Fuzzy white branches like tarantula legs of soft snow blanketing my view from the morning window. Otherworldly and calming.
Sipping my espresso, black and deep, while I let my subconscious wander in the reservoir of guitar experience and memory. It is my process.
The notebook, pen, coffee and guitar. What more do you need?
A black crow silhouette on the evergreen above the shop.
Why am I sharing this process? Why not just post photographs of finished guitars—shiny and proud?
In the words of Martina Navratilova, a consummate athlete who won fifty-four Grand Slam tennis titles, “the moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.” When someone who knows what it is to cross the finish line first says this, I imagine she knows a thing or two about how to get there.
So, this is the quiet time when I let my thoughts spill out onto the paper. I am living for the moment I am in.
I am reminded of Kerouac’s “Method.”
- Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
- Submissive to everything, open, listening
- Try never get drunk outside your own house
- Be in love with your life
- Something that you feel will find its own form
- Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
- Blow as deep as you want to blow
- Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
- The unspeakable visions of the individual
- No time for poetry but exactly what is
Sweaty and breathing a little hard, I stamped the snow off my boots and leaned the shovel against the barnboard of the workshop. It was a beautiful Winter morning, so I paused for a moment to drink it all in and fill my lungs with the crisp fresh air.
The sun was breaking coldly through the trees just above the horizon—making the icicles glow with a pinkish light. Turning inside, I was greeted by the Bakersfield boys streaming from the sound system. Don Rich’s sweet twang had segued into AC/DC by the time I had my coat off.
Yesterday, the interior carves were finished on The Crow guitar. I’d gotten the spruce top and maple back glued up and it was still in the vacuum press. As tempted as I was to take it out—I resisted. The Sakura guitar had been the subject of my dreams and I wanted to put some ideas down on paper before they slipped away. I got some books on Japanese art out of my library for reference. The basic idea fell right into place.
Here’s a quick look at what I’m thinking. In my dream, the guitar was heavy like a ’60s Les Paul, with that banging midrange that sounds so wonderful through a Marshall stack. I’d dropped the idea of an elaborate body inlay, and wanted to concentrate on the engraved front and back plates. The first step was to consolidate my overall design in a series of sketches in the journal that will accompany the guitar through its construction. I like to think of this as building the soul of the guitar.
As requested, here are some closer views of the journal.
This is my sketch of the cherry blossoms, which will be engraved on the metal plates. Check back in a few days to see more progress.