Tim Reede Guitars 100th Guitar Interview
NAME: Tim Reede
LIVING IN : Minneapolis MN USA
LUTHIER YOU ADMIRE THE MOST: I especially like those who are innovators. Linda Manzer, Ken Parker, Kathy Wingert, Jimmy D’Aquisto, Ervin Somogyi, Michihiro Matsuda are some that I respect and they have inspired my own work. There are many more but these people in particular have demonstrated to me that there is room to improve on guitar design, and have raised the craft to new heights.
LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT: My Morning Jacket, Waterfall 2
LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO : Pat Donohue/Tim Sparks/Phil Heywood together.
I began as a guitar player, electric guitar mostly.
I played in bands and we recorded some full length albums. It was punk/thrash kind of music. After the band broke up I started woodworking. I went to cabinetmaking school and worked at a custom cabinet shop for ten years.
I began playing the acoustic guitar much more in the days following the punk bands, and as a woodworker by trade, I started thinking of building an acoustic guitar.
I did a little research and found that there was a luthier school about an hour away from where I lived. So in 2004 I enrolled at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing MN.
I studied with Brian Boedigheimer, David Vincent, John Reed and Lisbeth Butler. I am not sure if they are famous but they were all good teachers.
Yes, I am now teaching in Red Wing MN where I was once a student.
Every student brings different skills and may have different needs. We try to find a balance between quality of work and time management. We have students that come in with a background in art and they do amazing work but typically they need to work more quickly to get all of the work done, others come in to our program with carpentry background and those students typically need to slow down and focus on quality of work. Some have no experience and they can do well too. In the classroom I watch the students as they work and see their progress, and I try to direct them to keep them on track with the pace of the class.
I always wanted to have a parlor guitar in my product line.
This guitar style is based on a Martin O size body with 14 frets to the body. I find that most people will want a 14 fret guitar, even if they usually play in first position. I did increase the scale length to 24.9”(632mm) because I felt the original Martin design scale length was too short to use with drop tunings.
I wanted my 100th instrument to be special to stand out as a celebration of this milestone but much of the adornments were designed together with the client.
He had seen a similar guitar that I made in the past and loved the design but wanted to make some changes.
The African blackwood back and sides and abalone purfling was inspired by my previous build, but the client wanted bloodwood binding instead of the Koa of the original. That decision led to creating a new rosette that incorporated the bloodwood and more abalone.
My earlier build also had a vine inlay that the client liked, but I wanted to tie into the red color of the bloodwood so I added red Mandevilla flowers to the vine fingerboard inlay. We also added them as an inlay on the bridge.
More abalone purfling was added to the neck, headstock, fingerboard and on the sides. The gold etched Waverly tuning machines were specified by the client and I really think they were appropriate for this guitar.
The headstock inlay has a direct connection to the owner because he has a tattoo of the crown so we copied that as accurately as we could. Some other changes were using a torrefied Adirondack spruce soundboard, the sunburst on the top, EVO gold fret wire, a larger “sun” side port, the tortoise pick guard, and mammoth ivory nut, saddle and pins.
As you can see there is a great deal of inlay on this guitar, and several different products were used, these include Paua abalone, white mother of pearl, gold mother of pearl, and red cultured stone.
Much of the purfling is Zipflex, a true abalone but made in a way that is flexible. The gold mother of pearl crown was beautifully made by a specialist at Depaule Supply. It is a one of a kind creation based on a drawing that I sent to them.
This guitar took longer than I expected for a few reasons and most of it had to do with the additional inlays on the top, sides fingerboard and bridge. The sunburst also added time.
I think I have been working on this guitar for most of a year.
The guitar is now in the hands of a collector who lives in Colorado. I don’t want to reveal any personal information about him but I think this is his first custom made guitar so it was quite an honor for me. I did not know him before we started this build.
I have meet many luthiers from all over the world and I find that we are each individually different in our philosophy.
Some are traditionalists, some are innovators. I have not recognized any particular regional trends. I think we all share a deep respect for the craft and for the music that it can help to create. I have seen that the industry as a whole is changing a little. That has more to do with the availability of materials. With woods like Koa and rosewoods becoming more scarce people are using more “alternative” tone woods, and I think this is a good thing. There are some great non-traditional tone woods available out there like Wenge, Padauk, and Bubinga.
Most of my sales are from people that contact me directly for a custom build guitar.
I also work with some dealers, including Guitar Gallery in Nashville and luthiers.com of course, and I have some instruments at some local shops in Minnesota.
I also enjoy traveling to guitar shows, but I stay in North America. I was at the Artisan Guitar Show earlier this year in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and I will be at the Woodstock Luthiers Showcase later this year in New York. I have also done shows in Colorado, California, Florida, Chicago IL, Memphis Tennessee, Tacoma WA, Montreal, Newport Rhode Island, and Fargo North Dakota.
Having made 100 guitars is a milestone for me but it is not very many in the larger scope of things, so getting my guitars into peoples hands is difficult, this is why I try to make recordings and videos so people can hear the instruments even if they can not personally play them. I have posted several of those videos on Luthiers.com
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