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This Father Gave His Entire Household Handmade Guitars for Christmas

Tuesday, November 8th 2016. | Tips and Tricks

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Christmas Eve 2007 was an unforgettable day for our household. It was the day my dad, Leon Royal of Night Shade, Arkansas, gave every of us one in every of his handmade acoustic guitars—14 in all for his three youngsters, their spouses and eight grandchildren.

The lounge was crammed with guitars and grateful hearts. A few of us have been strumming. A few of us have been simply taking in the great thing about the devices he’d crafted from totally different woods in numerous patterns and types.

I’m his youngest daughter, and I converse for the entire household once I say that Dad’s guitars are a particular present that cash can’t purchase.

Critically. Cash can’t purchase them. Regardless of many gives, he has bought only a few through the years, preferring to construct them for the pure enjoyment of working with wooden, his palms and music.

Dad began enjoying the guitar when he was about 12 years previous. His mom and father confirmed him a couple of chords and he took it from there, enjoying alongside to the previous music radio exhibits.

His grandpa Daniel Barnett had a fiddle that he’d made for himself a few years earlier than, which impressed Dad to construct his first guitar in 1972. He gained’t even guess at what number of guitars he has made since then.

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When Dad was elevating a household, he solely had time to construct about one a yr. The work goes quicker now than when he had three youngsters underfoot in his workshop, he says. Since retiring from the U.S. Postal Service, he’s averaged six to eight a yr.

Guitars aren’t his solely handcrafted masterpieces. He has additionally constructed mountain dulcimers, hammered dulcimers and dobros. He’s even tried his hand at constructing electrical guitars. Whereas he enjoys constructing the electronics that go into the electrical type, he prefers the pure sound of his flat-prime guitars.

Dad is a perfectionist. He needs his guitars to be lovely and nicely made, with a sound that’s “good.” A real craftsman, he made the molds, varieties, work boards and jigs that he makes use of to construct his guitars. He hand carves the notched bracing contained in the physique and makes use of small chisels to work within the inlays that embellish the surface.

In the future I requested Dad why he determined to provide so many guitars away to us as an alternative of promoting them. In his modest and quiet approach he replied, “I simply need my household to have a souvenir.”

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