Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Blogs!

I have created two new blogs which are extensions of this one. In the last several years I have had the opportunity to visit two large guitar factories and train with their repair staff. I represent Martin and Taylor Guitars as a Authorized Warranty Technician for them and have had the pleasure to visit both factories. You can visit these new blogs and see a picture documentation of my trips. Enjoy!


-James



http://jfguitarsmartintrip.blogspot.com/

http://jfguitarstaylortrip.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Guitar Is Born!


I've been working on this guitar for about three years. It just so happened to get delayed by my shop moving, beginning fatherhood, etc. I'm so happy it's finally complete, and I'm sure Tim is to.
If you have kept up with my blog, you may remember a guitar similar to this that I had built for bluesman Brother Ray Lemelin. Brother Ray provided the design and direction for where he wanted things to go in the construction and I put all of those things together and built it for him. Ray spread the news and now I've had the pleasure of building another Creosote Slide for bluesman Tim Williams. Tim is a 40 year veteran of roots music and it was an honor building a guitar for him. You can check out a bio of him here: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/belzners/timbio.htm
The body is Honduran Mahogany with a Flamed Maple top cap. The neck is maple harvested from a 90+ year old telephone pole from British Columbia that at one time had been soaked in creosote, so Ray named it the Creosote Slide. It is made for slide guitar playing with two growly, brash vintage Teisco Gold Foil pickups taken from Ray's vast collection of cool guitars. The banjo tuners are all Schaller Drop D tuners so that various tunings can be created. The finish is old school nitrocellulose lacquer. Master volume and two tone controls with a three way toggle switch make up the controls. The control cavities were customized to take away as little wood as possible.
Here are some pictures of the finished guitar for you to enjoy.

-James







Tuesday, July 15, 2008

James Taylor comes to Calgary

For those of you who read my blog, you know that from time to time I comment on great concerts that I've caught. I love seeing live music, and James Taylor has been a big favorite of mine for years. When I was taking fingerstyle guitar lessons from the late Dan DeVries, we worked on many James Taylor guitar arrangements that I learned to play and still play today.
THE VERY DAY I moved up to Canada from the Chicago area was the same day James Taylor was playing in Chicago. I really wanted to go but for obvious reasons it wasn't going to happen. As I drove out of Chicago I passed the venue where he was playing. Talk about painful!
Well, James Taylor finally "smartened up" and for the first time in his career he came to Calgary this past weekend. He brought with him a lot of musicians who have been with him for decades. I was lucky enough to get a floor seat 16 rows back in a venue which seats thousands of people. The concert was fantastic, I was so happy to finally get to see him in concert.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New Guitar




I did a custom neck for a customer who wanted a VERY wide profile neck. He's got big hands and needed something in a category that's only offered by manufacturer custom shops at very high dollar amounts. The neck would fall into the category of an acoustic guitar neck profile, so you can imagine how hard it would be to special order. I sourced out the body from a great little company in New Jersey called Musikraft. They build their parts there on site. I chose a '65 Strat body design built from one piece of very light swamp ash and built the neck to fit the body. The body was finished in a very thin amber tinted finish. All of the hardware I hand picked and installed. The neck I carved from a chunk of East Indian Rosewood to the customer's specifications. The pickups are Seymour Duncan Alnico 2 Pro for the neck and middle position and the bridge pickup was a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates. It was wired up like a standard strat except the bridge pickup had a coil tap option at the middle position tone pot. With the all rosewood neck the pickups sounded warm and had just the right combination of brilliance to them for what the customer requested. It was a really fun project to do.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Current Projects





Here are two necks that I'm in the process of carving. One is all rosewood and is going on a strat type body. The other is an all maple bass neck that is going on a custom designed body.