Tom Murphy wrote recently at the Providence Journal about a shop in North Kingstown that will teach you how to build your own guitar.
“Owner Dan Collins and his partner, Ariel Bodman, design and build guitars with the skill and dedication of artists,” writes Murphy. “They talk about the sound produced by different kinds of wood with terms like the ‘color’ and the ‘ring.’ …
“Dan and Ariel have brilliantly carved out a niche in the industry by sharing their deep knowledge and experience with student builders who pay a fee to craft their own custom instruments. With his background in art and hers in music, they give students a much deeper appreciation for their new instruments than they might get walking out of the average music store. …
“Many students become hooked on the experience and come back for a second, third, even a fourth build. ..
“The custom builds, the repairs and the teaching are the business side of Dan Collins’ unique shop, but from 7 to 10 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month, something really extraordinary happens.
“The floors are swept, tools are put away, equipment is pushed aside and the long work bench in the middle of the room is transformed into a banquet table as Shady Lea Guitars holds its ‘open mic night.’
“In a cleared portion of the workshop, there is a well-lit stage and an odd assortment of comfortable old chairs. It’s potluck, so students, customers, friends and enthusiasts alike can share their favorite recipes along with their music. The friendly audience always puts participants at ease, and they respond with heartfelt performances.” More here.