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Whats Really Behind the Guitar

Ben West

Have you ever heard of a guitar before? Of course you have. Do you realize how much work goes in to building a Guitar? I’m not sure if you do. Guitar makers, in fact all makers that build stringed instruments are called Luthiers. There are only 50 classical Guitar Luthiers in Colorado, and only a couple thousand in the U.S., and this might be for a good reason. Building a guitar takes a lot of experience, dedication, and hard work.
Bill Neese, a well-known and very hardworking luthier in Greely, Colorado has been at this profession for years, and speaks from experience about what it is like to make a classical guitar. Bill is a retired geologist, but finds his passion is working with customers and making guitars for people so that when they play them; there is more meaning and a story behind their guitar.
For Mr. Neese, his favorite part of this involved process, is the finished product, and to see and hear his customer actually play the new guitar for the first time. It is not easy to get to that stage says Bill, and some of the most challenging parts are; building the design around the sound hole of the guitar, and staying completely focused every second of his work. Focus is key, because Bill is cutting wood to the tenth of a millimeter perfecting the guitar. Although Bill feels that creating the Rosette (the pattern around the guitar’s sound hole) is a challenge, he also finds it enjoyable because on every one of his guitars there is a new variation in his patterns.
On average, in Mr. Neese’s guitars, there are around 5000-6000 pieces of wood from around 5 different countries. There are 10-15 different types of wood in a guitar made by Bill, and as one might imagine, it would be hard to glue and assemble those thousands and thousands of pieces of wood together. Bill needs tools like a barometer, and humidifier to keep the rooms he works in at the right temperature do the guitar doesn’t crack.
All in all, guitar making is an experience within itself, and few people think of how much work it can be to make a simple instrument like a guitar.