A Guitar Post: Luthier and Setup

I'm finding out that there's a price to taking music a little more seriously.  This post is for those who may have interest in guitars, purchasing a guitar or have an old guitar that "needs to be tuned".  Most likely, if it's sat for awhile...it needs a little love from a luthier.

Currently, the main focus of my mission is prayer.  This is aided by music that allows for prayers to be sung - making it easier for us to pray for long hours.  The musical aspect is what drew me into this type of ministry, and it's proven to be very successful in helping many people engage in conversation with the Lord, drawing out those who desire a more authentic expression of worship.

I've never had my guitar worked on.  I purchased it in 2001: a Seagull S6 for $400 out the door with case.  It was a stretch for me at 17, and i've always thought of it as a "$400 guitar."

Over time, guitars get better.  But, the $400 guitar was never worked on.  Not really set up, with the occasional neck adjustment.

Guitar repair isn't like shoe repair - there isn't a shop on every corner, as far as I know.  And you don't necessarily want to take it to your average/chain guitar shop  Jeff Fortenbery was reccomended to me by a friend, and his service was excellent.  He builds guitars (check out http://www.fortenberyguitars.com/ for some mouth-watering finished products - wow!) - but also makes other guitars perform at their peak.

Jeff talked in terms that I didn't totally understand - but I understood enough when he explained himself, and that made me confident.

And now, the Seagull plays smooth.  I play for 2 hours at a time when I lead normally, so even this minor adjustment ("set-up" is what they call it) was a noticable improvement immediately.

I also dropped off a bass that I played in High School for worship team.  I played bass first and then migrated to guitar.  Then I never played bass again (it seemed) because of the need for worship leaders in the circles I was in.

I had this crazy idea about 3 days after dropping the bass off: let's put the bottom 4 strings of a 5 string bass set on a 4 string bass.  I admit, I'm not very good at using the 4th string (G) anyways, I usually just play a little higher on a lower string.  With the trends in todays music, and the fact I just love that low B sound, I wanted make a franken-bass.  I called Jeff immediately, and he said "no problem...but it's probably good to tell me before I set it up."  Fortunately, he had not set it up yet.

And now I have Franken-bass.  I've used it once...and the fact it's a beginner bass makes the sound kinda flat, but the low note works...and now I have it to use when I need it (or someone i'm playing with needs it).

So, there are some random thoughts.  Jeff Fortenbery is the man...and I did get a chance to play a couple of his guitars while I was there.  Amazingly beautiful - you cannot beat a handcrafted guitar.  I'd compare it to getting a double-shot of espresso at McDonald's vs. Roh's street...insanely better tone and sound, and feel.  Check out his webpage, and thanks for reading a little bit of nerdiness.



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