Sunday, November 16, 2008

ascthetics & evolution of design


I have been thinking lately about how my tastes have changed since I started out in the early 90's When I built my first guitar at a workshop in Saskatchewan with David Freeman I wanted to build the fanciest, flashiest guitar I could imagine. I chose highly figured woods and wanted to learn all about cutting inlay etc. Recently I was flipping through a magazine and everywhere I looked there were pictures of guitars made out of this exotic figured such & such with custom inlays and new designs etc. I can honestly now say that I am a traditionalist! What I appreciate more than anything are clean lines, great sound, good set-up and clean craftsmanship. A well executed simple design is timeless and will continue to be appreciated more as time goes on. People are really trying to push the envelope with guitar acoustics and design but the results, more often than not are just plain ugly to my eye. I don't think they sound any better either. There is nothing quite like a really well played old guitar, you can see the songs and stories in the ding's and worn finish. I have been lucky enough to work on some real treasures and these are the instruments I learn from. I am currently restoring a 1943 Gibson- southern jumbo that some previous repairman brutalized. I had to replace the top, fingerboard, and bridge as well as refinishing the whole guitar. It had been stripped of its original sunburst and the top was sanded way to thin. Having said that, this is a guitar with stories to tell. I can't wait to string it up next week, just like christmas morning to a 9 yr. old. I will post before & after photo's if I can figure out how.

3 comments:

ElJean Dodge Wilson said...

We enjoyed reading this account of restoring a piece of American musical history. Thanks!

ElJean Dodge Wilson said...

We enjoyed reading this account of restoring a piece of American musical history. Thanks!

John Hayes said...

I think this urge to simplify you writed about often comes as we grow in our art/craft-- I find the same thing true with making music; at one time it was all about finding the most complex chord patterns, etc-- now I love a really straightforward melody & harmony. Good stuff here.