"Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad." Psalm 45: 8

Thursday, December 14, 2023


 No, not Kampgrounds Of America, but the wood Koa, as in Acacia Koa. This species grows in Hawaii and has been used for musical instruments for years. And used successfully. It contributes a pleasing crispness to the sound, and as a real plus is undeniably beautiful. 

This guitar was built for a prior customer in Colorado who wanted our SJ model rendered in Koa. It sports a Bearclaw Sitka Spruce top, and Ebony appointments. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Death of Melody?

 I grew up in the sixties. That’s 1960’s, not as many assume, the 1860’s or earlier. Back then, AM radio was an exciting adventure, where each week saw the release of some new song from the latest hot group. New sounds, new concepts, new ideas were the norm. And regardless what our parents thought, there was real creativity being expressed. From Hendrix to Buffalo Springfield to Creedence to Booker T. and the M.G’s there was something for nearly every taste. It was an expressive era, and the music was memorable. You could whistle the tune and bring to mind the song. 

But no one is whistling these days. Other than those whistling down Memory Lane. Giving it my best effort to be objective, while listening to the modern offerings on contemporary radio, I’m struck by the absence of something: melody. Where did it go ? Where is the progress of a musical idea that takes the listener through a pleasant journey, building tension and resolving in a logical conclusion? Where is a tune that is recognizable as a tune? Moving cautiously, blandly, up and down a scale does not a melody make. Why is banality the norm?

It would be enlightening, if sad, to chronicle the demise of melody. If a diagnostician could tell us when and what was the cause of death. It’s probably a complex answer, and each line a sorrowful one. It probably deserves a song, doesn’t it?

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Number 200!

 When you build only 12-14 guitars a year, you don’t expect a large total output. The “milestone” numbers seem elusive—more suited to a factory situation. Those are the guys who have big production numbers. They get more done before lunch than I will do in a career. That said, if you keep working, keep plugging away, there eventually come some numbers that make you want a longer coffee break. Like this one: we just finished #200. And I am as surprised as my parents would have been had they lived to see it!

So here it is, our 200th guitar. It is a 00 model, sporting a “Tunnel 14” redwood top, over a Brazilian rosewood body. The bindings, rosette, tail wedge and arm bevel are curly Bubinga, a beautiful, dense wood from Africa. The inlays are green Paua, and the purflings are green abalone. Oh yes—shop made Brazilian rosewood buttons for the Schertler tuning machines.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Another 000–August, 2023

Our newest guitar—also a 000-12–just finished. This one sports a bearclaw-figured Italian spruce top, and Birdseye maple back and sides. Also, a player-friendly cutaway. Our finish ace, Tony Ferguson, nailed the “honey burst” on back, sides and top. Thanks, Tony!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Recent Work, July 2023

 This post will be an experiment in uploading pics from a 3rd party host.

This guitar is a 000-12 fret model, Sitka spruce top, Indian rosewood back/sides.

The customer wanted spalted maple accents, and we were happy to oblige.

To me, a 000-12 is nearly perfect in size, sound and looks. Here it is:

Thursday, July 20, 2023

How long has it been?!

How long since we have updated the blog? The answer is, something like 7 years. That’s quite a long time to remain silent!  Perhaps we can do better in future… Looking back over old posts, I see that Photobucket’s policy change has removed some of my pics. And I’m afraid some of them are just gone. Ah well, we’ll try to go forward without their help.

To change the subject a bit, I’d like to quote a verse from a favorite hymn of mine:

“Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but it’s own;
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.”

This Ivory Palace will be glad when that anthem resounds unchallenged!