Since we deal with "stuff" all day we try and focus on keeping items of quality that will last a long time. We spoke with Nick of Norwalk’s own Nicholas Guitars to get a sense of the custom process for well made "stuff" that rocks.
What’s your background?
I have been around music since my early teens in Liverpool. I played in band's pretty much right up until I moved to the US in 1996. In the early 90's I had a number of guitars built by an outstanding English luthier and we became good friends. Spending time with him in his "shop" gave me my first taste of guitar building and over the next 20+years it slowly grew from modifying finished guitars to building kits to full scratch builds.
How do you work?
All my builds are done with hand tools, I have a table saw and band saw for roughing out, but I shape with chisels, scrapers and gouges, there's no CNC cutting or design software.
How long does it take to make a guitar?
On average about 4 months. That's from picking out a couple of raw blocks of wood to plugging an instrument into an amplifier.
How does input from the costumer work?
I want to build the instrument a customer has in his or her head (within reason). Outside of the fixed requirements like scale length and fret position, pretty much everything else is open to interpretation. So it may be as simple as a customer showing me a picture of a guitar they saw in a magazine, a color they like or it may take sitting down with a pencil and a piece of paper and sketching out a complete guitar.
I know it is hard to choose, do you have a favorite guitar you created?
Right now it would be one of the tricone "resonator" guitars. There's 100+ hours in the building of them and because of their acoustic nature, there's no electronics or amplifiers to hide behind, they either work or they don't. Thankfully they work!