Towards the end of April, I was getting tired of the persistent cold in the NorthEast, looking for a reason to go South (like the birds), visit a friend, play some golf and meet with Bob Desmond at his home and workshop. He’s been to my home 3 times, never me to his, so boom, here’s my chance.
Turns out to be a wonderful thing to have some limited freedom to travel, and re-connect with great people. I spent a Tuesday morning with him, then a Thursday morning having a great breakfast, then back to his workshop. I spent over 4 -5 hours with him, re-discovering what an amazing luthier he truly is and how he has been underrated for a long time. His time with various luthiers including Manuel Velazquez go unnoticed and unrecognized. What is recognized is how amazing his guitars are within the traditional techniques of modern lutieria. They are mindful of the greatest guitars from the likes of Bouchet – Friederich and Hauser and of course the great Manuel. What is most incredible, is that in spite of the shoddy treatment received by the family, he has nothing but extraordinary things to say about the son and the father, and how grateful he is for the time spent and the knowledge learned. He has an archive of information on Manuel V. that would and could fill an hour or two long documentary, including photographs and video.
People don’t get it. Bob is so very kind, and very appreciative of the finer, more important issues, while not being even remotely petty. He is so knowledgeable, so skilled, it belies his own quiet demeanor. Much respect, Bob, much respect.
Among other things unknown, Bob spent the time building a railroad in his backyard. Really very cool, especially for the nerd in me, much like Sheldon Cooper, who’d have flipped his own ornery lid to see such a thing snaking around the gardens and the pool, with bridges, connections, lights and sound effects. Hysterical and very cool.
Back to guitars, Bob showed me 4 guitars he’s building, each a homage to the great Hauser II – Bouchet – and Friederich and then of course his very own build. You’ll see the photo below with Bob standing in front of them.
He then allowed me to inspect and play 2 very special guitars that he owns. Historically significant, I’m not going into more detail than that as I don’t have Bob’s permission to do so. Very cool however. Most definitely, very cool. One photo below, you can guess the guitar from the headstock.
I then got the chance to play 4 guitars of Bob’s that he spent a very difficult 3 years minimum building (time issues for various personal reasons) that came out magnificently, including a Steinway Guitar, built from the soundboard of an old Steinway piano, and then among other standouts, the Pearl Beauty II which is simply superb! Photos below
Photos in the gallery section of the site (haphazardly thrown in below), it was just a very good time for me and most informative. It bears repeating…much respect, Bob. Rich