1960s/2016 Harmony/Wildwood Electric 5-String Banjo

October: State of the Shop

The pic is a sunrise right out our front door from a few days ago. It's been very gloomy the past two days, though! Stuff like this makes it worth it living an hour from anywhere in the middle of the Green Mountains.

Anyhow, I'm going to start doing a monthly "State of the Shop" post -- just to let folks know what's on my mind work-wise and business-wise. It's simple, this month: I've been trying to cram as much out-of-state repair work into my schedule as I can before the end of the month, after which I'll be focusing back on a bunch of consignment repair-and-sell jobs. The first bracket of those includes two jaw-droppingly pretty National single-cone guitars from the 30s, a Gibson style O guitar, and a 50s Martin 000.

I've also been very remiss about returning emails and phonecalls, however, and I'm sorry about that. Aside from the physical work, there have been a ton of while-you-wait "little jobs" and the usual Fall leaf-peepers about. Add in two kids and an undending list of "need to do before it gets cold" sprucing-up about the house and you get the picture.

If you need my ear, give me a call, please! I talk while I work all day long.

1941 Martin 0-17T Tenor Guitar

1960s Harmony H8010 Archtop Mandolin

1950s Favilla Baritone Ukulele

2000s Paul Hathway Cittern


1963 Chevy Pickup

A customer of mine showed-off his '63 Chevy to us today. Isn't that something? It's as gorgeous inside as it is out. I think, if you're at all like me, a fascination with old cars goes right alongside a fascination with old guitars.

Workshop: New Bridge Pull-Off?

This, of course, is why the bridges come off so rapidly on newer guitars. Do you see how only a center portion of the bridge was actually glued to the top? The outside 1/8" of its footprint wasn't even glued as the factories spray their tops before fitting bridges. This is common to most every modern factory-built guitar these days and even applies to this one -- a quite high-end, 10-year-old Martin.

The downside of this practice is obvious -- you're losing a major amount of gluing surface. It's effectively turning the improved footing of a "belly bridge" into the smaller footing of the old "rectangle bridge."

1970 Harmony "Buck Owens" Flattop Guitar

1830s German-made Parlor Guitar

Review: Vox AC4TV 1x10 4w Tube Amp

In my seemingly-unending quest for the "perfect little tube amp," I finally followed my gut and picked-up a used AC4TV from a Sam Ash in New Jersey off of Reverb. I'd played the 6.5" and 8" speaker models in the past and, while I liked the features and generally liked the sound, I always think bigger is better speaker-wise. I usually like 12" best but when I realized they come standard in 10" these days, I started trolling-around for one.

While there are several versions of the AC4 being made, the AC4TV is the only one that has a power attenuator built-in allowing 1/4w, 1w, and 4w operation. This is huge in terms of practicality. I've either gone directly into a mixer via a line-out (an OK option) or put a mic in front of my amps (the best option) for live use and low-to-middling stage volume is absolutely necessary with the kind of musicians I usually play with and locations we play in. Even with most low-watt amps you've still got a lot of volume to contend with if you want a delicious, just-breaking-up tone. With the power stepped-down it's easy to grab the tone needed at a lower volume that's somewhat comparable to acoustic instruments that might be sitting next to you.

Anyhow, I'm pleased -- it's a very simple amp and it sounds excellent. The next step, though? That grill cloth and badge is getting swapped for some vintage horsey western motif pronto.