Local luthier offers free class

In conjunction with the William Boddy Passion to Learn Scholarship, Jeff Bamburg is offering a free seminar at his Rocky Mountain Guitar shop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19.

Bamburg said the scholarship committee asked him a few times to apply for a scholarship to present a seminar; he got the hint.

“I knew William. We talked a lot of times about guitars. He played an upright bass, and he designed one too. He had a passion for music and design.”

Bamburg, who said more than once he only plays “a little” guitar, certainly has a passion for music and design.

The free seminar will be a comprehensive overview on the craft of contemporary guitar-making. He’ll roll his two-week intensive guitar-making course into one day. “It will be like taking a drink from a fire hose,” Bamburg joked.

For the budding guitar-maker, this seminar is an introduction to the field. For musicians, the seminar will provide some insight into design, aesthetics and acoustics – all tools to apply to the future purchase, enjoyment or tuning of a guitar.

The morning half of the seminar will focus on learning what goes into designing a guitar, the aesthetics and the science of acoustics. The second half will focus on how to actually build a guitar and the tools and skills required.

Bamburg has been making guitars for 13 years and living in Salida for 10. He opened a storefront last November and has been getting orders for guitars regularly. Currently, Bamburg is in the process of building nine guitars, which he admits is a bit overwhelming. Some are commissioned and others will go toward restocking his store inventory.

In his 10 years of making guitars, Bamburg said a few stand out; for example, No. 5 and No. 8 were memorable. Also No. 56 was jumbo Cocobolo and a favorite. Soon after 56, he lost track of how many he’d made, but says now it’s close to 100.

Making and designing guitars started for Bamburg when he began shopping to buy one. Shopping led him to discover he could make his own. He bought a kit and said he was able to make it into a “GSO,” or A Guitar Shaped Object. He designed and made a second one, but it wasn’t playable either. The third was a success. He made it for a friend who still plays it.

“I used to think I’d have to match the sound in (the customer’s) head when making a guitar, but that’s impossible.” Now Bamburg said he lets the customer strum some of his already made guitars and if they like the sound, the two go

from there. Bamburg uses 10 different woods for his guitar tops. He said the best wood is light and stiff. He demonstrated the different sounds one guitar body can produce. For the demo, he used a Sitka spruce guitar. Sitka is the same wood Howard Hughes used to build his famous “Spruce Goose” airplane.

To sign up for the seminar, call the shop at 719-221-4262. Rocky Mountain Guitar is located at 133 E. First St. in Salida.