I just finished up my Acoustic Set-up and Neck Reset Classes, am looking forward to a hard won A grade report. I find that the bar is set high. It is very easy to have a very good looking (to you) nut, saddle, or bridge copy that will barely rate a C grade. To achieve a 93% or better grade is very difficult. Wanting that grade and working diligently simply isn’t enough.
Forgetfullness, poor time management, mistakes, the bad luck of delicate pieces of wood breaking after hours of labor; these are everyday pitfalls. However, it feels great to get over it and push through. It’s getting better along the way. Many in the class are struggling. When I occasionally raise my head from my work, I can guess who is getting their work done nicely. Concentration, care, and patience are prerequisites. If not taken, you are undone.
Now! On a brighter note, I am getting much better at using my tools—chisels, plane, files, sandpaper and beautiful hand cut curved scraper blades. These past few days, I’ve been all but finished with assignments (the few I’ve had left mostly involved waiting for glue to heat up, then waiting for glue to dry). I’ve been making the most out of free lab time to work up some more tools from home. I’ve quickly grown to love my violin knives and hollow ground blades. It’s always a good feeling to know that your essential tools are sharp, well adjusted, and ready to work.
One of the final assignments was to make a traditional Pyramid Bridge from a blueprint. This was left up to us to figure out, using flatsawn rosewood with irregular grain; it sometimes felt like a punishment. I sweated and labored over it; I kept the refinement going until I felt I had truly done the best I could in the allowed time. I was fairly elated to get a perfect score! Even better, my awesome classmates were all support and encouragement. Their support, above all else, made me feel great about the work and the community.
Next up is the Fretwork and Electric Set-up classes, with Brian instructing (I’ve had David and Steve for the past 5 weeks). I can imagine that it will be similarly time sensitive, precarious work. I’m determined to get ahead early on, if at all possible. Wish us luck!
Pictures to come!