FRETS.COM Field Trip

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Healdsburg, CA
C.Fox Guitars
© Frank Ford, 4/16/99; Photos by FF, 4/14/99

Update 2001: Unfortunately, the corporate owners of the C.Fox guitar factory decided to discontinue operation, and the factory was closed immediately. Charles Fox has retained the space and tools, and will be making guitars as an individual luthier, in addition to reopening the American School of Lutherie. You can visit his web site: Charles has graciously allowed me to keep this article on FRETS.COM. After all, the tips, tools and tricks are still valuable to luthiers!

My repair class at the American School of Lutherie took a midday break and walked around the corner to visit C.Fox guitars. Charles Fox was out of town that day, but his cohort, Jon Lee, was able to take some time to give us a detailed tour. He invited us to photograph and ask any questions we had about their materials, methods and sources. Both he and Charles are justly proud of their company and its work. He told us their policy is to share all their "secrets" and discoveries.

I am, as usual, "designated camera guy" so I don't appear in the pictures:

Their work spaces are large and well lighted with lots of space around the tools:

Jon said OSHA had something to do with the layout, but they're very pleased with their facility.

How about these chunks of genuine mahogany? Soon they'll be necks for C.Fox guitars:

Jon says they use modern manufacturing methods, but try not to lose sight of traditional techniques:

Here, backs are clamped with ropes and wedges. An ancient method, but so fast and effective that it fits their style.

Jon showed us a whole bunch of special shaper templates and fixtures:

This one is for shaping the distinctive C.Fox peghead:

A simple screw press is all that's needed to glue and clamp peghead veneers:



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