Thursday, August 20, 2009

CBG lesson learnt

I started two new CBGs the other day. I like to try something new each time so I designed a headstock that was slightly larger to allow the machine heads to be positioned so that the strings would be parallel and in line with the slots in the nut. I also decided to offset it to give a steeper angle for the strings to cross the nut and hopefully avoid having to use some sort of string trees to keep the strings in place on the nut (which I normally have to do). Well it was probably a mistake because it took about 3 or 4 times longer to make the neck than usual. It won't sound any better and I'm not sure it will look any better (just different). I soon regretted this little experiment and the words of my CBG buddy came ringing back in my head. He advocates the KISS principle KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID.

It's all too easy to get carried away with new ideas and our tendency to want to improve things all the time. Sometimes though, it's better to stay with the tried and true. Innovation is healthy and desirable and you have to try new ideas to see if you can improve on old methods, but you have to find a balance between the benefit you might get and the extra work or hassle to get it. In this case I decided my CBGs will embrace the KISS principle in future. I love building these little instruments but I don't want a headache in the process and I don't want a project to go on for too long. I like my CBGs to be pretty but a little rough around the edges, so too many refinements work against my basic principles. Lesson learnt (I think)!

To offset the frustration of making these two complex necks I decided to try knock off a couple of real quickies. Back to my simple straight neck/headstock design I started two more necks. I have a nice varnished wooden Gran Corona box so I used that on one neck and ploughed ahead to complete a simple, no frills, no electrics guitar. I got it finished in about 4 hours and you know what. I think it's lovely and i got such a great buzz from creating a guitar in sucj short time. I'll post some photos soon.