But we didn't start the day at Bruce's shop. Instead, we went to Guitar Works in Evanston, where the folks in charge let us peer into this guitar:
Bruce and I went to Evanston because we had dropped in last week, saw and played this Greven, and decided to go back and look inside to see what made it so special. And it is special. Finger pick on it, thump it hard, wham it with your fingernails, whatever you do it feels and sounds great. Bruce put his mirror inside and used his flashlight to light it up. He looked around and concluded "damn" it's just like any other guitar, maybe even a little heavy inside in some ways. But the sound is wonderful. The only thing that kept me from buying it is I already have too many good guitars, Bruce is building me another and it would be crazy to add to the pot, especially when I'm not playing them out and making money.
"I don't know how he can do that," Bruce says of Greven's output and high quality. But he does. Greven explained it all at a Luthiers Convention workshop in 2011. It sounds simple. You just line up a whole bunch of wood, form it, glue it, finish it in stages and there you have it, a guitar! If you read the transcript from that workshop, what you learn is that Greven has been making instruments for 50 years and spent a stint running the repair shop at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. Gruhn Guitars is like Mecca for acoustic guitar players. It's where failed country stars can sell their best stuff, where the biggest names got their instruments tweaked or repaired, and so on. Greven learned a lot there and built it into how he constructs his own guitars.
Bruce has an immense respect for Greven and he bows to the man and his processes even as he builds my guitar. Back to the bridge story!
|Using a fret tool to measure distance|
Because everything has to be just right after this point, Bruce uses a fret measurement tool to find out where he is going to place the saddle in the bridge on this guitar. He marks the spot with a white grease pencil. Then he brings in the bridge to position it over that spot. It has to be square and lineup with the center line on the instrument.
|Positioning the bridge|
|Sanding the bridge to match the guitar top.|
|Scraping an area for the bridge|
|Putting glue on the bridge and the guitar|
|Posts and bridge clamps in place|
|The last step|
We're just about there.