Sept. 28, 2015
I’ve been in Oregon for about 3-weeks now, and I have to say, I’m really liking it. The move was smooth as it could be, and everything, including my family and myself, arrived safely. It’s absolutely beautiful up here, and it’s already starting to feel, and look like Fall. The leaves are all turning orange and yellow, and it’s been in the 30’s in the mornings. Exactly what we were hoping for. The constant sunny days were just so boring to me, but then again, I grew up in CA and the high desert. I have always longed for actual winter days, snow, and seasons. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem here!
So far, the focus has been finding the new home for Boswell Guitars. I admit, it’s been tougher than I thought it would be. Not working for this long has traditionally been difficult for me, but this time off has been really great. Spending time with family, mountain biking, planning, playing, cooking; it’s been good for everyone (I think). In looking for the new space, I have found Bend to be very office-space oriented. I know there are tons of cool spaces here, but the good ones are all taken, or too big and expensive. My old shop in San Luis was just right. Surrounded by artists, good enough size, good price, and most of all, it really had that craftsman charm. I think finding a space like that is going to be tough just about anywhere you go. Katrina and I had discussed early on the potential of eventually settling in a small town just outside of Bend called Sisters. I did some snooping around, and found several places immediately. I’m talking COOL spots. Good size, charming, artistic, enough off the beaten path where I can actually get some work done, good price, nestled just below the 3-Sisters Mountains, and a destination for music and art lovers (Sisters Folk Festival just to name one of many). So, Sisters it is. I should be moving into the new space in just a few weeks, getting everything setup, buying some new tools, and finally getting going on the current 4 Boswell builds! I’m excited for all of it, and excited to get back to work. I will definitely still be doing repairs, but I imagine it will take some time before the reputation gets out. So, at first, I’ll be focusing primarily on the builds. Which means I’ll be getting much more done in a shorter period of time. That will make at least 4 people happy, I’m sure. The down side to Sisters? Well, it really is up in the mountains a good bit more than Bend. The drive takes about 20 minutes with clear weather, and the word is that the winter drive can be pretty bad. Time for a new truck I guess. I don’t mind the drive, and I certainly don’t mind Winter driving. I grew up in CA, yes, but in High School, I lived 40 miles from my school, and had to drive over Walker’s Pass every morning to get there. So, I’m not too worried. Plus, if I have to take a day off now and then and stay at home with my family in front of the fire, making soup and sledding all day, I’m fine with that.
What else? Well, The last four Boswell guitars were delivered before I left, and were all stunning and wonderful sounding in their own unique way. I talked a lot about No. 0019 as it was being built. It was the little “00” with Spanish Cedar back/sides, and a torrefied, very old growth Doug Fir top. What a success this little guitar was/is! Final Weight...3-lbs even!!! I have never held a real guitar that was so light and responsive! I say real because there are certainly light guitars out there, but usually end up sounding like a toy...or they actually are a toy. I was pretty blown away. My client and friend Tim Pierce had called me about 6 months ago, and was very curious about another Boswell guitar (he has already owned 2). This time though, he was very specific about what he was after. He wanted something light and fun, with more of an “old-time” feel (imagine 1930’s era, small box Gibson). I hadn’t done anything like that before, although I have handled hundreds. So, I decided to go for it, with Tim having no real obligation to buy it if it wasn’t what he was hoping for. I finished the guitar, and I truly thought it was going to be a home-run, but you can just never be sure. Steve and I drove down to LA at 4:30 in the morning (three days before I was supposed to move my shop to Bend), and showed up at Tim’s place around 8:30am. We walked in, he played it, he smiled, he handed me an envelope, and that was it. We hung around for another half hour or so taking some pictures and chatting, and then we headed out for a few more appointments. The guitar was so cool. I love “00” guitars anyway, but this also got me excited about building guitars that may be more accessible in their pricing, and I have a bunch of wood that I could use for guitars in that vein. The woods are old and stable, just like wood I use on much higher end guitars, but the varietals don’t carry the traditional tonal weight of Brazilian Rosewood, or Madagascar, or Honduran Mahogany. So, this is something I’m planning on getting after just as soon as I get settled into the new shop, and get caught up with some orders. It may be a little while, but they’ll be worth the wait.