A guitar craftsman in the making

Guitar Maker Isaac Waterhouse in his workshop with a Guitar he made. 195481_07

By Derek Schlennstedt

Tecoma resident Isaac Waterhouse is hoping his first custom-designed guitar will help launch a career in the specialised world of guitar luthiers.

The former Beaconhills College student has just finished crafting his first ‘through neck’ electric guitar, representing hours of work over the past year.

Since its completion the guitarist has taken his guitar, made from American maple and blackwood, to music teachers at both Beaconhills and Box Hill Institute and had glowing reviews on its performance.

“It has been very positive,” he said.

“Because the rock maple is so dense and heavy, the sustain – the endurance of the string’s vibration – is incredibly good.”

“It’s a very gratifying to hear a professional speak highly of your work and having someone who is a professional playing it and enjoying the experience is quite humbling.”

Mr Waterhouse credited Beaconhills College for inspiring his interest in guitar design.

At school he undertook woodwork, music and systems engineering electives and even built an effects pedal as one of his projects.

He said systems engineering encouraged him to investigate how things worked by breaking them down into their various components.

With a bachelor degree in musical performance and having played guitar for 18 years Mr Waterhouse said it was a slow progression to building guitars.

“I’d been fiddling for about three years and then I was given an old guitar from someone and I ripped it apart, and saw how it worked.”

In total the project took ten months to complete, though Mr Waterhouse said that the entire guitar was built from scratch.

“The hardest part was just deciding what to do, what timber to choose, what design, what fret radius what strings … there are so many options so it really hard to choose one.”

“You’re nervous every step of the way, because when you’re choosing a timber whatever you choose you’re going to have to work with for the next two months.”

He is now working on a second guitar, incorporating some new design modifications.