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NORTHWOOD’S SEMINARS – October 2015

The Northwoods Seminars is an educational event presented by Bryan Galloup at the Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair in Big Rapids, Michigan. Although the event has occurred during the last three summers (8/13, 8/14 and 8/15) it is not held regularly. Gaps between Northwoods events have in the past run many years, and at the time of this writing, there has been no announcement whether Bryan will hold another in 2016.

From what I heard, all those in attendance would be glad if it did return! Bryan works hard to cull together some of the finest lutherie educators in the world. The 2015 roster included Tim Sheerhorn, David Collins, Link VanCleave, Charles Fox, Michi Matsuda, Evan Gluck, Doug and Jaime Aulson, Jason Lollar, TJ Thompson, David Wren, Tom Crandall, Tom Ribbecke, Mike Kemnitzer, Tom Murphy, Julius Borges, Erick Coleman and yours truly, Chris Herrod. Certainly, it was an honor to be included in such fine company.

The Seminars are held for four days in the well-equipped Galloup school classrooms and each lasts 3-4 hours, so there was plenty of time to for hands-on demonstrations. Attendees were welcome to pass between concurrent talks and the discussions invoked by the presentations were lively and informative. The attendees themselves (I am guessing there were about 70) contained a whos-who of professional and emerging builders. Galloup’s students and staff provided friendly and expert event support. To top it off, all attendees dined together (and were entertained by fantastic guitarists nightly) so there was an open opportunity to carry on discussions outside the classroom.

I was pleased to begin my talk with a discussion about LMI, wood sourcing and scarcity and the related legal issues, but spent the majority of my time talking about how luthiers, musicians, and guitar dealers can better understand and communicate about tone. The talk included sections on marketing, hearing, psychoacoustics and the lexicography of tone.