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Take your time. Think. Reflect.

I had a dream earlier this week about bracing the top and back. When I woke up from my dream, I got excited to realize I actually had to do it in real life. I think this means I’m obsessed with this project. Always thinking, always wondering how to do things better, never stopping. This project is me. I’ve been so busy in the shop that I'm just finally finding time this Monday night to write. I love being busy. I enjoy doing incredible things.

Knowing the intricacies of classical guitar bracing patterns compared to steel string, I knew that I needed to take my time. In more actions than words, my good friend Tyler Waddell taught me to always take the time to do things right, quadruple check, allow yourself to second guess and think about what you're doing until you’re sure – you only get one shot. Learning this through many shared projects with Tyler, I surely could not rush this part of the build.

So I planned the week out step by step. Each day was all about taking one task at time, then stopping. The first day was studying the plans, taking measurements. Second was cutting out rough stock out of a sitka billet and sizing them according the plan. Next day, applying a radius to the top harmonic bars that gives structure to the top. Followed by creating the bridge patch, marking the top lightly with pencil to know where the pieces will finally land. On the Saturday, film day, it was getting the fan bars and cut-off bars glued and shaped for tone. This is the day I dedicated to getting this step right...[9 hours later]...Using this methodical approach made bracing the top an enjoyable process, rather than a stressful and overwhelming one. I was always looking forward to the next day. And then, finally, the top was done. Braced and voiced, and glued to the sides forever.

Jonard came to film both Saturday and Sunday. True commitment to the project. We did have a chance to talk about our own personal visions on the project. Where it could take us, where we could take the film. Jonard’s passions for telling stories through images, and film were evident this week. Jonard is a man of ideas, words, and vision. He’s one of those types that just lets it out without caution. I learned that he is unrestricted and free with his thoughts. A sort of nomad with visions and stories to capture and share.

It was a good filming session to say the least; more intellectual than the norm. It went beyond the ‘how to’ of the build. Going deep into my ‘why’ of the build. Why does Cliff do this? What makes him do this? What compels him to care so much about what most people don’t even think of or consider. He deliberately wanted to explore what was in my head and get it out on audio. I learned that audio could be more powerful than the imagery. I was saying things I usually don’t share – and Jonard was all over it.

I am a contemplator. A thinker. With that, I tend to not speak so much or share my abstract thoughts. I get lost in my thoughts a lot of the time. Perhaps I’m too afraid of how crazy some people may think of me. I’m not the most articulate person in this world, however, I am working on becoming better. I think this project has been helping me develop that. On the other hand, I love being in the shop alone – it’s my space to think and be me.

I’m learning beyond the guitar build. I’m learning about Jonard, I’m learning about myself. Interesting.

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