Guitar making on Instagram

Nearly three years ago I opened up an instagram account. I thought I’d “give it a go.” When it comes to these social media things I have a rule – give it a few months, if nothing comes of it, stop doing it. Spend your time elsewhere.

What I quickly found on Instagram is most the people who follow my work are actually guitar makers. Not guitar buyers.  So I started to use it to help sell my ebooks which are for my fellow instrument makers. Then I noticed people seem to really enjoy watching me work – my guitar making videos on YouTube had been really popular 15 years ago, but they don’t get such high viewing figures now. So I started to post short videos on Instagram instead.

If you go to my Instagram page, you’ll see all the square pictures. Just above them are options, the first two are “POSTS” and “VIDEOS” click on “videos” and you’ll see how I go about making these instruments.

Many of the techniques I use these days differ from how I was taught. When I worked for Stefan we had a very basic, simple workshop. Much of the work was done by hand. And to get the work out the door in a timely manner Stefan needed to employ people. I actually enjoy working by myself and have no great wish to spend my days with anyone, so in order to make things within a reasonable amount of time, these days I use a fair few jigs to make components more accurately and to make tasks repeatable.  You can see this in action if you take a look through the videos.

Here is a recent video – using a jig and a router to notch back braces. This job is easy enough to do by hand, but using this method ensures the back braces go in the same spot each time. And that helps with another jig I use later to notch the side linings to accept the back braces.

Many of the videos feature the spindle moulder. This is a tool I use a lot. They are like a high powered router table with a huge range of tooling. A very old fashioned yet adaptable and practical woodworking machine. And yes, terrifying. But there is no better tool for making necks. These days I use the spindle for almost every step of neck production.

Instagram has other uses too. When folk ask me what the colour options are for a dyed maple burl rosette, I send them a link to this post:

Or if they’d like to know more about back and side wood options, I send them here:

In short, Instagram has actually proven to be quite helpful, but in ways I hadn’t predicted. Take a look. There is some nice stuff there.