1.828.658.9795
Handmade & Vintage Instruments: Acoustic Guitars, Classical Guitars & Electric Guitars

Incoming Preston Thompson 000-14BA Custom

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Early in 2015 I had the pleasure of playing my first Preston Thompson guitar. I was mesmerized by the warm and full voice that came out of the small 000 sized body. I remember Al Petteway and I talking about how magical the voice was. The build quality was also perfect in every detail.

I reached out to Preston and asked him to make us a Dream Series instrument. This is something we have only done with approximately eight to ten builders over the years. I very much look forward to seeing and hearing the first of many Thompson guitars. I’m certain our clientele will absolutely love them.

Following are a handful of specs featured on this incoming Dream Series guitar:

Top: Adirondack
Back and Sides: Brazilian Rosewood
Binding: Brazilian w/BW purf
Top Purfling: 42 style Abalone Top Trim
Rosette: Abalone 3-Ring
Back Strip: 45 Style
Tail Wedge: Brazilian w/BW Purf
Neck: Honduran Mahogany
Headstock Binding: Brazilian w/BW Purf
Headstock: Slotted
Neck Binding: Brazilian
Nut width: 1 3/4”
String Spacing: 2 5/16”
Heel Cap: Brazilian

This one is currently available for purchase here at Dream Guitars – Please call the shop for more information 828-658-9795. Following are a few additional early images of this beauty coming together as well:

Dream Guitar Front

Dream Guitar Front-Side

Dream Guitar Back

Dream Guitar Rosette

For more information on this incoming Preston Thompson 000-14BA Custom please call the shop 828-658-9795.

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Restoring Faith In A Holy Grail Guitar

With vintage instruments, there’s simply no telling what patches and pokery you’re going to find under the hood. Good news! Dream Guitars is well-acquainted with those surprises, and we know just what to do when they crop up. Recently, a client and collector came to DG with several obscenely rare Martins, among them a 1931 OM-45 that he was concerned was too quiet. Once Paul Heumiller got his hands on the guitar, his ear told him something was definitely awry. Having played many of the “Holy Grail” Martins for the 20s and 30s, he’d expected to hear a energetic voice with vigorous projection, but this guitar sounded timid, with a bad case of congestion.

Paul immediately suspected that the bridge plate had been modified, and after plumbing the depths of the OM-45 with a flashlight and a mirror, his suspicions were confirmed: glued where the original bridge plate should have been was a massive (over 3″ wide) modified bridge plate! It was probably installed in an effort to combat the tendency of the top to belly up as the string forces enact continual upward stress for years, over-doming the top around the bridge. On the one hand, the girthy bridge plate worked perfectly: this more-than-80-year-old guitar had very little belly to its top, unheard of at its age. On the other hand, the voice was something between a Chevrolet sputtering tailpipe fumes and a cat mewling in the rain, the top’s vibrations were so severely dampened.

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We assured our client that this was a problem that we could handle. Enter: Ken Jones, veteran of instrument restoration, who approached the repair with zeal as he prepared to remove the bridge. However, the situation was about to get more interesting, once the bridge was released. Underneath, where there should have only been a pale, unfinished Spruce top, there was a nasty black patch of Spruce and scaly epoxy. After repeated attempts to steam this patch free proved ineffectual (due to the epoxy’s high heat resistance), Elliot W. took chisel in hand and meticulously pared away the noxious epoxy with “surgical precision and the serenity of spirit that work of this caliber demands,” says Jones, finally releasing the Spruce patch.

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What’s next on the agenda? Ken: “Cleaning up the inside of the top, making a smaller, thinner bridge plate, and using our belly-reducer cauls to further sweet-talk the top back into shape. I have no doubt this will improve the voice of this guitar. This is a really cool, fun, and interesting repair that reminds me why I got into repair work in the first place–keeping these old dogs going because they just sound better and better with age!” In addition to releasing the bridge, releasing the pickguard helped reduce the amount of belly dramatically, making us very confident that this top will settle down and behave beautifully, once we’re finished here.

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Stay tuned as we continue to make good on the original bad repair of this 1931 OM-45! If reading about the magic of instrument restoration strikes your fancy, just you wait: we’ve got more exciting repairs on our bench, and we’re itching to bring you along for a play-by-play.

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Sorry, Folks: This Seat is Taken.

Kim Walker Waiting List Closed Again

A luthier’s ability to succeed depends on a host of factors, not the least of which is their reputation, which can be a precarious thing. They need good tools, the best wood, a perfectionist’s disposition and a jeweler’s eye for detail. They need to be self-motivated, marathon woodworkers—and they need to be able to deliver on their promises. A luthier with a reputation for incomplete builds and exorbitant delays will not be long for the world of fine instruments. If, however, you have a reputation as ironclad and golden as Kim Walker’s, then you might just find yourself with eight years’ worth of builds on the calendar, and what do you do then? Close the book, and get down to business, which is precisely what Walker’s just done—again.

How has Walker achieved such a legendary status? Through years of honing his ears and his hands with an unwavering dedication to lutherie. Starting with George Gruhn and his repair shop, then graduating to Guild’s R&D department and custom shop, before launching his own Walker Guitars label in 1994, Walker has been at the forefront of both vintage restoration and contemporary innovation for his entire career. As such, Walker is one of a very select group of luthiers who successfully straddle the line between traditional and contemporary guitar building, the result of which enables his instruments to appeal to all audiences, from pre-war Martin collectors to the devotees of bleeding-edge luthiers like Steve Klein and Ervin Somogyi. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Walker has felt the need to close his waiting list again, in order to buckle down and dedicate his complete and undivided attention to the guitars already on his bench. Because Kim insists on working alone, he is able to ensure that every aspect of these guitars is 100% an expression of himself and his art. His way isn’t a school’s, or a builder’s with apprentices: this is one man with two hands, premium wood, and a studio space in which to create. 

Given his sterling reputation and master skills, it’s hard to put a price on an instrument of this calibre, and as the opportunities to own one of Kim Walker’s guitars become fewer, the respective worth of any one of his instruments is correspondingly increased. The resale value of a Walker often exceeds the original cost of the instrument (a fact Walker himself notes on his website) because demand is so high: no one wants to get rid of theirs, once they’ve managed to beg, borrow, and steal to get it in their hands in the first place. In the world of high-end guitars, a Walker is worth its weight in gold, and nearly as rare. Will Walker open up his waiting list again? That’s certainly the hope, but who knows just how many years in the future he’s already booked himself: it could be a lifetime in the waiting.

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2003 Walker Guitars SJ in Brazilian / Adirondack

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EVENT CALENDAR

We at Dream Guitars welcome you all to come join us at our Concerts, Guitar Clinics, Setup Saturdays and other events throughout the year. Come visit Dream Guitars and the wonderful Asheville area!

Upcoming Shows:

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David Wilcox &
Peppino D’Agostino
@ Dream Guitars,
Weaverville
July 21, 7pm
Tickets $30
Call 828-658-9795
Al Petteway
@ Isis
Music Hall,
Asheville
August 19, 7pm
Tickets $15
Call 828-575-2737 or
Click Here for More Info
Don Alder
@ Isis
Music Hall,
Asheville
September 8, 6:30pm
Tickets $15
Call 828-575-2737 or
Click Here for More Info

David Wilcox & Peppino D’Agostino
Thursday, July 21st, 7pm

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Tickets $30
Pre-Show Pot Luck @ 6 pm
At Dream Guitars
59 Azalea Dr, Weaverville, NC 28787
Reservations Required
For Tickets Call Dream Guitars 828 658-9795

About David

Cleveland-born David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’, his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others.  In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched.  He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, “Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night.  It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going.  I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me.”

For more information, please visit his website.

About Peppino

Peppino D’Agostino emerged on the acoustic guitar scene in the early 80’s as a leading member of the second wave of the great fingerstylists that helped redefine the instrument in the ’90s. His remarkable technique, penchant for open tunings, and percussive effects are the basis of his unique compositional style which has been inspiring musicians and audiences alike for decades. Add to that his natural warmth, playfulness, and broad musical tastes and you have the recipe for what he calls “minestrone music”. His virtuosity and his emotional charge have also had a significant influence on the younger generation of fingerstyle guitarists. D’Agostino continues to evolve and grow in ways that would have been hard to predict when he first showcased his melodic yet emotionally intense style on the recordings Acoustic Spirit, Close to the Heart, and Every Step of the Way which was named one of the top three acoustic guitar albums of all time by Acoustic Guitar magazine readers.

D’Agostino has performed in more than 30 countries, at prestigious international festivals and has played in some of the world’s most important theaters. He has shared the stage with Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, Laurindo Almeida, Sergio Assad, Larry Carlton, and Eric Johnson, to name a few. His solo recordings include high quality labels such as Favored Nations, Mesa / Bluemoon, and Acoustic Music Records. Recognized as “the guitarist’s guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine and described as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” by the San Diego Reader, D’Agostino was voted Best Acoustic Guitarist by readers of Guitar Player magazine. An active member of the Pacific Guitar Ensemble, Peppino has collaborated and recorded with the classical guitarist David Tanenbaum (chair of the classical guitar at the Conservatory of San Francisco), Jeff Campitelli (considered one of the 100 greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone magazine) and the legendary Paraguayan harpist and violinist Carlos Reyes, among many others.  D’Agostino’s composition “Stammi Vicino,” written with electric guitarist Stef Burns and Italian rock star Vasco Rossi, reached number one in the iTunes rock charts in Italy.

D’Agostino’s simultaneous immersion in the classical guitar and rock worlds, has culminated in his most recent solo recording, Penumbra, a mix of sophisticated yet melodic compositions that are technically complex. Released by Mesa/Bluemoon, Penumbra includes two compositions written for D’Agostino by Latin Grammy Award winner and classical guitar legend Sergio Assad as well as original compositions by three great contemporary classical guitarists: Roland Dyens, Maurizio Colonna and Gyan Riley.  You could arguably say that D’Agostino is the missing link between the Classical and the Acoustic guitar.

Recently Peppino had his very first sold out tour in China and a soundtrack composed for the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

For more information, please visit his website.

Reservations required for this event, please call us at (828) 658-9795.

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Dream Guitars & The Golden Age of Lutherie

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We’ve all heard the phrase “The Golden Age,” which is defined as “the period when a specified art, skill, or activity is at its peak.”[i] Lately the term has been used to describe this epoch in the history of guitar-building (lutherie). From the unique vantage point at Dream Guitars (www.dreamguitars.com), they couldn’t agree more: today we are definitely in the middle of the Golden Age of Lutherie, and Dream Guitars stands at the center of this renaissance.

“I have had the chance to play spectacular examples of instruments from the late 1800s and the first half of the 20th century. Many consider these early guitars to represent the “Holy Grail” of guitars, but I truly feel that the explosion of the independent guitar-maker has challenged this conception. There’s no doubt that some of the pre-war guitars are among the best instruments on the planet today, but now there are dozens of contemporary makers whose instruments rival, and sometimes even surpass, these ‘Holy Grail’ guitars–and their talents continue to improve on the best ideas of yesterday.” – Paul Heumiller, Dream Guitars owner

“We are very proud of our role in these great days of the guitar. From the very beginning, it was a sincere goal of mine to help luthiers market their craft. In the early days as I visited shops and got to know these great people, their passion and artistry captivated me and I wanted to be a part of their success.”- Paul

Dream Guitars has built a platform for luthiers to successfully market their work, which is backed by Dream Guitars’ reputation for expertise and honesty–allowing a maker’s instruments to be seen and heard by people all over the world. “We have been able to help many luthiers to not only find homes for their instruments, but also to increase their prices to provide fair compensation for the years invested in their craft.” -Paul

Like everything in the modern world, easy access to information, including books, videos, symposiums, guitar shows, and training courses has expedited the growth of talent in the guitar-making world. But there’s something more than simply the proliferation of information at play here: something special has happened in the acoustic guitar world in particular. Paul: “Many of the older guitar builders talk of a time not so long ago when everyone guarded their secrets, but they all agree that somewhere along the line everything shifted. In the last 25 years or so, guitar-makers have opened up to each other–and that sharing is, in my opinion, the impetus for our current Golden Age.”

Paul continues, “I get to spend a lot of time with guitar makers at the various showcases around the world, as well as visiting them in their shops. Time and time again, I hear stories of how one builder has advised or inspired another. They speak of each other in reverent tones, each one wanting to raise the bar, but do so with the utmost respect for their contemporaries. They all want to see the craft itself improve, and that’s what’s truly special about what’s going on now in 21st-century guitar building.”

Another obvious trend is this year a number of new guitar-makers are on the scene. There are now hundreds of independent guitar-makers hanging their shingles outside of shops which range from the corner of a basement to 5000 ft.² master shops. As a result, some say the market is flooded with too many new makers. At Dream Guitars, they see both sides. Dream Guitars is constantly approached by new makers wishing to promote their instruments with them. Most of the time, Dream Guitars demos and critiques their instruments and advises possible improvements where they simply haven’t mastered the craft yet. Occasionally a builder shows tremendous promise and Dream Guitars offers to work with them and continue to offer valuable insights along the way so they can blossom. Paul: “One thing I see a lot are makers whose first few guitars look beautiful, but they haven’t yet found their voice. By that I mean they’re building a guitar that is perfectly beautiful and functional but sounds no better than an inexpensive guitar off the rack at any big-box store. They’re missing what I call the ‘White Magic:’ that builder’s unique voice which makes a guitar inspirational. Master Luthier Ervin Somogyi once told me, “The first fifty guitars you’re just gluing wood together.” There’s something to be said for that: it’s the years of experimentation and feedback from great players that keep a builder striving and searching for that intangible something that makes one guitar better than the others.”

This is evinced by the handful of makers whose order books are strained by ten plus year waiting lists, or whose guitars finally fetch a price that’s commensurate with the years of work they’ve put into their craft. These are the instruments that collectors covet and professional players are inspired by. These are the ones that define the Golden Age of Lutherie–the guitars that they will be talking about for the next hundred years.

Dream Guitars was perhaps the first website on the Internet to record every instrument that they offered online. They have now amassed a library of over 5,000 recordings of the finest hand-built instruments in the world. They have also created a Listening Studio which allows anyone to search their library of recordings by a myriad of guitar specifications, and use the recording to educate themselves about various makers, woods and general guitar differences. Dream Guitars has also created video interviews of many of today’s makers, either in their shops or at trade shows. All of this footage is available for free on their website.

Dream Guitars owner Paul Heumiller is one of the premier experts on acoustic instruments. While not an active luthier, Paul has studied guitar-making with Kent Everett of Atlanta, Georgia, and has performed shop repairs at Dream Guitars since the beginning of the company over 18 years ago. Heumiller has also been the only shop owner to be on the board of A.S.I.A., the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. Paul is also a professional musician who has spent many years performing and teaching Fingerstyle guitar. He has been quoted in numerous publications and books. Recently, in 2015, Acoustic Guitar Magazine printed a two-page article, “Dream Weavers,” on Heumiller.

 

[i](http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/golden-age)

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Another Henderson has emerged–The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

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Elle (Jayne) Henderson, daughter of Wayne Henderson, has decided to follow in her father’s footsteps, yet still make her own path. A few years back, Elle decided to take a pause from pursuing a career in environmental law, and instead learn the craft of guitar-making directly from her father.

It is clear that Elle Henderson grew up around guitars and her father Wayne’s workbench. But it’s easy to sense that she has her own dreams and desires for her instruments. Obviously Elle has a massive amount of respect for her father’s legacy, and in some ways wants to preserve that in her own work. However, there is a new twist to Elle’s work propelling her into her own standout brand.

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Inlays on a 2015 EJ Henderson Slope Dreadnought

For instance her love of inlay artwork. Elle sees the guitar as a canvas for expression in a less traditional way than her father might. Her appreciation of the intricacies and detail of inlay work shines through and is clear in the end-product.  As she explains on her blog on Luthier’s Apprentice regarding inlay, “I also enjoy attending to the minute details of shaping a piece just right, first with the saw and then with a tiny file, and I appreciate the challenge of routing a space in which the pearl perfectly fits.”

Elle is also interested in using more sustainable woods – something we are all inspired by. She is striving to use hardwoods such as local Maple and Walnut rather than the more exotic woods. She is aiming to build instruments that provide similar sound and beauty as those boasting a Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, but with fewer environmental impacts.

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Elle (Jayne) Henderson

Interestingly, Elle’s pursuit of learning the craft began from her drive to be closer to her father. We can all relate to this in one way or another. Wayne’s demands of his career made it more difficult for the two of them to spend time together. While there is clearly a lot of love and respect between the two, life got in the way a bit for them to spend the amount of time they may have wanted in earlier years. By making the decision to pause her career in environmental law and become a luthier, she has taken a big step in getting closer to her father. Building guitars has now given them both another chance to spend time together, learn more about each other, and create an amazing legacy that spans generations.

Elle’s passion for learning, her commitment to family, and her drive to create beautiful guitars propels her to protect the family tradition and build upon it. We are very excited to see what new creations will come up out of the next Henderson to join the scene.

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2015 EJ Henderson Slope Dreadnought

We were also very excited to learn that Elle is setting up her shop right here in Asheville, North Carolina just a few miles from us at Dream Guitars: we look forward to a long and close relationship to create some very special instruments together.

Be sure to follow Elle on her blog on Luthier’s Apprentice here

Also, like her Fan page on Facebook here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GUITARS WANTED! SELL YOURS FAST!

We have a long list of clients looking for certain guitars on our Dream Catcher Watchlist. If you have one of the guitars below we may be able to facilitate a quick sale for you. Call us today or contact us online.

Have another high-end guitar for sale that is not listed below? Let us know! Call us today or contact us online.

Immediate Need for a Client:

Medium or Large celluloid thumpicks like the D’Andrea multi colors that Martin Simpson uses. Any brand/color ok, but celluloid with small tip

Preowned Flight Cases – ie Calton, Karura, Hoffee

Banchetti, Paris: All Models
Baranik, Mike: All Models
Bown: OM
Circa (John Slobod): 000
Dudenbostel: All Models
Fender Strat 1950s-60s player condition
Fleta, Ignacio: All Models
Froggy Bottom: Small body, player condition
Gibson: 1958 ES-335 Natural
Gibson: 1958 or ’59 EMS 1235
Henderson, Wayne: All models
Martin: 1926 to 1931. Sizes 0, 00 or 000 (and additional years if 12th fretters only i.e. from 1935 or 1937) 100% original, non-refinished
Martin: Prewar Models
Martin: 000-28, 1928-1931
Martin: Signature Models
Martin: Belleza Nera
Martin: Custom Shop
Martin: 1960s D-35 player grade
Martin: OMM John Renbourn Signature Model
Martin: OM-42 Paul Simon
Matsuda M1, Brazilian
Olson 12-string, Brazilian
Olson: SJ, Brazilian, Cedar, Indian
Olson: Tier 3 James Taylor model with Brazilian
Romero: Banjos, All Models
Santa Cruz Guitar Company: Scott Walker
Smallman, Greg: Classical
Sobell, Stefan: All Models
Somogyi, Ervin: All Models
Tacchi, Andrea: Rosewood and Spruce
Thompson, T.J.: All Models
Veillette: Terz 12-string
Walker, Kim: All Models, particularly 000 or OM, not Brazilian
Whitebook, Mark: All Models

Steel String Guitars:

Circa (John Slobod): All Models
Collings: 00, OM, Dreadnaught
Doolin: All Models
Dyer: Harp Guitars, Style 7 or 8
Franklin: Brazilian OM
Gibson: 1930s-1950s L-00, J-30, J-35, J-45, J-50, AJ
Greenfield, Michael: All Models
Henderson, Wayne: All Models
Laskin, Grit: All Models
Long Scale 00
Martin D-40 Tom Petty
Martin: 1930s Small Bodies
Martin: 1950s Dreadnaughts
Martin: Prewar 0, 00, 000, OMs and Dreadnaughts, All1950s Models
Matsuda, Michihiro: All Models
McCollum: Baritone
Olson, James: All Models
Petros, Bruce: Dream Series
Ryan, Kevin: All Models
Schwartz, Sheldon: Rosewood Oracle
Somogyi, Ervin: All Models
Terraplane: Resonator
Thompson, T.J.: All Models
Walker, Kim: All Models
Wingert, Kathy: All Models

Classical, Flamenco & Crossover Guitars:

Buscarino, John: Cabaret
Cervantes, Alejandro: Crossover
Contreras I: All Models
Dammann: All Models
Dominelli: Classical
Gropp: All Models
Humphrey, Thomas: Millenium, 650mm Scale
McGill, Paul: Super Ace
Nylon String Crossovers, Cutaway, Narrow Nut
Ramirez: 1950s-1960s
Redgate, Jim: All Models
Reyes, Mauel
Ruck, Robert: All Models
Smallman, Greg: All Models
Tacchi, Andrea

Electric Guitars:

Anderson, Tom: Strats and Teles
Beauregard, Mario: Thinline MB or MB-S
Detemple: Strats, Teles
Fender: Vintage Strats & Teles
Gibson: Les Paul Bob Marley Custom Shop
Kay: Vintage Semi-Hollow and Solidbody
Low Wattage Vintage Tube Amps: Princeton Reverb, Champ, Magnatone, Citation, Gibson GA
PRS: McCarty DC245, Glacier Blue
PRS: McCarty with Rosewood Neck (Original Run)
PRS: Modern Eagle with Brazilian Neck, Faded Blue Jean (Original Run)

Archtop Guitars:

D’Aquisto: Original
Gibson: Vintage L-4 or L-5
Gretsch: White Falcon

Bass Guitars:

Airline Bass Guitar

Other:

Nylon String Banjos

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Q&A with Luthier Al Beardsell

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We had the privilege of catching up with renown Canadian luthier, Al Beardsell and asking him a few questions on his building, interests and background. Following were his responses to our questions for him:

Q. What inspired you to begin building guitars?

A. My Dad, his workshop, my brother, Bill Lewis Music, Larrivee and Gurian guitars – probably in that order. My Dad was an amateur furniture maker, so I learned from him that if you want something done a certain way, do it yourself. My brother, who was a serial obsessive, made some guitars in high school, got bored and moved on to beer-making (he’s still a master brewer to this day). I swiped all of his guitar-making books, “borrowed” all his tools and wood, and got started. This brings us to Bill Lewis Music in Vancouver. In the 70’s, Bill had a music store that also supplied instrument building materials, plans and tools.  They also carried handmade guitars by Larrivee and Gurian, which I guess was a defining idea for me that you could actually make these things. This totally blew my mind – something so beautiful to look at and sound so beautiful. I was totally hooked.

Q. What builder(s) do you admire?

A. This is a long list but if I had to shorten it, a few standouts would be Pons, Lacote, Martin, Loar, Mario Macaferri/Selmer, Leo Fender, The Larriveans (Laskin, Manzer , DeJonge, Wren, etal), Collings. Builders who take an existing tradition and recontextualize it into something classic yet contemporary.

Q. How would you describe the voicing in your guitars? How did you find your voice?

A. Hmm, well the voicing is dependent on the needs of the player – a tighter sound, more open or separated notes, maybe more sustain for fingerstyle, maybe a darker sound – all these things are taken into consideration. It’s just years of trial and testing to arrive at where to make stiffer and where to remove stiffness, which woods to use, etc.

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New Beardsell 3GMS/25/27

Q. Can you explain your approach to sound ports? Why do you use two?

A. My approach has always been to offer the player something they may not have heard before – like what the guitar actually sounds like. The sound hole does a few jobs like allowing free air movement in and out of the box, tuning the air mode fundamental by size of aperture, and coupling the reflective and sympathetic sounds of the back with the top. There may be more to it, but these are the parts that I’m mainly interested in. Originally, in order to make the opening large enough to have a similar area as a 4″ soundhole, I split the sideport into two. This had an interesting effect of broadening the areas of the box being monitored and simply enlarging the sound projected. Also, moving the soundhole off the top does reconfigure the structural stiffness of the top. The soundhole does create a loosening of the top that must be counterbalanced by grafts and braces. By reducing this loosening, we can make the top thinner and therefore lighter. The main goal of the sideports in my mind is the acoustic connection made with the player even in amplified situations. Many times I’ve played acoustic shows where all I hear is amplified monitors. This tends to give the player a compressed dynamic range and they will pay accordingly – at top volume always. Having some sense of the instrument’s natural dynamic range will mean the audience will benefit from the player. The size has been reduced over the years to drop the air mode and develop more bass.

Q. What do you enjoy doing outside of building?

A. Curling, yoga, fencing, playing rock, being a dad

Q. What inspires you today?

A. I’ve been very inspired by the local music scene in Winnipeg. A year and a half ago, I opened a new shop (the former Garnet Amp factory) that is open to the public. We do repairs and pickup winding, restorations and, of course, guitar-making.  It’s a very different connection to the people who actually make music than the rarified environment of the luthiery shop.

Q. Where do you think your building style will take you in the next 5 years?

A. I’m looking at using more computer-aided design and control technology. I’m making more archtop electric guitars and pickups, and manouche guitars especially – my first love really.

Q. Which up and coming luthier impresses you the most?

A. There are a few in Winnipeg like Jordan McConnell, but he’s been around a while so he’s no pup!  I’m always amazed by the amount of new talent, all doing very high quality work. My assistant Lucas Roger is going to kick ass any day now.

 

 

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Sneak Peek: Guitars Not Yet on the Website (updated 5/25/16)

Bookmark this page for frequent updates. (Please scroll down for additional guitars.)

Schoenberg Soloist OMC

East Indian Rosewood and Sitka Spruce

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Luthier Leonardo Buendia’s New Shop

As mentioned in a previous post, Leonardo Buendia, one of Ervin Somogyi’s current apprentices and an amazing up and coming builder, is wrapping up his 3 year apprenticeship with Ervin and is moving to his own shop in Oakland, California.

We caught up with Leo and asked him a few questions regarding his new shop.

1) Where will the shop be located? Why did you pick there?

Leo: My new workshop is located in East Oakland.  I was offered the space by Lewis Santer, whom I’ve known for 3 years and who for a long time shared this same space with Michi Matsuda.  Lewis has been in this shop for 10 years and it’s well-equipped and already set up in a very smart way.  It’s a pleasure to be able to work with Lewis, who was also Ervin Somogyi’s shop manager for many years.  The transition is going smoothly – I’m getting back into my rhythm quickly.

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2) How are you configuring your shop? Why will it be configured this way?

Leo: Since everything was already set up for the construction and repair of guitars, I’ve only had to put together two benches–one in the dry room and one in the common space.  In the dry room I’m going to keep all of the wood I will be using for the guitars commissioned for these next few years.  The dry room is also where I will be doing all of the gluing.  I will be using the bench in the common space for shaping, scraping, sanding, etc.

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3) Any sources of inspiration that you can point to in your new shop?

Leo:
Ervin Somogyi’s shop, of course, is a big inspiration for how I would like my shop to look. I love the use of different workstations and I’m emulating that.  It allows my work to be very efficient.  I also took away from my experience at Ervin’s that it’s extremely helpful to have plenty of backstock of blocks, braces, fingerboards, pre-bent sides, pre-bent binding, etc.

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4) Any neat facts about your building process in your new shop that you’d like to share?

Leo: In the near future I will be working on designing a different kind of headstock.  So far I’ve been molding the heads in the style of a classical/Spanish guitar.  In Argentina we play Spanish guitars, so I’ve always liked the headstocks I learned to make with Ervin, which are reminiscent of these. Now that I will have more time for experimentation and designing, I am going to make headstocks with a more modern style, while still avoiding the symmetrical and conventional.  This new design is more like that of my fanned fret guitar.  Another change that’s coming is that in about 6 months I will begin with a new model, the OO.  The big sound that it makes is very surprising given its small body. In fact, it’s the guitar I plan to make for myself.

Click here to learn more about an Incoming Leonardo Buendia OM Build

Click here to watch Paul interview Leo Buendia at this year’s Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival.

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