Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I had intended to do this everyday but to be honest I have been too busy.
The day before I left was crazy. I had a problem with the new bass for Jingles and ended up having to rewire it. It was only completed 1 hour before I left.
My dad picked me up at 3:30 PM. Now the PM part is important as my dad was knocking on my door at 3:30 AM. I chased him and went back to bed but the night was ruined.
We had a good trip across flying from Dublin to Abu Dhabi thern on to Bangkok where we were met of the flight and escorted to a waiting Limo.
I have to say this beats the usual commotion and confusion that surrounds me when I travel.
We arrived at the hotel and checked in where my very gracious host Mr Ekkasit had arranged a beautiful suite for me. After a quick shower to wash away the sweat and a quick brush of the teeth to remove the fur that had built up during the flight we went to meet Mr Ekkasit in the presidential suite to present him with his new guitar.
When we met I think we were both as nervous. I was nervous that after 3 months work and 9 months in planning the guitar would not be what he wanted and he was nervous that after 9 months this might not be what he hoped and in fact he later told me that he didn’t really like the designs from the picture.
He opened the case and to see the look on his face was worth travelling half way round the world to see.
He loved the guitar in every way and when he plugged it in it sounded awesome as I knew it would. The double EMG humbuckers really give this guitar a big voice. And the carbon makes it sustain for ever.
It was a great first day and we topped it off with a beautiful Thai meal.
That night I slept like a log and then Tuesday was just spent relaxing and csatching up on a few emails before going for a traditional Thai massage and no it wasn’t what you are thinking. It was the best way to get rid of the tension that had built up over the previous months and indeed year. I lay there looking down at the flowers floating in the bowl below me and it was as if this was the reward for everything that hsas gone on. I very rarely look back but this past couple of days have allowed me to look back and realise that it was the difficulties I have encountered over the last few years that have led to the opportunities that now lie before me.
Yesterday we went to the grand Palace in Bangkok, what a beautiful place. Its quite inspiring to see the detail and skill that went into creating it. We wandered around in the melting heat taking the sights and sounds of this beautiful place in and everywhere I went there was Melvin with the camera. Oh yes I forgot to mention I have this crazy little Leprechaun following me around filming my every move for a documentary. I don’t think I will get used to that but at least you will all get a chance to see what I have been up to.
Now brings me to today!!!!!! Where to strart ? Well it was an ordinary day, breakfast by the pool followed by a trip round Bangkok’s art galleries to get a feel for the local scene and to stimulate my imagination. When I came back I met with Mr Ekkasit where he requested that I move the strap button to help how the guitar balanced on a strap. I borrowed a screwdriver, drill and some drill bits and set about what should have been a 2 minute job but while under the firm supervision of Mr Ekkasit and his butler disaster struck. On the last turn of the screwdriver the head just came off the screw. I froze there for what seemed like a few minutes and then looked at them. I didn’t know what to do as the sweat started to build on my brow.
Within a couple of minutes we were in a Limo with Draco reclining in the luxury seats and off we went across the city to the emergency room. A few minutes later we arrived at an exclusive jewellery store where the owner met us at the door and quickly ushered us up stairs. It was like we had just turned up at the ER with a gunshot victim .
It turned out this place was also a major jewellery manufacturer and they took us into a room where about 40 people were working on some highly exclusive jewellery. Everyone stopped to look at this pale faced Irish guy holding a dragon by the neck.
They sat me at a bench and brought me tools and with the Butler by my side and 8 assistants we performed the felicate operation to remove the screw. I think I would have been less nervous removing a bullet from someones chest. The operation actually went pretty straight forward once I had the correct tools but it was certainly a dramatic and surreal experience. We got a new screw and this time it went in without a hitch. Job Done.
There was still the issue of what to do with the hole that remained so we went into another room and chose a nice 4mm ruby which we are going to set imn a white gold bezel and then we will come back on Tuesday to have it inserted. That should be a less dramatic procedure.
As I write I am in Bangkok airport waiting for our flight to Beijing. I am really excited about this trip. It was amazing being in Malaysia for a Lee Hom show but to be in Beijing will really be special. Special because it’s the capital city but also because I get to meet everyone who became friends at the Malaysia show. There are a great bunch of people there and they really make me feel welcome. I also have a lot to do to move the exhibition idea forward so a lot hangs on the next few days. Lets hope it all goes to plan.
Friday, August 7, 2009
For far too long I have been tucked away in my factory working on new stuff and now it is time to share it with the world. I intend to keep regular updates here in the coming days and weeks so keep checking and feel free to bug me if I am not keeping up with the posts.
Those of you who get the Emerald news letter will remember the sad news in the last one 18 months ago that declared the end of Emerald Guitars. At that time I suffered difficulties that were all beyond my control and basically the un cooperation of a third party put the lights out over night but they never really went out for very long.
It was a difficult time but I guess looking back it may well have set a new course that is way more positive. At the time I stopped We were flowing well producing good numbers of guitars but the reality was I wasnt enjoying it. I started building guitars because I loved to build guitars but the irony was that the bigger the company became the more I was removed from building guitars and for nearly three years I hadnt built a guitar from start to finish. My day was consumed with office work, marketing, purchasing and sorting out other peoples mess and any one who knows me knows that what I love mess is being at my bench being creative. It had to change!
For the past year I have been working on new ideas and doing some amazing custom builds and I love it. The past 18 months havent been a breeze because alot had to be resolved but being back building guitars from the start through to playing there first note has been amazing.
I guess I should walk you through some of the highlights.
It all kicked off last year when I got a call out of the Blue from a gentle man looking for a rather unusual guitar. It turned out this guy was the assistant to Leehom Wang, one of Asia's biggest stars. He had seen some of my previous work and was looking for something special for an upcoming concert. What that something special turned out to be was a guitar (which is now called Bahamut) shaped like a dragon spiraled into a treble cleff.
it was an exotic design but the kind of thing I love so within days construction started and I had a 6 week window to build the most incredible guitar of my life.
It was early morning and late nights but it was worth it. It turned out amazing and when Leehom Unveiled it to the world it became an instant success. You might not speak Mandarin but you will get the jist of the impact it had.
The Guitar was unveiled in September and has been touring Asia since making quite a name for itself. Check out some concert footage here.
Since all this it has led to some amazing opportunities and I had the privelage of being a guest at Leehom's concert in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in May. What an experience to see your work being played in front of 25,000 people, this is what I started building guitars for.
The last 3 months have been spent building another Dragon for a customer in Bangkok and currently I am just putting the final touches to it before I fly out to deliver it next week. Soo many doors have been opening in the last year that the difficultes of the past have melted away. I have 2 weeks in Bangkok where I will be working on more designs for this new customer and then we are flying on to Beijing to see Leehom perform in front of 50,000 people. Thats going to be an amazing trip and I hope to do regular posts here during the trip. So what of acoustic guitars? after all that is what my true purpose is on this planet. Well over the last 18 months I have built some real beauties and have been doing alot of development. The big new development has been the wood veneer guitars. I have finally perfected the art o fusing the most exotic veneers to the carbon body to give a guitar with all the structural and tonal benefits of carbon with the beauty of exoic woods and the best part is that I can use just about any type of wood as its not structural or tonal so you will see things you have never seen before on an acoustic guitar.
I am just completing a new website and the new series will be available there very soon.
As well as the new finish options I have been tweaking the structure a little to give the guitars a bit more projection and enhance the tone somewhat. I am always tweaking the guitars and I always try to make my next guitar my best guitar. Its been great being back building right the way through as I have picked a number of areas for improvement and now there is noone to blame but myself.
For the past 18 months it has just been me building and thats been great but a valued friend is going to be joining me very soon to keep me from talking to myself. I intend to keep things small for the forseen future and I am definitely sticking with the direct sale policy as I love being able to get to know my customers and build a guitar that will bring out the best in their playing and inspire new music. I learn so much more about my guitars by having this direct connection ad I hope in turn you get a better guitar. I know its not for everyone to buy a guitar they havent played before from half the way around the world but for those who do you are sure to get the personal experience whether its a €595 X5 or a €20,000 Dragon and in the unlikely event that you discover that you dont like the guitar I am happy to take it back.
Thank you to everyone who sent me all the kind emails of support over the last 18 months. You are the guys who inspired me to overcome the substantial hurdles.
Its a new Dawn with an exciting future, I hope you will follow that future through these posts and please give me your feedback.