Saturday, August 30, 2014

A quest of tool acquisition.

Tools are expensive, so expensive that I hesitate with everything I buy. On the other hand, most of these tools are a one time buy. That's the goal at least. I am fortunate to have friends who are willing to help me out by handing down tools that no longer require their services. Hopefully I can find more use from them. I got a job that is a means to an end, nothing that I would ever consider a long career stint in. Recently I've been getting many "atta boys" and "how do you like it so fars?" I haven't the heart to tell them that I'm looking for something more relevant to my guitar craft aspirations. I may have found something but only time will tell. If I do get the opportunity, it will mean more tools at a discount. At this point that is better. Even if I take a slight pay cut, it will be worth it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts 7/29/2014

Being bold is one thing, being a narrow minded asshole is another. Today I saw a sticker on the back of a truck that said "Real women drive trucks". This annoyed the hell out of me. People see these things as a strong personal statement about themselves. I think its kinda shitty. What you're saying is that the essence of being a woman and everything that comes along with that, does not exist unless you own some giant gas guzzling truck that will never haul anything or be used in a manner that it is designed to handle. That's what you're saying right? I'm sure if a woman who owns a truck because she lives a lifestyle that requires its utilitarian capabilities, wouldn't want it tainted by some holier than thou sticker that casts a shadow of pre-judgement upon her. I'd like to hope this is true. Why do we feel this need to showboat around and assert a transparent dominance over others based only on the material goods we posses? I figured a civilized society would be able to ignore attempts at shameless peacocking. Putting hateful or self labeling slogans on your cars or trucks that conjure immediate character judgments makes me want to hate you. My car has quite a number of bumper stickers but they're all things I like! I have bands, coffee places, music shops, guitar products, star wars and video games covering my car's rear side. When people see my car they instantly know a whole gang of things I enjoy! I have nothing hateful or anything that's associated with any kind of extreme opinion or hateful organization. My bumper does not patronize you or try to force any sort of opinion on you. If my bumper could talk it'd say "Hey! check these bands out! DEATH TO THE STAR WARS PREQUELS!" ok... so maybe my bumper could have a hateful message, but its something you should hate. Those movies suck rotten goose stool. I guess my point is, If your car is adorned with slogans or pictures that make generalized statements about a race or gender, I dislike you very much and I hope your bumper gets ripped from your car! YAY FOR HATRED!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts 7/22/2014

I've decided to start a thing called Tuesday Thoughts. "Why Tuesday?" you may be thinking. I picked Tuesday because in the world of weekly fads or rituals Tuesday doesn't have much to compete with (with the exception of Taco Tuesday). Monday has that man crush thing, Wednesday has the woman crush thing, Thursday is all about throwbacks and Friday, Saturday and Sunday need no special social day. Everyone is too busy soaking up their free time to bother assigning anything to them. In any case, its Tuesday, and I have thoughts. I've recently been considering my future. After I graduated from school I thought the sky was the limit but soon after I was slowly drowned in a hefty dose of reality. Why I thought my career would just be handed to me on a silver platter is not a question I can answer. I guess I felt that my skills and training would be well sought after, I was a bit wrong. I picked a career path that requires a large amount of time, effort and money. I've found this realization difficult to express to many of my friends and family. This is mainly because most people, through no fault of their own, never consider where all their belongings come from or how they are made. I once told a friend that as far as most people are concerned, guitars just grow on trees, plucked by guitar farmers and are thrown in boxes then shipped to guitar center. The process is very long, labor intensive and requires a keen eye. If you don't like the sound of any of those words and have a crap ton of money, you can dish out a fortune for a CNC machine and a programmer to cut everything out for you. Keep in mind however, that buying all the machinery required to make one by hand is no inexpensive option. My hands hurt when I think about how the luthiers made guitars in the old days. I'm lucky that I live in a more modern time period because I value my limbs. Before I end up going into every detail about how you build a guitar i'll come around to my point. I need opportunity and more experience. The stories I hear or read about guitar builders and techs are often the same. Most start working at some hole in the wall or work under someone more experienced then them. From there, they move onto bigger and brighter things. I want that. I want to ease my way in working for people that have made mistakes, people that have cut their teeth and know what to say when you screw up. I miss the workshop environment. If I try diving into this business head first I'm destined for massive head trauma. Ohio is not proving to be very fruitful for the kind of ambition and quality of workmanship that I'm looking for. There are a few jewels in the bunch but not many. I've had my eyes set on Portland Oregon for years now. Its a wonderful city full of musicians and guitar shops. The people also express such a tremendous amount of appreciation for handcrafted goods made locally. I have family there that I miss very much and thus a decent support network in case I get into a bad situation. Its the promised land as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping to get out there by the beginning of next year. Maybe then I will find what I'm looking for. I'll be back next Tuesday for more thoughts, unless I completely forget. See ya then.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Guitar School Adventures Episode 7: Finish to the finishline.

And on the 7th week I rested....not really. Acoustic bodies got a good wet sanding and we are introduced to another lecture. This one was on finishes. Good thing too because finish work seems to be my weakness. Its not something that is expected to be perfect the first time. I am looking forward to the point in my life where I could get some more practice in. Because finish work is my weakness now I want to turn it into my strength. While I was working on my acoustic a job opening appeared at a place out in Seattle WA. This just happens to be the area of the country that I want to be in. I just sent an email expressing my interest, hopefully I will get a response. Acoustic's neck and bridge are glued on. Next week will be setup and a written test apparently. Until then, stay tuned! -G

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guitar School Adventures Episode 6: That's no moon, its a Les Paul Jr.

One guitar down, one to go! Finished up the electric this week. Had to suffer through much waiting due to the spray room filter fan breaking down. In the mean time we did the wet sanding and final assembly of our electrics. I sprayed my lacquer a bit too thick which was to be expected for my first time spraying. Nothing can really be done unless I sand back to the wood. Perhaps I'll "relic" the guitar once I get good at that sort of thing. My guitar was evaluated by our instructor, I received a 83% or 190/230. I was told my set-up was great, and the burst finish was one of the better ones seen. I only got points out for finish work, which was "par for the course". As soon as I brought the guitar back to the house with me it felt free. It feels like MY guitar now. Even after I was done with my electric the spray room had not been repaired. So I decided to refret my Aria acoustic I brought. I learned several things. The guitar is not special in any way. Its not a good sounding guitar (by most standards). The neck was sprayed with lacquer after assembly which caused a problem when I was cleaning the fret slots. After all the pain, function wise, its a bit better. I still love the guitar. My kids will have it one day. Currently inbetween spraying the acoustics. They should be done by the end of this coming week. We have a 3 day weekend and im making burgers tonight. I deserve a good burger...or two. -G

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guitar School Adventures Episode 5: Super Smash Luthiers Melee.

Starting to get a little stir crazy. Ive been trying to read the Golden Compass and Ive gotten pretty good at minesweeper and spider solitaire. Thats just down time. Week 5 at school started with finish sanding the necks and bodies, leveled out fretboards and installed our fretwire. It was pretty slow, a bunch of waiting around to get people caught up. I made a new saddle for my Aria acoustic (which I found out is actually a 1973, not a 63 as I previously thought) Friday was our instructor Dave's birthday so we had cake and pizza. We were going to try getting into the spray room this week but the filter fan broke which set us back. Hopefully we will be all sprayed up next week. While our acoustics were in the spray room waiting to get coated we were reunited with out electric bodies and necks. Mistakes were made but nothing I could have prevented at my current skill level. I sprayed my lacquer too thick which resulted in some cracks. This is because the top surface dried before the under layers. The escaping moisture on the bottom layer forced the top to open up and split so it could push out. We wet sanded the bodies and necks which made me feel a little better because the lacquer may be thick but it was consistent. I have one continuous crack on my neck that starts from the tuning machine hole and travels aaaallll the way down the side and onto the heel of the neck. I laughed when I saw it. I guess that was a better reaction than pure rage. Removing the tape from the fretboard was a bit of a pain. I chipped out some of the lacquer because I wasnt paying attention the the way I was filing the sides. I guess we can spot fill it but it was still terrifying. I keep forgetting that these are all visual details. My housemate got tired of having no entertainment at the house so he bought a gamecube and super smash bros. I forget how angry that game makes me. I am much better than I was though, which is fun but I cant get too sucked in. I have more important things to worry about than jigglypuff's refusal to do as I command with my master controller. She'll learn eventually. -G

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Guitar School Adventures Episode 4: Find the center line.

4 weeks down, 4 weeks to go. This week was all about the necks. Cutting out the bulk, sanding, shaping, gluing. By Friday our necks were finally united with our bodies. Some mistakes were made, but nothing that was of any concern. Ive been thinking as I use more and more tools how I could apply these tools to my cigarbox building. Ive decided that a dremel and one of the dremel router bases Stewmac sells. I have so many applications for it. From inlays to F-holes I would have a field day! Repairs are key to starting any guitar business. A fact that was demonstrated by Bryan with another round of lectures. He finished the neck set and then decided to fix one of the other student's "drunken casualty" guitar. This guitar was an original Taylor that was smashed. A huge crack ripped around the rosewood sides. Bryan glued it back together. Humpty Dumpty wasnt pretty but he sure as hell was back together again. We returned to our necks and started carving them out. A process that was equally terrifying and fun at the same time. Starting to miss my family and friends back home. Living in a house without Wifi has made me appreciate personal interaction and sharpened my mind a bit. Its funny how much our minds get drawn into technology. (as I sit in a coffee shop with wifi posting a blog to social medias with spotify blasting "Cabo Wabo" by Van Hagar in my ear) We're supposed to be in the spray room by the end of next week, only time will tell! -G