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The Art Of Lutherie Vlog 2

How I do My Best Work 

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So, I came into the workshop today with a very specific goal, and my goal was to take this back for this archtop guitar that I’m working on and thickness it, get it all like thickness, because I had the arch already established. Been working on that for a while, rough thickness the inside, and the last step here, really, is for me to just take my calipers and stuff and just get this down to the final thickness. Get everything moving and flexing the way it should so that I can glue the back to the sides of the guitar. As I picked it up to do it and get things set up for the day some little voice inside me just gave me this little prompting, this little subtle nudge, and basically just said, “Hey, you know what, that arching on that back can be refined just a little bit more so go for it,” so I did. I stopped what I was planning to do and I spent that extra time going over this and I still have a tiny bit more to do maybe, but I’m pretty close now.

I just thought it might be worth turning the camera on and sharing this with you guys. Number one, I started this little vlog kind of experiment a month or two ago and I haven’t made another one yet since so I thought this might be an interesting thing to share, show you what I’m up to and share what I’ve been thinking about. I think what I’m going to explain pretty quickly here in a second is a key. It’s a key for me. I mean it’s something that’s really important to me and that is, basically, to listen to …

Some Keys To Creating YOUR Best Guitars

Well, okay a couple of things. Let me break it down before I jump into that. Number one, the first step is, and this is just a discipline that I think you need as an artist in general whether you’re making guitars, or writing a book, or anything else, it’s that all these things in life want to box you in. Say that from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 you’re going to get X, Y, and Z done and you better fit it into that box. A lot of times creativity doesn’t work that way, at least my creativity doesn’t work that way. What I did today went completely against that. In order to be able to kind of embrace that you have to cultivate the discipline of listening and really getting yourself quiet and still. I think that’s one of the key things about guitar making for me is I work …

The battle isn’t to flawlessly execute the design. That’s important and that’s a challenge because there’s so many things, as you guys know. You guys in the Luthier’s EDGE, my students who are building your guitars, and you guys in The Art of Lutherie who are probably making your guitars or considering making guitars, there’s a lot of variables. It’s challenging. It’s so rewarding and it’s so fun, but just the flawless execution alone is not the hardest thing, I don’t think. I think the hardest thing, and maybe the most rewarding thing because it applies to all the areas of your life, is to develop the discipline and the skill of pushing off all the noise of your life that everybody’s trying to put in and pull your attention and make it so noisy in there from the social media and all that other stuff and to quiet all that down to the point where when your schedule is full, and your day is booked and busy, and the timeline is tight that you’re still able to hear that tiny little leading that says, “You know what you could take a little extra time and take this from good to great or from great to inspiring and amazing.” Step two is to force yourself to take that time and actually do it. I think that’s really important. I think it’s … Sometimes it’s the adding up of all those little moments, for me anyway.

Slowing Down And Listening For That “Click”

I feel like when I’m building a guitar there’s all these little moments where I indulge my creativity in that time that is totally I shouldn’t take that much time extra to do it, but when I do it becomes this sort of like spark of creativity, this seed, this beautiful theme, those little bitty bits of refinement that happen on all these different parts. Maybe it’s the neck needs an extra day of just fussing with little details and just getting to that place of peace. Then they all come together at the end and suddenly the guitar just has this extra quality. Not only does the work have that extra quality, but I could have overridden that little leading to spend a little extra time, just a couple of hours, just fine tuning and just doing little things. Not taking off a lot of wood, just little subtle adjustments and everything.

What I’m looking for is that moment where I just get a click and all of a sudden I know, “Ah, that’s it. I’m ready to move on.” Just that knowing inside me is so valuable, and it’s so peaceful, and it’s just such a good way, and it really feels weird when you let your schedule and stuff push you to override that and just keep forcing through. Anyway, that’s kind of the thought I wanted to share with you guys today.

Final Thoughts

So, I hope that helps you. I hope it makes you think a little bit and maybe encourages you to take that little bit of extra time, find a way to squeeze it in there. For me I think it really is worth it, and it’s really valuable, and I think it really pays off in the end and in the long run, and in how good you feel as a person, as an artist, that you know that that guitar or whatever it is you’re working on is your absolute best and every bit of your like authentic self, your heart, is in there. You did your best and that’s pretty cool to me. It’s a good way to live and fun way to make guitars, that’s for sure.

I  hope you guys enjoyed this. I’ll check back in again soon. So, make sure you’re subscribed to The Art Of Lutherie Youtube Channel and stuff if you’re not. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll see you guys next time.

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