Thereís always something new Iím wanting to try out. Sometimes my ideas prove to be good, but sometimes they donít. So as a rule, I prefer not to try out something new on someone else. A lot of the experiments I do will be on a guitar I build for myself. Thatís the case on this instrument. And this guitar is really loaded with different things I needed to check on. For years now, people have asked me if I build with cypress tops. It did not seem to be a wood that many builders were using. So I was a little hesitant about trying it. The day finally came when I felt like I needed to give it a try. I never have been happy with the glue I used for putting the binding around the body. So I needed to try out a different glue. I had some good quarter sawn redwood in stock, and it felt like a good wood for bracing. Itís very strong, but light in weight. Also, I have never had mahogany on the line-up of woods from which to choose. I was pleased with everything on this guitar. The cypress worked well, and I had no idea it would look that good. I was pretty sure the bracing was going to be stable, and it was. The reason I havenít used mahogany is because it is a porous wood, and those pores absorb some of the sound. Since I put a finish on the inside of my instruments as well as the outside, I was hoping that finish would cure that problem. I love the projection of it. And the binding glue Ė oh my goodness, Iíll never go back to the old glue that Iíve used for so many years. So I was well satisfied, and Iíll be making some additions to the options a person has when getting me to build
P.S. Instead of saying ďPost ScriptĒ, this is one that almost turned out to be ďPost MordumĒ. I tried out new binding glue on this guitar, and it has turned out to be much better glue than what I used to use. Over the past couple of months, I have continually come down with an allergic reaction to something. I guess Iím just kind of slow of mind. I just recently realized that itís this new glue Iím using for the binding. It works well, but it absolutely ravages the respiratory system. Itís too good of a glue to quit with, but I now have to wear a respirator while I work with it.
P.S.S. Never say never. I have been working with this really good binding glue, and faithfully wearing my respirator. The fumes still get in my eyes, and even when I have plenty of exaust, I often get the glue on my fingers. I have finally figured out that I am with this glue the way some people are with peanuts. Not only can they not eat them, but they canít get the oil on them and they canít smell peanut products when itís being cooked. So Iím working on a different glue. I sure am sorry to let that glue go, because nothing works better. I just wouldnít live through using it over a long period of time.
A couple of guys from Lake Charles came up to my shop and we talked about building guitars. These guys have names that sound all biblical and stuff Ė Thomas & Paul. This is Tommy. He got me to build him a grand concert. Paul & Tommy are playing down at their church house. I would tell you that theyíre a charismatic couple of guys, but it would sound like thereís too much pun involved, because the church they go to Ė Glad Tidings Church - is charismatic! Between Paul and Tommy, we used up a severe load of black walnut and cedar.
You'll find a couple of different pictures on my site of this same man and his dancing daughter. At present, he holds the record for owning the most of my dulcimers - four of them. This newest addition is one he helped design. I can't imagine what else could be done to alter and pump up a dulcimer. This thing is solid body electric with twin humbuckers, three way selector switch, tone, volume, chromatic fret spacing, and on top of all that, it's a three string bass dulcimer. Lows that just can not be reached on a standard dulcimer. And then this dulcimer is made out of a wood that is rare. Not rare in a sense of endangered, but just rare by virtue of the fact that you just don't see it like this very much. It is flamed and figured poplar with a flamed maple and rosewood neck/fretboard.
Steve, in Florida, got me to build him an Ambassador mandolin just before Christmas of 2005. I love it when I know one of my instruments is down at the church house, being played on any given Sunday. This is the Ambassador model and I'd love to show you all of the work my son-in-law did. Unfortunately, it just can't be seen. He burned the name "June" into a very small piece of maple and I inlayed it as the 12th fret marker. Also, he burned one huge sunflower into the back of this mandolin, which has a maple back, and the name "June" is burned into the back also.
A few months back, Katrina made landfall and we havenít heard the last of it yet. Even though I didnít have a lot of direction about myself at the beginning, there was one thing I knew for sure. This was something I could not sit out. It became obvious that all of the help organizations were being stretched really hard. Until I got a hold of some things that I could physically, personally be present and do, I could see that they all were going to be in need of cash. I had an electric octave mandolin in stock, so I pulled it out, put it on ebay, and hereís the gentleman who bought it. His name is Brian and heís a teacher at a school in San Antonio, Texas. The evacuees went in a lot of different directions and a good many are still in the school where he teaches. Iím thankful that he bought the instrument and absolutely every bit of the money that came from that octave mandolin went to the local Salvation Army to help with the victims of Katrina.
Here's a picture of me and the octave mandolin you made for me. Katie, my wife, is over my left shoulder in the purple sweater. As you can tell by what we are wearing, we took that picture a while ago. I waited to use up the film in the camera before developing the role, but decided last week that wasn't going to happen so we got the hand full of pictures on that role developed before you gave up hope that the picture would ever come. The rest are a part of our "D-Group", a Wednesday discipleship group for some of our high school youth. I love those guys!
The girl who took this picture for us plays guitar, so we have played praise songs together and lead the group in singing on Wednesday nights. That octave mandolin sounds sooooooo good with a guitar. - I wanted these youth to be a part of the picture because they are the ones who I've helped lead in singing praises to the Lord with that octave mandolin.
Rick, I just wanted to say "Thanks" again for making my instrument. I really enjoy playing it. You were right, after the finish cured, the tone rang truer and longer. It really sounds great. I missed being able to sit and sing songs from my heart to the Lord with an instrument, so thanks for putting the time and effort into this one. There are a couple of guys in my church who say they might be interested in getting an octave mandolin from you now that they have seen and played mine, so if you hear of anybody from Logansport, Indiana asking for an instrument say "Hi" to them for me.
Sorry it took so long to get a picture of me and the guitar, but ealry summer is my busiest season! Anyway, here's a picture of us, I sure like my Ambassador; she sounds better every time I pick her up!
I guess something should be said about this Ambassador guitar. Itís not made out of rare woods as far as extinction goes, but rare as in not often used on guitars. This gentleman got me to use pecan for the sides, back, and neck, and bodark for the bridge, fretboard, and headstock overlay.
I got a picture recently from the gentleman who holds the record for having the most of my instruments. His first name is Clint. Iíll withhold his last name to give him a bit of privacy. With that many instruments, somebody is bound to start pestering him. ďClint, can I borrow your guitar?Ē ďClint, would your son want to play in a band with me?Ē Thereís probably no end to the aggravation he would have to put up with. Clint has nine of my instruments. Actually he bought one for a cousin who lives in Texas, so he wasnít able to retrieve that guitar for the picture. The picture is not very clear, but there he is with eight of the instruments heís gotten from me. Iím always thankful when somebody likes what I do. And if they like it enough to come back for a second instrument, I really am impressed. Clint has intentions of two more instruments before heís done Ė for now.
I know you're thinkin' this is Jimmy Buffet, and there's something about this picture that makes me think of ol' Jimmy. But it's really Scott. He got me to build this mandola a while back. He's a man of his word so when opportunity presented itself, he got me this picture. I am thankful he continues to have fun with it.
I love my Ambassador model guitar. There's no point in showing it off though, because I'm left handed and all I play is a five-string. I'll give this gentleman a little bit of privacy by only telling you that Jason lives around the Baton Rouge area and just recently got me to build him this Ambassador. And look at all the guitars that mine is keeping company with. At present, he is a college student and here's hoping that he doesn't have so much fun that his grades suffer.
What it is is an acoustic bass. More than what it is is what it's made of. The body is flamed and figured poplar. I probably have enough in stock to build a half dozen acoustic instruments. The man I got it from had never seen any more in his forty-something years as a wood worker. I think I got all that he had. It's a sure bet I've never seen any poplar like this. And once it's gone, I doubt that I'll ever see it again. As a result, this wood will carry a $250 option. And just something to say about the person who is getting this bass. He now holds the record as the person who owns the most of my instruments. He has bought six instruments from me in the past. One I had in stock and five were custom ordered. There's a gentleman in California who has six of my instruments also. The gentleman who owns this bass is getting me to build three instruments for him and wants two more once I'm done with those. That will make a total of eleven of my instruments. I'm always thankful when someone likes my instruments enough to come back for a second. I'm not quite sure how to express how thankful I am after a person has bought eleven instruments from me.