The Ultimate Challenge

When I started building guitars in 1974, I assumed that, given a few years of experience, I’d pretty much figure out the secrets of guitar making. It didn’t take long to realize how naive this assumption was, but by then I was hooked and it was too late to turn back.

To say that guitar making is a challenge would certainly be an understatement and this is probably the main reason why I’ve remained excited all these years and still look forward to going to work each day. I also realize that I am very fortunate to have a career that I love. What could be better?  It is truly mind-boggling to realize that I will never come close to unlocking all the secrets to the world of guitar making. Some might find this reality hopelessly frustrating, but I see it as an exciting and stimulating challenge. There is always so much to learn.

As a guitar builder I can expand my knowledge in many different directions.  Of course, there is the purely technical aspect of 1st class craftsmanship. This is an area that I love and the possibilities are endless. You can keep getting better & better if you try.

As well, there is the understanding of sound production and bracing, not to mention the ever evolving area of aesthetic design and the constant improving of production methods and efficiency. This is an ongoing learning process but is absolutely essential if one wants to actually make a living at building guitars.

There are other areas of knowledge as well but, as you can see, there is no limit to the amount that can be learned. I can say without exaggeration that not a week goes by that I don’t learn something new. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the design of my guitars. Since my instruments are constantly evolving, I notice significant changes in guitars that are only a couple of years old! These can range from purely cosmetic to structural or general design changes. But the thing is, they are continually developing as my knowledge grows. Now I realize that in many cases these changes may be obvious to me alone. It’s also true that this doesn’t mean my older guitars can’t be excellent instruments. As an example, Cathy Miller, the talented Canadian singer songwriter has owned and used her Beneteau since 1977 and it plays and sounds great. Still I like to think that my latest guitars are my best, having the accumulated knowledge of 26 years behind them.

In summing up, I’d have to say that my work is rewarding, sometimes frustrating, always interesting and more than anything else stimulating and challenging. It works for me.

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