Luthier Interview – Fretboard Journal Podcast

Luthier John Bogdanovich carving a heelI was recently interviewed by Michael Bashkin for Fretboard Journal’s podcast. We talked about guitars, guitar players, guitar building and a bunch of other things. The interview took place in my shop a month or so ago and we had a great time. Michael conducted a fantastic interview and got me talking about my background, my journey and guitar building beginnings. You can listen to the interview below or check it out at https://www.fretboardjournal.com/podcast/luthier-on-luthier-podcast-john-bogdanovich/.  The podcast is also available  on iTunes on the Luthier on Luthier Podcast with Michael Bashkin.

Michael Bashkin is a great builder and I have known him for quite a few years. A few years ago he supplied me with tons of information on building a steel string guitar including photographs of his  building process. At the same time Michael wanted to make  classical guitar and I provided him plans and acetates for the guitar in my book. We exchanged information throughout the process helping each other along the way. It was a great learning experience for both of us.
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Consigning Guitars

cedar top guitar front viewConsigning guitars seems to be a new craze among guitar salons and dealers. But who really benefits when you consign your guitars? Certainly not you the guitar maker. The guitar salon or dealer that’s who.

New builders might be enticed into consigning  guitars  to dealers in order to get them into whatever shop for the press and free advertising. Nothing is free and if the dealer did not pay for your instrument  he or she is certainly not going to advertise it. They have no investment in it.

New builders think its going to give them credibility. It won’t. If this is your plan will need to be extremely lucky to sell a guitar. Luck is not a good business model. Consigning guitars will probably postpone your paycheck for quite some time. I don’t know about you, but I like to get paid when the job is done.

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Soundboard Selection

cedar soundboard made by student in class

Soundboard selection can be difficult if you are new to guitar building. Learning to select good soundboards for your guitar is also difficult. Can someone really teach you to choose the right wood for your guitars and the way you build? I think not. It’s complicated. I just love these guys that devote entire videos to teaching you how to pick out wood or voicing tops for your guitars. Before listening to anyone ask yourself this, how can someone teach you to choose the right wood or voice your top if they can’t make a decent guitar themselves?

Picking out wood that will result in a good musical instrument is always to some degree a bit of a risk. If you have been paying attention to the characteristics in the wood you have been using and drawing some parallel to the sound you are getting you may with time arrive at a list of properties that will work for you. But its not that simple. There are a lot of variables to this equation.
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Recent Guitar Building Class

Recent one-on-one Guitar Building ClassIn a recent guitar building class the student, William Kiel, from San Anotnio, TX , walked away with a really nice instrument. Sorry this took so long to post. Things have been a bit hectic here.

The guitar is an Indian rosewood spruce top 650mm scale length classical guitar. The center of the rosette features a book-matched maple burl veneer. The rosettes done in the one-on-one class are simple but elegant. Each rosette is unique. I always give the students suggestions and choices for wood selection.

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Milling Logs For Usable Wood

White Oak Milled LogRecently I had a white oak tree taken down in my yard.  It was my favorite tree and I hated to see it go, but it was dying at the top.  The tree was about 2′ in diameter, and straight as a die.  The bottom 30’was flawless and could have been used as a veneer log.

Once the tree was taken down, I had the bottom 30′ section cut into three pieces, and had them hauled away to the mill. I met up with the sawyer at the mill to oversee the cutting of the logs. I wanted to make sure they were cut just the way I wanted. Once the wood was milled it was taken to a kiln to dry. The wood would then be ready to use in as little as three months. Read more