In the fall of 2011 I was at a friend’s house for a visit, and was shown a guitar that the daughter had not played in a while. To be blunt, it was no wonder that she found it difficult to play; the strings were so high off the fretboard that they wobbled from side to side when pressed onto a fret !

And although the guitar itself might have sounded good at one time, the strings were probably the originals, and had absolutely no life left in them.

The guitar needed some TLC.

I also figured that a little bit of inlay would go a long way to making it “special” and as such a bit more inviting to the player. So, I took the guitar home with the intention of putting on some new strings and improving the touch a bit, and hopefully inlaying some items that would make the guitar special to the daughter.

First things first – the touch was improved by lowering the saddle over which the strings are stretched, so that the strings are situated closer to the bridge.

The neck’s truss rod was also tweaked a bit to avoid string buzzing.

Adjustor location

The next step was to come up with a theme that the daughter would like – something that would invoke some good memories. Her father came up with the idea of using some images from her time spent as a summer student in the Fort Henry Guards. Fort Henry is open to the public to tour, and is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

He sent me a photo of a sweatshirt that had the Fort Henry Guards emblem on it. We also got some pictures of the special hats they wear, and the Armstrong cannon that she fired to mark noon hour. For good measure I also added some Maple Leaves to mark some of the frets.

The FHG emblem was the hardest to cut because it involved several closely spaced parallel cuts that just invite the pearl to break where it joins the main body of the emblem.

Sweatshirt image

Emblem cut from pearl

Here are some of the other pieces that were cut:

Below is a slide show of the finished guitar – just click on any of the thumbnails, and then scroll through the pictures by clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the pictures. Stop the slideshow by clicking on any of the images.

My hope is that by having a guitar that’s easy to play (i.e. absence of bleeding fingertips) and special to the player, the daughter will be inspired to take up music again and learn the joys that music can bring to the individual. It’s a very nice feeling to be able to share a love of music.