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About kwakatak

  • Rank
  • Birthday 07/01/1969


  • Biography
    Couch player and wannabe over 40+ years of playing. Life got in the way but music is still very important.


  • Location
    Da Burgh


  • Interests
    acoustic guitar building, fatherhood, home recording, songwriting


  • Occupation
    stay at home dad

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  1. Welcome back! Sorry, the forum software change seems to have cleared your posting history so consider yourself reinstated with a blank slate!
  2. Hi everyone. My intent was to pick this back up in the spring and I have. I traced my Larrivee OM again and cut out and routed two templates (out of bitch plywood this time) which will be used to make a bending form. I also sharpened my blades and trued the soles on my planes and got to work planing the black walnut back and sides to a thickness of .1” for the sides and .11” for the back. I also inlaid a zig zag back strip in the back. Finally, I traced the templates and cut out a rough outline on my little Ryobi bandsaw. I did this so that I could better measure the thickness close to the center strip and have less material to have to plane away with my No. 5 bench plane. I’m contemplating on what to do next. I’m set to brace the back but feel like I should focus on the sides. If I do the latter, I want to make another mold from birch plywood because the MDF didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped and the material is not as easy to work with as plywood is. I’d also like to make a steam box instead of using a hot pipe or nylon heating blanket. What should I do?
  3. I often wonder if these workshops Tommy holds every year are worth it. As much as I admire his technical ability and how he radiates joy when he plays I know that I could never play EXACTLY like him so I've given up trying. That's not to say that I don't have a passable interpretation or two of his tunes in my repertoire but that at some point I figured out that a big part of being a musician was by interpreting the works of others and "making it your own" - something which Tommy himself does with many of his popular offerings. If we were to break it down, while learning sweeping harmonics and percussion to our "bag of tricks" make seem like a nice feather to stick in your cap it can also limit you greatly as a musician. Even Tommy is aware of this and uses it judiciously. That being said, given how busy Tommy is I wouldn't expect a "concentrated" lesson from him either. A couple of years ago I paid extra for the preshow "encounter" and chatted with him for all of 3 minutes. I asked him how he played a certain passage in a song and he really didn't tell me anything detailed about it that I couldn't figure out myself by sitting down with a recording and a guitar. Looking back I should have brought my guitar and just asked him to play it so that I could watch up close and see what his hands were doing instinctively. At his level of expertise, a lot of his technique is muscle memory and "economy of motion." My ears are adequate enough to pick up on dynamics and rhythms - even if my hands still have to learn what to do. BTW, there are plenty of resources online from other sources that can teach you about "Travis picking." Paul Winfield put out a great video about 10 years ago that really broke the technique down into its core components quite nicely. I can't seem to find it, but he did something similar more recently:
  4. I'll have to take another look at them but I still don't see the appeal. The early mahogany versions underwhelmed me to the point where I would almost reflexively look at Pac Rim guitars before them. Also, Taylor's current philosophy of changing their entire lineup to their V-shaped bracing makes me wonder about their longevity.
  5. kwakatak


    If I'm in a bind and need purfling or binding or a rosette I will order it from there and it usually gets to me in 2 days. Whenever I see tuning machines for sale I will buy a set from them too. Probably the most I ever spent on a single item was for a set of walnut back and sides when they had a special, but generally I prefer to buy tonewood from RC Tonewoods up in Buffalo, NY. I've been known to hit up the local lumber yard for flat sawn maple, walnut and mahogany; that's why my first two builds have laminated necks. It's cheaper than spending $160 for a finished one from Stewmac. I find that carving the neck is one of the most satisfying parts of the build. ...speaking of which, I need to see if RC Tonewoods is still having their special of sets of "student grade" sitka spruce for $20 each. It's a world cheaper than spending $600 on a kit with "Torrified" spruce from Stewmac. I feel like their jigs - and LMI's too - are overly pricey and I search for alternatives on Amazon. I usually just try to copy their jigs using hardware from Ace and birch plywood from Lowe's. Building the jigs helps me focus on how I'm supposed to actually use them. It also reduces the cost when I screw up.
  6. I see you've gone with a double X bracing pattern, that while deeply scalloped and the braces profiled rather thin are also quite tall. Have you measured the deflection of the top of done any kind of tapping to determine its potential resonance?
  7. I'd also recommend a good preamp with phantom power and XLR inputs. 1/4" inputs are noisy IME.
  8. Seven year old thread. Odds are the OP doesn’t own the guitar anymore or found the solution.
  9. for curiosity's sake I went to see how much Ervin Somogyi is charging for custom commissions. The price is a staggering $40,000. I'm just fanning the flames here.
  10. One wonders if a brass saddle would have worn turned green in the 8 years since this thread was started? Should we then be discussing the effects of "never dull" on a nitrocellular finish? My thought on things is that guitars are built with certain design parameters and there are some upgrades that will improve the guitar or gimmicks that will make the guitar sound or respond in ways that it was never intended to be. In this case, I think metallic contact points for the strings are delving into electric guitar or resonator territory. In those cases, lower frequency tone is sacrificed in favor of higher frequency clarity and some sort of external parameter such as an amplifier with modeling capabilities to "color" the tone back to something less "brash."
  11. To be honest, the most I've paid for a guitar was $950 for my Martin D-16GT about 10 years ago. I chose it because I had a monetary gift burning a hole in my pocket but I really wanted a HD-35 that at the time cost triple that. I couldn't see me saving up another $2K and I figured the 16 sounded better than half as good as the 35. I wish I'd saved up for that HD-35 though. I'd have had it paid off by now.
  12. I would love to commission a guitar from Tim McKnight but his starting price is $6K. He has several for sale in his workshop that he’s taken to trade shows that are discounted as display models. They are still more than I can afford. Are they worth it? To understand that I set out to build some of my own. In that I now understand that a big part of the cost is workmanship, maintaining a ship, acquiring materials, etc. even a basic kit for an all solid wood guitar now costs over $600. So my point is, I think that guitars are actually undervalued and ones that cost less than $500 really aren’t worth more than use as a learning tool.
  13. Like this thread which started in 2015, a guitar built in 1974 ain't getting any younger.
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