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I began this blog in order to share my experiences learning instrument building from my dad, but along with those stories I look forward to sharing my memories of growing up with two busy, musically inclined parents as well as my current experiences stepping out on my own as a female luthier promoting environmental sustainability in her instruments while working to alter gender stereotypes in a male dominated field. If you'd like to use quotes from this blog for interviews or in your own work, please contact me first! (email is henderson.elizabethj@gmail.com)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 13, 1912

Maple neck with gold Waverly tuners.
I wish right now was not the first time I have had to sit down and write you a story for the past week and a half. Trying to get this guitar finished without a hitch has proven to be a bit of a difficulty. This entire entry could be about how to spray finish, and then how one can sand through said finish, and then how to respray finish some more, and then how frustrating it is to sand that bit flat only to sand through in another nearby spot, then having to respray and rebuff that section...and so on. My dad believes that a heavy coat of finish on a guitar can hinder its sound when all is said and done, so ideally each layer you spray on a guitar should be sanded down as thin as possible without sanding through it to the wood. It is a thin line between too heavy and too thin though and achieving that balance has proven to be quite difficult. I spent most of the past few days attempting to balance on that fine line, but I ended up falling over several times in the process...Though, after all of that I managed to get the tuners on at 11:30 tonight. Yay!

Finished body. After 7 coats of finish...

Does this look electrocuted to you? 
Last Friday was my Granny's 100th birthday. I know that if she were here she wold be so proud to be 100 years old. I remember once my dad and aunts were out of town, and a family friend passed away so I came to drive Granny to their funeral. She was ninety at the time, and each person we met, the minister, everyone, she would say, "Hi, good to see you! I'm 90!" So, last week I cut some lilacs that are currently in full bloom on the bush in our yard, tied them with some of the ribbon that we use to strengthen the sides of a guitar and brought those to her grave. I like to think she would have appreciated those just as much as a fancy bouquet I plucked from a plastic bucket at a supermarket.

I also made a strawberry cake covered in pink icing that I dotted on with a pastry bag, though when I debuted it after some difficult detail work, my dad said it looked like it had been electrocuted. Anyway, I enjoyed thinking of her, and remembering her on her birthday. Hopefully next week I will be coherent enough think of a more exciting and detailed story for you. It turns out that working 12+ hours in the shop every day seems to be detrimental to my creative writing skills... I will let these pictures tell this one.


  1. Thank you for the photos of you and your Granny!
    The guitar is another beauty, too!

  2. Beautiful guitar. I am sure your Granny would be proud of your standard of excellence and persistence in working to it. Both are excellent qualities. When I am working on a guitar, and I am tempted to let a problem slide, instead of fixing it properly, I ask myself if I want to learn to make mediocre guitars or excellent guitars, and then I fix the problem. Keep up the good work!