Gambler Guitars 1st Edition
1st Progress Report 01-Aug-2007
Ralph and I are building the first
edition of the Gambler guitars. This first photo is of the #002 prototype
which we might just sell since it's turning out so damn good. It was made
with the first mold and only has some extremely minor tweaks on the bracing,
bridgeplate but otherwise identical to 001. The guitar in the back ground is
#003 which is the first real production one made for a customer. The first
customer will have their choice of this guitar. It will not have decals and
it was made with the new mold and some more refinements in the design, shape
and size. #003 is the first that really measures up to a grand concert size
guitars minimum specs. It should also have a very slight amount more bass
than the first two. It's not only slightly wider at 14.25" but also about an
1/8" inch deeper. We also moved to a single piece tapered maple bridgeplate.
More photos of #002 and #003 and their necks on 31-July-2007. Only the first few coats of lacquer have been applied. It will take many more layers of finish and leveling before it's ready for the final buffing. The result is a very soft and deep black finish that looks more like an antique guitar and not a brand new automobile. The bindings and decals are also sprayed with a very carefully blended aged cream coloring. You can see that applied on the playing cards above and the binding below.
Below is a photo with a better view of the necks for #002 and #003
Below Ralph is trying to explain to a customer calling that he's not a music store. He's just a Martin authorized repair center. Much of his time is used up each day trying to help people on the phone. You can see number 004 and 005 are basically built but waiting on their turn in the paint booth. He's got some minor scraping to do on the binding but they are basically done.
Here below are the necks for #006, 007 and 008 coming together. I've really been trying to bend Ralph's ear to maintain the single guitar builder quality control but whenever there's a pause waiting on other things to complete he can crank on ahead and start building necks, braces, tops, backs and components for future guitars. This work flow should mean a larger number of very well built guitars in the same amount of time. Once the pipeline gets rolling he should be able to take orders and fill them with great smoothness and high quality control. He's able to spend a whole day making necks, bridges and find a very good groove on the speed he works and the quality level. We are both learning a lot and Ralph's skill as a luthier is what is helping us get through some very difficult steps. We've also chosen to do many steps the hard way but hoping the neck angles, fretboard and other aspects are better as a result. These should last much better than any original OS Stella guitar. They are certainly made much better.
Ralph scraping the binding on #005. This is something he would love to hand over to me and I'm ribbing him about it as I take this picture. Bill Sheffield just left the shop and Ralph's yelling out to him. "Come back when you can't stay so long". We're usually laughing and joking from the time I arrive until we leave. No political correctness exists in this shop. It's quite refreshing if you are used to working in a corporate job or large company.