tom Blackshear

Arcángel Fernández, who was a student of Marcelo Barbero, is considered to be one of the best Spanish makers of flamenco guitars in latter half of the twentieth century. This instrument is a blanca, with sides and back of cypress, and has a slotted peghead for tuning machines.

Meet the Maker and the Marketer: Jay Lichty and Corrie Woods

by Steve Denvir

Jay Lichty was late to the lutherie game, having spent a lot of years in a real job building houses as a general contractor. But he’s deep into instrument making now, and finding success with an eclectic line of ukuleles and small guitars. Jay’s wife, Corrie Woods, is the marketing department, working with photography and online media to make the most of Jay’s work at the bench. Together, they are making it work.

Resurrection and Modification of an Inexpensive Old Factory Guitar

by R.M. Mottola

Sometimes when a vintage instrument is being restored, you want to leave a few of the dings and a lttle of the funk, just for authentic flavor. Sometimes you want to leave the big dings and all the funk, and end up with something that is very tasty to a certain sophisticated palate. Mottola takes a century-old beater and ends up with a sweet-playing silk purse disguised as a sow’s ear.

A Bridge to Many Tones

by Harry Fleishman

Harry teams up with the owner of one of his flattop guitars to try some major changes to the bridge and evaluate the results. He reaches conclusions about the relationship between saddle height and bridge beefiness.

Rope Binding

by Graham McDonald

Rope binding uses contrasting wooden lozenges around the outer edge of a guitar, such that when they are rounded over, the binding seems to be twisted like a rope. The effect was popular in the early 20th century on ukuleles and Hawaiian guitars. The author takes us throught the process of slicing and dicing to produce the binding strips.

Simple Neck-to-Body Sanding Jig

by Terence Warbey

If you will attach a neck to a body with bolts rather than a dovetail, you will first want the two pieces to fit tightly at the correct angle. This can be done by a process which is sometimes called flossing; sandpaper is pulled between them while they are pushed together. The author presents a simple jig to facilitate this process.

It Worked for Me

by Fabio Ragghianti, Harry Fleishman, Steve Dickerson, Gregg Miller, Ralf Grammel

A guitar string scrap is the perfect cleaner for a superglue snout; cheap kerfing clamps; make custom spade bits; cheap and easy nut vise; clamp for cinching the binding to the waist of a guitar while you glue it.

Reviews: Orfeo Magazine

by Bryan Johanson

Orfeo Magazine represents a new idea in marketing. It is free online, or you can buy it as gorgeous coffee-table books of collected issues. Either way, it sure is pretty; one man’s lavishly illustrated pilgrimages into the world of the classical guitar.

Questions

edited by R.M. Mottola

What do you do with cupped soundboard sets? Can you chemically age new brass hardware? Can you avoid excessive string tension in a long-scale harp guitar? How do you take the back off a 19th-century guitar?