Left-handed complement?

I made a custom guitar for Jake Carlon in Pullman WA. Jake came to Blaine last summer to meet me and look at my shop and some of my woods. He expressed a couple of preferences then. First and most important, he plays lefty. Second, he wanted a Torres FE5 body. Third, he loved the Movingui that I had for back and sides. So I made him a guitar. He is a rare player in that he plays guitar with the strings reversed – Left Handed. Most guitars are optimized for fretting with the left hand and plucking with the right hand (right handed). Setting up a guitar for a lefty player enables them to play easily and in tune. Here’s what Jake wrote about his new guitar.

Steve,
After spending some time for a few days with "Luz" I have to say this is incredible. This is one of the finest instruments I've ever owned/ played.
The Movingui looks absolutely stunning and goes so well with the Spruce, very handsome pairing. Overall aestetics are really tasteful and fun. The dark purfling and rosette is a wonderful contrast to the light color of the main body.

The tone is waking up more and more every time I go to play it and I can hear the harmonics and fundamental so clearly and the overall sound is incredibly clear. The whole register has a nice bold voice, and the top end really sparkles and doesn't become muted like other guitars sometimes do in the extremes of the registers. In comparison, my Cordoba sounds and feels so muddy and clumsy (guess that's what you get for buying a low end factory-made classical). 

Playability is perfect. Action is right and the slightly larger frets really make fretting and vibrato easier than the smaller standard frets. The smaller body size of the instrument is also great, easier to rest my arm on while playing and I don't feel like I'm losing circulation.

You definitely made a lot of my colleagues jealous when I brought it to school earlier lol. 
I want to say thank you for such incredible work and for making a real piece of art. I'm very glad I chose you to realize my new instrument.
Best, 
Jake

I made a short video with pictures of Luz, played by Jake… He also wrote the tune!

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The passing of Jose Luis Romanillos

I met Jose Romanillos in 1996 at a meeting of the Guild of American Luthiers in Tacoma. I was immediately intrigued with his approach to making guitars. In particular, the way he worked the top with a wooden plane, and measured flexibility with his hands. His process of assembling pieces of the guitar was distinctly different from any other that I knew of. He was sure about what he believed about guitars, but he recognized that there were other valid approaches… just not for him.

In 2004 I jumped at the chance to build a guitar in Spain with Jose, his son Liam, and Gerhard Oldiges. I learned a lot in the Romanillos workshop, and the model based on Jose’s design has become one of several designs I build. The Romanillos design is sort of a “touchstone”, a reliable base to which I return, often interspersed with trying some new fangled approach. 🙂

I have a picture of myself with Jose, but I like the following one. It shows a person who was gentle and enjoying and sharing their work. My sincere condolences are with his family and friends.

Jose having a laugh

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Blast from the past… 8 string guitar offered – used

I get emails from Elderly Instruments in Lansing Michigan. They have a guitar which I built a while ago. Here’s a screen dump of a part of the listing.

You can find more information about the instrument at the link below.

This was the first guitar with 8 strings I made. April 1997 according to my records. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this guitar. It looks to be in pretty good condition. I cannot resist noting this elderly instrument (25 years old) is at Elderly Instruments. !

But the action looks perfect, the finish looks good. The top shows some playing wear, but there is thin golpeador on the top that protects it.

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Support your local guitar support

I regularly visit a guitar bulletin board: the Delcamp Classical Guitar forum .

Another member of the forum, Amy Gaudia, has made a guitar support that is getting great reviews. It’s called Amy’s Handmade Guitar Support. (Click the link!)

https://www.etsy.com/listing/729731575/amys-handmade-guitar-support

I’m plugging Amy’s device for fun. She’s a guitar lover who has made a neat thingamajig.

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I don’t have popup windows…

I hope that’s true. If you ever see them on my blog, please let me know.

When I visit websites nowadays I’m immediately bombarded with a popup window, asking me if I want to subscribe, or be notified of every update, or follow, etc. I just want to get to the content. The popups are annoying. I frankly do not care if there are enough people to ‘monetize’ the website. I don’t take ads from other businesses.

I figure, you came here out of an interest in guitars, or building, or to investigate what I do or what I build. Possibly you might be interested to do business with me. Maybe buy a guitar, or have one made.

Part of the reason I do the blog is just for myself. The blog is a way to represent, to myself, what I do. What my efforts are about; music and guitars. It’s an active way of sharing. I do plenty of receptive sharing too…

If you find any of what appears on the blog interesting or helpful, I welcome you. Without popups or annoying requests for personal information.

Steve

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Rich Rorex visit and video

Rich and his friend Karen Ruth Foster Erickson, came to visit the workshop this fall. She is a videographer, so…

I’m the guy who talks a lot. 🙂

Find Rich Rorex at https://www.richrorex.com/

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Recordings from Ian Hill

Ian came to Blaine in 2014 to pick up his guitar,

Milonga
Milonga 2013

then he took it back to Vancouver. I attended a recital in which he played it. He posted a video. That’s Ian on the right, Saul Domingo Morales on the left.

So a few years go by and now I hear from Ian. He has recorded a bunch of great pieces and published them for download. He is calling the collection “Hobbies and Homebodies” and you can find it here. It is worth finding and having a listen.

https://ianrmhill.bandcamp.com/album/hobbies-and-homebodies

Let’s try this…

https://open.spotify.com/track/5Sj8QPRHevw2feoO52yvq4?si=bf2b255ef3b34e3c

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A visit from another Steve

Steve Oliver has commissioned a guitar to be built. Actually I’m right in the middle of constructing it. He came to my workshop to visit and check the progress.

Thanks for visiting, Mr Oliver. It’s a pleasure to share conversation about guitar with someone so passionate about learning more about our instrument.

I have to mention that I have been happily busy building instruments for the last few months. Too busy to represent what is up in the shop on these blog pages. Building amazing guitars is engrossing. Forgive me, perhaps I’ll improve.

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Cedar top, 640 scale length, cut-away

Here is a quite nice instrument. Very easy to play. I wrote about it before on this blog. It is a sibling of the one I built for Pedro Cortes in 2019. It has been here all that time. I take it out of the case every once in a while to keep it awake and lively. I made this video to show the guitar plays well. I had fun trying some video skills I haven’t used before.

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A Post-Covid concert invite to Lummi Island

Earlier this month I got a call from Eric Warner at Pacific Rim Tonewoods. (PRT)

Eric wanted me to invite me to a concert that Miroslav Tadic was going to perform that evening. PRT has been involved in a project that commissioned 3 steel string guitars from a builder in Australia, and the concert was to show those three guitars. Miro is primarily a nylon string player, so I was invited to bring a couple guitars. He chose one to play with his partner, violinist Yvette Holzwarth. Their duo is special!

It was a fun house concert. After more than a year of virtual concerts, this was a real, in the flesh event! I am so happy to be invited to participate.

Thank you to Pacific Rim Tonewoods, Eric Warner, Steve McMinn, Miroslav Tadic, and Yvette Hazwarth for a lovely evening, along with with honor of representing classical guitar building in the Northwest Washington area.

This is the one that Miro chose that evening:

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