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Present, Past and Future Adventures in Guitar Land

by | Aug 2, 2015 | Blogs | 0 comments

Chrysós Build Progress

If you’ve had your eye on my Facebook posts this weekend, you may have seen a couple of key images revealing what’s going on at Camp Lucas Guitar right now:

  • I’ve finished making templates for my current build; and
  • I have prepared three beautiful pieces of timber (Vic Ash, African Mahogany and Jarrah) for an awesome transformation.

Add to this a plethora of repairs: archtops, acoustics, electrics, basses, and you’re looking at a fairly full workshop!

Although bringing the old ‘pride and joys’ back to life still gives me a kick, my true love (if you haven’t guessed) is creating something memorable and highly playable from raw materials – and then seeing the enjoyment that others get out of making music with it.

Step Back in Time

The gallery images you see here on the home page and those shown on various forms of social media show a few high-quality customs built recently that I’m especially proud of. What you can’t see is the journey that led me to this point.

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This morning I had a conversation with a friend which made me cast my mind back a few years in time to when I started on the path of building instruments. Nowadays I have a modestly customised workshop and rarely need to seek outside help to complete part of the building process. Step back nearly ten years to when I began, though, and almost every step of making a guitar was a stretch for me.

Here are a few recollections of what it was like at the start:

  • Driving 10km to a mate’s place each time I needed to use a pedestal drill
  • Routing out guitar bodies in a carpeted spare bedroom, then attempting to vacuum out the dust
  • My workbench was a wobbly job using a big slab of chipboard and four treated pine legs (stilts)
  • Spending hours hand-sanding figured hardwoods in the absence of a hand-plane or drum sander
  • Making numerous heart-breaking mistakes on rare and expensive exotic tonewoods

Thankfully, those dramas are now well behind me. I still head outside the workshop for a few things – to hand-select my guitar timbers, cut bookmatched tops that are too big for my little bandsaw, and to use a professional spray booth for a high-quality, low-emission finish. These services are all provided by humble, genuine local people with strong ethical values: honesty, openness, professionalism and a keen interest in sustainability.

Discoveries Over Time

“Improvise, adapt, overcome.”

This was the personal mantra of someone who became a ‘key person of influence’ during my twenties, a man who set his sights on a goal, then just got on with achieving it. It could also be used to describe the path that many aspiring creative types take to bring their art into existence. I remember being blown away by the ingenuity and dexterity of Salvador Dalí when seeing his work in the flesh for the first time. A master of so many forms, working with so many materials; he made himself a master of everything that was necessary to bring his ideas to life. Now I’m not Salvador Dalí, but I don’t like to be held back by limitations or tradition when it comes to getting an idea out in the world.

Here are a few ideas that have appeared in my guitars during my quest to make each instrument as strikingly unique and functionally bulletproof as possible:

  • Mirror-finished fretboard timber
  • Heat-stamped headstock logo
  • Anti-strip strap pin inserts

… And some more you may see soon:

  • Dyed timber fretboard inlays
  • Pyrography feature-work on bodies
  • Groovy hand-carving (pun intended)

Well I must get back to some other very important jobs… folding nappies, eating a piece of banana cake, vacuuming, and stopping the dog from eating any guitar picks I’ve left lying around the house.

Until next time, make every note count and live life to the full.

Thanks for reading,
Richard Lucas

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