HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Danny Davis says he got his start making guitars as a hobby. ""Great stress relief from the office. And you know it's been about 20 years working as a hobby."
A hobby he says turned into a retirement strategy. He's a retired structural analysis engineer who worked at NASA . And now uses those talents to build guitars. He shows us how it's done. "So I just cut out the sound board for a new guitar. This will be the top part of the guitar", adds Davis.
He says wood choice is important. "This is a citcus spruce. It' really common for instrument tops. It's known as a tone wood for it's great tone and resonance", says Davis.
He says the sound varies with different wood. "The more dense, thick and heavy woods have a little bit brighter sound kind of respond to higher frequencies than the lower, softer woods...like a mahogany for instance would be a softer, kind of more broad sound ."
He says rose wood would be a higher, brighter sound. He uses the same wood for the bracing...again the sound from the wood is what's important. And while Stradivarius makers can hear the difference in the wood...
"Now i cheat", admits Davis. "I'll go to a computer and what I'll do is I'll tap the guitar...the microphone picks it up and the computer does a spectral analysis on it so that I'll see how the guitar is responding."
He works carefully on the back of the guitar making width of the wood a priority, before moving to the next stage. He also shows us how to make the neck of the guitar.
"That block of wood becomes a neck. We start with a block of mahogany in a pretty rough shape. We'll take a piece of ebony an glue to the mahogany and put some frets in it and some bindings and things like that", adds Davis.
Once the parts are put together they sand it down and put several layers of lacquer. Davis takes his time moving the process along.
Tangled Strings at Lowe Mill is home to production, recording, performance using many instruments made here.