Sawdusty Flannel

It’s flannel weather, we made it through summer and now brisk mornings and cool late nights on the porch are ingredients in life’s soup of the day. In fact I slept some of last night on the porch. Time to get the little heaters out and run the propane tanks down for filling for the bigger ones, they’ll be needed before too long. The big push that happens every year to get as much done and as many out before the December break has begun here at The Little Shop That Could (and can, and does).

This is where we look at what’s on the books for builds and in the building as woods and make some noise and a really big mess in the joining of the two piles into guitars and basses-to-be. Out of this mess comes a batch of dimensioned & joint-ready body halves in a stack for glue-up, some neck blanks, blocks to slice for headstock overlays, cutoffs for woodcraft, buckets of sawdust to put down on the paths, and all manner of corresponding lists of other woods needed, parts and pickups to have pending, what needs grabbing from lutherie supply companies and what needs getting’ at the hardware store... and instruments in-process that correspond to the scribblings on the build sheets.

Started last week with the special Wimberley cypress I wrote about, and went on through the mahogany, walnut, maple, Spanish cedar, a bit of zebrawood, some mesquite… all kinds of stuff. Speaking of mesquite (that magical, mystical southwestern wood), while all this was happening, two mesquite builds graduated from routing and shaping into sanding. The Sadhana is a full-dress southwestern now fully packed with crushed turquoise, and the other is naturally packed with what’ll be wild grain and color once the oil gets rubbed on in finishing. It’s a Sparrow, our little 25-1/2 “super short scale” pocket bass wonder. This one is about the wildest piece that’ll hold enough together for me to secure it and build it into a bass body. And for those of you who ever wondered if we make lefties, here you go. Both of these will look stunning once sanded and will visually “pop” with the first coat of finish. 

This all went on to the soundtrack of two albums mainly – Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Got To Move” and Bob Seger’s “The Distance.” Two albums that never get old and fill the air with mojo for me to breathe in and exhale as tasks getting done. The right music helps you become one with what you’re doing. As my old mechanic friend in Saugus, Massachusetts Leonardo “Lenny” DiBartolomeo used to say, “Work without music? Fughedaboudit. Won’t get jack shit done." 

Over coming out of assembly are a pair of Shortbasses. From the waving, dancing Saguaro horns to the organic, full sound these are happy little basses. They distill the Birdsong essence into a pure and simple hand-signed low-end companion. Still very much high-end in design and build quality, these were a side project a few years back that became a hit. The one on the right in walnut, maple & cream pearl is available so check the inventory page for details and get in touch if it’s yours. Strings & setup and it’s ready to fly the nest. Will that be flats or roundwounds?

Hope you and your circle have a great weekend, full of music and good things happening.

Listening to: Mississippi Fred McDowell You Got To Move; Bob Seger The Distance; some John Lee Hooker documentaries; Grateful Dead live stuff from ’77. What a good year!