Nobody's perfect. Guitars too. It occasionally happens that I'll have a guitar sit around for a long time without finding an owner. I have to be honest with myself- sometimes it's because the guitar could be better. After all, as I grow as a person I become a better luthier, and some of my older guitars don't meet my newer, higher, standards. So back into the workshop it'll go, getting upgraded to the current state of my art. Corduroy (above), got an infusion of carbon fibre in the neck for extra stiffness, as well as a new lighter and less bulky bridge. While I was at it, I decided to upgrade the tuners to super-lightweight Gotoh Stealths. This meant completely redrilling the headstock, and to cover the plugs and strengthen the area I decided to create front and back headplates from my last pieces of figured hop-hornbeam. It's now stronger, lighter, prettier, and plays better than ever.

Lapdog, on the other hand, was simple enough that nothing could really go wrong. The simpler the better was the motto when designing and building this instrument. After all, I'm not a lap steel player. But after showing it to a few friends who were, they agreed that it would be better if it had built-in volume and tone controls, so they wouldn't have to rely on a swell pedal. I listened, and now it has them, topped with knobs I turned out of cocobolo to match. It may be a little less elemental, but it's a lot more useful.

New Amp: "the Ghost of Charlie Christian"

Who wouldn't like to have a time machine? I know one thing I would do would be to travel back to the dawn of the electric guitar, and listen in on a night session at Minton's Playhouse. There would be Charlie Christian, inventing bop and with it the tones and techniques that all electric guitarists use to this day. I can't help but wonder how it would sound live, instead of recorded on the primitive amateur equipment of the time.

Lacking the means to build said time machine, I created this amplifier instead. It's a close copy of the Gibson EH-150, the first commercially available electric guitar amp. The few remaining original examples are in rough shape; listening to them, it's hard to imagine how the electric guitar was considered a viable instrument at the time. But a newly built one, with fresh, tested components is a completely different animal. Clic on the pic to find out (and hear) more...