Monday, September 15, 2008

Hand Made, Hand Played

The arrival of the UPS driver is not an unpleasant thing, it's just a routine thing. And while it interrupts the task flow of a one-person day, it often produces some latent peace because now you have the 500k pots, or the peculiar fasteners, or some expected shipment of something important.

Often those boxes come from AllParts, a Texas business which furnishes many of the small hardware parts on Barker Basses. Their warehouse is Houston, so my mind of late has been focused on my favorite rep there, Sean, and how he and his colleagues are faring through the aftermath of Ike. I will report when I hear from them.

Today's visit by the driver was completely unexpected--a small box, book shaped. Just a catalog, I thought, but I didn't recognize the return address: Sterling Publishing.

You may know that marque better as Lark Books. Inside was the latest, Hand Made, Hand Played: The Art and Craft of Contemporary Guitars by Robert Shaw.

Mr. Shaw had contacted me over two years ago and I had furnished him some stuff--image files the size of the Grand Tetons, and text to go with--and had heard nothing else. I checked a couple times and emails got returned, so I presumed the project had been shelved.

But no!

There's a Barker Bass, page 375. The first bass entries are Fender, two pages, followed by Barker and some Bs but then the alphabetization theory falls apart.

I have had the honor of meeting some of the folks behind some of these best o' breed beauties--like David Minnieweather of Portland, Oregon and Skip Fantry of Knuckle Guitar Works in Seattle.

When you compare the number of basses in the book to the guitars, it ups the honor of being included. I am humbled.

The book would be a delight for anyone interested in instruments, pushing the limits of craftsmanship, or just beauty in form, wood and texture. And then there's art.

In the latter category, just in the bass section, my vote goes to the Goldbass by Claudio Pagelli of Scharans, Switzerland. In miniature, it would make a stunning pendant worn by that woman in the little black dress.

I could find no mention of this fresh-off-the-press book on the Lark website, so perhaps this is pre-publication. But it's not too early to be thinking about seasonal gifts, and asking after it at Barnes and Noble or your local independent bookseller.

And keep an eye out for the UPS driver. You never know...

1 comment:

Thomas Cray said...

I saw the book firsthand yesterday and quickly ordered a copy. Wow! Gorgeous photos! I wanted to put my hands on every instrument featured!