Thursday, August 4, 2011

2011 GAL Convention/Exhibition

This year I attended the convention of the Guild of American Luthiers en Tacoma, Washington.  I have been reading the GAL journal, American Lutherie, and the Big Red Books as a source for open information from some of the craft's greatest creative people and legendary figures, such as Eugene Clark, Manuel Velazquez, Jeff Elliott, Robert Ruck, Ervin Somogyi, Richard Bruné, and Mike Doolin, to name just a few.

During those few days I got to share time with many of these brilliant people, getting feedback on my last two instruments and examining the work of many established and up-and-coming luthiers. During the classical guitar listening session, we heard and compared many classical guitars being played by a top ranked player, Edel Muñoz, where my own guitar received very good comments.

We also had an informal Flamenco guitar listening session, moderated by John Park, where luthier and Flamenco player Richard Bruné played guitars by John Park, Marshall Bruné, and myself, and we chatted about the sound of these guitars and what made them work for Flamenco music.  Flamenco has more freedom than Classical guitar music, and a guitar pretty much has to be what the player feels comfortable with.  The only mandatory difference are the golpeadores or tap plates, since without these the guitar would not last very long.

The rest of the workshops where very informative.  I especially enjoyed James Ham's on his techniques for lamination and hide glue use.  In all, thanks go to the Guild for organizing such an important event for the luthier community.

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