CLC Newsletter -February 2012
Hello again from the west coast of Ireland. January has been very mild and there are signs that Spring is on the way like these early daffodils in front of the workshop. The vegetable garden, between the fence and the workshop, is a bit of a mess after the winter but it is still too early to start work in there.
The few clear night we have had coincided with strong solar activity and has meant that the Northern Lights have been visible in Ireland. I can only remember seeing them once before in the 1980's.
I wish I could say this was my image but I didn't get to see this and I am not good enough as a photographer anyway. This pic is from a real pro, Martin McKenna, who kindly gave me permission to use it. You can see more of his amazing work at Nightskyhunter.com.
Tech Bit - Binding with wood.
Currently I'm building a batch of acoustic guitars and, as usual, I will be binding them with wood rather than plastic. Why wood? Well I think it looks much better and adds a touch of class to an instrument. Plastic binding is the norm for factory guitars and it is easy to see why. Plastic is cheap, comes in nicely cut pieces, is very flexible and easy to bend to fit.
Wooden binding, on the other hand, has to be cut from solid (which is time consuming) and trimmed to size.
And it doesn't like being bent!
Not so good! Obviously you can bend wooden binding but you need to wet it and then heat it on the bending iron to do this which takes a little time to get it to match the body contours.
For the binding on the top of the body there is usually also a purfling which is a decorative strip that fits inside the binding. You can get this in plastic too but I prefer a wooden version of purfling also which will match the purfling in the soundhole rosette. This also has to be bent to shape.
Binding and purfling have to be glued in place. I use Titebond aliphatic resin for this job and for most wood joining on my guitars.
The binding is held in place with tape and, if necessary, clamping cauls in tight corners.
Whatever type of binding is used it requires careful trimming to get a correct fit.
After the binding is glued in place it is scraped down to get an exact fit to the body sides. In the pic below you can see the matching wooden tail graft.
So it is quite a lot more time consuming to use wooden binding (Irish lacewood in this case) but I think the end result is worth the effort.
If you have a topic that you would like to see in the Tech Bit section let me know and I will try to include it.
In the Workshop.
These are what I'm building at the moment - a jumbo cutaway with cedar top and figured walnut back and sides, an ASAPJ JM (all sapele) and an ASAP Tenor 4 string guitar (tuned GDAE) in Tasmanian blackwood and spruce.
With the this batch of acoustics I am using bolt-on neck joints. I have come up with a system for this that I think is very effective. One advantage of this type of joint is that adjustment of the neck at any time is much easier than with a glued joint. Also this type of joint is easier to make accurately and is as least as strong as a glued joint and may in fact be stronger. I had to design and make a jig to enable me to drill the very precisely angled and positioned holes for this system to work. Here is part of it. I'm not showing you the whole lot!
I got this pic from Jimmy Canty who, apart from being an ace bass player and friend is also one of the tutors at the Kerry School of Music. He must be good because he has taught the winners of the guitar prize there for the last two years. Here he is looking justly proud with Murrough and Jack holding their prizes. All have graced the Newsletters before in recent editions. Looks like they were interrupted by the photographer while they were doing some building work!
Eric Siegloff is originally from Australia but somehow has wound up in Europe. He sent in this picture of him and his early model 5B bass that he bought used. The top on this is figured ash. This bass is coming back to me soon to be re-furbished and I look forward to seeing it again after nearly 20 years.
Following sending out the T-shirts I got this pic from David Goodier modelling his.
If this does not frighten you there are a few left, mainly medium, a couple of large and one XL in a variety of colours (see pic later in the Newsletter). Cost is 12.50 each Euro plus postage (2.70 Euro Ireland, 3.50 Euro rest of the world).
If you have any shots of you or your band featuring any of my instruments I'd love to see them and maybe put them in a future Newsletter. Also any soundclips or videos now that I know how to link to them!
While I was talking to David to thank him for his pics I suggested he might write an article for this slot. I was not expecting this!
"When I sent Chris a couple of pics of me modelling a sample of his new range of chest covers, he asked if I might like to write something for the newsletter to go with my 'exposure'. Modelling is a new venture for me, but in these difficult times, diversification is spreading and versatility has long been well regarded. The day of the 'shoot' arrived and I woke early; excited and curious to know what the day would bring. A light breakfast of coffee and croissant brought to mind the balmy Parisian summers of my youth when life was simple and the sun shone regularly. It was an unseasonably mild mid-January day and as I walked on 'set' at the secret 'location', I was chaperoned to a private area to freshen up before the serious part of the day's work could begin. As requested, Monsieur Chris had sent me his newest creation in an intoxicating shade of navy blue - and gone to the trouble of autographing it himself with his own signature. Merci bien, Chris! Fresh from the shower, I slipped into the shirt; its soft fibres caressing my radiant skin. A delicious tingling raced through me as the exquisite material moulded itself to my firm, tanned torso. 'You look amazing', murmured the young lady photographer.... "
I can't think of anything appropriate to say!
So it could be you!
Why not contribute an article for the Newsletter yourself? Write a paragraph or two about something relevant (or irrelevant!) and get a chance to shamelessly publicise yourself and/or your project in the Newsletter. Send your effort to me along with a suitable pic/video/soundclip/url/link, etc., and I'll see if I can include it (if I don't lose it). It does not have to be about how good your guitar is (even if it is!) but maybe something about a situation it got you into, a gig experience, the design and ordering process or anything related to it. Use your imagination! Or simply send me a pic of you and your Chris Larkin gigging.
As I will be exhibiting at the Dublin Music Show in February I'm going to need all the stock I can muster to put on the walls if I am going to make a good impression so I have decided not to add anything else to the Stocklist until after the event.
But STILL available to buy right now from the workshop (although I would not mind having them at the Dublin Show either!) we have these beauties.
This archtop has the classic looks in spruce and quilted maple and has the classic sound too thanks to the floating pickup and hand carved top and back.
This beautiful ASAD 2HB can handle almost any gig with aplomb (whatever that means!). It is so versatile I'm sure it could do it with two aplombs if asked.
Both available now. More details on the Stocklist and you can contact me for other pics and details if you would like to know more. If you are in Kerry, call and arrange to meet with one of them and it could be the start of a long term relationship.....
And Finally..The Recipe.
My friend Alex, a true Dub, sent this recipe.
"I thought you might like a recipe, maybe you will use it on the Newsletter some day, this is a Dublin recipe and I will make it for you when you call by again. It's called 'Dublin Coddle' and is a very old Dublin tenements staple which was eaten for breakfast, dinner or tea (as we call evening meal). It goes against all your healthy eating principals but what the hell.
Settle in and enjoy a feast.
Up the Dubs!
And finally, finally....
I mentioned above that I will have a stand at the Dublin Music Show over the weekend of February 25th-26th at the RDS. As usual I don't have a lot of stock but I will have several new guitars and customers have kindly offered to loan me some of their instruments as well so there should be a good selection. There should be a seven string, solid bodied, baritone guitar with tremelo which I think is probably a world first - I'm not sure who might want something like this!
Since the early 1980's Theo Cheng from London has demonstrated my guitars at every show I have been to in London, Frankfurt, Rotterdam and France so it no surprise that he will be in Dublin. Also for his first show fine bassist and Ireland lover Christoph Navratil from Vienna will make an appearance. Christoph has ordered some of the most unusual basses I have had the pleasure to make and he will have a selection with him - you will have seen some of them in earlier Newsletters. Syra will also be there with a selection of her beautiful guitar themed prints. We would be delighted to meet any of you who can make it to the show.
T-Shirts and Straps
The colour selection. As mentioned above most that are left are medium with a couple of large and one XL (in black). I'll have these at the Dublin show.
These are high quality, heavy cotton Tees either by Fruit of the Loom or Gildan with the Chris Larkin Custom logo embroidered on the left side in bright green.
Also available for the first time in a while are the much sort after Chris Larkin Custom guitar straps. Again, numbers are limited.
These are custom made Levy's 'Signature' series 2" adjustable, heavy duty cotton straps with reinforced suede ends including the embossed CLC guitars logo. They are suitable for acoustic or solid bodies and can be adapted to fit straploks if required. The cost per strap is 11.00 Euro with the same shipping costs as the T-shirts - for Ireland the postage is 2.70 Euro, for the rest of the world it is 3.50 Euro. The postage for two or more will be a little higher.
If you are interested in buying a T-shirt or strap please email me and we can sort out all the details.
And finally, finally, finally....
If you have any suggestions for the Newsletter please send them to me. If you think anyone you know might be interested in this Newsletter please send it on to them with their permission. If you do not wish to receive future issues please email me with unsubscribe as the subject and I'll remove you from the mailing list. If you are a new reader and would like to subscribe to get future editions please email me with subscribe as the subject or sign up on my website. There is an archive of previous Newsletters on my website.