FRETS.COM Field Trip

And Fender, too
Guild's Nashville Custom Shop
© Frank Ford, 8/1/01; Photos by FF, 3/21/01        Please click the small photo to get the big picture.

Conveniently located in Music City where celebrity artists abound, it's where some of the custom Fender instruments are made, along with special Guild, Benedetto and other models. A small crew of skilled luthiers work here in a factory that's roomy and well stocked with materials and tools:

Dan Erlewine and I stopped in for a short visit with plant manager Tim Shaw (left) and his crew:

Dan's just as much of a camera jockey as I am!

We saw all kind of different special instruments in progress:

As usual Dan was decked out in his familiar Optivisor head gear. He was surprised to find a similarly attired gentleman and real fan, in the person of Andy Piper:

Andy showed us this cool chisel mounted in a drill press he uses (with the motor off, of course) to cut perfectly vertical miters in binding:

In the finishing department, we saw how they apply a thin Mylar film to the surface of a solid body to achieve a cool custom holographic look:

An old time scraping technique, using the edge of a glass microscope slide:

Glass is incredibly hard, and holds its edge well as a scraper. This is essentially the same scraping technique used since the days of the Seventeenth Century Cremonese master violin makers.

Flat top guitars, Archtop guitars, solid and hollow body electrics give these craftsmen a good variety of work:

Here's a 6-inch belt sander, with a platen contoured to shape the shaft of a guitar neck, along with the neck blank fixture:

Another classic tool, a pin router for shaping parts:

Although they have a full complement of machine tools, the fellows at the Guild custom shop work mostly by hand

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