Marc Beneteau has been building custom acoustic guitars out of his workshop in Canada for 43 years.  He builds such high quality instruments that many modern virtuosic acoustic fingerstyle players (including Don Ross, Tony McManus, and Dustin Furlow – our Fret Buzz Episode 28 and 29 guest) choose to play Beneteau guitars.  If you play or simply appreciate acoustic guitars, you won’t want to miss this conversation between Marc and Fret Buzz co-hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray.
Marc’s fascination with building guitars began in 1974 when he saw legendary John McLaughlin with a custom guitar in a magazine.  He tells the guys his story of becoming a custom guitar builder.
Marc discusses many details of acoustic guitars: internal bracing patterns, how different body shapes affect the overall sound quality, and custom options such as arm rests, rib rests, and sound ports, and fan frets.  He tells Joe and Aaron about when Don Ross asked him to build his first fan fret guitar a decade ago.  Marc explains the benefits that players gain from fan frets as well as the challenges that builders face in building guitars with them.  The guys talk about fret ends and bindings, harp guitars, baritone guitars, and even the idea of a microtonal guitar.
Marc is incredibly informative and friendly as he shares many insights into acoustic guitars.  Drool over his guitars at
Welcome to Fret Buzz The Podcast. My name is Joe McMurray and my name is Aaron
Sefchick and today we have Marc Beneteau. A guitar builder from St. Thomas, Ontario
who’s been building guitars for 43 years. He’s with us and we’re really excited to
have him and to talk about everything acoustic guitars. Welcome Marc. Yeah,
thanks Joe. Yeah, so we actually got in contact with
you through Dustin Furlow who was on several episodes back in
episode 20 or something I believe. Yeah so, Dustin has a Beneteau guitar which I was
fortunate enough to get to play last week and it was a Super Jumbo body. Right.
And I think walnut. Yeah,, yeah. Really beautiful guitar and it
sounded absolutely amazing. I can’t say I’ve ever played anything that sounded
that great. Wow. Yeah, so I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time but as
soon as I played that guitar I was head over heels ready to talk to you. Right so
um, so we have been talking about all kinds of things but I have a bunch
of questions for you about the effects of different woods and body shapes and
bracings and lacquer finishes and all kinds of things I’d like to get into but
I guess we probably ought to get start with a little bit of your story and how
you got here and I know you’ve given this in some other interviews but it we
got to start at the beginning. Okay well I was born in Windsor Ontario and
listening to a lot of rock and roll that’s what that’s what he and in 1974 I
was reading an article in he was called guitar magazine or something some kind
of guitar magazine and it was an article on John McLaughlin and he had this hand
Oh guitar that he hit he had had made and
up until that time I had never considered the idea that that you could
make a guitar like I thought they all came from crack back to you somewhere
and here was a guitar that was made by this young guy and it was like this
electric guitar and it was it was pretty cool but that sort of flipped the switch
for me and at that point it was like one of those moments that I’d like to do
that I want to try and do that you know so I looked around I checked around
Ontario to see if I could find a place where I could learn to build guitars and
it turned out that there was a guy in Ottawa the capital of Canada who was
giving courses and I went up there and so weird because I went to the first
course it was a class and it was I had been reading my ass off like I’ve been
reading everything I could on guitar building and this class was you know it
was kind of like for hobbies and obviously you know I had my nose up in
air that won’t work you know they pulled out a piece of butternut he said well
we’ll make our guitar out of that and at that point I thought long you can’t but
you know this like that’s that’s just not good enough so I didn’t go to the
class I should have I would have learned a lot but I didn’t go to class and
that’s how it actually started I came back and I started hacking away kind of
the places bill my guitars you know it was a spare bedroom in my house and that
was that was it and I started from there and I was able to sell my first well I
sold my second guitar to a buddy and then so my third guitar to another buddy
that’s how it starts right the accumulator first instruments but I
didn’t I never I didn’t train with anybody so it was really a matter of
trial and error and that’s basically what it’s been ever since well it seems
like that that has worked it has it has and it’s it’s I think it’s a good way to
learn I mean if you if you make mistakes you it forces you to understand why you
made a mistake not just because somebody told you to do
a certain way and that that works for me I have made lots of mistakes
yeah yeah go ahead well I was gonna ask in terms since you had said since you
didn’t take that class with that individual have how much do you actually
talk to other luthiers in terms of their techniques and how much you actually
incorporate that or if at all like you know that’s not but I rarely talk to
other builders like I don’t if I if I’m trying to work out a new technique I
generally work it out on my own I have picked up a few things from other
builders so there’s a couple things that I can specifically think of that I that
I saw in a video that man that’s really good that’s a really good way of doing
yeah I use that but for the most part I kind of like I just work stuff out on my
own and I like that I you know I know quite a few builders and you know get to
interact with them at guitar shows and stuff but generally speaking I kind of
work out you know yeah well that makes about what I’m just gonna say because of
that my techniques and my methods of doing things may be different from the
average especially because nowadays with the internet you’re going to get a lot
of people who use exactly the same technique because they all interact they
you know they go online this is we do it yeah so you know you see and that’s not
necessarily bad you know but it’s just not not my comfort zone I guess that
makes you truly unique that’s for sure well in some ways I’m sure yeah now were
you influenced by layer of a guitars absolutely this goes back to before I
started building but I was a head the bug it hit me and I wanted to learn my
brother lived in Toronto brought me to Toronto alright I met him a trial and he
brought me to really cool 70s guitar shop called a the Toronto folklore
Centre and they carry cool guitars they had Coral askin they had an Alaskan who
had just left John Larabee and they had a Larry bass guitar and I had never seen
anything like them because coming from Windsor wherever all the influences
American online for acoustic guitars was Martin’s and Gibson’s and you know the
usual suspects right and so that’s what I thought of when I thought an acoustic
guitar and then when I saw this Larry Bay and Alaskan but mostly the Elaraby
in the I keep saying Ottawa cause I do I had a focus on as well but in the
Toronto folklore Center I was amazed because it looked very classical it had
wooden bindings that had a row set for the Sam Hall it had all this stuff that
I was unused to but looks so beautifully organic and really really cool and
actually had it in a display case under glass you know so so he’s like this is
special you know and so at the time I was just really influenced in my first
guitars look a lot look a lot like liver big guitars you know I decided to Rose
that and learn how to make the rosette and stuff like that so they actually
look quite a bit like where these are you reach them like we’re amazed at that
time you know that didn’t last very long so that’s perfect time to transition I
think into the ideas of bracing you know or the the concept of bracing and it
seems like typically acoustic guitars have an X brace right from then that X
meets a few inches behind the bridge it’s like Craig yeah it meets sort of
between the the bridge in the sound hall clozaril yeah okay yeah so what you want
to do is and I don’t want to get very technical here but what happens
basically is that X crosses and then we’re in the lower about the two arms of
the X rays the two braces sort of go under the the wings of the bridge you
know and that that helps transmit the the the like all those same vibrations
yeah yeah yeah so why I mean it seems like there are lots of options for
bracing an X bracing is probably the most common it seems like yeah but what
are the benefits to using something like I’ve heard of like this fan bracing it
spreads out from the tail piece and the latter bracing like in classical guitars
and there yeah and Taylor’s new v-class bracing
yeah yeah that you mean a new table of bracing you’re talking about you said
usual okay a friend of mine an amateur builder is playing around with that I’ve
never used that one and I was I would assume that Taylor has done their
homework I’m either a pretty confident company and so they must have an idea I
actually had never heard a Taylor guitar with that bracing yet so I can’t comment
on it the only bracing I use because I’m
strictly a steel spring builder now I’ve built some classical’s in the past and a
couple hours tops but generally I’m a steel string flat top builder and so
I’ve stuck with the the X brace if Ariat you know both in the size of the bracing
and positioning and stuff just some extent depending on the model and the
the guitar where this may not you know the and what the customer wants because
that’s a big part of it you know customers looking for a certain kind of
sound or a certain feel then you know I work with that to try and get close to
four yeah mm-hmm so you so have you played a guitar with this this fan
bracing no what no I I’m not even aware are you talking about like a classical
fan I think that’s what I’m I’m no expert in this that’s why I wanted to
ask yeah I’m not aware of I’m sure there are
some because there’s experimentation and especially with I would say possibly
younger builders who are just trying everything I don’t see why some of them
wouldn’t try a classical based fan brace which is you know where you’ve got the
fans kind of playing out in the lower about okay and I’m not sure I mean I’ve
never tried that and I’m not even aware of any steel string guitars that have
that kind of bracing so you know I don’t know
okay fair enough so moving on to body shapes
okay I’m I’m more of a rock guy turn jazz okay
recently I’ve had this obsession with acoustic playing and you know I Don Ross
is a I love Don’s playing I love Andy McKee and Tommy Emmanuel and all this
guy yeah I love Dustin firlock’s Brad Matt Thomas is playing yeah so I’ve been
really into this and like before I had I had a Martin om okay our guitar that you
know I like the body shape but I think that one was just something wasn’t right
about that guitar and I’ve recently traded for a Taylor C or 414 C E which
is suits me well but I there are so many different body shapes and I’m thinking
about our listenership the the general population of guitarists and musicians
it would be nice to discuss why you have different body shapes what the benefits
are of different body shapes sure I mean some of its obvious but what what’s your
take on all of this okay well you came to the right place because I actually
offer everything from me Oh sighs part of their size all the way up to the
message a and that it’s quite a few different models the the smaller models
are really good for finger style plane and they tend to have a very focused
voice like it’s it’s like I don’t know how to describe it but if the point of
the voice is very solid in the middle you don’t have they don’t have low lows
but you’ve got that every note seems to have a really nice body to do it and
then as you get bigger you spread that out and the OM which is like I’ve got
the oh the double O and the om and the OM is kind of like a a great finger
style guitar you know it’s kind of you can do all kinds of things with it then
you go up to what I call my full-size guitar so the OM is a 15-inch slower
about the you go up from that and you get into a 16-inch guitars which I count
I call my standard models because what they do have about three
in that in a basic with and I call them my do everything guitars like they’re
they’re great for using finger style you can use them for proper strumming you
know because they’ve got enough enough depth do them for all kinds of play and
then you get up to the SJ which is the biggest guitar I build and it’s just got
a big booming voice and you know and it’s it’s well suited for sort of
players now there’s no rules in this because you know there’s no reason why
you couldn’t use a parlor guitar for you know strumming you know he’ll still
he’ll still work great but you know there’s generalities that you can play
around with and yeah but again there’s no rule so if I find out what’s in also
it’s also economic because if yes some people just don’t feel comfortable with
the larger body size so you go to a smaller body size and you can vary the
body size or you can bury the say the depth of the body to help to you know
tweak the sound as well okay so I have a old 12 fret Martin dreadknight oh and
it’s got yeah it’s from 1971 or 72 where’s my guitar J alright would say
Martin d-18 s okay okay well this one so it’s not the same guitar but yeah
similar this is a 32 but yes so it’s got a it’s got so much extra volume mm-hmm
between the sound hole and the the body the fretboard end of the body right that
records is yeah it’s got an enormous voice because of yet yeah yeah mine well
I knows my first good guitar and I didn’t realize it was an oddball until I
got at the bottom at a store in Detroit and I have always felt funny as matter
of fact that’s the reason why I’ve actually built I have I have a mold for
that body size because I I really liked it and I built a few of those okay yeah
yeah it’s got a really different sound which is cool all right
I have a hard time having access to the frets above the
12th fret that’s yeah right right there miss well back
back in 1970 that wasn’t an issue was it right yeah you know you know these
things were made for strumming mainly you know or for finger style honey but
not you know not going up the neck right right right
so why would you I mean why did they put the slotted head stock on there I think
it’s tradition like there’s no technical reason to put a slotted head stock on as
far as I’m concerned I’ve done lots of guitars with both and for me I could put
a slotted headstock on a guitar that if unless the customer wants it for some
other reason I will put a slotted head stuck on a model that looks traditional
so I put it on my my oh my double oh my triple low especially I do a triple 12th
fret so the 12th fret errs look vintage and so what I do with those is I put a
slotted head if the customer it’s okay it’s more of a pain to change the
strings of course but you know and that may be a factor for some people but you
know it just looks likes neat you know yeah I didn’t know if it helped spread
because if you have a wider nut width I know if it had some spreading the
strings out without having to pull them towards then I don’t know you know I
don’t you know maybe theoretically that’s true but I haven’t really noticed
anything like that yeah so you’re talking about though the wider neck with
as well as the slotted headstock yes – yeah seven eight so it’s really wide
that’s right that’s right I forgot about that that’s true yeah yeah no I don’t I
don’t necessarily what I’m doing that model I have only done two or three of
them but when I’m doing that model I don’t you know the neck with it’s up to
the customer I don’t necessarily say and that brings me to another point I don’t
have models with very specific stacks on them I don’t do I don’t do my guitars
that way you know I’ve noticed a lot of builders have a model and then we even
have a name for it and it comes with these specs you know and this is what
you get whereas mine’s more like ordering a car
and you can and on whatever things you want to it you know so we start with a
basic body shape and then virtually everything after that is is variable
depending on what the customer works out or what they wander what I work out with
the customer that’s all item I’d imagine there’s a lot of education
you have to do with your customers yeah yeah in a lot in a lot of cases aren’t
sometimes they want me to do something that I know it’s not a good idea so I I
have to put my foot down sometimes because names on the guitar so you know
if the customer is asking for a specific design idea or aesthetic idea and I
thinking man it’s not work out you know that’s that’s not going to look I’m not
gonna be I’m not gonna be okay with that then I will steer them elsewhere I’ll
offer options or alternatives just to make sure that you know and if they’re
insisted on it then I have to send them somewhere else
that doesn’t say I after watching your studio tour which I recommend everybody
go watch because yeah yeah it was a great I loved seeing all your machinery
and all the things and all the tools that you work with I mean I just sat
there with my jaw drop going ah that looks like a whole lot of fun yeah but
in seeing that I did see that you have and I’ve never actually seen this before
but you incorporate like an armrest that actually kind of bevels the top of the
guitar yeah that’s that’s beautiful that’s absolutely I think that’s just a
wonderful piece of almost like artwork that you incorporate into the body of
the guitar it’s just well it’s it’s interesting you say that because these
design details are both aesthetic and functional okay
and the the arm rest is something that’s actually fairly once right spread now
but when I started obviously didn’t exist at all mmm the first one I saw was
my friend Gretel askin who he developed this arm rusty there we
alas no rest is a scallop RS which I’ll show you this is my own guitar and can
you can you see the the armrests there on the side right here yeah okay that’s
of Alaskan armrests right there and I started building that one about 15
oh sorry I should look at the screen I started building that one about 15 years
ago and and more recently there’s another one another style it’s called
the Ryan after Kevin Ryan we developed an armrest that’s actually a long
sweeping scallop that runs from the waist all the way around to the to
detail no wow and that’s really cool and I do that one a lot more now that’s the
most popular one but it’s become almost universal it’s almost rare now that I
build a guitar without the armrest because it’s a no-brainer every guitar
player regardless whether he’s actually seen when before immediately gets what
it’s about it’s just much more comfortable and the bigger the guitar
the more comfortable that armrest is because you’ve got you know you’re
reaching around the body like I know very small guitars is not necessary
madness I don’t don’t do it as much not say that the parlor guitar thing right
you know so it maybe becomes both a function and and a really cool aesthetic
thing the aesthetics is very important to me I want to make sure that
everything works together on an instrument you know right this high
recorded something last weekend on my acoustic guitar and I I was probably
sitting in front of this microphone for four or five hours and I got up and I
had an actual like a red arc across my chest from where the guitar was digging
in and I was wishing I had that uh that that bevel it would have been so much
more comfortable oh yeah yeah yeah that’s that’s true you know it’s it’s
it’s really gonna that’s one of the the best design changes that’s happening
Kushi guitars in the last couple decades for sure
do you think that those bevels do they are they difficult to put in and
do you think there’s a loss of structural integrity
because of them they are complicated it’s not it’s not a simple matter at
least the way I do it and again we’ll go back to this idea that I worked all this
stuff over so maybe this is a really easy way to do it you know but it
definitely doesn’t affect the structural integrity because that bevel is if you
look inside a guitar look inside here because you can either there’s this
lining or around the inside between the side in the back and the side on the top
and it’s called perf lining and it’s like a curved piece of wood it goes
around will death where you have the bevel there’s none of that what I put in
is I put in a solid piece of like a bigger solid piece around there to back
up that bevel that scallop and it’s carve it away so most of it is carved
away but still it’s more substantial than the normal curve lining and so it
it’s it’s quite strong no yeah there’s no loss of strength there at all
but what what I do get asked is does it cut down on the sound because it’s a
bigger piece and it’s encroaching on the top and I haven’t detected any loss of
sound between a guitar that has that and the other it’s around the edge so you
know it doesn’t seem to impede the vibration of the top as long as you
don’t overdo the the backing if you don’t make it too heavy it it seems to
it seems fine like ireally its I can’t honestly say that I’ve noticed a
difference in that in the response between one was about one one without
okay my next question follows closely how much I mean I don’t want to get into
how much each guitar costs but if I was to have a guitar you know the option
between like the exact guitar behind you or the exact guitar without the bevel
how much does that bevel cost me if I see a church yeah for me the up charge
on the bevel is $500 okay today it is a significant increase but it is it’s a
significant increase just significant amount of work I mean you
know it’s it’s quite labor-intensive and you know I mean I find that again it
doesn’t seem to be a Detroit and I have no problem with building guitar without
it I don’t have no problem with building you know a plane guitar without any
options because I just love guitars and and you know they’re all not asking them
in their own way so I mean they’re all aesthetically beautiful and nice
instruments but it’s now so it’s $500 for the bevel for the back bevel I do
what’s called a repressed as well and it’s more work than the top one so it’s
seven hundred and fifty dollars and actually to be honest I don’t get many
calls for that one people work I get tons of calls for the top one but not
that much for that so the rib rest is what I needed last weekend you did it’s
kind of by the way I don’t do a guitar just arrested no top so you’re stuck
with the 1,250 bucks extra okay okay well I imagine though once you play it
it’s yeah that money just fades away yeah and and truly when you see it I
mean like I said when I saw your video it’s it is it is a piece of work it is
it’s artwork it’s beautiful it’s absolutely beautiful thank you
what about the the hole in the top about so that you can hear the guitar better
yeah about those what goes into it what you know all the same details I want to
know how much that costs and how much it affects the structural integrity and
share anything else okay it’s ready wait I’ll tell you the cost is 250 bucks okay
we’re getting down here it’s not that bad yeah okay so here’s the thing you
sent this sound for acts like a monitor speaker and you’ve probably all
experienced an acoustic guitar if you’re standing or if you’re sitting in front
of the guitar you hear the guitar a lot more you hear the the fidelity of the
guitar better than if you were playing a job
because the sales coming out the front of the soundhole
yeah the Southport don’t you hear that it just comes right up to your ear so
you get a better a better feel you get more of a sense of the guitar true tone
with the sound port it’s just nice and I offer up what I call out and what I call
that it’s like my plug it’s a port cover it you know it just kind of slides into
the port I don’t get most people don’t use that
but now back to you the structural integrity thing I could caution any
Builders out there women have not done a port don’t just cut a hole on the side
of your guitar and no matter how nice it is you’re asking for trouble because
that back it has to be reinforced so what I do is prior to cutting the port
itself I I fit a very thin patch of veneer well it’s it’s actually solid
wood but it’s almost veneer thickness and it’s if with the grain going the
opposite direction of the size so what it does is even like a very very small
and I’m gonna say 1/32 of an inch thick is plenty to totally reinforce that side
and then when you cut the the port out the porthole you you know you don’t have
to worry about it breaking because it’s been reinforced how do you cut the hole
with like a hole saw I know I use a router I have a template and a router
for those who understand the kind of thing I maybe I made a fixture just like
my shop is full of fixtures and I made a fixture that the side this is before the
sides or attaches the top and back I forgot to do that one time and I had to
put it in after the fact so I had to design a whole new method of doing it
after the fact after the sides and top the the back and top but what I do is I
have a fixture that clamps the side into this fixture and it has a hole in it and
you can get a guide for a template for a router that will follow that hole
and so you know not to get too technical but the actual cutting is incredibly
quick it takes me about 40 seconds or so to cut the hole but the setup is the
whole thing and then the interior reinforcement that has to be fitted just
right and everything so and pre-bent so it’s like there’s it’s all prep and a
tiny bit of cutting have you played with the size of that hole in terms of the
diameter and how that affects the sound that comes out not really I I started
out with it the shape being different but I stayed with more or less a
consistent sites and I find that it works fine I don’t I don’t think
changing the sound I mean you can only change it so much because again I back
to aesthetics I don’t want it to look really out of place okay so try to keep
it so that it looks aesthetically right and and it functions fine for what I
want it does exactly what I want and I can’t I can’t
with from experience I can’t think that if I changed it a bit
you know if I didn’t change it radically I don’t think that couldn’t make much of
a sound difference I don’t I don’t see where that would happen so yeah I
haven’t experimented too much with it I think it’s you know it’s working for me
as it is yeah do you think there’s sound loss from the
front side if some of the sounds leaking through the side one question yeah and
no I have not because you can actually plug the hole to here and it just you
think the sound must be leaking out of that little hole and taking it away from
the big hole but it doesn’t it doesn’t work that way
I guess the top still vibrating vibrating yeah absolutely
I really really like the support I think that was part of why I walked away from
playing Dustin’s Beneteau guitar feeling like I did I was so down on my Taylor
after that well I think it alright just get your hacksaw yeah I need to just
cuddle port but I think that might have been
one of the bigger things that look factors that I need to take into account
that it just it sounds so much better when you’re the actual player and you
have that port oh yeah it’s louder and it’s clear and it
generate amazing feature like when you put your ear close to the body you can
hear you’re better or less that that’s sort of what’s happening there to you
just coming up to you in a way that it normally doesn’t yes I I’m a big fan of
that yeah can we talk about fan frets sure so when
did fan frets come about how recent of an innovation is that I don’t know am I
ever saw it was Andy McKee playing drift in on YouTube okay I’m not like super I
hadn’t been involved in that scene so it probably existed before then but yeah I
don’t know when it first came up I remember when I first became aware of it
was probably fifteen years ago and I I didn’t know much about it a little weird
to me you know but here’s how it happened with
here’s how it started for me is that and this has happened before it’s like I’ve
been building guitars for John Ross since 1997 and what happens is some of
the innovations some of the things that I’ve done including the the bevel and
the poor came about because somebody asked for and and generally here’s how
it generally works somebody asks for something that I haven’t done before and
I go you know you know and then I go through a period of thinking about
mulling about it I think I’m gonna give that a try so you know that’s how they
kind of happened this happened with the fan friend I was
a concert with dawn and he said you know if you ever done a fan fret I said and
so I you know and so you know eventually it came out that I tried a fan for it
and that was a bit tricky because there’s a lot of things to go building a
fan fret that you don’t have to deal with a regular scale guitar and so it’s
taken like I’ve built a lot of them since then that was probably 10 years
ago anyway and I’ve built quite a few of them but you know I’m always working on
ways to improve like this has been my building thing anyway since the
beginning is I know even though if I’ve done stuff being the past I’m constantly
working on how to do it better and more efficiently you know building tooling
that helps me get there faster and the fan fret I had to do a bunch of tooling
to help me be really accurate because the fan
friend is really tricky in terms of bridge position because and again I
won’t get too technical here but with a regular scale guitar you what you do is
the scales are 90 degree to the string so you can you can I was going to say
this you can if you narrow the strings it doesn’t make any difference to the
scale length but with a fan fret because the bass string is longer the more you
go to the center the scale actually gets shorter and with the treble it’s the
opposite when you move the string over closer to the center thing aboard the
string yes what is it oh yeah it gets shorter and I know it’s yeah it’s longer
okay so if you are trying to figure out where to put your bridge you have to
know exactly where that strings gonna be in order to get the scale position that
you want so it’s it’s tricky you don’t measure it from the outside of the thing
to board you have to measure it from exactly where the strings are going to
on the board and the wire to the neck that changes everything so it’s it’s you
know there’s some tricky parts about doing a fan and fret anyway it’s that’s
alright that’s how I learned so you know that’s in place now and they work well
you know it’s it’s there’s a number of things that you have to kind of take
into consideration when you’re doing well
including the bracing the bracing is different on fan threat because I won’t
get into that but it’s definitely different
yeah assume the tensions are different the tensions are different yeah for sure
because the the longer the scale you know going down to the bass strings but
that’s good for response because you know a longer string will respond better
to a two to a lower note in a normal scale it’s a big compromise you know
because you like look at a piano if you look at a piano but bass strings feel
really long the treble strings are really short and that’s optimum for how
they respond so with a regular scale guitar even though it doesn’t matter
much because the you know I mean I mean I player I could scale guitar I could
have built myself a fan threat but and then they’re fine they’ve been fine for
forever I just a fan threat probably is just a
little better for especially for drop tuning and for alternate tunings and
things like that hmm never any what about that way but yeah
either interaction yeah I was gonna say they’re actually surprisingly natural to
play as well even though you look at it you know that’s gonna be weird you know
it’s gonna take a while to adjust to this thing it’s like as well as long as
your fan isn’t hugely wide okay I don’t believe in these fans that are this
trouble state really really short in the a string through the long that’s I’ve
never gone there I keep it pretty reasonable and so it’s very playable you
know works really well hmm I really want to play one of those yeah not a ton of
them out there but they’re they’re out there and I know I’ve looked quite a few
of them it’s not like you can go to Guitar Center and they have a fan fret
therefore usually that’s no no that’s right and there are electric ones
out there too though I don’t know much about who’s building house you know yeah
okay you know do you with the edges of the frets do you have to do anything to
keep that from I mean I guess you just polish I’m looking at my guitar over
here you know sometimes is the seasons change
in some Keeper guitars you you know the wood fresh sticks out yeah the wood
I guess expands or contracts based on the weather and the humidity right
differently than the metal frets do and so sometimes you end up with that kind
of sharp and yeah that’s that’s that’s you know that points to the fact that
the metal doesn’t move and the wood does and all wood does move to some extent
you know for a repair – it’s pretty pretty good clue you know he feels a
guitar that has a thread ends all sticking out and music guitar got to dry
or the the fingerboard wasn’t seasoned properly in the first place if it’s the
guitars properly built with well-seasoned wood that shouldn’t happen
unless it’s put into an environment where it shouldn’t be you know generally
too dry right and it’s not going to happen if it’s too humid but too dry
that fingerboard will shrink and you’ll feel those threads that’s the clue you
know but it shouldn’t happen on a on a seasonal basis for sure unless there’s
something wrong with the guitar or the thing okay yeah so what I do in a case
like that is you have to file those hands and reshape the the tips and you
know that’s not that’s not a big deal but there’s you know you have to find
out why it happened in the first place my my gibson es-335 has a it has I love
the guitar it’s my god my main gigging guitar but oh it has these little uh
there’s a binding on the edge of the fretboard right there it actually comes
up and creates a perfectly smooth edge right there so you’re actually not touch
you never touch the metal yeah that’s right right that’s a different technique
there suited to way to do it but get some way of doing that
was to put the frets in and I don’t know what technique they used to do it but
the it was it was cut off right where the binding starts and then the binding
was put on and and so you’re right like the the binding goes up but you know the
fret doesn’t reach the tip of the the edge of the fingerboard
whereas or the way I do it and I think probably most acoustic guitars that
seems more of a factory thing but most of kusa guitars that I’m aware of and
probably a lot of electrics the the bindings are put on the fingerboard and
then the threat is put in with a the ends are not chewing that so that the
the the head are the the fret crown extends over the side and then that’s
all trimmed back but the fret then ends up going right to the edge of the board
and yeah it works fine you know as long as things are ok I didn’t know if you
know I especially when I’m playing a lot of rock I you know I’d dig in pretty
hard and I tend to wear my frets yeah now like I’ve had to have my my
stratocasters been refreshed I’ll guitar or my old ones been refriended I didn’t
know if this cuz I’ve only had this this one for since last September so I didn’t
know if that was gonna be an issue when I went to if five years from now I need
to get it reef ready hey so that’s an interesting question
um I’ve never I mean I’ve done some recurse not not many but I’ve done some
repairs over the years and I don’t think I’ve ever had to refresh wake your
Gibson and I don’t know how your average repairman would deal with that because
it’d be a little tricky to take those old frets out and make the new frets
exactly so they’d slot right in to be you know inside though at the binding
I’m not sure they might eat what you could do is you could take the old frets
out and then convert it to the other way which would be easy to do and just have
the Fred ends extend to the outer edge and then clean them up that way that way
be an easy way to deal with it it offends some purists I don’t know yeah
maybe I just need to practice some other guitars so hope my nice one do you do
you do you make any or have I guess have you made any more than six strings like
a seven string or maybe a harp guitar or something like that yeah a seven string
for Craig to Andrea and that wasn’t interesting that was an interesting
project because I had to try and figure out the bracing you know for that extra
string and then the the neck with and everything and and also the other thing
is when you go I actually built two seven strings I built one for Terry
Tufts this really good guitar player up here in Canada and he originally asked
for the high string to be the seventh string because I think generally the low
string is the added strength right now yes whereas with his it was tricky and
the problem was I wasn’t building fan frets at the time this was a good 15 to
20 years ago if with a fan fret see the problem became that that high string was
a G and it was still at the normal say 25 for scaling so tuning at 25 for
scaling up to G you’re really tightening that guy you know he put a fairly fine
string on there yeah and it’s always a problem for him so I don’t know how we
dealt with that I haven’t changed the neck on it but it never really worked
out that way if with a fan fret I could have made the fan so that the high
string was really sure you know work more suitable to a G and then the low
string would be you know whatever that be that I didn’t exist in those days for
me so that didn’t work out no with Craig’s it was actually a fan fret it’s
a fan fret and the lower string was that was a below the the the e so kimber when
it was maybe a B or C or something but that worked out a lot better be
because you know it was a fan print so I could make that lower string a lot
longer and it worked right yeah and her pewter yeah I built her guitar remember
what I was saying about when somebody asked me to do something different and I
go yeah that was John again is not the one that he just brought in to you to
get I got it to in the spray booth that’s all repaired and this beings
resprayed so well that’s what but yeah that was a perfect example of you know
say do you have you ever built a hockey tournament so I get molded over to my
usual thing and decided to to have a go of course you know for Don I mean he’s
been a little good for my career so right you know I’m happy to – go ahead
go have a go at him yeah yeah and it was a huge learning experience because I got
one before so I had to a lot of Rd took me two years from the time he asked me
to the time that was finished and it’s worked out really well and it’s
a bit of an eyeball because it is a fan fret so those counted based strains
contrabass drinks are really long it’s like you know me and but he loves it
like he likes those you know he’s the first guitar built for him it was
another one was a baritone like I had never build a baritone in 1997 he
approached me to fill the baritone so I you know right from the beginning his he
likes those deep sounding guitar she always plays a message a model and so
with the with a fan fret heart guitar I mean it was it was it was interesting it
is a very big body very deep sound very full and it worked out great you know of
course there’s you know when you build something the first time you you have
all ideas of how you approach the second one
right which I haven’t done yet nobody’s asked me to build another one but if it
happens it’ll help what about like a microtonal type thing
I don’t know what you’re talking about okay yeah we’re on the it wouldn’t be a
regular fret board where every fret is oh line up and you actually have
microtones in between Oh probably yes
unfortunately I am NOT yeah I’m not really have you played one I’ve seen
them I’ve never actually played one they’re a little bit different because
they’re they don’t they’re not based on half-step increments they’re more along
the lines of like quarter steps Wow yeah that would be a that would be a
learning curve indeed yes I didn’t I didn’t know with all the with all the
you know people that are coming your way I don’t know if anybody had actually
said anything dawn I’m sure is like hmm
and once again that is where we’re gonna end it for today if you haven’t already
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