I can remember as a child the pleasure of my monthly haircut. My mum would drop me off at the hairdresser and go shopping. I would often fall asleep as it was a very relaxing experience. This routine came to an abrupt end in my early twenties when I chose to try out the hair dresser across the road from where I lived.

The haircut was given to me by a person who obviously was suffering from an extreme hangover. This person also must have been a heavy smoker who ate copious quantities of garlic. I do not have big ears but somehow she also managed to poke me in one.  In short I was traumatized and found the whole experience worse than a root canal from a dentist. To add insult to injury I had to pay for this. Looking back it is understandable that I cannot remember if the haircut was any good. . . .

I think it was at a subconscious level I chose never to allow this to happen again. It was either become a Rastafarian or cut my own hair. I chose the latter.

Needless to say my skill level as a hair dresser was initially very poor and because I only did a haircut once every month or two the learning curve was very shallow. It took decades before I could do a good haircut and not leave some hair sticking out at an obtuse angle. One can imagine the irony I felt when bits of hair sticking out becomes fashionable. It’s a bit like synchronicity in reverse.

Regardless I have chosen to continue giving myself tidy haircuts which is a bit like I have chosen to continue making mandolins. These instruments are definitely not fashionable here in Australia. However I will continue making them for as long as I can. Like hairdressing, skills making mandolins has taken a long time to master, and, the music they make leaves me in a state similar to a good haircut.

Mandolin making skills by Richard Morgan

About the Luthiers Journey article series

Richard Morgan is a maker (luthier) from Australia and a member of theMandolinTuner community. From the moment that Richard joined theMandolinTuner we started exchanging e-mails and I was very happy to read about his work, especially as Richard mandolins (and mandolas, mandocellos, etc.) are truly innovative, featuring a unique sound-board design and lots of other innovations as well.

Soon, I start thinking of Richard as a friend of mine and I shared with him my vision of creating a section for luthiers within theMandolinTuner, something I believe would be very interesting for theMandolinTuner community. I am happy to say that Richard liked my idea and what you read now is a series of articles we have planned as the first step towards realizing this vision. I named  this article series “A Luthiers Journey”.

So, enjoy Richard describing his journey as an instrument maker.

– Chris Rizos 

All Luthiers Journey Articles by Richard Morgan

  • Richard Morgan Floating Soundboard

Thank god for luggage handlers

Watching the plane next to ours being loaded It became clear how and why musical instruments often turn up damaged. The acoustic bass guitar which I created in 2009 did not survive the flight [...]

  • Radiant Instrument Necks

Radiant Instrument Necks and Neck Joins

Christos: It's been a while since I published the last post by Richard, so I was very happy to receive this article, which provides insight in the importance of radiant instrument necks for the produced [...]

  • Luthier's Journey #10

Too Much Coffee

If I had to choose listening to an average instrument played by a master or vice versa I would choose the former. Of course a masterful musician may simply choose not to play a [...]

  • Mandolin Making Skills by Richard Morgan

A good haircut

I can remember as a child the pleasure of my monthly haircut. My mum would drop me off at the hairdresser and go shopping. I would often fall asleep as it was a very [...]

Hair Loss

The open C string on a cello would have to be my favorite sound. Its grinding organic growl makes what is left of my hair stand on end. If I were the owner of [...]

  • Old Violin

A Rough Diamond

Anyone who visits my home country, Australia, will be astonished by the huge distances between the towns and cities. Australia does have a relatively low population. For example, the island state where I live [...]

  • Richard Morgan

Synchronicity

Probably the most enjoyable part of my journey as a luthier has been of recent years. It all started with attempts at building timber resonator cones. I was looking for warmer tone. The "National" [...]

  • Mandolins from Richard Morgan

Windy Strings

As a maker I have found discussions with other makers extremely useful. The exchange of ideas, philosophies and techniques is a big part of keeping the learning curve steep. Also feedback from players is [...]

Spruce

In team sports like soccer there are individuals who "make" the play and others who "read" the play. A good balance of each is needed. In my opinion the same sort of balance is [...]

  • Richard Morgan Mandola honey

Pure Honey

This is second article of the Luthiers Journey series, titled Pure Honey. In this article, Richard Morgan begins with the hazards and suggested basic precautions in the art of  luthiery, and then describes with a [...]

  • Richard Morgan mandola copy

The Patient Dies

Richard Morgan is a maker (luthier) from Australia and a member of theMandolinTuner community. From the moment that Richard joined theMandolinTuner we started exchanging e-mails and I was very happy to read about his [...]

Richard Morgan

My name is Richard and I am an Australian designer and maker of mandolins. I live with my partner in a small coastal town in Tasmania and work at home. The mandolin family of instruments produce beautiful [...]

Instruments by Richard Morgan

Instruments by Richard Morgan are featured at www.extraordinaryinstruments.com

Mandolinist Christos Rizos Extraordinary Instruments