Personalizing your guitars (Full Version)

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Stu -> Personalizing your guitars (May 28 2020 21:27:11)

So I've been wondering for a while about the rosette and head stock.

What's the deal?
Do you guys change your rosette regular? Is our customers choice?
(Asking as I saw Andy's 10th anniversary rosette-10 years of different rosettes)

And what about head stock? And room for evolution here? I always understood that certain makers had very specific headstocks...So maybe I know the answer to this.

Is there a kInd of 'done thing'?

Also.. Do any of you guys name your guitars?
I've never thought of this but I saw a makers website and he had names for his guitars. Never really noticed that before. Then someone just asked me if I was gonna name the one I'm currently making.
Not really up for the whole names thing...seems a bit corny to be. But maybe I'll change my viewpoint if I end up making a bunch.

Though I'd imagine once you've made 200 or so...thinking up a name would be a pain in the arse

tri7/5 -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 28 2020 21:33:20)

Several makers have changed their headstocks a bit over the years, some dramatically so an completely new designs. Also several makers name each guitar based on sort of a methodology or a specific meaning to them. I personally like the naming as it just brings in another level of personality and customization to the guitar. It's also very easy to distinguish for luthiers when discussing with them instead of having to refer to #235. Several makers are known for a specific type of rosette that they may use most of the time but still occasionally use others i.e. Conde roses, Reyes rosette. It's an individual thing.

Stu -> [Deleted] (May 28 2020 21:36:42)

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at May 28 2020 21:36:53

JasonM -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 28 2020 21:51:33)

A friend kept hounding me to name my guitar as well! I thought it was kind of corny too, and besides it’s not like I’m Tores or Stradivarius. but I just wanted her to leave me alone. so I named it Skeletor. She was like “huh?” I said what did you expect? Peter, Tom? My little Pony? The guitar kind of has this ivory color to it That reminds me of bone and it is an axe after all.

If I ever make a guitar so good that everyone wants it then I will name it My little Pony

RobF -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 29 2020 1:25:14)


If I ever make a guitar so good that everyone wants it then I will name it My little Pony

Do that and you’ll almost certainly be allowed to keep it! [:D]

The problem with naming guitars is the danger it might get too personal. Or maybe some other maker has already used the name. What a hassle.

I think it’s better to remain a little generic, so I’ve started calling all my guitars “Hey, you.!”. Then I’ve made a label with a drawing of an old fashioned looking guy staring quizzically and unconfidently out of the soundhole with his finger pointing at his chest and the quote below him saying: “Me?”.

It’s probably a smart idea to try to come up with a signature head design. Lots of makers also have signature rosettes, too. In the spirit of following my own advice I just looked through my notes and it looks like I’ve used about ten head designs (all mine), ten or eleven mosaic designs, although I’m not sure I’ve ever done two rosettes exactly alike, and nine body shapes.

It’s not that crazy. The first four guitars used the body shapes of my teachers. Then I drew my own, but it underwent five subtle iterations, although I think I only built to four of them. I still use this shape but I drew a new one, which is on its second (subtle) iteration. So, ten, actually. I drew my first head and was really proud of it, but then my teacher’s daughter said she thought it looked like hers (it didn’t) so I scrapped it after two guitars. My first flamenco head was also something I really liked, but then I saw one of Andy’s guitars and they looked a lot alike, so I discontinued it. I do have a standard classical head now, that I’ve been using for some time, but I’ve been playing around with about five head shapes for my flamencos, three are quite recent. I’ve considered using one of the new ones on the classicals, too, but not sure.

So, all over the map, but I don’t advise it, I think it’s better to settle on one or two standards.

Andy Culpepper -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 29 2020 1:46:16)

Many makers vary their rosettes, some settle on a signature design. I would say most makers settle on a signature headstock design. I've used a few different variations but 95% of my guitars use the same headstock. I was reading in the most recent Orfeo magazine that many Japanese makers vary their headstock designs often and don't think of it as a "signature" the same way many Western makers do.

Stu -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 29 2020 9:32:57)

Thanks gents, Interesting stuff.
I have a really simple head stock on my number 1.
Kind of a mix of the top of a mosque and an ice cream. Well that's my retrospective justification of it.

I do really like its simplicity and will maybe try to add a little ornamentation, if only to practice some carving...but I'll keep it very similar.

Yeah the naming thing seems strange and a bit phoney to me. I imagine if I ever get to make loads and one is a special one, for someone specific etc maybe a one off named guitar would be a plausible thing but really... No.

Actually come to think of it, my daughter would fall into that category. She's 3 and she's just started watching my little pony!! Haha. I plan on building her one one day...So could imagine being forced to name one after a character like that! 😄

Flamingrae -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 30 2020 11:19:32)


What's the deal?
Do you guys change your rosette regular? Is our customers choice?
(Asking as I saw Andy's 10th anniversary rosette-10 years of different rosettes)

And what about head stock? And room for evolution here? I always understood that certain makers had very specific headstocks...

For me, the first couple or so, the headstock was just a copy of the pattern I was doing. Then I wanted something that might be more a trademark so from there on I've settled on a style that seems to work for me. I might change the veneer combination and I sometimes expose some of these by cutting in, but I try to keep this shape - for the moment. It could change if I felt it should though.
Rosettes - I change as it's nice to have a bit of new creative input. What I might do however is make a batch of veneers and put them together in different combo's so I get variations on the same colour scheme. Quite a bit of work making the laminates so you might as well get as much out of the process as you can. It's a idea to log the rosettes so you have a record and can offer a choice of what is possible to clients. Beware of handing too much control to clients though, otherwise it can spiral out of hand. Maybe you could have a stock rosette and a special/variant that comes at a premium?
Names: - I didn't start out with this intention so the first couple did not get "christened". Then I called one "The Dragon" as it was made in the year of the Dragon and had a particular rosette. Then I started giving them names according to how they turned out. It might have run it's course though. I once knew a violin maker who did this. At the time he was on to No. 54 and still giving them a name (all girls!!)

Stu -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 30 2020 13:35:34)

Thanks Rae,

Interesting point about giving the client too much control. yeah imagine that could get silly! haha.
How many are you on now?

Flamingrae -> RE: Personalizing your guitars (May 31 2020 15:36:28)

I'm not that prolific - No 10, 11 and 12 on the go. There are a few violins and violas too and of late Ukes too. I took a bit of a rest from the foro as I simply became too busy. Just remember I'm still working full time although furloughed out right now.
The point about the client is so they don't start dictating too much. Then if you are not careful you can end up going way beyond the call of duty. We do that to a certain extent but be honest with yourself and the client as to what you are prepared to do and what you are not. If you have a good conversation, the job will go well. If you have a difficult conversation it's an indication as to how things will be. Try to avoid!!

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