Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That's All She Wrote

Finished on November 22, 2011
It figures. Since I started working on my guitar over a year ago it's been like this. One day everything falls into place so perfectly that it's hard to imagine that anything could stand in the way of finishing the perfect guitar in record time. A week later it feels as though significant progress is a thing of the past and the rest of the process will be nothing but a miserable slog.

I'm very happy to say that yesterday was the former. After struggling mightily with my setup for the past week, I walked into class yesterday praying I could get to at least a reasonably good place with my guitar before Natalie and I left for Birmingham for Thanksgiving. All I wanted was to be able to take it along and feel it was getting closer to being finished. But I was in class for only a half hour before I realized it: Today was the day. Not only was I going to be finished, but I was going to leave class with a real guitar - not just one that I would be proud of because I built it, but an honest to goodness excellent instrument. And by the time I left, no qualifications were required. There would be no more "little by little" or "almost there." The setup is fantastic. The pick guard, strap button,  and end pin are installed. It's buffed to a shine bright enough to see your reflection.

Yesterday was the last class and I'm done.

I said in my last post that my impatience served me well this past week, and it's really true. I beat my head against a wall trying to figure the complicated set up process, but I got closer and closer. Enough so that every buzzing sound, every muffled note, and every out of tune chord was eliminated with just a few small suggestions from Ted. Most of the problems were solved by a few strokes of a file on the back side of the string slots in the nut. It took five minutes at most. And with a few more suggestions and the encouragement to lower the action (the distance between the strings and the neck) even more, I had it playing like a dream.

After coming home last night, I restrung it with good strings and played for quite a while. And I really couldn't believe it. This guitar is not a week old and the sound is incredible. Without a doubt, I'm biased. And I'm sure my judgement is clouded, but I was able to convince myself last night of this: I own six other guitars, three worth thousands of dollars each, and mine is not the least of them. Any guitar takes time to open up, and I won't even begin to know what it will sound like when it's mature for at least a year. But, according to Ted, there will be noticeable improvements in the sound even in the next week as the wood stabilizes and stretches out.

I've begun to wonder if the guitar I built won't wind up being one of the best I own. Like I said, I'm biased, and I know my opinion lacks objectivity. But that I'm even asking the question is absolutely amazing to me.

So that's it for now. I'll play my guitar for a couple of months, then I'll start it all again in January.

For the record:
Date started: September 7, 2010
Date completed: November 22, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!!!! Can't wait to hear it! So very happy for you. much much love, Eva & friends