The Birdsong Basses
The Birdsong Guitar
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PO Box 1745
Wimberley, TX 78676
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A great work day here is to place the work around the weather and
pace the work to music. Or, in assembly, to the sound of lectures or
documentaries that may be playing. To hit it hard before the daylight
and be winding it down by dusk. I have had a week full of those days...
it was warm and sunny to start so much was done in the green shop - wood
selection & layout, planing & cutting, routing & shaping, sanding &
finishing. Then as the days became rainy and relatively cold, attention
turned mostly into Johnny's shop for assembly, wiring, trimout,
stringing & setup. Paperwork. Communication. This update. As the first
real full work week of the year for Birdsong, to the sounds of
everything from Al Caiola to Aerosmith, every single 14 build that
became 15 got at least its next step and a handful of 15s got their
Only disrupted by the Man In Brown bringing boxes of parts and
supplies, a relocation of our internet tower for better signal, and a
surprise visit by my old buddy who used to have a Mopar only junkyard
coming by to see if I'd sell him the ol' '48 Plymouth project back, it
was a VERY productive week on the benches. I do feel bad when a good man
drives an hour out into the hills in the rain only to be denied, but
sometimes that's life and we all have our turns at that wheel. It's my
turn to man the wheel of the '48 for a while. To do what I do with my
old cars - get them running and drive them to fun places. I only drive
old cars; that's my world. I drive the same kinds I drove 20 years ago
and they were old then. I like vehicles from the '60s and '70s... my
youngest is a Ford van from 1983, but it's basically the same van they
were selling in the mid '70s and I customized it as such. That '48 may
be a bigger project than others before it and I'd have liked to have had
it running to take the man for a ride instead of jacked up with the
engine & wiring stripped out, but that's part of the process of progress
as well. Sometimes if there's a bunch that needs fixing it's got to get
a little uglier before it gets better. That's life too.
Johnny's shop got really ugly before going back together in its
current form years ago. I still call it Johnny's shop because despite it
being left behind in the big-picture soul movin' on of my mentor, and
yours truly cutting the whole thing into '74 pickup sized sections of
wall and floor structure with a sawzall and chainsaw like some deranged
hillbilly and hauling by the load to be rebuilt where it is now by a
circle of friends, I'm merely its custodian. Like the tools of
grandfathers and the old cars that were once driven off showroom floors,
I just have 'em for now as long as my body holds me. I fix
them up for another tour of duty and guide them in making something
happen. As tasks they were led to me (or I to them, or both) because I
was "that guy" in that moment to turn them back into tools. They weren't
finished so long as somebody took some action. They were not destined to
be trinkets or junk or scrap quite yet, they just needed a little moving
and a lot of mercy. The process isn't pretty and sometimes damn near
kills you, and sometimes wisdom requires you just walk away, but now and
then you can breathe new life into something good. We're all
"that guy" a few times in life to what & who is around us, and I think -
for me at least - its part of how I justify my existence along the way.
Do someone good and make something happen. I'll be out in the
shop if you need me.
Captain Of The Ship
Listening to: Al Caiola Italian Gold; Aerosmith Rocks;
John Williams Spanish Guitar Music; Grateful Dead Grateful
Dead; Meat Loaf Bat Out Of Hell; Eric Clapton's Rainbow
It's always auspicious
to start the year's first workshop morning
looking at a piece of wood with a musical note in it. It's a crack
unfortunately, but I'll work around it. It's just nice that it's there
for now. A good omen. This is a thick top for a very special guitar
What the heck happened in here the last part of '14?! Oh yeah...
Next up for routing -
Mesquite Cortobass, Walnut "Scott Shortbass" and
Maple Birdsong guitar.
Next up for body edge sanding
and into routing... all kinds of goodness
led by two Walnut Fusions and a lefty rainbow Cortobass!
And look what slipped into the lineup this week...
The Especial, the custom model played by Marciano Cantero of Los
Enanitos Verdes! Some of you may not have heard of them but, believe me,
anywhere rock happens and Spanish is spoken, these guys are HUGE and
have been for decades. And you will not find a more down-to-Earth rock
star than Marciano. El Especial has been toured and used in the studio
and he loves it. It is a nice blend of Cortobass and Fusion... a popular
blend for custom orders now its own model for 2015.
More info on The Birdsong Basses
More on Marciano and the band Los Enanitos Verdes:
I also snuck this update
up here on Wednesday because I'm tearing into the workshop for the
rest of the week. Got some good prep work done including a wood shopping
trip... now I need a little more cleanup and a couple of tool
replacements that are on their way. We just wore some stuff out in 2014,
I tell you what. Looking forward to doing it again this year!
Ok, back into the sawdust go I.
Rockin' AND rollin',
Captain Of The Ship
Listening to: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand;
John Williams Spanish Guitar Music; and lots of Delta
Blues! (Mississippi Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, etc.)
Happy New Year!
In deep cleaning & organizing, getting ready to crank up Birdsong
for 2015. Took a little break over Christmas and New Years but I'm back
in the shop, piles everywhere, getting my work for the first part of
2015 together and ready to get after. What a great year this is going to
be - the little green workshop, the music, the smell of the wood, the
feel of the tools in the hands... and the basses and guitars destined to
be born out of all of this in the coming year.
Just before the break, I received a wonderfully packed bunch of HP
sauce! I love this stuff, it's a brown sauce from the UK, can be very
difficult to find. And there are a number of across-the-pond clients who
KNOW I love the stuff. As there was no direct return address, it's a
mystery which sent the latest bottles... but CHEERS to you!
And, before I jump
back into the calls and all, here is a quote from a really cool
guy who recently had his first Birdsong experience... none other than
Matt Malley of Counting Crows fame!
"Finally - a shortscale bass that isn't a toy... I love that bass
more than anything."
Thank YOU Matt - for flying Birdsong, for all the music you helped
make that has been the soundtrack to peoples' lives, and for all those
great bass lines I ripped off from you back in my gigging days!
So folks, I'm ready to talk -
call with any questions and let's get you in the que for 2015 if
that's where you want to be - it looks like it's going to be a busy
year! I can't thank you enough... so I'll just pour it all into the
You all stay funky and I'll see you next Friday.
Captain Of The Ship