Regular followers of my blog will recognise this striking man as Michael Ritchie, guitar maker. Mike made my acoustic guitar, and although it is as damn near perfect an instrument as I have ever played, it wasn’t made specifically for me. Mike is remedying that now, and so I had an opportunity to visit him in his workshop. Here he is with some near-complete instruments behind him.
And again, just giving a sense of setting. Somehow Mike just fits these surroundings, he doesn’t just work with wood, he is utterly passionate about it; where else could he be but here.
A closer picture of Mike here, but critically folks, just for a change ignore the relaxed expression with the nice graduated light across the face, that’s the headstock of my new guitar.
And here it is, Indian Rosewood, Sitka Spruce and Mahogany, all assembled by Mike’s expert paws. I’m so excited!
Mike isn’t just a learn it and get in a rut luthier. He has made it his business to spend time in Spain studying with the spanish and flamenco guitar builders, and he has adapted many of their traditional techniques for use here in Scotland. Note the use of string and wedges where many might expect metal clamps. It’s a joy to watch this work happening.
And finally a detail of one of Mike’s near complete Classical instruments. Look at the hand finished detail round the soundhole. This is a pre-polished and finished guitar. Some lucky person will own this soon.
Mike’s workshop is pretty dark and presents a difficult photographic environment. I used a little offboard flash on occasion, and a couple with natural light only. The picture of mike holding my guitar neck was ISO 2000, and the picture of my guitar nearing completion was ISO 2500. No noise reduction was applied in Lightroom 3. You couldn’t say the Canon 7d has no noise, it has plenty at these settings, but it is surprisingly unobtrusive in real use.
There will be more pictures of Mike’s band posted soon, once I can process the next batch of challenging, low light pictures I took.