American Lutherie #131
Fall 2017


This issue’s cover shows bone-and-marquetry tieblock overlays being prepared in the shop of Peter Tsiorba. The back cover shows the workshop of Bernhard Kresse. The instrument on the right is a recently completed replica of a Stauffer Legnani model. To the left we see Kresse’s traditional-model classical guitar based on the work of Manuel Ramírez.


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Meet the Maker: Bernhard Kresse by Federico Sheppard
Bernhard Kresse lives and works in his hometown of Cologne, Germany. He’s one of those guitar-making self-starters who was lured away from college by the siren song of lutherie. He has come to specialize in restoration and new construction of Romantic-era guitars, and also makes a “modern” classical guitar based on their advanced features.

Electric Bass Neck Rods
from his 2014 Convention workshop by David King
That great big long thin neck of an electric bass is the ultimate test case for a truss rod. When renowned custom bass maker David King became dissatisfied with the performance of the rod he was using, he took a deep dive on the whole question of how rods work. Spoiler: Leo Fender was right.

Compression Neck Rod Installation by David King
If you are one of those spoiled-rotten kids who has always just dropped an under-over rod into a straight slot, you might want to see how a real old-school single curved compression rod is done.


Meet the Maker: Peter Tsiorba by January Williams
Peter Tsiorba began his working life as a teenager making garments in a semi-legit Soviet cooperative. Today he’s a family man and a maker of classical guitars in the lutherie Mecca of Portland, Oregon.

GAL 22nd Convention/Exhibition Coverage
Well, you did it again, lutherie community! You came together for five days of learning, teaching, sharing, showing, telling, playing, listening, buying, selling, eating, and laughing. You are awesome. Awesome as a (bunch of) possum(s).


Spanish Students Stop Traffic in Paris
An Introduction to the Mandolin's American Origins
by Paul Ruppa
Without the mandolin orchestra fad of the early 20th-century, we might not see Gibson mandolins today except in museums. The story of the pop-music sensation that triggered that fad is even more curious and unlikely than we have previouosly known. Get the straight poop here.

The Soundpost Cannon Incident by James Condino
Pop goes the soundpost! Can this affordable bull fiddle be saved? Plywood-doghouse specialist James Condino shows us how.

More Glue Strength Testing Data by James Blilie
Unless you are really messing it up, the glue line is stronger than the wood. And here’s more numbers to prove it. Blilie uses real lab gear and standard statistical analysis to drive the lesson home.

Pickguard Cracks: A New Twist on a Common Soundboard Repair
by Kjell Croce
Everybody has seen them; those cracks on the tops of old Martins that form just south of the soundhole when the pickguard shrinks. Croce shows us how to close and reinforce the crack, and then make a well-behaved modern pickguard.

Tiny Files for Fret Work by Harry Fleishman
Harry loves to learn, and then to teach. Although he has been leveling frets for half a century, he’s always rethinking it and keeping his eyes open for better ways to do it. Here he shows us his latest tools and tips for doing more by doing less.

An Adjustable Compensating Guitar Nut Design
by Paul Eliasson and Orn Eliasson
Relax. The clunky Frankenstein of a nut in this photo is not the design to which the article title refers. The Eliasson design is sleek and compact.

Questions edited by R.M. Mottola
Where can you get matched MOP for large inlays? Why does my dimensioned neck stock keep twisting? How do I find the best compensation angle compromise for a steel string guitar saddle slot?

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