An individual professionally trained in the manufacturing of guitars is known as a luthier who typically fabricates or works on stringed musical instruments. The word luthier evolved from the word lute, which was a type of stringed instrument played hundreds of years ago.
Atlanta Luthier at Work
Ralph is setting the newly rebuilt dovetail into place and calculating the neck angle before gluing it back it. It's so tight here that he doesn't even have to use glue to hold it strong enough to string up and play. That's just how tight and wonderful a good dovetail is. Tell me that does not help the tone? Also notice all the original finish and inlay was sanded off the fretboard but the good news is it's been refretted and now has a beautiful slight radius or curvature on the fretboard making it a dream to play.
This photo was after it was complete except for this original bridge failed and I had to replace it too. Notice we refinished the fretboard black and I made playing card shaped inlays and aged the fretboard to look old again then sealed it all in satin clear coat for protection. It looks 80 years old but plays like a brand new guitar if not better. This was one happy day and Ralph just adores this guitar. I knew he was putting serious LOVE into his work on this one. He's very proud of this work and should be.
After I got the guitar home for a week the new neck reset and all the forces at work broke the front edge of the old bridge. So I made this new replica out after searching high and low for the right wood to replace it with. I learned how to make the pyramids but with the little round scoops on the inside just like old Stellas. We also waited until the bridge was glued into place and then slotted it with the router while measuring from the nut and 12th fret. We angled it slightly for tuning compensation and set it back farther to a calculated distance. The bridge pin holes were drilled and I'm using the original pins right now which are a little non uniform but I just like them better than having new ones. Compare the new bridge with it's aging to the old one in the photo above. Pretty good match eh?
The original inlays that were painted onto the ebonized fretboard were a traditional diamond based pattern that came on many of the OS Stellas in that era. Frankly I dont like them and they did not match the theme of this guitar so I made playing yard templates and painted them on which matches this guitar perfectly and sets the whole Gambler theme off. Notice how I even wore the fretboard to look original. The nut has also been aged to blend in.
Here you can see the dovetail Ralph rebuilt and I just had to install some dot markers. Notice I used fret 9-12 instead of the original 10-12 which does depart from the way they marked them in the 1920s. But I just don't care. It's more important that this guitar is used to make music and not for a collectors item. Plus these features could be reversed if someone ever got anal about it.