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Monthly Update 
August 2008
In This Issue
Product Highlights
Luthier's Tip
Quick Links
More About Us
Dear Luthiers,
Thanks for your comments!
We announced last month that our new web site is "up and running" and that it now features on-line ordering. We've received many compliments on the site, and while I responded to everyone who emailed me with comments, I wanted to make a public "thank you" to everyone who has visited our site.

We've worked hard to make sure that everything in the site is working as it should and that you don't have trouble finding what you are looking for. The moment we find a "bug," we fix it. But, we're much too close to the content to be good testers and there's a good chance that you may encounter a problem, missing information, or a bad link.

So, I'd like to enlist your aid and ask that you do not hesitate to let us know if you find something that doesn't work. We'll do out best to fix it as quickly as possible. Our web site is there for you to interface with us, and we want to make sure that it does it perfectly.

Thanks for building with us...
Roger Siminoff
Update on Tap Tuning
It's been exciting to watch the continued developments in tap tuning. Dialogues with builders around the world continue to grow as does the interest in my latest book, The Art of Tap Tuning. Of special note is that there is a lot of interest from builders of classical and flamenco guitars (whose fan bracing lends itself especially well to tap tuning). We've had a lot of mandolin builders communicate with us on their progress, and most are latching on to the technique quickly. Reports are coming in that these instruments sound very good.

Back in December, I announced that Peterson Electro-Musical was about to release an updated version of StroboSoft®, a software application that runs on a PC or a Mac. StroboSoft version 2 has a new built-in tap-tuning function that promises to be very helpful. The new function allows the user to set the number of sample taps that he or she wants to make, and the system then averages the responses of the taps and locks that note on the screen. The note stays there until the next series of taps are made. This is a very powerful tool and one that does not need a compressor to hold the note. Peterson announced the application at the January NAMM show (Anaheim, CA) and had it running in their booth, but for several reasons (not related to the tap-tuning function) they have had to delay the release. I was hoping to announce in this communication that v2 was available but, unfortunately, it will be a few more weeks. Hopefully, in next month's communication, I'll have good news. (If you purchased the StroboSoft Suite [packaged version] from us, the upgrade to v2 will be free.)

The Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) had their bi-annual convention in Tacoma Washington on June 12-14, and I was invited to deliver a presentation on Understanding Tap Tuning. The audience was full of builders who were quite engaged with the process, and in addition to my presentation, Peterson allowed me to demonstrate the new features of StroboSoft v2. It was a great session, and clearly this audience expressed interest in the virtues of tap tuning.

I hope you'll find the time to update me on your tap tuning progress. And, if you have any questions on tap tuning, please don't hesitate to call or write.

Product Highlights
· Fretboard Cauls - Gluing on fretboards is greatly simplified with the use of ourFretboard Caul mandolin fretboard cauls. These cauls are made from ¾" red oak and are profiled to the shape of the fretboard. Using one of these cauls on top of your fretboard will keep the fretboard square and also keep the frets from getting damaged as you tighten the clamps. And, because the caul is the identical shape as the fretboard, it is easy to get up close and wipe away excess glue that squeezes out. The F5/A5 caul is part #840 ($9.95 plus P&H) and the F4 caul is part #841 ($9.95 plus P&H).
· Tap Tune Hammer - Successful tap tuning comes from getting the right toneTap Tune Hammer from the part you are tuning. Our tap tune hammers are made from oak, have a padded face covered with two layers of felt of different hardness that are attached to an air-cushioned head. The ball-shaped handle enables the head to rotate in the hand to make sure every tap is delivered with similar energy. Our Tap Tune Hammer is part #820 ($14.95 plus P&H).

· Body Assembly Fixture - Our mandolin and mandola body assembly fixtures areBody Assembly Fixture made of red oak and are precision profiled to ensure that you build the right shape into your instrument. The fixture is made in two halves that are locked together with 3/8" steel rods and secured by hand-knobs (so you can split the frame open to remove the body after you attach the soundboard). The expandable center section features two adjustable spreaders to tighten the rib in place. The F5/F4 mandolin fixture is part #350 ($129.00 plus P&H), the A5/A1 mandolin fixture is part #351 ($125.00 plus P&H), and the H5 mandola fixture is part #352 ($143.50 plus P&H).
NOTE: Please consult the Shipping & Returns page on our website for a P&H table.
Luthier's Tip: Tone Bar Clamps 
I like attaching the tone bars after the soundboard is attached to the rib. By doing this, the tone bars don't get in the way of the body assembly fixture and, more importantly, the tone bars are attached after the soundboard has been squarely seated on the rim - not before.
However, once the rib is attached to the soundboard, getting regular clamps to reach around the rib and clamp deep into the soundboard presents a bit of a problem. So, I made some very simple clamps that do the job perfectly.

I cut a dozen "C" shapes from some pattern (7-ply) plywood. The "C"s have a mouth that is 1-3/4" wide, and I made some with a 3-1/2" reach and some with a 4-1/2" reach. I used 3" long 10/24 flat-head screws - using the flat head end as one face of the clamp. I recessed some 10/24 T-nuts into the upper part of the "C", threaded in the 3" screw, and then glued a small lip on the bottom "C" (the bottom leg of the "C" was cut short to allow entry of the screw into the T-nut). I added some small rubber pads to the bottom lip, and thread-on knobs to the exposed ends of the screws, and I was ready to roll.

The clamps are easy to make, inexpensive, and designed to do the task perfectly.

Product of the Month: The Art of Tap Tuning

The Art of Tap TuningThe Art of Tap Tuning was published in 2006 and explains the process of tap tuning in depth. The book includes information on why to tap tune, what happens to various parts when you make changes, and how to go about the process. Accompanying the 48-page book is a 50-minute DVD with numerous demonstrations and tests, explanations of the tap tuning tools, and a step-by-step section on tuning the tone bars of an F5 mandolin using a strobe tuner. For the month of August only, you can take advantage of a special $5.00 discount and get closer to tap tuning. With this special, part #507 is $29.95 plus P&H. Limit one per customer. See below for online coupon code.

Save $5.00
The Art of Tap Tuning Special
August's Product of the Month: Save $5.00 on your purchase of The Art of Tap Tuning. This discount may not be used with any other offers or discounts. Limit one (1) per customer. Enter augusttap when prompted during online check out.
Offer Valid: July 25, 2008 through August 31, 2008