2014 GAL Convention – Looking Back
This year was our first time to attend a GAL (Guild of American Luthiers) convent ion and what an amazing experience! Hundreds of luthiers from the states and abroad gathered in Tacoma, Washington from July 22nd-27th to attend this event that happens just once every two years. Incredibly the very first gathering was in 1975 and thanks to the dedication of the GAL staff and lots of volunteers they have been happening ever since.
We were there to teach and to learn which really epitomizes the spirit of the conference. It is one big exchange of ideas, tips and inspiration. Jay presented at two workshop sessions that focused on the craft of ukulele building. The first session involved hands on demonstrations from some of the best of the best when it comes to handcrafted ukuleles – Woodley White, Bob Gleason, Michael DaSilva and Jay Lichty. Given a side soundport has become a standard part of most every uke Jay builds, during his part of the workshop he demonstrated his technique for this design feature.
The following day this same line-up of luthiers participated in a panel discussion covering everything from “What is a ukulele?” (It was a lively exchange given there were traditional and non-traditional builders in the mix) to finishes and neck designs.
In addition to Jay teaching, we had tons of opportunities to learn. Over the course of five days we attended concerts, participated in daily exhibits, listened to lectures and talked shop from sun up to sun down and beyond.
A highlight was a beautiful concert on ukulele given by Kimo Hussey. The crowd went wild and many learned for the first time just how moving ukulele music can be. The instrument that graced the stage with Kimo was his custom Lichty ukulele, a Brazilian Rosewood long neck low G tenor.
We both came away incredibly inspired from our time at the GAL Conference.
We take our hats off to the crew of the Guild of American Luthiers for a stellar job of organizing such a successful conference!
Photo Gallery: Guild of American Luthiers 2014 Convention Highlights