It’s been a while. I’ve been keeping my head down and focused on the work in the shop the past few months. We have a lot of fun projects that we’re working on so just wanted to jump on and share a few details with more to come soon.
Next week we’re headed to the first Fretboard Summit being put on by Jason Verlinde and the team behind the Fretboard Journal. The weekend will be full of talks by some of today’s great guitar builders, many that I’ve long admired, various players in concert and giving instruction, and the chance to hang out with a focused group of all around guitar geeks. The event is taking place at Costanoa Resort near Pescadero, CA along the coast. I can’t think of a better excuse to get out of the shop for a few days. On Sunday morning, I’ll have the pleasure to sit down with amazing guitar player, Julian Lage, and play a few songs with him while we talk shop with Jason.
Above is a photo of the gear I’ll be taking to the Summit. In the front row is a newly finished sunburst Smith Special, a Tele with my CCll Pole Piece Pickup, my personal Smith Special and a recently completed mandolin that I made for myself. The mandolin is a cross between Tiny Moore’s 5 string and the Glenn Tarver’s 5 string, which I was fortunate to have in my shop for a few weeks recently. Next post I’ll share more photos and details on the mandolin, along with a video where I’ll play and slow down one of Tiny’s solo’s.
Along with the guitars, I’m taking a recently acquired 1957 Magnatone Troubadour, a 1956 Gibson Country Western and my trusty Gibson EH 185.
On another note, every year Jill comes up with a new t-shirt design for the shop. We recently had artist and friend Anika Orrock out for a few days and she created some funny characters of a hillbilly guitar builder in the desert. Oh ya, that’s me. We love her work so decided to honor it on a shirt.
T’s in the store now, printed on custom T’s by Hometown Jersey. Available in Black or Cream. Free shipping in the USA on this shirt through Nov. 15, while supplies last. Use Code: “Smith” at checkout. 100% Made in the USA.
Also offering Smith Fabrication T’s with stitched on felt lettering. Laid out by hand, stitched on one at a time. This one comes in Black, Cream, Navy or White.
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Here are a few pictures and the specifications of the most recent single cut Smith Special, along with a short clip. Lately, I’ve been quickly recording ideas so I don’t forget them by the time I can sit down and work them out, which seems to happen more and more. The clips usually don’t have endings but on this one of It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie, I thought of a simple chord melody with some single notes and an actual ending. I was playing this guitar at the time so I thought I’d share it.
In the video, I’m using the neck pickup with the tone rolled off.
This one arrived already refinished and minus any hardware except the vibrato. The original headstock was repaired at some point but there was a visible crack an inch above the nut, so it was a good candidate for a new Bigsby type neck, CAR pickups, and a custom pickguard. It was a blast to do and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.
We’re getting ready to ship the most recently finished Smith Special to TR Crandall in NYC. When I had the thought to engrave the hardware, tattoo artist Dave Gibson immediately came to mind. I’ve known Dave for years and after talking with him a few times about my vision, what he came up with was even better than I had imagined. I had seen a photo of Merl’s Super 400 with a Bigsby vibrato engraved but on this guitar, we took it all the way and engraved all of the aluminum. I completed it with a tortoise shell pick guard with longhorn inlay, pine top, headstock overlay with overlapping MOP horseshoes and sunburst finish. All photo by Steve Lester