Monday, February 18, 2013

Slotheads

I feel like I am really running low on interesting things to tell you. As far as shop news, it is pretty much business as usual, no one has set anything on fire or exploded any guitar parts lately...

Oh! One neat thing, I strung up my first slot head guitar today! For the past month or so, I have been working on a guitar based on a Martin 0-17 for a fellow who lives in Arizona. Since the weather has been just perfect lately for constructing an instrument that will live in extra low humidity, I figured I might as well go ahead and do that. When I say perfect, I mean freezing cold, windy and grey. Just thought I would clear that up.  It has been a fun build as I really love small guitars, and learning to make a slot head peghead has been exciting. My dad poked around the cluttered shelves in his shop, pulling out various jigs and small machines that we eventually strapped to the peghead in order to cut even, clean slots. I was also excited to find another use for my amazing router that I am so oddly proud of.

Carving the grooves under the slots for the strings to pass through was less exciting and more nerve-wracking. It is difficult to carve two things exactly alike, and having those two things situated directly next to each other to make comparing easy was less fun than running my router against the foolproof jig. After quite some time of whittling, filing with a round file, and sanding I eventually got them straight enough to satisfy my somewhat compulsive urge for symmetry. Then came the next step of attempting to sand and finish the inside of the narrow slots.

Another fun discovery I made while working on my slot head headstock is that I am pretty good at finishing them. It turns out that having tiny fingers does come in handy for one thing ever, and that one thing is sanding the inside of slots more thoroughly than someone with regular sized fingers. So that is exciting to know.

Every guitar I make I feel an attachment to, but since this one provided a new challenge and excitement of a different body shape and fret scale I feel it is a little bit more special. (I think I say that about each one as I learn something with every project I take on, but still, this one is awesome.) It amazes me how strong and powerful that tiny guitar sounds. Everyone around here seems to think you need a huge, bassy D-size guitar to make a strong presence in a jam session or on stage, but I think if I saw someone playing this guitar (or another similar one, not tooting my own horn..much) I would not be able to take my eyes off of it. Kind of like in John Mayer's video for Shadow Days. Not my favorite song, but I could stare at that guitar all day. Maybe I will just make me one now that I have thee slothead down :-) Though extra work, I enjoy the challenge of cutting, shaping, and finishing this classic headstock design.


Just strung her up! 

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