Saturday, June 5, 2010


I can't say that I've ever been so into a TV show that I felt like I was part of it. I always looked at Trekkies as being that way and couldn't imagine myself in that position. Now that Lost is a complete series I believe that I am a Lostie. I may not be the extreme case but I love the show and would attend a Lost convention:)

When I first watched the finale I was slightly taken back by the approach that they took to end the show. The second time through the finale, it moved me more and I have recently gone back and started watching from season one. It's slow going but from watching the first few episodes I can see that they did have a master outline of the show's story line. I am very impressed with how they tied it up and I hope that watching the whole series again will reinforce how much the show impacted me.

Things are good here. I'm looking forward to a visit from family next week. Serenity and Sara are beautiful as ever and Lisa is working hard. I do miss all you Las Vegans and hope to see you again soon. My mind is a little burnt but overall I feel excited about the shop and the great customers we have. We are truly thankful for our health and great friends here. Before I go you should know that I've looked into the eye of this Island and what I saw was beautiful...


Friday, May 21, 2010

Tap Tone

I read an article the other day in which the author stated that tap tuning was an inadequate method for building a good sounding acoustic instrument and that measurements and placement of bracing was a better standard. He went on to say that each luthier that was asked how they tap tuned could not give an exact description of what they were looking for and therefore it can not be a good method. So I thought I would blog my method.

I believe all of the above to be true for the new builder, but I've found in the years that I've been building that there definite benefits to tapping tops and backs before bracing, after bracing, again after carving the braces, after the top is on the sides, and finally after the box is complete. At first its awkward. You must learn how to hold the plates properly so not to fully impede the vibration. Then you have to learn where they resonant which I've found to be generally the center of the lower bout. Finally you have to learn how to tap it and what to listen for. The main thing that I listen for is the pitch and duration of the tone that the plate produces. For beginners getting the plate to a roughed in thickness and then tapping it periodically through the planing process helps to establish the changes that a plate goes through when it gets thinner.

Once you have a baseline you can start using it to change the overall resonance of the plates. After I brace a top or back I tap it and notice the difference from before it was braced. I then carve the braces a little at a time until I find a nice ringing sustaining tap tone. I generally am not concerned with exact pitches. For example I do not tune a plate to a specific pitch. Although I've found that for certain builds that making the top have a lower pitch did make it sound bigger with fuller bass response, but I couldn't tell you what the exact pitch was. I do strive to keep the top and back plate different pitches from one another to avoid common problems that can occur when that happens. Once the box is together I tap the top then the back in the center of the lower bout and listen through the sound hole to finalize my mental data. All of this doesn't start paying off for many instruments down the line, but it has payed off in the long haul for me and I think the catalog of tap tones has helped me build better and better instruments.

This is the main concern I believe the author of the article has with tap tuning. It is not a text book method. It is a long process that is general in one sense but in another completely dependent upon the individual luthier's ear. It only serves the purpose of allowing a luthier to shape the tonal characteristics of a guitar while they are building it.

The reason I think this method is far superior to measurement alone is that each piece of wood is different. One piece of spruce may ring and sustain while being on the thicker side and another on the thinner side. Then add the brace material, the neck, and the back and sides all being different pieces and types of wood. Wood is organic and therefore so should building be. I do not discount measurement as valuable tool. I use it because it works for the majority of things. It also keeps one from going to far because there are certain limits to how thin a plate can get. But when it comes to making the final touches I let my ear be the judge.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Death and Flooding

Sometimes it's hard to look at the positive things in life when the shit hits the fan. Overall things continue to go well in daily living here at the Reinert household but in the past month, our dog Mickey died, and our house in Las Vegas flooded causing severe damage. A line going to the upstairs toilet broke and since the house was vacant,and no one was there to notice, it caused the ceiling in the downstairs to collapse. It caused major water damage to over half of the house. On top of that we had just got an offer from a buyer on the house. Now we are stuck with it for lord knows how long.

Mickey dying affected me a lot. He went too early. I worked so hard to train him and one day he was gone. It was a sad day. I miss him more and more as time passes. He was a big part of the family and never let you forget he was there. He would come up to me with a ball and drop it, then pick it up, drop it, pick it up...over and over. He was a lover and a licker. I'll never forget his great personality.

I'm working even more hours recently. I have taken on a lot of things that may or may not pay off in the end but they all are good. I just don't have time for much except work. I like it but it does take it's toll. Someday I'd like to make real money doing less work, don't we all. New guitars are coming down the pipeline slowly but surely. I'm writing a few music books based on a great idea that a friend came up with. I'm keeping up the website, designing products, repairing guitars and the list goes on. It seems as though things are really working. We shall see what the future holds. Today things have built up and I feel tired and mentally worn. Many little stresses and a couple big ones have affected my mental state. A new day will come.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Changing Times Changing Weather

Since moving to Raleigh things have changed a lot. At first Lisa spent all of her time at home with Sara. Now she is working as a part-time nanny. It's great because she can take Sara with here and we don't have to pay for daycare. I thought we were busy when I first moved here but it has become much busier and diversity of business is growing. When we first opened the shop we had a wide range of services that we were offering. This helped pay the bills and get things off the ground. Now that we have a larger client base, each thing is starting to take off, so our workload is far greater than we can handle. Thankfully Clay Conner is working with us and has made it much easier to get things done in a reasonable amount of time.

I've also been playing music with two guys that I met through a mutual friend. We've been playing acoustic instrumental music which I am very excited about. Currently we are continuing to grow our song list and working towards solid recordings and performances. As we get there we'll start releasing material for you all to hear.

In addition to all of this I have been asked to write a series of music theory books for a string company that is just about to launch their product. I was hesitant to take it because I can barely do the work I need to now. But it's a good opportunity and I like the idea behind the strings so I am going to go for it. Many people struggle for work everyday and I am blessed to have more than I can handle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Depressing or Not

The human mind and body is quite fascinating to me. It seems that even when all things are on the up and up one can feel like complete garbage. I experienced this yesterday and most of today. There is nothing to be depressed about, yet I am. As I get older I can feel it coming and try to prep myself for it so that I don't rely on the emotions tied to it. I know I will come out the other side fine because I've done it over and over again. But being in it is no fun.

On a lighter note, my teeth are jacked up. I haven't been to the dentist for a couple years now with moving and having no insurance so it's getting to be that dreaded time. I can just feel that they need attention. Metal objects scratching bone, drilling on nerve endings...not overly enjoyable, but necessary.

I'm learning "Have You Met Miss Jones" (Joe Pass Version) and it has been very good for me. It is the type of song that keeps interest with key changes, interesting chord movement and blazing licks. Thanks Joe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Better Gene

When I was 9 I started taking piano lessons at the local music shop. I didn't care much for reading music but I did it because I wanted to be better at playing. I could already play the piano by ear much better than I could read the music. I was writing songs (simple ones) even before I started taking lessons. I eventually quite lessons because of finances if I remember correctly. At that time I was 12 or 13. At age 19 I started playing guitar and devoted myself to it. And my life is what it is because of that decision. There are obviously much better things that have happened to me over the years; my wife and kids being the greatest.

Since a young age I've always had a deep longing to be better at whatever I was working on at the moment. It has never been about competition between myself and other people or to puff up my ego. It's just part of me. It's more of a competition between myself and myself. I think it's an inherited "gene" that makes me this way. It has it's positives for sure. It has allowed me to become great at my job and do lots of really cool stuff. It is certainly tiring. It even creeps into my off time. I can't just simply beat a video game. I must conquer every aspect of it, find all the hidden secrets, beat the hardest level, it becomes work. In my guitar playing I must learn the most complex piece I can handle at the time. Measure by measure I play every note like it occurs on the recording or the sheet music. After I learn it I must figure out how and why it sounds like it does related to theory. I don't even care if I ever perform the song. I will sometimes share it with my friends, more so out of joy of the music than anything.

It certainly comes in handy with my job. Since it's a professional field one has to be good to keep business coming. I am able to learn a lot about any given part of my field if it hits the mark in my brain that says "go for it". I found I have little control of what it is that takes my mind to that place. It seems to be, that when I focus on something or get a good idea, my brain decides for me to either go on without being over excited or to take the thing and run with it. So I try to be selective of what I put in front of me or what I think about for extended periods of time. I have little control of what will consume my time with betterment. The older I get the more I recognize the signs that it's coming and so I've learned to shut off the process early if I catch it. Sometimes I realize I'm in the middle of something that is a waste of time and I'm learning to break the course with certain activities or distractions. Other times I recognize that it will be good for me to learn or do whatever it is that has caught me and off it goes. Hopefully one day I'll have the rhythm down.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Since opening the shop we've been through a lot of changes and unique challenges. We have so far conquered each obstacle and things have always returned to smooth operation. We are currently facing an interesting and quite positive hurdle. Tons of work! In the beginning I would never have imagined the amount of work that is now in our shop or on our list of things to do. It is a little stressful because we have many customers relying on us to get the work finished on time. I couldn't be more pleased with the positive buzz and the great loyal customers that we have. Clay has been a huge help to us and hopefully he'll be able to work more and more until we can all make enough to keep food on the table. There is nothing like running your own business. The amount of time required to keep it going is off the charts. Websites, product development, repairs, sales, inventory, customer satisfaction, classes, the list goes on and on. Yet these are the things that keep our shop growing in popularity and keep interest with those who visit frequently. This should be a great year in Guru land. Thanks everybody.