For the last decade, luthier David Murray helmed an audacious project: Teaching the craft of guitarmaking to young Tibetan refugees in foothills of the Himalayas. It was one of the least hospitable places imaginable for a woodworking business (from both a climate and political perspective), but somehow the Dehradun Guitar Company steadily produced about one custom acoustic guitar a week. As David says goodbye to this chapter of his life – which we originally profiled in the Fretboard Journal #38 – we wanted to bring him on the podcast to hear what transpired. From Thailand, where his family currently resides, we talk about the challenges he experienced setting up Dehradun: the climate, CITES regulations, prohibitive shipping costs, an Indian government that threw his family out of the country and more. Despite all the above, Murray and his team were able to create around 200 amazing instruments and, he admits, “it was a dream come true.” We also talk a bit about the Fretboard Journal today, the influence Bob Taylor had on him as a builder and business owner, and what's next for the Murrays.
Twenty years ago, former president Jimmy Carter planted a grove of Paulownia trees on his Georgia property. Wood from those trees was recently harvested and, thanks to World Tree and FJ contributor/luthier Todd Lunneborg, some of that wood harvest is currently being turned into some rather special guitars.
On this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Lunneborg and acclaimed acoustic guitarmaker Jason Kostal about the project. Kostal recently completed his guitar featuring the Paulownia from Carter's grove and, thanks to a bit of a luck and some social distancing, he was able to show the former president his finished instrument. It's an unforgettable moment and a great story that we think you'll love.
See pics of the finished guitar and of Carter with it here.
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This week's podcast is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Mono Cases.