American Lutherie #96
Winter 2008

This issue’s front cover shows Manuel Velázquez at work on a new instrument.

Photo by Alfredo Velázquez

American Lutherie #96 – Winter 2008

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A Life in Lutherie: A Discussion with Manuel Velázquez and His Son Alfredo

with Jeffrey Elliott and Robert Ruck

Manuel Velázquez was an accomplished luthier in America before the Beatles were born. And he had already been building guitars in his native Puerto Rico for over ten years. He is still an active builder, now well into his nineties. Bob Ruck and Jeff Elliott, each a mature master builder in his own right, collaborated with Manuel’s son Alfredo to celebrate Manuel’s career at our 2006 Convention.

This issue’s front cover shows Manuel Velázquez at work on a new instrument.

Photo by Alfredo Velázquez

American Lutherie #96 – Winter 2008

$4.00$5.00

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Our back cover shows Manuel tap-tuning a soundboard in the Florida shop that he shares with his son Alfredo.

Photo by Alfredo Velázquez

Meet the Maker: Kathy Wingert

by Cyndy Burton

Although Kathy Wingert was a guitarist, she didn’t approach guitar making until her kids were grown. Her systematic and committed approach has spelled artistic and business success.

The Jimmi Inlay Experience

Cyndy Burton interviews Jimmi Wingert

Jimmi Wingert’s inlay work graces the instruments of several builders, including her mom Kathy Wingert.

Curtate Cycloid Arching

by Dave Cohen

Ever think it might be a good idea to design the arching of a violin with a Spirograph? Mathematicians think Golden Era Cremonese luthiers might have done something like that by drawing curtate cycloid curves. This article goes deep to give you the geometric lowdown.

The Colombian Andean Bandola

by Luis Alberto Paredes Rodríguez and Manuel Bernal Martínez

The bandola is a 6-course, short-scale traditional instrument of the Andes. Sr. Paredes has accelerated its evolution by giving it a structural harp a la Smallman and developing alto and bass versions to form a family of bandola instruments. Co-Author Bernal plays the bandola bajo in the quartet Perendengue, which was a big hit at the recent GAL Convention. This is a reduced version of GAL Instrument Plan #59.

GAL Instrument Plan #59: Colombian Andean Bandola

Drawn by Luis Alberto Paredes Rodríguez

Reduced plan image appears in article. For more information on the full-scale instrument plan, see GAL Instrument Plan #59.

Meet the Maker: Ted Davis

by James Condino

Ted was an early contributor to GAL publications, instrument plans, and conventions, and even served on the Guild’s Board of Directors in the 1980s. In this interview we discover that his real interest is not lutherie, but vintage car restoration. Who knew? Just before this issue went to press, we learned that Ted had passed away.

A Homemade Magnetic Thickness Gauge

by Alain Bieber

Here’s a fun project: make an accurate thickness gauge out of a couple magnets, some scrap plywood, and an elastic thread.

Uke Making for Guitar Makers

by Bob Gleason

Bob Gleason started out as a guitar maker, but has been just making ukes for years. He gives a few pointers for making the “fleas” with respect and authenticity.

Blind Listening Evaluation of Classical Guitar Soundports

by R.M. Mottola

Imagine you are playing a classic guitar, blindfolded. It has a soundport. Do you think you could tell the difference between having the soundport open or closed? Do you think you could even tell that there was a difference? Reliable methods of collecting such data are well developed. The results of one recent trial may surprise you.

Peg Shapers That You Can Adjust

by David Golber

Typical peg shapers go out of adjustment when you cinch them down. Oh, I hate when it does that! Here’s one that doesn’t.

Inlaid Splices

by John Thayer

Here’s a cool way of inlaying a splice of cross-grain wood to reinforce a soundboard crack, which does not add mass and does not provide a starting place for a new crack. Darn clever, these luthiers.

Google Calculator and the Guitar’s Magic Number

by William Leirer

Google is taking over the world. Now you can throw out your $5 calculator and use the Google command line. A few simple equations reveal all kinds of useful relationships relating to pitch, fret placement, and intonation. This should make it worthwhile to get one of those fancy new phones with the internet on them.

Questions

edited by R.M. Mottola

What other woods are good for fingerboards? Who made the planes used by D’Angelico and D’Aquisto? How do you fit and extended 7th string to a classical guitar?