11 May 2008

Senior Projects

It's getting down to the wire for my high school senior. 10 more days, and he's done with school. Being an artsy type (Don't know where he gets that from), his senior project involved building an electric guitar. From scratch. (Probably because I'm too cheap to buy him a Les Paul of his own, he decided to make a Les Paul style guitar.)

It sounds intimidating to me, but... he already built one for his 4-H project, so it was not a big deal to him. Even though I'm an artist, it amazes me to see wood go from this:

to this:

I can relate to it as sculpture, because of the wood carving, the mother of pearl fret inlays, and the awesome lacquer job.

New skills obtained - learning to use a jigsaw and a router. Luckily, Dad was on hand to show him the ropes with power tools. I'm a hand tool kind of girl.

The rosewood fretboard really took it out of my hand carving tools. Gave me a good excuse to upgrade my tools for woodblock printmaking... and tell Son One to get his own set.

But the electronics were a bit over my head. Senior son was not flummoxed, however. His theory was that if he knew how electric guitars were made, he'd know how to repair and upgrade them. He also learned a valuable lesson. A little Gorilla glue goes a long way...


We estimated he put about 200 hours into building the first guitar, and about half that into the second. Mahogany body and neck, flame-maple top, rosewood fretboard, mother of pearl inlays.

I liked it just as it was shown here, a splash of clearcoat and I would have been happy, but the guitar was due a Cherry Sunburst lacquer finish

and that was what it got. It's even more spiffy looking in person, pictures don't do it justice.

So with the addition of the two hand-built electric guitars, the four other electric guitars (one seven string), the acoustic guitar, a mandolin, electric piano, saxophone, drum sticks in search of a drum, a bodhran, and tin whistles, not to mention the copies of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, complete with plastic guitars and drum pads, computer recording studio programs, and two massive amplifiers, we're pretty much set. The bodhran and tin whistles are mine, and I can play one song on each, that is the extent of my musical ability. His dad can play the radio. I seem to recall my brother and his bass guitar thumping away in the middle of the night - usually the theme song to Barney Miller, much to my annoyance - so maybe musical talent runs in the family, and it just leapfrogged over me, which is okay, I don't think we have room in the house for any more instruments. I know we're out of plug-ins to run this self contained band. So what was Son One interested in getting for graduation? A bigger amplifier.

doG help us.



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think a Marshall Full Stack would be a great graduation gift!

Constance said...

No amplifiers stacked taller than two corgis!

Tracy said...

I am impressed!! It's great to see talent and gumption in one so young. Of course I'm sure it doesn't hurt that girls always did like guys who played guitar. :) Congrats to Son One and I hope he gets his amplifier. (sorry Connie)

Constance said...

Tracy, are you in cahoots with my Anonymous brother?

No more amplifiers!! (Or get me better headphones)

Anonymous said...

You got a new phone.
He deserves a better amp.
Poor deprived kid!

Constance said...

Was that a free form poem, Anon? *g*

Anonymous said...

More of a free form statement!
Think of this one benefit of a new amp.
You could hook it in to your stereo system,boombox,whatever.
Like I used to do!

Constance said...

iPod? No?

Then again, at your advanced age, you need all the hearing help you can get!

Geraldine said...

My talented brother built many a guitar from scratch. It's quite a process. Looks like your son did a great job with this one! Interesting post C.

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

Constance said...

Geraldine - It's an interesting process all right, glue on the workbench, sawdust and varnish on the floor... but the end result is worth it. Somehow the store bought ones just don't measure up after this.

Anonymous said...

Compliments will get you nowhere!

Tracy said...

I'm just a lover of music Connie, yes loud music. :)

Constance said...

I like loud music - now and then. Some songs just have to be turned up. :)

Anonymous said...

Does the guitar sound as nice as it looks?

Constance said...

I think it sounds fine, but Son One wasn't happy with it, he said the sound wasn't as good as his Ibanez. :)