Craftsmanship means many things
For me, craftsmanship means starting at the core or purpose which, for stringed instruments, is obviously making music, i.e., having the ability to express what the musician wants to express. And so, we start with the sound: what is it that we are trying to create? One suspects that every serious instrument-builder is trying to capture and project a sound, a quality of sound, that he or she has a sense of buried somewhere inside. . .And so, building for that elusive sound is where craftsmanship begins. Selecting only prime materials to achieve that goal is paramount. Having a supply of thirty year old Sitka spruce (and some Western Red cedar) for soundboards is a good place to start since almost everyone agrees the soundboard is the soul of any stringed instrument. Materials for all other components (backs and sides, necks, fingerboards, etc.) must also be top quality as we work to construct the best instruments we can.
Another significant aspect of all musical instruments is that of longevity. One can build a guitar which has great "presence" immediately after it is strung but this requires a delicacy that will ensure the instrument will, in all likelihood, not survive. Creating a guitar or mandolin which will not only age gracefully but continue to develop musically over its lifetime is another goal of a craftsman. I am proud that I have guitars that are more than 30 years old and which are far superior than when first strung up.
Attention to the details which "make the music": varying the thickness of the top to give it the best chance to speak clearly, the voicing of the bracing, the accuracy of the fret and bridge placement , shape and thickness of the neck all contribute both to sound production and to extending the life of the guitar. External or appearance details are important visually. The purfling and binding chosen to complement the back and sides, the ornamental details (pearl, abalone inlays, etc.) are all considered in the production of each individually hand-crafted instrument at Whitaker Guitars. After you've inspected some of the instruments pictured on our website, come and see them in process.