State of the Workshop Address

My fellow beings, tone rangers, the healed and healers through shared vibration and its processes, brethren and brethresses of all description… it is time for the final announcements of the year 2015. I can’t believe that, but evidently it’s true because my calendar says so, the numbers add up that way, and I’m out of days to play with before something called January. 2015 is just about over. Done. Finished. In some ways conquered and in others surrendered, either way it’s taillight time for the ol’ one-five. Seems like just yesterday it was last year. And what a wonderful, fulfilling and productive year it has been here, in the little workshop(s) in the woods! As we close out the last few days before we step away from sawdust and shop tools to replenish over Christmas and the Holidays, here’s what’s up and goin’ on.

Birdsong. This was our best year yet. Not speaking of numbers or units or the way most would measure many endeavors… though those were great and I’m VERY grateful… but in feel. You know, the groove. Sure you have to show up and play good notes and know the tune. But if it grooves, that’s when it’s happening. Ask any ball player who is “in the zone” and they get it too. When it’s grooving it’s magic and it’s been a magic year around here. It’s been a reflective year too, the 11 year charge onwards mellowing into a bit more of a creative thing, and that means looking back through a decade of models and builds and custom work with its own inspirations to offer AND manifesting ideas I’ve wanted to build. Bettering my craft and skills. Having fun with it while the birds sing, the squirrels look in, and the music plays… and I groove to the rhythms of tools on wood. I think about all involved in getting here, both behind the scenes and in front of the tools, and wherever you are I thank you. Our little victories in wood and wire are partly yours too. And we thank YOU too – all who are along & interested and all family flying Birdsong. Without you this would be just a hobby – but instead it’s been my life. Watch for what 2016 brings in the way of our menu, seasonings, and a new dish or two.   

SD Curlee was kind of quiet (at least on your side of the screen) this year, mainly because Birdsong was so busy; also because it’s a different breed to build and I didn’t have those kinds of hands aboard to help in 2015. But it proved VERY productive in that there is a solid direction I want to take it – not an easy vision to just conjure up with a name and design and heritage dating back into the mid 1970s – and others’ legacies intertwined with every step forward it takes. Especially for a 40th year! Now, SD Curlee was dormant for some of that but they were all still out there being loved, played, seen and collected the whole time. Most old brands “resissue” cheapie import versions of their classics; we didn’t go that way during the rebirth a few years back, and we’re not planning that now. But you WILL see both yesterday & tomorrow in what is coming in the spring. First though will be a page redo & updating. Stay tuned! 

Texas Lap Steels. Ahhh, my little loves. Couldn’t give them the attention I wanted to this year, but did get a whole batch of them into production and created a couple of new designs. Again, some time not being in the middle of it with them has brought clarity and focus to what I want them to be. These are happening in 2016 - you’ll start to see some on the steels page, in inventory, and on Facebook – just find & follow Birdsong Guitars AND friend Scott Beckwith, pretty much all I post about are shop happenings (with the occasional car or cooking shot). I post there whenever I like, a lot more than I can here. 

D’AQUILA guitars… the art deco side projects. Right now a guitar and a bass are in process, with a fresh design for a model in the notebook. I need to update the page and you’ll see some fun things happening here too.  

Hy5 Basses, our little short scale 5-string wonders. We definitely blew some minds again in 2015, providing SMALL basses with a GOOD low B string and BIG tone, that DO work just fine… just like we’ve been doing since about 2007. I can’t speak to others’ attempts, but a Hy5 is gigworthy right out of the box. All they need is for more of them to be made. We can do that. 

There were and are customs and one-offs, a few off-menu items, all of this being fit in around standard orders and new prototypes. Compared to factories we’re talking small numbers here, but that’s how I like it. I didn’t get into this to be a (deep voice) Captain Of Industry (stry stry stry…). If YOU want to, by all means go for it – and I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a handful of brand names, trademarks, and reams of marketable designs I’ll never get to. I’ll make you a “Company in an envelope” and then all you have to do is get ‘em built and get ‘em sold. I’ve found my groove, it’s grooving, and we’re having a blast out here in the woods with the music playing and the sun shining, watching these tools of creation come to life in our hands and sending them home to good folks all over the world. 

ALL that really matters to me as Captain of this fine ship is a trail of satisfied – no wait WAY MORE THAN satisfied – players of all kinds, expressing their life through tools we crafted of woods now in THEIR new lives as instruments, all of this matter and spirit mixing it up and getting it on with each other. Pouring harmony into disharmony; making things groovy one tune at a time. It’s all I can do from here, so that’s what I do. This is my garden; have a tomato! 

If you have a “15” build that evidently is becoming an “Early 16”, sorry and thanks for your patience! Without the flow there’s no way this much would come out of the little workshop, and flow is a living and changing energy; sometimes it asks us to adjust a little to its river, and linear order out there is very different than logical order in here. If you had what you thought was to be an after-the-Holidays completion and it’s going out early, hey – congrats! That happens too. Regardless, know I’m on it, the helping hands are on it, there is a little siding on the shop that’s a little wavy after the rains and could use replacing and a couple of tools to adjust… but the workshop is on it too. 

In a few days.

For right now, two basses are flying the nest today, I’m doing some cleaning up and organizing (and making a list, of course… it’s how so much gets done), and then I’m going to take the next couple of weeks and regroup. Maybe wrench on an old car or two, play some music. Ahhh, music – just the sound of that word. “Music.” Say it. “Music.” Isn’t that great? Don’t you feel better in that moment? Well there’s your medicine right there. Say it 108 times like a mantra; make some; share some. I’ll be releasing some music in 2016 for sure. So to sum up, it was a good year – very productive and creative. Know it’s an honor to work for you, I’m so grateful you take the best of us and play & create with it in your world, and that we all wish you and your circle the warmest Christmas & Holiday season and all the best for 2016. Play nice, be warm & stay cool. We love you.

Scott Beckwith, Captain & Nutty Professor
On behalf of co-conspirator Jamie Hornbuckle, Maggie Mae Beckbuckle the doggie, and the helping hands that make it go round and round. Love will find a way, just give it time.

Listening to: "The voices in my head."