Thursday, January 2, 2014

New direction for 2014

I've started, but not finished, a few blog entries since my last post at the end of 2012. For the past several years, each January started with me laying out some personal fitness goals, whether it be a Marathon (2011), the Spartan Beast (2012), or trying a ketogenic diet for the 2013 Spartan Beast and Leaf Peepers Half Marathon.

For 2014, I really didn't feel compelled to tackle any new major fitness challenges. I'm getting a little burned out from having my foot on the gas for the past 4 years. Health and fitness won't go away, but I'm not planning to TRAIN for anything major in 2014.

So, much like I used this space to record my path to my first (and so far, only) marathon, I'm going to shift gears in the TOPIC of this blog, but still attempt to maintain the "Push the Envelope. Watch it Bend." philosophy.  I have decided to build, from the ground up, a Telecaster (electric guitar). Some portions, such as building and fretting the neck, will require assistance of friends & family (namely Ennis & Lubold Luthiers), but as much as possible I'm going to use tools I have on-hand to turn some raw hunks of wood into a playable instrument at least equal to the tonal quality and playablity level of a mid-level, factory-made Fender. I will do all the wiring myself to the extent that I intend to build and wind my own pick-ups (including building my own pick-up winder).

There will certainly be mistakes made along the way. I have limited experience working with wood, so there will be a lot of learning happening in a short period of time. I have built from off-the-shelf parts, wired, and lacquered two electric guitars, and learned a LOT in the process of doing that. There will be another partnership-project with Ennis & Lubold that I'll announce soon that will allow my to cut my teeth on an acoustic-instrument project in parallel with the Telecaster.

The Tele project started this afternoon with the $13.80 purchase of a 2" x 8" x 36" block of Poplar that will be cut into two 18" pieces, then cut along the long edge to have a bookmatched top & back. The Poplar isn't beautifully figured and the easy way out would be to just join the 18" blocks, but where's the fun in that? Even though I fully expect to finish the guitar in paint (vs. stained/natural), a large part of this project is LEARNING, so right outta the gate I'm going to learn how to (or how NOT to) bookmatch a solid-body guitar.

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