Everyone starts somewhere and although some guitar-makers seem to give the impression that they started at the top and are there to stay I would guess that most of us have some pieces we are at the least slow to pull out when people ask about how we started out. However, that is part of our journey and who we are. The accompanying phots will show you where I started with all of this. This is the very first instrument I made; a charango built like a guitar. Jonathan Hinves gave me a bit of advice on this and bent the sides on his iron if I remember correctly. 1990.
It was made for a friend and he was happy enough with it so I was encouraged to continue. Next came an acoustic bass for one of the biggest bassists I have ever met (yes taller than me and much heavier). I used a blueprint from GAL for this one and was very glad to have that resource. My uncle Garrett had bought me the subscription to the magazine. I bought the wood from the only maker who was making basses back then: Manuel Fernandez. He worked a lot for the players of the university bands (Tuna) and was often asked to make a bass guitar perhaps modeled on the guitarrón mejicano. In any case I managed to finish it and put a pickup in it and it did the job! I hardly made any money on that after paying for the wood and the pickup but it was very satisfying.
I do a lot of restorations on historic instruments these days and get even more requests to work on important instruments but my first restoration was on a mandolin that had been given to me by a friend in Canada before I came to Spain. I learned a few jigs and reels on it and came to love Bluegrass in part due to my half-assed plucking on it. The last instrument I will show you is a steel-string which I suppose I made due to the influence of my friend Ignacio who was not much into flamenco and even less into classical guitar. He played rockabilly in a band and we sang Carl Perkins and BIlly Bragg songs in my flat so an acoustic was definitely what he was pushing for. By this time I had made 3 or 4 classical guitars and even sold a few albeit for a relatively low price. This guitar sold too, a Swiss guitarrist if I remember correctly and he was quite happy with it. The sound and the build quality was not too bad but I used the classical pattern that I was used to and you can see that was a mistake, especially for a 14-fret neck.