Guitar lovers practice their craft

Uploaded by PurdueUniversity on 04.12.2007

>>Jim Shank: Guitar enthusiasts from around the nation gathered
at Purdue University this summer with a single mission: design,
build and play their own electric guitar.
With the help of Purdue professors from the College
of Technology and Discovery Park,
students employed advanced design software
and advanced manufacturing techniques
to complete their task.
Experts from industry leaders like Fender, Taylor, IRWIN,
Seymour Duncan and Stewart- MacDonald were also on hand
in each step to assist workshop participants.
Access to such luminaries made the 2000 mile journey
and $1300 tuition worthwhile
for California musician Toby Ban
who already owns at least a dozen guitars.
>>Toby Ban: A lot of guys bring in woodworking
and craftsmanship experience so it's a tight community here,
everybody helps each other and the common bond here is
that everybody really enjoys guitars
and is pretty much excited about building their own.
Some guys are more experienced than others and they're happy
to help out and the guys who haven't done it before are happy
to listen like myself.
>>Jim Shank: Fender senior designer, Tim Shaw,
began his career as a repairman.
He enjoyed the opportunity to tutor fellow guitar lovers
at the workshop, most of whom had no prior
manufacturing experience.
>>Tim Shaw: I was really unprepared for the fact
that fifteen people, none of whom had guitar building experience,
we're willing to take up files and other large sharp objects
and just have that blocks of wood and they've done it
with enormous enthusiasm and actually more skill
than I would've expected so that's been really great.
>>Jim Shank: Mark French, an assistant professor
in mechanical engineering technology created the workshop.
The former aerospace
and automotive engineer also teaches a semester long course
on making an acoustic guitar.
A curriculum that builds on his research
in harmonics conducted at Taylor headquarters and elsewhere.
That class was so popular he created the opportunity
for non Purdue students.
He said he wouldn't be allowed such latitude
in many places other than Purdue.
>>Mark French: I could go in places where I worked
on the weekends when the test equipment wasn't being used
but I always had to kind of skulk around,
you know it was always sort of a furtive thing.
Here I could kind of come out of the closet and as long
as I could show that what I was doing was a good educational
venue and was of service to our students
or maybe the greater community, the department's been good
with it, the college has been good with it,
they've been very supportive of me.
>>Jim Shank: French already has twice as many applicants
as he has seats for his next acoustic class in spring.
He's looking to expand the workshop next summer,
perhaps with a session just for highschoolers.
Indianapolis highschooler, Keegan Dunn
is enrolled in Science Bound, a program designed to motivate
and assist inner city teenagers to study science and technology
at the university level.
Dunn said the hands-on experience this year
at French's workshop is opening his eyes
to his opportunities at Purdue.
>>Keegan Dunn: I'm just getting insight to a whole new world
that I've never been introduced to
and I'm actually now considering going into a field like this
because know...just this past two weeks
that I've been here and it's really kind of inspired me
to kind of look into something like that
and I never really thought of that before.
>>Jim Shank: Tim Shaw was impressed with the work he saw
from the students from teenagers like Dunn
through gray beards like himself.
>>Tim Shaw: They will be perhaps less elegant
than handmade instruments from people
who have been making guitars for a very long time.
They'll certainly be serviceable and functional.
I think what's more important is
that they'll understand the basic principles of working
on them so that if later on they say "gee,
this neck feels a little bit thick" they won't be afraid
to say "okay, I know how to fix that."
Not everybody can do that so they'll be good musical tools.
I think everybody is going to remember sometimes a project
like this is as much about the journey as it is
about the destination and at that point I think for a lot
of these people, it's been a journey.
>>Jim Shank: For Purdue News Service, I'm Jim Shank.