It's been a busy year since we moved from Connecticut to Milton, and my shop moved from Connecticut to Lowell. Lowell is an interesting and fun town, but the commute up Rt 95 from Milton was always a problem as it involved Boston traffic no matter when I went. The hours I was able to work were controlled by the rush hour and the amount of noise and activity at the Western Ave studios could be a distraction. So, after searching around and looking at several possible locations, I decided the best place for my shop to go was The Narrows in Fall River.
This is now my shop view looking towards Battleship Cove. The restaurant down below has live music in addition to what is offered upstairs at the Narrows Center.
Loading and unloading an entire shop is time consuming and tiring! After disassembling my shop in Lowell, we loaded it into a rental truck that took two trips to unload at this ancient, high, slanted dock in Fall River.
A freight elevator from the 19th century waited to take us and the shop to the second floor, through the unfinished and old spaces of the mill, to my new space, which needed finishing of it's own!
Some of the drywall had been partially finished 30 years ago or more. So after mudding the seams and screw holes, then sanding it reasonably well, we painted the poopy colored walls a nicer beige and the center wall a warm white.
Most things fit well after getting rid of some unnecessary cabinets, but it's tricky setting up a new shop and makes me anxious to get back to work...although this work is WORK!
The environment around the shop is very historical, with Battleship Cove across the street, which includes an authentic carousel (housed separately) as well as the USS Massachusetts, a frigate, a PT boat like John Kennedy piloted and the Lionfish submarine. A ticket to this includes admission to the Maritime Museum next to the Narrows.
This area is also home to the ferry line which takes you to Block Island. (The ferry building can be seen at the bottom of the first bridge photo).
So...in my opinion, a great trip would be to come to my shop for:
1) A Visit - which might include ordering a guitar or just playing one for now.
2) Order and plan a custom guitar.
3) Build a kit guitar - This could be done over the course of a week while staying in the area and catching a few shows or spread out on weekends by arrangement.
4) Say Hi before a concert (and picking up your new guitar!)
Like any good guest, contact me before visiting! Thanks!
Any visit could include seeing the sights, including the Fall River Historical Society and the Lizzie Borden House, where you can stay while building your kit or finalizing your new guitar setup!
Yesterday, I did a little setup work (new strings, pickguard install, buff and clean) on a guitar that now belongs to a friend here in Mass. I built it with experimenting with straight bracing in mind and trying my hand at a sunburst. Straight bracing is when the X brace underneath the top is not scalloped from end to end but left "straight" across. While I didn't like the sound of the straight braces (dull and stiff sounding to my ear), I did eventually reach through the sound hole to hand carve them. The guitar ended up with a beautiful sound! Because it was experimental, I used a spare Sapele wood back and Paldao sides to keep the investment cost down. The top is sitka. My friend had had me do some work on an old Guild that was very compromised. When he heard this guitar, he said, "Why does it sound like that one is amplified?" After playing it, I offered it to him for sale and he immediately got his checkbook and bought it!
Here I am playing that guitar after changing the strings etc..