OK! So, I called it a joke, laughed my head off at it, and now it has turned around and bitten me you know where. So, I am typing this standing; I can’t sit!
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, this happened last week:
I received a tonne of email saying how wrong I was pointing fingers at the ‘Ha-ha-ha-ha’ for calling a laminate top a ‘Spruce’ top. They said that that is what all builders are calling laminate tops.
I was shocked and I checked. Indeed, terms like ‘select spruce’, ‘spruce tonewood’, etc had disappeared from the sites of all big-name acoustic guitar makers. It was as if those terms had never existed!
Instead, when manufacturers wanted to convey that it was a laminated-top guitar, they preferred using ‘spruce’, and when they wanted to tell you that a particular model had a solid top, they used the word ‘solid’.
All of this has happened in the span of two or three years. Don’t believe me? Surf the Net and ask Google to search for ‘Select Spruce’, ‘Tonewood’…
The pages and pages of discussion about it will confirm to you that ‘Select Spruce/Oak/Cedar…’ was a term much in currency and very accepted. It wasn’t a figment of my imagination.
So, where, how did the term disappear? When and why did the terminology change?
My reasoning (and mine alone) is that after all those online forums let the manufacturers’ cat out of the bag, explaining what ‘Select Spruce’ actually stood for, manufacturers didn’t find it profitable to say ‘Select Spruce’ on their product brochures. Instead, it seemed like a good idea to fool people into believing that ‘Spruce’ meant solid Spruce. Enter ‘Spruce’, exit ‘Select Spruce’!!!
Understand this: (In India) If you have a budget of Rs7,000-8,000 to buy an acoustic guitar and want to a brand name, Yama-ha-ha-ha-ha it is!!!!
No one, who wishes to buy a 7K guitar, will look at Yama-ha-ha-ha-ha instruments that cost 20 – 30K. If they do, they would realise the difference. On the company’s website and in the 7K price range, you have just two (popular) models. From my viewpoint, it is a choice between the devil and the deep, but you, as a prospective buyer, feel you are spoiled for choice!
Back to the repair that I was at last week, I had put the instrument in that vice grip
on September 12 (Saturday). I pulled it out of the vice on September 18 (Friday), glued in the nut and strung it up with .010″ strings, just like I said I would. The instrument would never be able to bear the strain of .011” or .012″ strings again.
It was a disaster! Even with just the 6th and 5th string on, you could drive a double, double decker bus under the strings.
The saddle height was exactly what the original saddle was, and the action at the 1st fret was within specification. But as I observed, the belly was returning to the instrument, even as I watched.
It was very disheartening but there were two routes that one could take: return it the way it was to the customer, or, have another go at it, with renewed vigour.
I decided to take the the second route, called the customer, explained things to him, and he was most understanding about me wanting to try and correct whatever lapses in construction there may be.
As my effort continues, stay tuned for updates!