My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

The post My Guitar Journey Part 2 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 2

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

My first custom guitar order came about in an interesting and unexpected way. One of my very good friends knew a local musician who wanted to get a custom guitar (he wanted a Martin-style tenor guitar with a cutaway). He had contacted some of the big guitar companies, but couldn’t find anybody who would build it for him to his specifications. He came over to my house to check out my guitar. He told me what he wanted and asked if I could make it. I reminded him that I had built only the one guitar, but the guitar he wanted didn’t seem that complex—so I felt confident that I could do it. He asked me my price, and I told him. I then said that I’d need about half down up front to buy materials. He took out a handful of $100 bills and dropped them on the coffee table, and said, “Is that close enough”? Suddenly I had my first order (and my first panic attack). It’s one thing to casually make a guitar for yourself, but quite another to have the responsibility to make one that someone will pay for, and show around and play around town.  I needed a plan.  First, I had to order a set of plans for an “O” size tenor guitar, and design how a cutaway would go into the plan. I had to make a workboard for the guitar (I used Bill Cumpiano’s method-instead of making a mold). I then carefully dove into the construction—very similar in a lot of ways to the guitar I had just built for myself—only simpler without the sharp cutaway and the multi-piece back. As I got further into the construction, I realized that this was really fun, and some of the panic became excitement to see the finished product.

At around the same time, a friend at work heard that I was building guitars, and he ordered a custom Strat-style solid body. All of a sudden, I had two orders. I had never thought about this becoming a business. However, l began to develop an inkling into its possibility. From that point, I further educated myself on guitar building. I bought a couple of books on electric guitar wiring diagrams (you can see the wiring harness for the Strat below), and started expanding the tools in my shop. I also had to learn how to put a stain on a guitar. A lot of experimenting went into this step.

My effort paid off, as both guitars turned out great.  Please see the photos below. I’ve lost track of the tenor guitar over the years, but my friend is still playing the Strat, which he brought over to show me about a year ago, just before I moved from Phoenix to Southern California.

Following the completion of those guitars, I continued to do repairs and a couple more custom instruments before I had an opportunity to take a giant leap in my guitarmaking. From that point forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do…Stay tuned…more to come…

Scan01a Scan02a Scan03a Scan06a Scan04a Scan05a

How My Guitar Journey Began

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

I get asked quite often, how I began building guitars. It’s been an interesting journey with this year marking my 25th year, I thought it would be fun to share how I got started…

It was 1988, and I was a design engineer and project leader at Intel Corp. I had always loved playing the guitar, as well as collecting, but at that time with raising a family and working, I hadn’t touched my guitar much for a couple of years. I decided I needed to start playing the guitar again, so I bought a nice classical guitar, started taking lessons, and really enjoyed it.

After a few months, the bridge on my new classical started to lift, so I took it to a local place in Phoenix to get it fixed. Well, they messed up the job, and the guitar looked terrible. I decided that without any real experience, I could do better than that. I fixed the job they did, and started working on some old beater guitars, and started doing some simple repairs for friends. I bought every book on guitar repair that I could find, and started buying some tools, and putting a shop together in my garage.

Eventually, around early 1989, I decided to build a guitar, so I bought Bill Cumpiano and Jonathan Natleson’s book: Guitarmaking Tradition and Technology, and got started. I decided to buy some inexpensive pieces of cherry from a local hobby shop, and a piece of sitka spruce for the top. The cherry boards were 3/32” thick, 2” wide, and 24” long. I designed a guitar that would let me use these small boards. It was a small body guitar-almost travel size, with a multi-piece back (seven pieces). I put together a pipe bender, with a blowtorch for heat, and after setting my shirt on fire at one point, got the sides bent. I measured the fret spacing by hand, painstakingly sawed each of the fret slots, and eventually got the guitar done.

I was very proud of this guitar. It wasn’t perfect, but it played well, and I showed it to a lot of friends and that’s how I got my first order. The Guitar is shown below—the top, the multi-piece back, and my first attempt at inlay—my logo: GSL guitars. I definitely went a little crazy with the design (especially for a first guitar)—the cutaway, multi piece back, wood bindings, and a bound headstock.

IMG_2357IMG_2359IMG_2360

The post How My Guitar Journey Began appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post How My Guitar Journey Began appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.