Working On An Alto Guitar

I went to visit my friend, Greg Brandt, the other day. He’s a guitar maker of exquisite artistry and craft. Yet, what emerged from my visit to his Geppeto style workshop was not just the wonder of the exotic materials he uses nor his incredible skill that turns wood into sound, though they alone are of true merit and deserve high respect.

What resonated so clearly in reflection as I drove home was the nature of the man himself, whose conviction to the value of art and craft is rare indeed in today’s mechanized world.

His commitment to the very process of creation by one person, from beginning to end, from concept to completion, from chaos to order, is remarkable. It brought to mind Ruskin and Carlyle who were among the first to rail against the dehumanizing effects of the division of labor that turns people into machines, numbingly executing one nameless task over and over again, never seeing the beginning nor the ending of the industrial process they are lost in.

For Greg, everything is in his hands…and his heart. Hanging on the wall is a template for the nylon string concert model guitar he has perfected through years of effort. Angles, precise dimensions, careful notes that chart the work ahead.

But there is also a moral template that he follows, an internal code of behavior to guide the mercantile side of his life. What he will do and what he will not do. Standards, you could call them. A balance between his effort and the just compensation for that effort. Fairness could be his motto, not excessiveness that seems to define our Capitalist ways. Like the guitars he builds, his working style is in harmony with his beliefs.

The Concert Model Guitar

Have I gotten a bit grandiose in recounting this simple visit to my friend’s workshop?

It’s certainly not the tone Greg would take. In fact, when I called to say I’d like to come by, he said, “Great, you’ll see me turning big pieces of wood into little pieces of wood.”

Which to me is a bit like saying The David is a slab of marble with curves.

Check out Greg’s work at Greg Brandt Guitars.





3 Responses to The Guitar Maker

  1. […] Incidentally, I wrote a post about Greg’s creative talent a year or more ago in: Guitar Maker. […]

  2. Greg Brandt says:

    Thanks Frank!! It was great to have you come by…I loved the company!! You’re welcome in the shop anytime!!
    Thanks for the sharing….great writing (as usual) tho a tad awkward reading about ones self 😉
    P.S. I haven’t forgotten about the pic’s of the guitar…still want them?

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