The beautiful people of the Choir of St. Daniel Comboni Catholic Church in Taifa Accra, Ghana sent me this photograph along with a heartwarming letter of gratitude after Theresa Badu delivered a guitar I gave them in appreciation for the wonderful care she gave to my mother-in-law. With the entire choir gathered around the phone they called to say "thank you". They also sent a shirt and dress made of the same joyful Ghanaian fabric.
My wife and I are extremely honored and proud to receive such a meaningful gift and are happy to express our love, respect, and appreciation to Theresa Badu, Mr.Effah Augustine Ofosu (choir president), Mr. Deku Kofi Donne (choir secretary), and all the members of the Choir of St.Daniel Comboni Catholic Church.
Here is a letter from Scott Ainslie, http://CattailMusic.com as he embarks on the journey of building an acoustic guitar under the tutelage of our mutual friend and brother Michael Millard of Froggy Bottom Guitars. Included is an audio clip
of Scott on his Gibson L50 brilliantly playing “When I See An Elephant Fly” from his album “The Last Shot Got Him”.
You, your spirit and work are entirely in evidence as I enter a little deeper into the mysteries of this particular brotherhood. I am often moved to tears by what to others may seem to be small, familiar things. But it’s not the things but the generous hearts that bend the universe toward grace and I see them all around me in a few select beings. You are one.
And, I promised you a line about the Gibson repair:
I took a very well-played 1934 Gibson L-50 with a big round sound hole to Harry. The edges of the rosewood fingerboard were entirely worn down, frets shot, and the neck had long ago pitched forward enough to deform the arched top. We puzzled over it together and I left with a fairly clear notion of what was to be done and the likely outcome. But then, Harry got into the guitar neck and by a stroke of genius and open-minded experience, he did a little more to solve a problem…
To the extent that I think of guitars and gender they have always seemed feminine to me. Immediately upon getting the guitar back, and now 8 months later, it's clear to me that I essentially gave Harry an 82 year old emphysemic grandmother and he gave me back a 40 year old jogger with nice legs.
This guitar is ready to run the marathon. I expect it to be playing well into its next 80 years, thanks entirely to the skill, generosity and experience of Harry Becker. I am grateful. My audiences are grateful.
Much love always, s
This is marvelous !! You've done such a great job and I am indeed very grateful for the skillful workmanship you put into repairing my precious Gurian. The neck is magnificent. I cannot see any signs of the initial damage of the soundboard. I am so happy that you accepted to take care of my instrument. You surely are a very gifted man.
There was nobody and no place else to accomplish this superior work than you.I would also like you to know that I am fully aware that your fees are well under what's practice in the U.S. Please let me thank you again for taking in my battered instrument and make it whole again. I had a lot of pleasure looking at those pictures and watch the Gurian come back to life again, more beautiful than ever before and with your improvements also a better instrument.
The concert was great. I mean, people were happy, and this is the most rewarding part. The Martin D-16 could not stand up against the Gurian and spent the evening waiting to get a chance in case.
My regards also to William Cumpiano, without whom all this would never have taken place. My first phone call to the workshop was with him. His positive response and warmth and acceptance were such a relief. With all due respects,you both nurture the spirit of art and true companionship. All the best and stay well, Rolf Hug, Switzerland.
thank you so much for all you did for me yesterday. The Velasquez is miraculous! You have contrived a profound improvement where I didn't conceive there was a possibility! (crowning and polishing the saddle)...just goes to show me what I know! anyway, THANK You !!! -Mark
After inserting a strip of carbon fiber in the neck shaft of a Velasquez that was suffering a bowed neck I received another rewarding letter from Mark :
HARRY! - It's magnificent! You pulled off perfectly what in hindsight seems extremely tricky and perilous an undertaking. I like the new frets too. Your choice of manner for stiffening the board is perfect because it strengthens the neck exactly along the center (as a proper neck would already be) and at the same time lets the neck vibrate more freely along the sides, also like a proper neck. Intonation is too, and this makes the guitar sound literally like an orchestra. The harmonics and harmonic integrity are flawless (which isn't possible!), but still, they are.
THANKS again!!!!!!! -your the man.
You were right, this is like a rediscovery. My musical batteries are recharged. I was up playing last night until my fingers hurt. You are a magician, an alchemist and my hat is off to you. I sent an email to Rick Turner and I’ll keep you informed about his response.
Click her to see details on guitar repairs page
Jim Matus has produced hundreds of recordings in his production facilities in New York, Hartford,CT and Hadley,MA. His experimentations with Middle Eastern fusion band Mawwal have won him critical praise internationally.
Thanks again for the attention to detail, fine, and craftsmanship that you put into dad's guitar - it really looks great. I just talked to him and he has played it on and off all afternoon!
Mike (Michael Zachio for Dominic)
A wonderful 1947 Martin D28 that received a neck reset and new bridge. The guitar was still under warranty, purchased by the owner more than 60 years ago