American Lutherie #90
Summer 2007

This issue’s cover shows a Kenny Hill Signature Model guitar. Note the sound port and raised fingerboard.

Photo courtesy of Kenny Hill

This issue is out-of-print.

Mechanical Compliance for Soundboard Optimization

by David Hurd

Guitar and ukulele maker David Hurd spoke at our 2006 GAL Convention about some simple devices he has made for measuring top compliance, with the aim of optimizing tone and structural integrity. Although David uses a lot of math to arrive at his conclusions, he has taken care to make his methods usable by those who may still be recovering from school-age math traumas.

This issue’s cover shows a Kenny Hill Signature Model guitar. Note the sound port and raised fingerboard.

Photo courtesy of Kenny Hill

This issue is out-of-print.

On the back cover we see Kenny at the manual of the mighty Fritts pipe organ in Pacific Lutheran University’s Lagerquist Hall. He surprised and delighted the assembled luthiers at the 2006 GAL Convention by playing a short recital of Bach music.

Photo by Jonathon Peterson

Meet the Maker: Douglas Martin

by Barbara Goldowsky

Doug Martin designs and builds sophisticated rowboats in his day job. But he has recently “made waves” in the violin world with his unusual balsa fiddles. Meet Doug in this issue.

Taylor Today

by Mark French

Bob Taylor has a way of revolutionizing the guitar manufacturing business, and then be the first one to move another step beyond his own boundaries. We take a look at a few of his latest tricks.

This article appears in our anthology book Flattop Guitars.

Build Variation in a Group of Acoustic Guitars

by Mark French and Kendall Brubaker

It’s “hammer time” at Taylor Guitars! Physicist Mark French takes his computerized setup to El Cajon to analyze the variation between guitars made of various woods. So they get it all mounted in the special way-scientific gizmo, and then... whack it with a hammer. No kidding.

This article appears in our anthology book Flattop Guitars.

Meet the Maker: Kenny Hill

by Cyndy Burton

Kenny Hill played the pipe organ in college. He didn’t get interested in the guitar until after he was drafted in the Vietnam era. Then he went to prison. Not as an inmate, but as a guitar making instructor. He has run shops in the USA, Mexico, and China, and now his children have joined the business. Read about his interesting life in this issue.

Construction of the Colombian Tiple

by Anamaría Paredes García and R.M. Mottola

In American Lutherie #82 Luis Alberto Paredes Rodríguez presented a plan of the Colombian tiple, GAL Instrument Plan #51. In this issue watch him build a tiple in a set of step-by-step photos.

Meet the Maker: Mervyn Davis

by Rodney Stedall

Without going into orbit, you can't get much farther from here than South Africa. Yet even there, you find self-taught luthiers doing excellent and boldly experimental work. I guess we must agree with the puppets at Disneyland: It’s a small world after all. Rodney Stedall interviews Mervyn Davis, a luthier with over thirty years of experience.

“Cricket”: A Reclaimed Salvage Recovery

by James Condino

James Condino made a beautiful mandolin to display on Earth Day. It is all made of salvaged wood and materials.

Woodchopper’s Ball

by Bruce Harvie

Bruce Harvie has been in the lutherie wood business for a long time. He’s been there and back, and he's seen it all plus a bag of chips. Wood chips. He gave a slide show of his adventures at the 2004 GAL Convention. We present the short version in American Lutherie #90. So is that Bruce in the photo? Or is it Colonel Sanders? Actually it is the proprietor of a motel that is entirely trimmed out with the wood from one amazing figured redwood log.

Partial Refrets

by John Calkin

John Calkin takes us through a partial refret job.

Product Reviews: Schatten Pickup Winder

by Harry Fleishman

Harry Fleishman reviews the Schatten Pickup Winder. He also tells stories of the bad old days when he walked ten miles to school through the snow, and it was uphill both ways. He likes the winder, and the coil-making supplies that are also available from Stew-Mac.


edited by R.M. Mottola

Our readers have questions. And they also have answers. You can learn a lot in our “Questions” column. The photo shows an 1856 Haynes guitar.

It Worked for Me

by Dan Fobert and Robert Steinegger

Those fret-roller thingies are great for giving your fret wire just the right curve. But if you can't be bothered to turn the little crank for half a minute a couple times a month, this is just what you need: an automatic electric fret roller!

In Memoriam: John Sullivan

by Bruce Harvey

John Sullivan died recently after a too-short career as a maker of mandolins, guitars, harp guitars, and violins. Here’s an affectionate goodbye from his friend Bruce Harvie. Read his memoriam.