The Guitar Maker

 

Written by Teddy Burch in the April 2008 Issue

Being the son of a carpenter, David Rector naturally took an interest in working with wood. A self-described “plunker” on the guitar, Rector had discovered sometime ago that his talents lay elsewhere.

“Well, I guess you could say that I have always been better at my woodworking skills than I have been at my musical skills,” he said. But don’t let this humble attitude disguise his natural talent—helping musicians all over the globe sound better.

After years of woodworking and moving from place to place with an unopened guitar building kit, one day Rector decided it was time to unleash his talents and construct his first guitar. “Before that I had built mountain dulcimers, banjos and even balalaikas (traditional musical instrument of Russia with triangular shaped body and long thin neck), but when I moved back to Oklahoma one thing lead to another and I have been building guitars since.”

Rector’s move back to Oklahoma was in 2000. It was then he began working with African, Honduran, and Sapele mahogany woods, along with maple, walnut and East Indian rosewood. He works with dozens of different types of woods from Australia, Mexico, Central America and Canada. Experience has taught him the importance of proper aging and caring when working with delicate, thin woods.

“Relative humidity at a set degree is vital for proper wood stabilizing,” he said. “I usually buy woods and let them sit in my shop for upwards to a year to acclimate before I start building braces across the grain. If you don’t do this, cracking and reverse radius bending can occur.”

While each work of art varies in the amount of labor invested, Rector has found that while the work may not be physically demanding, it can be strenuous on your patience. “There is a lot of detail work. It’s hard on your eyes and nerves,” Rector said. “Sometimes a guitar is on its last or next to the last step and something happens and something gets cracked and I’ve got to start over. That’s one of the worst feelings, but you just get used to it and know that these things happen.”

Rector guitars are built to each individual’s appeal. Honduran rosewood fingerboards, gold tuners and master grade Sitka or Englemann spruce tops are just a few of the custom choices available for guitar enthusiasts. Because Rector’s guitars are built by hand, the consumer can expect a high quality work of craftsmanship.

“When building by hand, the idea is to lighten up the weight of the guitar to result in a better sound,” he said. “Sometimes in a factory, they have to find a happy medium with the materials being used. This can produce a good sound, but [it] doesn’t always allow for putting the best materials together to get a great sound.”

Log onto www.rectorguitars.com for information on how you can order your custom made guitar.

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