2001 G.A.L. Convention

Overview | Presenters | Music | Exhibition | Auction | Miscellaneous | Open House | Staff & Helpers

Stuart Murphy checks out a cedar top set at the auction preview. Stuart did a lot of much-appreciated work behind the scenes of the auction.

Brady Anderson writes his silent auction bid for a set of tuners while Victor Listkow and Jerry Dutczak plot strategy.
Cheryl Erikson celebrates her winning bid for the “Little Man”. This Spam-can fiddle by Duane Heilman brought in $150!
Todd Brotherton shows off rough-carved Benedetto arched top and back plates at the vocal auction. Saul Koll, T.V. Jones, The 12th Fret, and Stewart-MacDonald donated this matched set of electric guitars.
Swingin' auctioneer K.P. Kendall works the crowd. At the front of the auction show we see Stuart Murphy, Tim Olsen, Todd Brotherton, K.P. Kendall, and Dale Phillips.
Myles Gilmer, Marc Culbertson, and Julius “Gorgeous” Borges. Is Julius waving or bidding? He'll find out when he gets the bill. Chuck Erikson, Steiny, Ervin Somogyi, and George Armstrong display various bidding styles.
Todd Brotherton and Tim Olsen take in the “Rattlesnake” song by Fred Carlson. Tim likes the song; it's the PA squeal he objects to. Pete Forman admires a beaming Dave Harper as he hauls his auction treasure.

Auction Party
by Bon Henderson

Saturday night is party night. OK, it's mostly auction night, but we make it seem more like a party so people won't mind parting with their hard-earned cash. There were great deals to be had this year and our members wasted no time in grabbing them up. Fantastic bargains? Now I call that a party!

After his dynamic auctioneering job in 1998, staffer Kurt Kendall was roped into a return engagement. Three years later he still didn't have a clue what that “lutherie stuff” was, but his skill in making up names for bidders hadn't diminished. “Middle Man,” “Lady Bidder 1, 2, and 3,” “That Guy,” and “Beardo” joined ranks with returning legends “Funky Hat” and “Dear Abby” to bid on a diverse assortment of donated items.

As always, some of our more vocal members lent assistance with their exciting auctioneering skills. Ervin Somogyi, Harry Fleishman, and Robert Steinegger each took a turn at auctioning, especially when it was related to what they'd donated. Fred Carlson was in charge of auctioning his amazing art banners designed for the stage backdrops. These banners are becoming a beloved tradition at GAL conventions, and this year Fred outdid himself with an assortment of whimsical giant instrument/animals that captured the fancy of everyone who saw them. One huge banner of a smiling guitar was a particular favorite that launched an intense bidding war. When the excitement was over Steve Klein came out the winner. It seemed even Fred was taken aback with its hefty final price of $750! Fred's collection of banners netted the GAL an incredible $2330!

Our lutherie instructor members were also very generous this year. Unfortunately, Tom Ribbecke was unable to attend due to a baseball injury. He was definitely missed, but his presence was still felt during the auction with a donation of one of his classes. When the bidding heated up on Ervin Somogyi's donated class, he generously threw in an extra class so that both bidders would be able to attend. David Lima won a voicing class with Steve Klein, which also included an elegant dinner with Steve! Harry Fleishman took the auction of his class to a new level when he brought up ten of his former students. Several students gave dramatic (and hilarious) testimonials explaining how their lives had changed after taking Harry's class. Besides being a great financial boost to the auction, these classes also offer a wonderful learning opportunity for the winning bidders.

Intermission auction music was provided by David Cory on banjo, R.E. Bruné on flamenco guitar, and Fred Carlson on Jomama, a kind of papier-mâché bass banjo.

Wood was a high-profile auction item this year, aided by the impressive donation of Fred Lyman's entire stash of hundreds of guitar top sets. Alaska Specialty Wood, Allied Lutherie (Todd Taggart), Pauline Dickens (from the estate of Fred Dickens), Exotic Woods, Gilmer Wood Co., Steve Banchero, R.H. Kessler, Northwest Specialty Woods, Raincoast Tonewoods (Dan Minard), and Larry Stamm also made sizable wood contributions.

After Dan Erlewine's fretting demo, Stew-Mac donated the elaborate neck-jig work station to the auction and Brady Anderson was thrilled to take it home. Saul Koll, T.V. Jones, Stew-Mac, and The Twelfth Fret donated time and parts to make three identical electrics using different body woods. The instruments were compared at the electric guitar listening sessions, then donated to the auction. Great ideas!

Not all GAL auction items were serious or practical. Again the Spam instruments proved oh-so-popular with the entire crowd. Duane Heilman is the creator of the Spamdolin and the Spamavarius, made from actual Spam cans. We've not determined if Duane actually eats the Spam. Young and old alike could not resist picking these instruments up during the preview and trying them out. At auction time, Fred Carlson gave a short performance on the Spamivarius to make people even more eager to own it. After another frantic bidding war ensued. In the end, Bob Park gave $150 for the tin-can fiddle.

Some other items of hilarity included the auctioning of Bruné's moustache, the shirt off Steiny's back, and a pasta of questionable taste that was won at a sportsbar by an anonymous group of luthiers and donated to the live auction. We promised not to mention any names....

And once again “The Little Man” was back! This now has been a GAL auction tradition for the last four conventions. Our story begins back in 1992 when David Freeman donated a small clay statue of a man playing an electric guitar. Some fumblefingered member dropped it and it broke to pieces before the auction. Quick-thinking John Jordan begged luthiers to “take pity on the Little Man” as members dug into their pockets to gather spare change so that Fred Campbell could win him. Fred took him home for three years, glued him back together, mounted him on a wood plaque and donated him back to the next auction. Every convention after that each person who won the “Little Man” added something to the piece (amp, MOP stars) and donated it back for the next auction. Stuart Murphy, the Little Man's recent host, made a bold statement by replacing the electric guitar with an electric... lute! Apparently the Little Man was making some changes in his musical style while he was in Texas. The bidding started out fast and furious. It seemed that no one would be able to come close to the insistent bidding of Chuck Erikson, better known as the Duke of Pearl. No one, that is, until Cheryl Erikson, the Duchess of Pearl, got into the fray. Suddenly there was a huge bidding battle between the Duke and the Duchess. The Duke tried to hold firm but each time the Duchess would top him. Finally he was forced to cave into the calm persistence of the Duchess. The Little Man will be going home to Grass Valley, CA and we can only guess as to what new look he will develop in the next three years. We bet it will be “pearly.”

Lots of bargains, lots of music, lots of laughs, and $15,017 in cash for the good ol' GAL:! What a party!

2001 GAL Benefit Auction Donors
Acoustic Guitar: books and one-year subscription to Acoustic Guitar magazineAlaska Specialty Wood: sawn and split Sitka billets • Allied Lutherie/Todd Taggart: Brazilian rosewood slabSteve Banchero: split spruce violin topsRobert Benedetto: two rough archtop guitar backs, two topsJulius Borges: ebony bridgesRick Brown: Havana Cuban cigarPaul Buerk: gougeFred Carlson: twenty-two handmade art wood cut banners (stage decor)Bruce Creps/Notable Woods: koa ukulele back and sides, koa guitar back and sidesPauline Dickens: twenty-year-old German spruce top sets from the estate of Fred DickensJeff Elliott: Hauser t-shirt, shop vac, mic stand, guitar bodyExotic Woods: Honduras mahogany back and sides, ebony bridge blanks, Bois de Rose fingerboardsFortunat Ferrari: Swiss plum back and sidesHarry Fleishman: ten-day guitar making class, Brazilian fretboard blanksFrank Ford: fret tang expandersDavid Freeman, Timeless Instruments: cocobolo fingerboards and bridges, bindings, books, Engelmann tops, Sitka tops, cedar tops, strings, t-shirtGilmer Wood Co.: padauk, maple, and Indian rosewood back and sides; maple back, ribs and neck for violin; spruce, redwood, tamarac, and cedar tops; rosewood bridge blanks, palisander boards, mahogany blocks, snakewood fretboardsBob Gleason: pearl pieces, bass bridgeGuild of American Luthiers: miscellaneous magazines and historical GAL lecture tapesDavid Guiletti: engraved brass scrapsJay and Yvonne Hargreaves: Scotch shortbread cookies, CD Paul Hass: vacuum clampDuane Heilman: Spamdolin (Spam-can mandolin), Spamavarius (Spam-can fiddle) with bowTom Ivey: guitar kit, rosewood sides, bag of bridge pins, inlay piecesStephen Janofsky: router bit jackA.J. Keller Guitars: ukulele pegs, bass bow frog, antique frog, reamerR.H. Kessler: wood veneers, fret rule, rosettes, fingerboards, rosewood back and sides, amplifier, cord, guitar strap, side bender, workboard gluing jig, classical template, bone, tailpiece, purfling and bindings, fret files, spruce tops, Brazilian back and sides, guitar kit, Darco tuners, Schaller tuners, American Lutherie magazines and quarterlies, bridge and end pins, various booksStephen Kinnaird: carving knivesSaul Koll, T.V. Jones, 12th Fret, Stewart-MacDonald: alder, korina, royal paulownia electric guitarsFred Lyman, Jr.: redwood, cedar, fir, spruce soundboardsRoger LeBlanc: fret files, binding, books, American Lutherie magazines, Guitarmaker magazinesSteve Klein: voicing class plus dinnerTom Krueger: art pieceJohn Leach, LaserWriting: race unity posters and postcardsStuart Murphy: “The Little Man”Northwest Specialty Woods: cedar topsIsaac Olsen: eight original drawings of GAL staff membersOrange Coast College Guitarmaking Class: 15¦ and 25¦ stainless steel radius templateThomas Peterson: Primus plane, kerfed liningsRaincoast Tonewoods/Dan Minard: cedar tops, yellow cedar back and sidesPaul Reisch: American Lutherie magazines and data sheet setsRescue Pearl Co.: inlay laminate sheets, teardrop- and kite-shaped mother-of-pearlTom Ribbecke: one archtop guitar building classJosé Romanillos: autographed bookErvin Somogyi: two voicing and wood selection classes, cordless Skil drill, tuner necklace, book, dial indicator, thermometer/hygrometer, Brazilian rosewood back and sidesSports Tavern: meal in a basketLarry Stamm: cedar top, back and sides; Engelmann archtop soundboard; pine, Engelmann, and fir topsBob Steinegger: 1885 uncirculated silver dollar, Harmony banjo, mandolin sides, Harmony body and neck, Airline body and neck, Steiny's Hawaiian shirtGene Stephenson: grab bag of strings Stewart-MacDonald Guitar Shop Supply: neck jig workbench,Waverly tuning machines, Stew-Mac video tapes, Irving Sloane tuning machines, cedar tops, Sitka tops, Engelmann topsClive Titmuss: CDsCharles Yost: elephant ivory, Macassar ebony.

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