Guitar six is almost done. I took this picture before I put strings on it for the first time because I honestly didn’t think it would hold up. Styrofoam poster board is more structurally sound than this piece of redwood. The fibers are so soft that wood glue won’t stick to it. But, I strung it up and it held, so I guess I will apply the finish.
I would claim a degree of competence in guitar building, but it isn’t true. That there is a guitar pictured above would seem to argue in favor, but it is a guitar built by committee, and not a very competent committee at that. There were many disagreements, ad hoc changes, unilateral actions by rouge members, and it wasn’t always clear who was in charge, or even in attendance. In the end it was a series of compromises and cosmetic cover-ups. I suppose it requires a bit of competence to produce a playable guitar under those circumstances, but it is not competence in guitar building.
I am paring down the committee. I am optimistic that this new medication plan is going to produce a more decisive and competent chairman. It wouldn’t hurt if they were a little better with wood working also, but those who have hired people will testify that one must be careful how restrictive their standards are. I could end up disqualifying myself.
I am going to apply the finish next. It doesn’t require a committee to apply a French rub finish to a guitar. A few hours of vigorous rubbing, which will be followed by a few more tomorrow, and so on for a couple of weeks, and voila! A beautiful instrument which sounds good, plays well, and is an abomination that I will have to give away before it drives me even more insane.
A guitar is what comes from hanging our in my shop. Before I began building guitars, I would spend my time developing Don’t Do This entries. Now, I hang out down there and a guitar appears. I don’t really have much invested in them emotionally. Although, I do wonder what in hell possessed me to choose that piece of defective redwood I had in the wood closet for a guitar. I could have made really pretty boxes for the grandkids with it. I don’t know why I decided to increase the neck declination two degrees after the blank was already cut, although that rouge committee member is a suspect. But, all these are just curiosities. The guitar “is what it is”, the product of a bent and twisted committee.
Do you habitually do things you know you should not do, like increase the declination of a neck blank after it is cut. Me too. Here are the techniques I use to cover up the inevitable fallout:
Deny – You can deny you knew you shouldn’t do it, although it is a hard sell when it is something you have been told repeatedly not to do. For instance, claiming you did not know you shouldn’t play with oxidizers will only hasten your mental evaluation.
Obscure – Hiding the damage is the best option, although if you fail, it is worse than simply admitting the mistake. Weigh the chances of a mental evaluation against admitting your mistake.
Obfuscation – If there is any one thing people like us can do well, it is a confuse a situation. Take advantage of your natural talents to muddy the already uncertain waters. Take care that you are not just simply confusing yourself, or that mental evaluation is right around the corner.
If the inside of your head is getting crowded and unruly, my recommendation is to disband the committees, working groups, focus groups, and all the other groups. Take control! Get a grip! Good luck with that. It has never worked for me.