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  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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Guitar Building Skills Take Practice

John Bogdanovich teaching a student valuable guitar building skillsGuitar building is difficult. Sadly, there’s no short cut to building a really nice instrument. You will need to develop some guitar building skills and that will take practice. For those needing instant gratification there are places you can go to where you can learn to slap a guitar together in a short period of time. But if you are looking to really learn a craft and gain some usable skills that you will be able to repeat on your own you’re probably not going to get it there.

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Is French Polish the Best Finish for Guitars

The French Polish Debate

French polishing inside of guitar sidesIt’s a question I get asked all the time – is French polish the best finish for guitars. The short simple answer is no. The common misconception is that french polish is the best finish acoustically especially for classical guitars. It may have been 50 years or more ago but not now.  I have heard guitar builders and players claim that they can hear the difference. Sorry for the bluntness but I am sick of hearing this.

Yes, for the trained ear it is possible to hear a difference from one guitar to the next. And some may have different finishes on them. But the reason they sound different has nothing to do with what was used for a finish. It is almost impossible to say a difference in sound is solely due to the fact that someone used varnish or lacquer instead of french polish.
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