Other stuff I do

I build guitars.

Electric ones.

For myself.

I’ve sold a couple.

I learned to do this because I was taught how by someone far more skilled than I’ll ever be. They needed pictures for their website and business, I wanted to learn how to do this. It was a contra deal that worked well for both parties since I think that if you can build a guitar from scratch, you can probably build other things too. The first one I made is at the bottom – the stripey one – made from bits I found in the offcuts bin and laminated together to a 25″ scale thing that made a noise and played pretty well considering. I sold that to a kid for $100. It was his first electric and he’d been having a hard time finding anything left handed that was a) decent and b) affordable. He’d been mowing lawns to save up and when he came to pick it up with his dad it reminded me of when I got my first guitar (I was 14 too, and borrowed the money from my dad and paid him back over the next year). We’d gone full circle and I hope he’s still kicking butt. I heard he played it at his high school talent show.

People tell me “I could never do that” when holding the finished article. That’s total crap. It’s a million small jobs that when put together make something usable. Like I could never build a house, but I can probably learn how to lay a brick, then another brick, then another, and so on until I’ve got a wall. And yes it’d be worse than a professional’s wall, but I bet my 8th wall would be pretty good. Same with guitars, same with anything. We learn by doing after all. All the theoretical study in the world doesn’t get those neurons working together. How can you read about the kickback of a table saw, or how tight to have the bandsaw without trying it out.

The first step to finishing is starting.


I’ve built 8 now. They’re in a rack in my office next to where I edit my photos and write blog entries.

I also design and build effects pedals. These are the little boxes that sit on the floor between the guitar and the amplifier. The guitar’s signal goes through these boxes and they do certain things to that signal- distort it, warp it, break it, echo it, a whole lot more – and they’re circuit boards inside a box and they’re turned on and off by a footswitch on the top.

Some of them look like this. They’re metal boxes, powdercoated white, painted with acrylics, then clearcoated with enamel.   Fun things that make a noise.