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Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

This is one more video test, as the strings have tightened up and I'm hearing better nuance from the sound. This is the last video test until after the total polish and plate installation. There is still some fine tuning left after the finish is applied.

This is sort of a lengthy process but I feel the time is worth giving if the tone is enhanced. The ideal is to pre-plan the best voice possible, leveling everything synergistically, when the guitar comes off my bench, and then let age perfect it as much as possible.

There really is no better tone enhancement than to let age do its work. And I believe that it's necessary to build the same model for a time to get close to understanding its direction of sound.

If a copy of a proven original master built guitar comes off as not my cup of tea, then its generally assumed that it's my fault for not knowing the original builders propio sello; not necessarily a faulty design.

I have no finger nails to play this but the thumb, so I'm limited with what I can play here, whatever its worth :-)



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2014 16:05:34
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

one more time and then I have to quit..but I enjoy playing a little :-)



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2014 17:11:21
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1740
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

I like the sound a lot Tom,
Very balanced, nice separation.
Especially the slyghtly longer sustain I like a lot.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2014 17:27:12
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Well, I can't keep my hands off it, I tuned the second treble string a little more and it improved my poor rasgeado; more snap to the strings. I haven't done any top thickness. I have to see if it merits a thinner top by playing this adjustment for awhile.

As it is, the sound is coming out all over the place, with no finish on the guitar. The finish and tap plate will solidify the voicing to some extent.

Tuning the second string brought out a more prominent 1st string but this is easy to adjust.



I went ahead and adjusted the 1st string and it is back in place with good control. Now I gotta leave it alone for awhile until I put "A FINISH ON IT." :-)

Also another Blackshear, actually my very first try at a Reyes copy of 4 that I built for a plan that I donated to the Guild of American Luthiers.... played by Avi who recently got the sound in sync with his playing this particular You Tube.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2014 21:42:33
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

OK , I couldn't let the video go until I showed the correction on the first string. This is to show how this fine tuning goes. Sometimes it's easy and some times there is a lot of hair pulling. Right now there doesn't seem to be too much work involved to get toward a good guitar for flamenco. But I have to admit that sometimes its up in the air to get things corrected to where everything communicates together to form the whole story.

To correct the 1st string I sanded a slight bit on the middle of the 1st string right at the bridge strap. Then I leveled out the G string a little and then the 5th string was leveled on its top a little. I'm going to leave the 6th string alone now since I don't want to go any deeper with its tone.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 2:56:43
 
Ruphus

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Blackshear

Also another Blackshear, ... You Tube.


That seems no good example for presenting the speciality of your art, Tom. Neither playing nor recording conditions are adequate to bring out the properties of the instrument.

Much better example is this take; only that it deals about a classical of yours:


And it is a shame that there exists no such dedicated presentation of your flamencas like in below clip, which does real justice to the instrument in question with both the touch of the player and the recording.


After so many years of your guitar building and achievements in the craft it should be about time for someone to grab a flamenco axe of yours and produce a quality video about it.

How far are you situated from guys like Todd, besides?

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 9:53:26
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Ruphus,

The video of Rich Sayage playing guitar is a guitar made by Manuel Adalid with my fine tuning. This was one of the first Adalid guitars to have this technique done on it, and we were undecided how to label it, so we used one of my off labels and signed the top of the Blackshear label "Made in Spain."

This could turn out to be a collectible :-)

And I have no desire to gain a lot of business, I'm currently having fun with it, to keep a small building base to fill in the economic gaps, which, thanks to God, are fine right now.

This particular guitar that I'm working on is going to a person who is currently in Australia doing work with an ecological society.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 10:57:07
 
Ruphus

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Hi Tom,

I was wishing there to be more representative material that would convey the qualities of your guitars ( not necessarily for matters of biz / for flamenco chaps out there to get an idea about the sound of these instruments), however, as you are pleased with how things are and also not in need of further demand, I am sincerely glad to hear that. :O)
( Finally someone! - Many find themselves in financial troubles these raptor days.)

Anyway, if Adalid was to be interested into representing the line through recorded media, Mariano Martin could be an excellent artist for to unfold the guitars potential. Maybe they live not too far from each other and could arrange something for a clip or so.
Just saying.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 12:42:01
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

Anyway, if Adalid was to be interested into representing the line through recorded media, Mariano Martin could be an excellent artist for to unfold the guitars potential. Maybe they live not too far from each other and could arrange something for a clip or so.
Just saying.


I hear you loud and clear but since I'm not going to Spain to work in Manuel's factory to support a new trend, then he probably has his own existing advertisements set in the market.

We basically agreed for him to fine-tune the guitars so my person is not that import, perennially. Bringing attention to my name, may or may not help his system of sales.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 15:09:09
 
Ruphus

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

I see!

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 17:32:01
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Ruphus

Ruphus, I appreciate your kind consideration about having better presentations but I currently sell to the world without reservation and now that I build fewer guitars I'm very happy to recommend other builders like Lester DeVoe, etc.



We have a deserving builder list right here on this foro. And all I ask is that everyone be considered for the art they create, that God's glory may be filled.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 18:51:47
 
Ruphus

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Blackshear

... I currently sell to the world without reservation and now that I build fewer guitars I'm very happy to recommend other builders like Lester DeVoe, etc.


His personal that you recommended to me is a sonic big foot. I rediscovered it recently while new strings were setting in on another guitar.

But of his bench I would probably favor the one in the video you linked to, which is the most fuzzy specimen of all Lester´s guitar recordings I have heard. I suppose it is not just the setup, but maybe the blanca ( and maybe peg head-) being that helps it rasp.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 22:08:35
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Ruphus

Every guitar has its personal stamp from the builder; there are no 2 just alike, even though they can certainly be close.

I just took the bridge off my guitar and thinned the top slightly to give the articulation/pulsation a push in the right direction. I'll leave the bridge off until the guitar is completely finished and then I'll install a tap plate after the bridge is glued on.

When I string it up complete, then I'll know if any more fine tuning needs to be applied. This should take about 1 month.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2014 23:24:59
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here's another video with Avi........



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 20 2014 12:55:15
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is a little French polish to seal the top before I apply the color with an automotive touch up sprayer. It's about 5 thin coats of shellac and then I use 400 paper to flatten the surface before applying the color. I seal the top good with shellac before using oil, and then remove the oil sufficiently before applying the color.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 24 2014 16:46:48
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is a Jose Romanillos tutorial about fine tuning, which actually has been worked out with master Spanish builders in the past, as well as my own fine tuning, as far as changing levels of tone for the top. I've been able to change a top key from G# to F# by adjusting fan braces by hand; to improve tone.

I had the pleasure to meet Jose at the GAL-Tacoma convention in 1995. At that time he gave me the impression of an esoteric way to build top thickness by flex method and choice of certain wood.

It's really amazing how many different ways there are to build guitars. But I must emphasize that there are ways to change top keys, not only by what Jose would say about planning the over-all design but actually adjusting the key by hand after the guitar has been made.

An empirical overview is always good to note but there are individual facets concerning dimensional qualities that come out with certain adjustments to the basic structure of the guitar. And this is not to say that slightly changing the content of sound is a bad thing.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 24 2014 19:50:15
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is a spray technique to add color to the top. I use an automotive touch up spray gun at about 40 lbs psi. And the levels of finish are built up of color to get the color darker. I spray the color on fairly dry, not wet.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2014 18:16:05
 
El Burro Flamencuro

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

wow, amazing stuff. I wish that one day i'll make enough money to buy a tom blackshear....maybe i should just sell my car to buy one. I'll have to walk everywhere but at least i'll have a sweet guitar. Good way to stay in shape i suppose.

I have a salvador castillo and love the thing to death. That'd be so cool if castillo and some other mexican makers were willing to have you teach(and if you were willing to teach them haha) them these fine tuning methods. Maybe they already know some methods idk, i mean my guitar sounds fine(like really good), i'm just saying that IF they didn't know...then the difference could be huge.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2014 22:15:03
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to El Burro Flamencuro

quote:

That'd be so cool if castillo and some other mexican makers were willing to have you teach(and if you were willing to teach them haha) them these fine tuning methods.


I offered this to the Mexico builders years ago but only one builder, Lucio Nunez, actually moved here and worked with me for about 1-1/2 years before opening his shop here. He is currently building lattice braced guitars.

Also, I shared some of my technique with Francisco Navarro, whom I gave a Reyes plan to, and he has done well with it; even building a private line for Vicente Amigo, at this present time.

Also, Manuel Adalid, whom I highly respect, who is the owner of the Esteve Guitar factory in Valencia, has just finished a fine tuning course at my shop in San Antonio, Texas, April 24th 2014.......plus other guitar building students over the years, etc.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2014 23:43:09
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Blackshear

Every guitar has its personal stamp from the builder; there are no 2 just alike, even though they can certainly be close.

I just took the bridge off my guitar and thinned the top slightly to give the articulation/pulsation a push in the right direction. I'll leave the bridge off until the guitar is completely finished and then I'll install a tap plate after the bridge is glued on.

When I string it up complete, then I'll know if any more fine tuning needs to be applied. This should take about 1 month.





I never knew bridge removal could be so easy.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2014 14:08:23
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Ricardo

Just a little slight of hand here to speed up the process

Right now, I'm trying to blend the color on the top, sides, and back. This is the lengthy process since the finish has to dry between coats, and then polish over with clear finish to seal the color in. This procedure takes time.

After I get the top sealed, I usually try and install the bridge back on the top before I completely polish out the sides and back, due to me having to put the guitar back in the mold to install the bridge.

This way I don't run the risk of scratching the finish on the sides.......sort of an archaic way to do things but it works.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2014 14:59:35
 
SephardRick

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to El Burro Flamencuro

quote:

I wish that one day i'll make enough money to buy a tom blackshear....maybe i should just sell my car to buy one


Ha! Ha!

I know how you feel. But, in his defense. Tom's posting here and other forums explaining what he has learned over the years is impressive. If he applies his acquired knowledge in his instrument, then it might be well worth while taking out a car loan to purchase one.
I have gone from Yamahas to Ramirez and Vicente Sanchis guitars over the years spending more than all my wife's appliances combined. I must say, I have enjoyed them over a BMW and other cars that I have paid gobs of money for. Now, I drive an ubiquitous SUV, but still have my guitars.

So, yeah. I think a Blackshear, a Faulk, an Anders, etc. would be worth the expense. The real trick is convincing your wife about the joy of the investment.

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Rick
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2014 14:50:08
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to SephardRick

quote:

The real trick is convincing your wife about the joy of the investment.



Isn't that the truth

Tradition used to be that a guitarist would search for the right guitar to keep the rest of his playing career but now-a days he has so many options and cheap replicas to choose from....... that the question is, will he get the best investment for his money.

Most flamenco guitarists are a hard sell since many of them want the best guitar for a little cost, and then they want the finish to be perfect.

But they don't complain about an original master, like M. Reyes, as he is a mature builder whose reputation precedes any small defect in his finish work.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2014 15:34:05
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is the top with a rough French polish before re-installing the bridge. I let the top dry for a few days and then install the bridge before I finish the rest of the guitar. The primary reason I take the bridge off, to finish the top, is to get the color even at the bridge line, which I'm not very good at when trying to apply color with the bridge already on the top.

So, after the guitar top is fully polished, I let the finish dry for about one week and then compound out the finish for the final touch.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2014 14:18:31
 
koenie17

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From: España

RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Looks beautifull! Very interesting to see a bit of you finetuning procces.
Do you take of the bridge with a chisel? This part really freaks me out.. last time i lifted some grains, so I must be doing something wrong

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2014 18:43:35
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to koenie17

I prefer not to pop off the bridge with a chisel as it can relate to other parts inside the top being loosened by the impact, which actually happened to one of my guitars.

And I use LMI's white glue, so I loosen the bridge with heat and work it loose with a thin blade and then clean up the glue area with 190 proof alcohol and let it dry.

I might try and take a video next time I remove a bridge. Note: I keep the heat away from the top by using a reflector shield around the bridge and then keeping the hot light away the center seam of the top so as not to loosen it.

If I were installing a new bridge on an already finished top, then I would chip off the old bridge with a chisel and clean up the underneath very carefully before the installation of a new bridge.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2014 19:19:58
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is my bridge jig that I use to glue on bridges with. The bridge butts up against the wood support going across the top and is being held tight against the support.

I have little adjustment screws on each side of the support to keep the measurement correct for the playing scale.......







Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (3)

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 28 2014 15:34:36
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Going toward the final finish on the top but need to finish off the sides, back, and neck.

I graduated the top thickness a little toward the center instead of thinner around the edges and this put the basic voice very even in its overall note range. Here is some of the voice change before gluing on the tap plate.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 1 2014 1:20:28
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here is a very close final tuning of the top before I take the strings off and completely finish the guitar. If you listen closely, you might hear the difference in tone from this presentation and the last post I made. There is a certain amount of tonal improvement in this second tuning.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2014 14:12:23
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: FINE TUNING A GUITAR (in reply to Tom Blackshear

Here's some more tuning but I don't know if it is final yet.



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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 5 2014 15:26:58
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