Just got back from the ASIA Guitarmaker convention in PA. It was great! Toured the Martin Guitar Factory on the 1st day and got the V.I.P. Tour that included getting onto the production floor in the milling room and into the acclimating room where everything is stored including the locked case (wall) of Brazilian Rosewood.
Sat in on a number of great forums, presentations, and most imporantly meals with builders that have inspired me for years. It was weird and surreal, but at the same time completely educational and honest. Cool all around. Linda Manzer was great to talk with and helping her carry her purchases to her car helped me keep in shape while I was there. I was embarrassed to approach her to begin with (who wouldn't be, she's LINDA MANZER "the queen" as some call her) but as the days past I found myself on even(ish) ground. Crazy!!
Ken Parker walked me out of his presentation and asked if I had, "any questions?" I couldn't say anything as I was so blown away I couldn't open my mouth. I didn't want to sound dumb. This was the second time I've met him and while he said, "I can only process 2-3 new faces a day," (referring to our 1st meeting) I'm hoping this time I worked myself in.
Bryan Galloups' presentation on Tonewood was killer and put a real perspective on the material I've been working with, there's so much to account for but with his help I think I've got a better grasp on how to get closer to where I want to be. We also shared the plane ride home where I got another 2 hour conversation that still has me thinking and excited to build.
Grit Laskin signed a second book for me and gave a lecture on how he does his bevels and inlay. So much simpler then what I've been doing, and man how smart and gracious he is. It was great to see his interaction amongst his peers and friends. He's a great builder, a great innovator and the quintessential builder to model my own individual build and customer focused perspective around.
Julius Borges was so honest with me it took a while to acclimate to. Whether were talking about the history of his original 2 Newport Guitar Festivals, his own build techniques, or his honest opinions on the state of guitar making/ customer relations/ or life in general, it was humbling to feel like I was a friend and not just the newly found tag along.
All of these builders made the week for me, now it's time to get back to work and show them that I was listening. How cool is that?