I lived in Iowa for about 22 years, spend eight of them playing guitar, but somehow I missed that Iowa is home to Luthier John H. Dick. His shop is in West Branch just outside of Iowa City. He was kind enough to let me drop by while I was in Iowa doing some performances.
John builds double tops, and has for the last ten years. He’s extremely passionate about his work, and builds a helluva guitar. John talks about everything from how he got started building to using his CNC router (the coolest device ever?) and gives us a tour inside of one his double tops. This might actually be the coolest interview I’ve ever published.
- When and how John got into building guitars
- Why he started building double tops
- How his design has evolved over the years
- A look inside a double top
- A look inside a double top (cont.)
- About Nomex
- How John installs the Nomex in a top
- On the Durability of double tops
- Top woods
- On Shellac and pigments
- John discusses his “Double Back” guitars
- John shows off some works in progress
- About John’s CNC router
Trying Some Guitars
No visit to a luthier’s shop would be complete without trying out some guitars! These are very much unscripted, just me giving first impressions and chatting with John about the guitars. The first has a cedar top and Indian rosewood back and sides with a double back. The second is Spruce and Indian rosewood with a solid back.