Nowadays, we’ve become quite adept at ‘hand-assembling’ guitars from well-designed pre-made parts, I’ve come from cutting almost everything with my own hands, to writing ever-more-expert CAD-files (Computer-Assisted-Drawing) and translating those into specific codes for automated routers (CNC, or Computer-Numerical-Cutting) and thusly, who-ever has those written-by-me files can make a ‘Teye’-guitar.
However, it remains patch-work. There is a general design behind my instruments, and the majority of this is very unlike the ‘usual’ ‘standard’ ‘vintage’ designs, so that not everybody is capable of putting the emphasis where the design demands it, simply because they do not know the design like I do.
My most recent guitar incorporates all of my changes/improvements/latest designs. I am a very active guitar builder and am improving my craft all the time. My 2020 Gypsy Troubadour stands head-and-shoulders above ‘the pack’. Recently the owner of a ‘Teye Apache’ guitar purchased my own 2010 ‘Master’ La Llama. His reaction was: “You haven’t said a word too much, she is unbelievable!” But, I am replacing that guitar with an even better one, with again new small changes (the devil is in the details)
They call that I believe: “The MAGIC of Compound Improvement”.
I want to show you here how exactly my shop, and my process of making the guitars developed from pre-drilling cavities in bodies with Fostner-bits and cleaning up with a hand-router, dome-sanding bodies with a palm sander, cutting aluminum parts with a Dremel… To eventually routing bodies and necks on a budget router, to eventually farming that out to the guys with the $300,000 CNC-routers, Thank God I met a very passionate professional in Steve Jonas, who took a real liking to my guitars, and cuts parts with an obsession for perfection in look feel and sound that rivals my own! Any small change or correction that I suggest to make the end result better, he uncomplainingly and enthusiastically implements. You must realize what a pleasure it is in this hard-to-put-in-words TONE-world, to be collaborating with that rare human being: a total cool professional and yet someone who shares the passion for not just the instrument, but also the music that it makes!
I started out personally spending a day at the sawmill, hand-selecting planks based on weight and resonance. Nowadays I don’t even see the production-guitars, ever. EXCEPT of course the Master guitars, which I build and which literally carry my sweat (and sometimes my blood and my tears)
This photo collection is for you to enjoy, and to marvel at under what circumstances some fantastic guitars were made, all in the USA, providing many families with food on the table, and following a lifelong passion.