Living outside of Cleveland along the shores of Lake Erie can be pretty tough on our instruments. The sometimes extreme temperature and humidity swings between summer and winter can cause cracks, warping, fret and neck playability issues and the list goes on. As a luthier, I see a lot of these climate-related issues with guitars. However, it was only part of what was going on with this 1966 Gibson J-45. Here’s the video on the steps to its restoration.
The Short Cut Trilogy is one of my most frequently requested group of songs. It chronicles the adventures of a miner working at the Tomboy Mine in Telluride, Colorado at the turn of the last century.
To download your copy of The Short Cut Trilogy, enter a tip amount then click on Jim’s Tip Jar.
“Jessica”, written for my daughter when she was four, is one of my most requested compositions. Here is a video of “Jessica” including some pics of my daughter today as a professional dressage trainer and competitor. “Jessica” is also available on my CD, Goin’ South.
Jim Kozel, Luthier
I’ve been getting a lot of calls from clients about buzzing strings and other issues with the way their guitars are playing. Well, it’s winter and guitars are drying out. Here’s a video on humidifying your instrument BEFORE you think about adjusting the neck, saddle height, or a having a fret job. It’s all about humidity or the lack of it!
I saw Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps nine years ago and immediately brought the ukulele into my family of stringed instruments. Since that time I’ve composed with the ukulele, have built custom ukuleles and teach ukulele. Ukulele is particularly well-suited for seniors wishing to play an instrument for the first time. My favorite students are Mim & Mel, who have been part of my studio for over two years. We’re talking finger style ukulele lessons, not just strumming three chords. I’ve attached my arrangement of Simple Gifts for the tenor ukulele for those of you who would like to play what Mim and Mel are currently practicing.
Simple Gifts is a free download. Just leave the Tip amount at $0.00 and click on the Tip Jar button to receive your download of Simple Gifts. However, tips are always appreciated!
I wrote Bermuda Blue while staying at Grape Bay Cottages in Bermuda, June of 2014. Sitting in the living room with all the windows open and the sound of the surf breaking just yards away inspired this piece.
This 1935 Gibson mandolin was left in the garage in its cardboard case for many years. The owner had played it for his wife when they were much younger. Here’s the story of how it was restored…
Gabe Marin of Consider the Source visited my shop over the holidays to discuss the design of his next double neck guitar, the Elsa II. I built the Elsa I (see pic) for Gabe in 2003. It’s been his only stage guitar for the last 13 years. Here’s a video of Gabe putting the Elsa I through her paces at The Beachland Ballroom in 2015.
Here’s how to install a zero fret on a Guild Jumbo 12-string. The benefit? Excellent action and consistent tone between fretted and un-fretted strings.