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Musicians finish building guitars

Voth’s guitar earns 1st place at industrial arts show

Staff writer

After about a semester of sawdust, two Marion High School students have finished creating their own guitars.

Senior Bret Voth constructed an acoustic guitar that won first place at Heart of America League Industrial Arts Show, and freshman Corbin Wheeler made a unique three-string cigar box guitar.

Voth was sitting at a worktable in the woodshop when he strummed the first chords of “Dust in the Wind” on his guitar.

Peers were watching, but all he heard was the music coming from his guitar.

“It sounded good, I was tuned in,” Voth said. “I felt pretty accomplished to play something I made with my hands.”

Voth was too excited to play his instrument before he put the finishing touches on it.

However, after he did, the guitar’s tone was more pleasing to him.

“It was a lot brighter after I put oil on it,” Voth said. “The oil fills up the pores in the wood.”

On May 6 at the HOA League Industrial Arts Show, Voth was one of five Marion students who entered a project in the competition, but he was the only one who created a guitar.

Marion brought home three second places and two first places, one of which was for Voth’s guitar.

Judges evaluated student projects in four areas. Each area was worth 25 points. Scoring a 25 in project difficulty, 24 in design, 24 in finish, and 24 in construction, Voth earned a 97 on a 100-point scale.

In the future, he plans to keep up guitar making as a hobby.

“It was a very rewarding process,” Voth said. “I want to make more guitars, but first I have to adjust my guitar a bit more though.”

He said the guitar strings were too high over the tenth fret, making it harder to play at that spot on its neck. He plans to adjust the tension on his guitar by cutting the neck and bending it down to lower the strings.

Voth didn’t name his guitar after five months on the project, but it does bear his mark.

“I woodburned my name on it,” he said. “It’s in printed letters on the headstock.”

As to Wheeler and his cigar box guitar, he finished it about a month ago.

“I was actually really happy with how it turned out,” Wheeler said. “It looks nice, but I might put some oil on it.”

If he builds another, he said he would move the sound hole underneath the strings so that the instrument’s sound projects at a greater volume when played acoustically.

With only three strings, he said he can’t play full chords, but he can still play some songs by utilizing “power chords,” which are commonly used chords that only require two or three strings to play.

Wheeler said his cigar box guitar sounded just a bit different from how he imagined it would.

“It’s got a rough country sound, but it ended up being a little quieter than I wanted it to be. So I might try to amplify it.”

Last modified May 14, 2015

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