Okay, I’m a geek*.
The first thing I did was not (as I said in a previous post) to make a guitar neck, but was to write a web-based computer program to generate the fret-markings, and output them as SVG – which can be imported (more or less) directly to a laser-cutter.
It’s here: Guitar Fret Position Generator
You enter your numbers and it draws your fret-markings.
The mathematical formula for doing this isn’t that complicated… for a computer. If you’re doing it by hand, it’s a real pain though – I think the proper luthiers have great big books of tables (like logrithmic tables), which is a technology from the days of sailing ships and cannon balls etc.
I’m not sure how proper luthiers feel about laser-cutting fret-grooves… and to be honest, I find it pretty scary myself… so scary in fact that I’ve been putting it off for about a month. So scary that I’ve decided to make 2 more guitars… and test it on those necks first. And then I accidentally went to the wood shop, and bought wood for 3 more necks, so theoretically, I have 6 guitars on the go now at once.
* You see the way I spell “okay”? That’s not an accident. I spell it that way because a New Zealand writer named Keri Hulme once pointed out that “OK” sounds clipped and kurt, while “Okay” has a gentler feel. And she’s right… and The Bone People is a magical book. I read it over 20 years ago, and I still spell “okay” phonetically. Geekery is a multi-cultural discipline, and every inch it’s own reward.
Somewhere between here and there, you find yourself…
Just for a moment, and sometimes you don’t see yourself til you’re gone… and you try for a while to get yourself back, but you’re gone, and life goes on, and you forget.
It’s about feeling, not fidelity. Fidelity is for machines. You can buy a new guitar for less than the parts needed to make one yourself… but it will be made my machines (and slaves), and will feel like it too, though we’re so innured to it by now that we don’t even notice really… a little cold maybe, but we’re thinking about other things – the future; the past… so we don’t notice The Now, until one day we do find something real. Something that allows us to find something real in ourselves. In each other.
I’m interested in hillbilly high-tech. I think that art and magic are the same thing. I think that magic is the manipulation of habit, and sometimes the easiest way of pulling it off is simply to be the first.
The first thing I did when I started thinking about the convergeance of cigar-box guitars and laser/CNC tech, was to make a guitar-neck (got to start somewhere)
When I picked up the guitar neck to feel what it would be like to play, I was hooked. It isn’t perfect… but god damn it’s real. It’s warm and alive… something you instantly feel that you’ll grow into. God I hope I can get the rest of it to work… that I can cut the frets without wrecking the whole thing… that it sounds ok.
So there you go.
These are the volume and tone knobs on a guitar I’m making.
I quite like them because they look like eyes – and they look a bit like I feel at the moment, on account of having accidentally escaped and going off and getting drunk with the local townspeople (ever an ill-advised endevour), although when I woke up the next day I found that Drunk Self had written a message to Sober Self on a little piece of wood:
“It wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be”.
I have absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
Never mind – the knobs are kindof a bungle, because they’re so close together the work like gears, and if you turn one, the other turns as well.
Anyway. That’s day 1 of the “Guitar Making Blog”.
And so it begins.