C.F. Martin made some cool stuff, so hey, me too maybe

I was really excited a few months ago when the book Inventing the American Guitar: The Pre-Civil War Innovations of C.F. Martin and His Contemporaries came out. I was very excited to see it because i had seen other early guitar by C.F. Martin had made in books and in a George Gruhn video (George Gruhn is one of the most simultaneously fascinating and mind numbingly boring people I have ever seen, and one of the foremost dealers of vintage guitars and creepy lizards in the world )

Here's George Gruhn talking about his horrifying snakes

earlymartin.com is full of great photos

earlymartin.com is full of great photos

 

But the early martin guitar's always stood out to me. I really like the Viennesse style with the marquerty covered, clock key necks and the tight waisted friendly looking bodies. I would often visit Robert Corwin's great page on early martin called conveniently enough http://www.earlymartin.com/ and look in wonder and awe of the amazing old world craftsmanship.

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So I was all amped up and ready and was first to get it from the library, it made me wish they still stamped those little cards in the backs of library books. The book was very in depth and included great two page spreads of a ton of incredible guitars built by C.F. Martin and other great guitar makers of the period.

here is a lo res google image page from the book

here is a lo res google image page from the book

I was really inspired by how different all of the guitars were from one another. Almost nothing seems standard, sizes, shapes, construction, decoration, Martin was a great experimenter. 

 

So I decided to make a little nylon string guitar inspired by some rough dimensions and some of the aesthetics that I found really exciting in these guitars.

So the pieces are all coming together for this one. Stay tuned for more updates.

Cabin Fever

We're coming out the other end of a big (for Portland) snow storm, that effectively hobbled the city and made for a strange 5 day weekend. 

Cardoons are always champs through the toughest of weather

Cardoons are always champs through the toughest of weather

I turned out to be a great time to reflect, make some art, and watch a pretty great BBC show called Mastercrafts. It's a sort of a competition reality show but in typical BBC fashion there is very little emphasis on who wins (after all nothing will truly restore the empire). The show takes three novices and teaches pretty rigorous traditional crafts. The moral ends up being, one can learn stonemasonry, greenwood carving, weaving, stained glass, and blacksmithing in a relatively short period of time, but no one can learn to thatch a roof.

Here is part one of the first episode. Incidentally this channel has all sorts of BBC art docs if you're into that sort of thing

Lastly here is a snowy lil' gallery

Funny little electric guitar

I had a little piece of walnut left from the first log my dad and I milled years ago. I made my first two instruments out of wood from that log. This little guitar is full scale 25.5 and has a carved top plate made of cedar and a large caved chamber in the walnut body. 

Garage Mahal

Getting close to finishing all the bluepine work in the garage. These stairs have been a long time in the making

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This last picture is a view of where the stairway leads.