FRETS.COM Field Trip

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The Guild of American Luthiers
1998 G. A. L. Convention
© Frank Ford, 8/31/98; Photos by FF, 8/23/98

Here's a quick photo tour of this year's G.A.L. convention at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. The Guild holds conventions every two or three years and invites members to present lectures, demonstrations and exhibits of their work and ideas. There are lots of things going on simultaneously at these conventions, so I have only a few pictures of some of the events I attended.

This year I presented a lecture/slide show on my views of the ethics of instrument restoration and the current state of the community of restorers. There were lots of other great presentations, displays and concerts that spanned the five days of the convention.

These luthier conventions are the very best forum for sharing information and for "networking" with other luthiers!

First up was Michael Gurian, who spoke to a full house on the development, design and manufacture of marquetry decoration in stringed instruments:

Well known as a guitar maker, Michael currently provides decorative wood marquetry and bridge pins for the industry.

Right after Michael's presentation, we had a brief glimpse of Big Blue Harold (alias Fred Carlson) who appeared among the ranks of organ pipes in this fine new concert hall:

How Harold gets into these things is still a mystery.

The repair staff of The Twelfth Fret in Portland gave a fine discussion and demonstration of some of their repair techniques and ideas:

This is Dave Zogg talking about a customer's old time "parlor guitar."

Here's the boss, Chris Brandt, showing us how he uses a very sharp fine file to slice through the lacquer on a Fender fingerboard to avoid damage when removing frets:

In the evenings we had some fine concerts, including a performance by William Eaton, a Guild member who makes his own unique instruments:

William is head of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix.

Eugene Clark of El Cerrito, California, gave us the practical low-down on the ancient finishing technique of French polishing:

There are lots of different approaches to this technique, and Eugene's instruments have the master's touch!



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