Feel like a kid again....why I build guitars

My workshop is, like most, a converted space, a small space: every machine I own is mounted on casters to allow for easy (?) rearrangement of things for a different hand or machine process.  In this space I have also learned the discipline of demarcation; when a process is finished tools and supplies are returned to their designated storage drawer, spot or container and precious room is freed to permit another construction activity.  I'm actually pretty good at it, having refined it through years of furniture and then guitar building. 

But, here's an admission, on the days I do final assembly and set up on a cigar box guitar or one of the 4 string tenor electrics I have made, I become an irresponsible kid again.  I'm swept back to days when I was 11 or 12 and discovered the joy of making things; days when my Dad would come home from work and find me hunched at his workbench, every tool he owned scattered over every available surface of his shop, pots of glue and paint, bits of wire and batteries strewn everywhere as I worked with a focus so rapt that even hunger could not interfere.  Fast forward several decades and on the days I do final assembly and set up,  my "discipline of demarcation" dissolves as I am wholly and completely  absorbed in the process of revealing the guitars voice.  Occasionally, during the process I will run up against the ever increasing pile of tools on the bench but even that can't break the joyus spell and induce me to put some of them away or to organize the process.   This  can go on for 4 or 5 hours sometimes, supper goes unmade, the dog is hopping from one foot to the other, desperate to be let outside to relieve himself and, in the end my bench ends up looking like this:

Chaotic as hell, but it tells the tale of just how much fun you can have bringing life to a guitar.  And just when you think it couldn't get better among that chaos an even greater enjoyment awaits, playing the thing and , if your lucky, playing with other people!

By the way, the guitar in the photos is a 4 string tenor electric, it has a single bridge mounted humbucker.  The body is made from salvaged eastern white pine, the neck is maple and the fretboard walnut.  It is constructed in the Fender style with a bolt on neck.  The finish on the guitar is something I call, "Almost blue" and is a combination of wood stain, watercolour paint, shellac and polyurethane.  For the very keen of eye, yes the inflatable neck rest I use is a bag from a wine carton....recycle, re-use and rock on.

Happy building and playing.

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Comment by Uncle John on Saturday

Nice story and pics.

Comment by Kigar on Saturday

Thanks for the story, and for identifying my condition. My bench looks like that pretty much all the time, I think I have de-demarcation disorder!

Comment by Keith Rearick on December 3, 2019 at 3:48pm

That 4 string is a beauty. Thanks for sharing your story.

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