When We Cross The Line In Responding To Questions.....

My friends:  For some time now I have been increasingly aware that how I perceive... the responses that I receive from others when posting in threads has been trending negative in my humble opinion.  I might reply in a thread and these days it seems that I am increasingly succeeding, although this was never the goal for me, in offending others.

With this said the very first thing that I want to do is apologize to anyone and everyone who may have been offended by anything that I have posted.  My intent is and was to help all that I can but it seems that these days it may be me who is overstepping and not being as considerate of others as I would wish to be.

Funny thing about this is that of all people I should know better.  Early on I was on the other end of this when veteran pros would attempt to assist me on forums at times I took it personally and instead of focusing on the message, well intended as it may have been, I focused on the delivery....  As time passed my skin thickened up and I actually made it a point of personal growth to attempt to no longer take things so very personally.  Seems as if I may have gone too far to the other side and now may not be recognizing that I am just not the guy that I hope to be when I grow up..... 

I'm aware that I have no control over how my posts or assistance is perceived by others.  I'm also aware that folks at times will take things personally that were never intended this way, I know because I am very guilty of this myself....

But now I am believing that my own approach to others has been less than appropriate and as such I want to remedy this if at all possible.

Maybe too I am just getting old and grouchy not that the two have to go together.

Anyway I did always try to be helpful of others, rarely asked for anything for myself, and very much enjoyed and enjoy many of you.  I also have some real friends here who I would love to hang out with in person and talk shop.

So I am going to take a break for a while from posting.  Seems that I may be doing more harm than good and this was never my intention.  I love Lutherie and have spent nearly every waking hour for over a decade now studying different aspects of our trade.  As such it becomes difficult to not wish to discuss this stuff.

On the other hand the Hesh that I want to be when I grow up some day is a guy who has the ability to assist others, does so frequently, asks for nothing for myself, and most of all never offends anyone in the process.  Seems that I still have some work to do to meet my own criteria.

So my friends I'm still here just not going to post much if at all for a while.  I seem to have placed Lutherie before people, not good..... and I need to fix this or keep to myself.

Please keep on keeping on my friends you do a wonderful job of assisting others and remain the model in my view for how to pull this off in an non-offensive manner.

And again to some of the newer folks who have a hankering to enjoy the pursuit of Lutherie if I have offended you in any way please accept my sincere apology.  Please also know that I am very much an odd duck so-to-speak and as such the recognition, self recognition that I may have and or be the problem seems like some progress although perhaps a little late.

Take care

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I always enjoy your contributions, Hesh, and you've been generous with me. I hope you'll keep on keeping on.

I was very thin-skinned when young and it made life painful and anxious. I was very defensive. Somehow I developed a thick hide and it's made all the difference.  Because I'm "tough" I tend to speak frankly and assume people can take it. I certainly don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings but it happens.

I certainly notice the tone-of-voice of comments and replies, but it is very difficult to correctly identify tone in the written word. Irony, for example, is often taken literally. Straight talk can be taken as angry words. Hence, emoticons or emoji.  I find them wimpy myself but I use them to be heard correctly.

I've occasionally received replies and comments that have been less than friendly but never abusive. Such comments make me review my methods and understanding and re-evaluate my research efforts to determine if I'm at fault. If I think a "common tater" is being a little harsh I chalk it up to a bad day.

I think it's abusive to ask questions that can be answered oneself with a little effort so I think it's appropriate to give friendly grief to those lazy fellows who haven't done their homework. The experts here shouldn't be treated as Cliff Notes.


Clearly, you are a man of the Finest Sensibilities, an individual of The Highest Ideals.

Seemingly a Person of Stirling Character and crucially, amongst the Very Best of Luthiers to be found anywhere in the World.

Although there are a tremendous number of Great Luthiers that Post here on and off from time to time here, you have formed part of an Elite Group that include Frank Ford, Dave Collins, Kerry, Rusty, Paul, Robbie and other regulars, who are MUST READS for anyone and everyone, that wishes to Gain Real Insight from the Experienced.

Frankly, I hesitate to write this, ironically, for fear some might take offense, but tramping on where Angels Fear to Tread.  Hesh, I consider Your Posts, to be THE Most Consistently Excellent of All The Posts, on this Superb Fora. Which, considering the High Class of WHO the other contributors are, is Very Noteworthy.  They are Always Dead On Target, and Informatively Laced with Impressive Background Knowledge, that is Pricelessly Invaluable.

You present yourself as the Absolute Epitome  of a Genuine, Helpful, Friend to those in need that are seeking guidance.  Cutting a Strongly Attractive, Towering Figure and Personality to all who are privileged to read your Commanding and Authoritative Thoughts. True to Character, rather than being judgementally aware of the weakness and failures of others, your naturally humble, personal accretion, is an all too acute awareness of your own shortcomings from the Lofty Ideals you so Notably Aspire, Upwardly Towards.



With the Uttermost Respect.

I believe this Heart Rending, Soul Searching is Wholly Misplaced.

And the Perception that Others would be Discombobulated by Your Writing. In Truth, Utterly Risible.



The real point about this, is that you are a Man who wants to be Entirely True to Himself.

Faithful to your own Personal Values and Outlook on Life. So dealing with people that bring out Discordantly, Echoing Reverberations of Dissonance and force us to see the Dissentanious Shadows in Life, is profoundly disagreeable to you.

Leonardo DaVinci once wrote: "The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail but for shadow."



Sometimes, it is only by the Shadows Cast.

That we can Genuinely and Truly Understand What Is Light.

Furthermore, The Truth of What and Who, In Reality we are Dealing With.

There is no Real Appreciation of Depth, no Conception of the Whole Picture, without a Proper Evaluation of the Shadows.

Thus to Directly Address and Draw Attention to such Shadows, to Carefully Examine the True Nature of what they Reveal.  To Understand the Form and See Things for what they Truly Are, is not in any manner, a Fault of the Observer.



For sure, it true that on the internet, people can misunderstand and be easily misunderstood.

However, it is equally true, that people can at times, be All Too Completely Understood with a Deeply Penetratingly and Perspicacious Clarity. That can be even Far More of a Problem. For some, at least.

The thing about Understanding and Misunderstanding, is not to write so that you can be Understood. Write so that You can't be Misunderstood by Anyone at All, Anywhere in the World.




The other problem with merely writing, so that you can be understood.

Is that the wrong people, in advancing their own ambitious agendas are only too ready to misunderstand. Writing so that you cannot be misunderstood, anticipates and pre-empts those who would wilfully ignore, distort or dismiss what you are trying to say, and makes your points, impossible to reject and such an individual retain any credibility.



Truth Will Always Endure in the End.



It has been my experience.

That when the Actuating, Motivational Agents of Life, Grind to Halt, that there is often some Deeper Seated Dichotomy.

An Internal, Personal Conflict, that Disruptively and Disturbingly lays, lurking Unresolved, Somewhere, Underneath the Surface.

Some Individuals will Always Thoughtlessly Take Everything for Granted, and Never Genuinely Appreciate What You Do for Them.

But despite this Undisputable Fact, it's incredibly hard for completely good natured people like yourself Hesh, to be able to Properly Accept that it's an Entirely Appropriate and Correct Behaviour to Stop Doing Things for Someone, when you Realised that its BLATENTLY EXPECTED, rather than WARMLY APPRECIATTED.

It Riles Strongly against your Better Nature to Realise you need Expose the Courage of Your Instinctive Convictions, to Draw a Clear Line in the Sand, Speak the Truth You Truly Feel, and Declare Openly Your Heartfelt Feelings and Inner Soul. For to do this, can mean that at times, one has to go against the very grain of the Highest Ideals and Nature, that You Upwardly Aspire Towards. Your Politeness, Friendly Demeanour and Helpful Manner, along with all that makes You, YOU, push you towards doing the Highest and Best Thing Possible.

Undoubtedly, avoiding Conflict, and remaining in Your Zone of Comfort, will Always Feel like the Best Thing for You.  Unfortunately, it not only Robs Others of the Opportunity of Taking Stock, Absorbing Much Needed Self Examination, Reflection, Correction and Personal Growth, it also Ensures that they will Continue to See and Treat You and Others in the Fora as a Type of Water Tap. A Basic Utility, A Handy Convenience, There Simply to be Used by them, Turned On and Off, As and When Needed, rather than truly a Amiably Personable Community of Likeminded Enthusiasts.

Significantly and Indicatively, the most notable recent miscreant began his post declaiming "Hi, I'm back with a question." One is bound to feel Squashed, if like a Tap Washer, one is Tightly Compressed and Thoughtlessly Released, Purely at the Convenience of Others Sense of Entitlement and Expectancy.  As Robbie wrote : "it's abusive to ask questions that can be answered oneself with a little effort so I think it's appropriate to give friendly grief to those lazy fellows who haven't done their homework. The experts here shouldn't be treated as Cliff Notes."



So Subconsciously there is an Internalised Conflict Within, between these Two Truths.

The Easiest Way out of this Seeming Dilemma can seem to be to Hastily Withdraw From the Dichotomy.

We are Conditioned by our Very Natures to Either Stand Up and Fight, or to Flee. Sometimes we Indulge Ourselves in a Little of Both. But Usually the Easiest Way, is Simply to Withdraw.



Sometimes, it's the Sensible Thing to Do.

But it can Easily Become a Habit Forming Way of Living.

That can Beggar and Bankrupt our Highest and Best Life Experiences.

Acting Courageously, is Demanding of Qualities that can Surprise but also Disturb Us.

And thus a Reassessment and Revaluation and What We Are, What We Want To Be, and What We Are About, can Quite Naturally Follow.

But there's far more to this than simply that described above.

Because there's Another Whole Side to this Affair that has yet to be thought about.

The Best Way to Explain that, and Examine it, is to realise that Everyone has an Internalised Self Image.

It Forms a Big Part of How We See Ourselves, and Understand Ourselves and Role in Life and How We Fit Into and Relate to Society as a Whole.

At Some Point in the Future, I have no doubt whatever that the Demanding Individual on the other side of the particular recent matter discussed above, will undergo a Deep Personal Crisis.

You see, that is what happens, when someone Lives in an Environment where they are Continually Stroked. When others around such a person are Fiscally Advantaged or Dependant on such a relationship, this can all too easily happen.

The result is that the Individuals Self Image is Continually Built Up to such an Extent, that it becomes Increasingly and Unremittingly Out of Kilter with Reality. Their Personal Confidence is so High, that it is Far Beyond, both their Actual Abilities and Talents.

One of the Companies I have an Interest in Sponsored a Formula 1 Racing Team, and Top Racing Drivers would come to see me. Many of the Racing Teams and Most of the Supporting Industries are based in this Area so virtually all the Drivers find it Convenient to Own a Home Nearby.

When a Relatively Inexperienced Racing  Driver Out-Braked Himself at a Sharp Corner, only to Smash His Car Directly into a Wall, One of the World's Top Racing Drivers said, "His Personal Confidence, Far Exceeded His Actual Abilities." Now the Driver Lived to Walk Away from the Crash, but Such Experiences in Life, Dramatically Change Ones Perspective.



This can Especially Happen to Individuals in the Flaky Music Business.

If Others that are Advantaged by the Relationship are Continually Stroking Individuals, Building Their Confidence.

Whereas, Confidence is in itself a Good Thing, misplaced Over Confidence is Not! Thus a Wholly Unrealistic Self Image, when Finally Faced with the Truth, can be Altogether, Completely Life Shattering.

It is a Direct Corollary and Closely Akin to Over Confidently Out Braking One's Self at a Corner, and Driving Ones Car or Life into a Wall. When Our Internalised Self Image and the True Reflection of Ourselves as the World Honestly Sees Us, Finally Meet.

Again, it Creates a Deep Personal Dichotomy, a Profoundly Debilitating Internal Division. As All that we Believed about Ourselves is Torn Away From Beneath Us, and the Very Foundations of our Lives, Crumble into a Seemingly Bottomless Sink Hole, as Everything We Understood About Ourselves is Finally, Directly Challenged, by Everything and Everyone Around Us.



The Sooner any Such Needed Adjustment Takes Place.

 The Better and More Helpful it is for the Individual Concerned who Honestly Needs Re-Appraisement.

So Addressing these Issues, far from Being a Problem, Actually Avoids Much Bigger and More Difficult to Resolve Issues.

Now Hang On I hear Someone Say.

This is Somewhat Unfair to the Individual Concerned.

 And in any case. How are you able to Judge that the Individuals.

 Self Image is Way Beyond their Actual Abilities and Requires Reassessment.

 Well quite apart from the Very Basic Design and Construction Issues regarding Guitar Building.

 And the Fact that a First Ever Build, involves the Simultaneous Bulk Fabrication of Multiple Guitars, how's that for Confidence?

 We have all had the Generously Valuable Offer of Free Guitar Lessons, to Help and Enable Us All to become Better, More Able Exponents of the Instrument.




So Bearing in Mind.

That Many Here have Played for Years.

 Others are Professional Gigging Musicians on a Regular Basis.

 Whilst Others have Staged Concerts in The World's Very Greatest Concerts Halls.

 And indeed, Received Royalties for Recordings from High Charting Records from All Around the World.



Here is a Guitar Lesson for you.

 Which as a Humble Guitar Lover, I was Pleased to Take.

 You only need to watch until 1.20 to Fully Understand and Appreciate My Point Here.




The Self Image.

And the Reality of the Talent.

Leave an Enormous Credibility Gap to be Bridged.


Considering all the many Genuinely Gifted Guitar Players that Exist.

At Some Point in the Future, the Desires and Ambitions of the Internalised Self Image. 

And the Actual Reality of the Level of Ability, that the Surrounding World can Clearly See Displayed.

Mean that it is Healthy and Greatly Beneficial, for the Individual Concerned to Entirely Re-Appraise How They See Themselves.

Lest the Huge Gap between Their Own, Internalised Self Image, and the Reflection of the Surrounding Worlds, Direct Critical Assessment of their Talent.


Cause a Profoundly Disturbing, Deep, Inner Conflict.


A Divided Self.




No doubt some people will see this post as unnecessarily critical.

That is not at all its intention, rather its meant to shed light on an Extremely Difficult Issue to Understand and Address.

For Luthier's that fix Broken Guitars, will at times be looking into the Eyes of Individuals and Musicians that Themselves, Personally, are Desperately in Need of Attention and Help.

Having a Genuine Depth of Insight into Their Problems. Being able to Understand and Sagaciously Shine Light to Shed into the Darkness of their World of Confusion. Having Words of Wisdom, and Sound Guidance to offer along with a Roundness of Experience.



Is Far Better for Both Involved, than having Nothing Whatever to Offer at All.


Fixing Problematic Guitars is a Great Talent to Have. But Helping People with Problems in the Pursuit of their Life's Goals.

By Assisting Them to Correctly Appreciate the Obstacles they Face, and Showing them How to Turn Setbacks into Springboards and Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones.



Seems to me a Greater, More Important Gift Altogether.




"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand"

On June 16, 1858, more than 1,000 Republican delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention.

At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives.

The title reflects part of the speech's introduction, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," a concept familiar to Lincoln's audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).


"Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition?

Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination -- piece of machinery so to speak -- compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also, let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidence of design and concert of action, among its chief architects, from the beginning.

But, so far, Congress only, had acted; and an indorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable, to save the point already gained, and give chance for more.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition.

Four days later, commenced the struggle, which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition.

This opened all the national territory to slavery, and was the first point gained.

This necessity had not been overlooked; but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty," otherwise called "sacred right of self government," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man, choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object.

That argument was incorporated into the Nebraska bill itself, in the language which follows: "It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or state, not to exclude it therefrom; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States."

Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "Squatter Sovereignty," and "Sacred right of self-government."

"But," said opposition members, "let us be more specific -- let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the territory may exclude slavery." "Not we," said the friends of the measure; and down they voted the amendment.

While the Nebraska Bill was passing through congress, a law case involving the question of a negroe's freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free state and then a territory covered by the congressional prohibition, and held him as a slave, for a long time in each, was passing through the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Missouri; and both Nebraska bill and law suit were brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. The negroe's name was "Dred Scott," which name now designates the decision finally made in the case.

Before the then next Presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requests the leading advocate of the Nebraska bill to state his opinion whether the people of a territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits; and the latter answers: "That is a question for the Supreme Court."

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the indorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory.

The outgoing President, in his last annual message, as impressively as possible, echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of the indorsement.

The Supreme Court met again; did not announce their decision, but ordered a re-argument.

The Presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the court; but the incoming President, in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever might be.

Then, in a few days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion to make a speech at this capital indorsing the Dred Scott Decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it.

The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained.

At length a squabble springs up between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton constitution was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people of Kansas; and in that squabble the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind -- the principle for which he declares he has suffered much, and is ready to suffer to the end.

And well may he cling to that principle. If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle, is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott decision, "squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding -- like the mould at the foundry served through one blast and fell back into loose sand -- helped to carry an election, and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint struggle with the Republicans, against the Lecompton Constitution, involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle was made on a point, the right of a people to make their own constitution, upon which he and the Republicans have never differed.

The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas' "care-not" policy, constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained.

\ The working points of that machinery are:

First, that no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States.

This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of this provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that--

"The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."

Secondly, that "subject to the Constitution of the United States," neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can exclude slavery from any United States Territory.

This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.

Thirdly, that whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a free State, makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave State the negro may be forced into by the master.

This point is made, not to be pressed immediately; but, if acquiesced in for a while, and apparently indorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott, in the free State of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in any other free State.

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mould public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, to not care whether slavery is voted down or voted up.

This shows exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending.

It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back, and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left "perfectly free" "subject only to the Constitution." What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in, and declare the perfect freedom of the people, to be just no freedom at all.

Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people to exclude slavery, voted down? Plainly enough now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.

Why was the court decision held up? Why even a Senator's individual opinion withheld, till after the presidential election? Plainly enough now, the speaking out then would have damaged the "perfectly free" argument upon which the election was to be carried.

Why the outgoing President's felicitation on the indorsement? Why the delay of a reargument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of the decision?

These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse, preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall.

And why the hasty after indorsements of the decision by the President and others?

We can not absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen -- Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance -- and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few -- not omitting even scaffolding -- or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such piece in -- in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.

It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska Bill, the people of a State, as well as Territory, were to be left "perfectly free" "subject only to the Constitution."

Why mention a State? They were legislating for territories, and not for or about States. Certainly the people of a State are and ought to be subject to the Constitution of the United States; but why is mention of this lugged into this merely territorial law? Why are the people of a territory and the people of a state therein lumped together, and their relation to the Constitution therein treated as being precisely the same?

While the opinion of the Court, by Chief Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions of all the concurring Judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of the United States neither permits Congress nor a Territorial legislature to exclude slavery from any United States territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same Constitution permits a state, or the people of a State, to exclude it.

Possibly, this is a mere omission; but who can be quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get into the opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the people of a state to exclude slavery from their limits, just as Chase and Macy sought to get such declaration, in behalf of the people of a territory, into the Nebraska bill -- I ask, who can be quite sure that it would not have been voted down, in the one case, as it had been in the other.

The nearest approach to the point of declaring the power of a State over slavery, is made by Judge Nelson. He approaches it more than once, using the precise idea, and almost the language too, of the Nebraska act. On one occasion his exact language is, "except in cases where the power is restrained by the Constitution of the United States, the law of the State is supreme over the subject of slavery within its jurisdiction."

In what cases the power of the states is so restrained by the U.S. Constitution, is left an open question, precisely as the same question, as to the restraint on the power of the territories was left open in the Nebraska act. Put that and that together, and we have another nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude slavery from its limits.

And this may especially be expected if the doctrine of "care not whether slavery be voted down or voted up, shall gain upon the public mind sufficiently to give promise that such a decision an be maintained when made.

Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States.

Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown.

We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State.

To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation.

This is what we have to do.

But how can we best do it?

There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper us softly, that Senator Douglas is the aptest instrument there is, with which to effect that object. They wish us to infer all, from the facts, that he now has a little quarrel with the present head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us, on a single point, upon which, he and we, have never differed.

They remind us that he is a great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a living dog is better than a dead lion." Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the "public heart" to care nothing about it.

A leading Douglas Democratic newspaper thinks Douglas' superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave trade.

Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching? He has not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new territories. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest? And, unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia.

He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of property; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign slave trade -- how can he refuse that trade in that "property" shall be "perfectly free" -- unless he does it as a protection to the home production? And as the home producers will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition.

Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday -- that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong.

But can we, for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he, himself, has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference?

Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas' position, question his motives, or do ought that can be personally offensive to him.

Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle.

But clearly, he is not now with us -- he does not pretend to be -- he does not promise to ever be.

Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted friends -- those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work -- who do care for the result.

Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong.

We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us.

Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.

Did we brave all then to falter now? -- now -- when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent?

The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we shall not fail.

Wise councils may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later the victory is sure to come."




Quote: " You can't stop posting, Hesh, if you do Peter and I will be the only long winded poster left and it might become noticeable! "



I live a short distance from the Birth Place of Sir Winston Churchill.

Last Weekend, we had a Jousting Contest, and I think you might enjoy watching what happens.



His Grace the Duke of Marlborough the Godson of Sir Winston Churchill.


The History Of Blenheim Palace.


Have a Nice Weekend!





I prefer the Gettysburg Address.  Very succinct.  

If I I might offer an unsolicited (but perhaps related) comment. I'm not a luthier, I'll never work on my guitars, and I'll probably contribute nothing useful to this forum. I've always enjoyed (first) reading about Frank's amazing work, and then all the great and interesting things you've all done. Amazing repairs and rebuilds you all can do. Amazing skill and know how. But I've been very turned off by some of the posts.

For example, there is such a sweet kid who plays with an Ovation in the church youth band, where I help. A guitar passed along from a deceased relative (don't want to give too many details as I don't know what'll come up on search engines). At 14, never having taken a lesson in her life, she's on stage every three weeks leading a worship service. It leaves me with a bad impression to think people who may never play for more than a few hours in their bedroom on there ten thousand dollar plus guitars would laugh at her guitar. Meanwhile she's playing for an audience. I had wondered if I should think about trying to get her a Martin X series as an upgrade, but that'd just be a piece of junk countertop, right? So why bother I guess.

Anyway, i could say more, but I'm on an iPad. I just think it's not in the best taste and leaves a poor impression.


Hi Phillip,

The nature of is that of a meeting place for "builders, repairers and players" and part of that charter involves open and frank discussion about the instruments we build, repair and play.   Opinions are offered along with professional evaluations of the various things that go on with fretted instruments.  Unfortunately, every now and again an instrument will demonstrate an example of poor design, build execution, structural failure or just be difficult to repair.   

These are things that get discussed and when general consensus is reached by critical examination and a consistent presentation of the problem some conclusions are drawn.   These can involve unpleasant conclusions and sometimes humorous observations - such is life and the human condition     Derision  sits alongside cutting and acerbic witticisms from time to time .......and as you have noted some Ovations and Martins (and others) are the butt of unkind jokes from time to time.   Where I come from Fords suffer the same fate.

But, this is our forum and its charter allows and even compels us to deal with the lemons and problems we come across from time to time.   

You clearly mean well and your back story is a bit sad but unfortunately it's not our business to pull our professional punches because of the possibility of offending or disappointing someone we don't know in a situation we are not aware off.  

Perhaps if you noted that some guitars are best left alone and just described the circumstances and budget you had and asked for some recommendations based on value for money and structural integrity  you may not feel so personally disappointed about our day to day discussion and banter on this exceptional forum.



  This off topic but I feel compelled to respond directly to your misgiving, Philip, because I just left comments denigrating ovation guitars on another thread.

   I don't like ovation guitars and never have and, while I appreciate the views of the others here who have attempted to repair them, I have never worked on them. I have, however played many that are owned by friends which is the source of my dislike. My attitude toward Ovations is my personal opinion and, obviously, there are plenty of people that disagree, given the number of ovations in existence.

  What I want you to understand is that I don’t judge people by the brand, model or condition of the Instrument they play. I have known too many good players that played not such good instruments to think for a moment that the quality of the instrument is the primary concern in determining the quality of the player’s performance. What I know is that a good player can make music on some pretty substandard equipment and will probably make even better music on quality equipment but all the best equipment in the world can make a bad player good.

  In other words, I have learned the lesson that a person who wants to make music will play the instrument at hand and that the skill of a player may be enhanced by a quality instrument but the skill exhibited in the performance is in the hands and heart of the player and not the instrument being played. I would never laugh at a person for the instrument they are using. In the case of the young lady at your church, whatever I may think of the instrument she plays, I believe that the fact that she is using it is what is important. When I think about the forum and the people posting here, I can not recall a single member of this place that I believe would laugh at a girl or anyone else doing the best they can with the instrument they have.  As Rusty explained, it’s about the instruments, seen in our somewhat unique way, and not the people playing them.

Just keep being who you are. These day, internet forums are just too full of people trying to copy somebody else that used to post, but got tired of it and went away. And the same crap just gets repeated, over and over by the ones still hanging out. Boooooooorrrrrriiiing ! 

I think I've very often found your posts coming from a new perspective. And I like that. It's what makes the internet better than some book, where you read it and you're left with, "well I guess that's that", 'cause there's nothing more. 

Can't remember you ever rubbing me the wrong way, but if you ever do, big deal. It's the internet, and you can bet I've gotten way more crap on non specific forums, chat rooms, etc. Them humans be crazy.

Quote: "I prefer the Gettysburg Address.  Very succinct." 




This preference is completely understandable.

It's also quite true that Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address is very succinct.

With respect however, the problem with it, is that it is not directly relevant to the Header Topic of the Thread.

Nor is it directly relevant to the History of Specific Topical Threads that have been touched upon that are directly relevant to the Header Topic of this Thread. Its very Important to Stay On Topic. 

Whereas, in contrast, Abraham Lincolns Speech "A house divided against itself cannot stand" is of course, entirely to the point and directly relevant to the Cardinal Fundamentals of the Underlying Issues, that initially motivated Hesh to think in the manner he did, when Launching the Thread.

Moreover, these Timeless Words from the Bestselling Book Of All Time "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  are also, interestingly, Directly Relevant to the Individual Character in Previous Threads, who was to my mind a Major Factor in Developing the Motivation to a Point of Critical Mass, in Hesh's Mind.

There is of course, an Additional Irony in the light of Ned's Earlier Comments in the Thread, that being able to fit an Entire Major Speech of Abraham Lincoln's, into but a Part of a Single Response of the Thread and precisely where it is Directly Relevant to Several Earlier Points is quite a feat in itself, but furthermore, also stays directly On Topic because it Definitely, is Clearly a fine example of  "When We Cross The Line In Responding To Questions....."


Thus, yet again, directly relevant to the Topic of the Thread.


It's also worth pointing out.

My Understanding of American Political History is.

That there are actually Five Different Versions of Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address.

And no one in America knows, which of the Five Versions was the Speech that Abraham Lincoln, so Famously Delivered.

So to use Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address as a Basis for making a point here could lead to all kinds of complications, and I prefer to keep, "Simply to the Point."


Staying True to the Actual Topic of the Thread.


This will be Entirely Obvious.

To Anyone who has Correctly Read.

The Content of the Earlier Posts Properly.



But perhaps it will assist you, to think about all this, a little more deeply.

From Time Immemorial. If you like, since the Fall of Mankind, we all of us at times, suffer from what could be rightly called "Foolish Thinking."

Our friend Phillip Hoffman, just gave a good example of how easily we are capable of "Foolish Thinking" with his thoughts of how some individuals, would react to the Guitar of the Young Girl Leading Worship in his Church.

You see our "Foolish Thinking" causes Our Basic Values to become Muddled and Mixed in our Minds, and we thus allude Great Importance to relatively Unimportant Matters in the Bigger Picture of Life, yet often give Little Heed to the Most Fundamental Issues, that Should Most Concern Us, and which are In Reality of The Very Greatest Importance.

What does the fact that T.V. Personalities, Footballers Players and Pop Stars earn huge salaries, whereas Paramedics and Nurses that Rescue and Care for us when we are Sick, Firemen that in Emergencies Save Us from Conflagrations and Soldiers that Protect us from the Threat of Enemies, Possibly Risking or at the Expense of Their Own Lives, are given a Relative Pittance, tell you about Societies Values?

It is surely but an example of the "Foolish Thinking" of a Deeply Fallen Mankind.

Right Values, in Wider Society, have been Turned on their Head!


Once Again.

The Relevance of Abraham Lincolns "A house divided against itself cannot stand" comes to mind.

How easy it would have been, for a Politician of the Day, to have complacently given way to expediency and gone along with the mechanisms to circumvent, skirt and avoid the conflict of the Fundamental Issues.

However, Abraham Lincolns Understanding of Law and How it related to Life, was based almost completely on Law that was Written by a Man that Lived a fairly short distance from my home here, and is the Original Basis of All American Law.

I refer of course to "COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND (1765-69), By Sir William Blackstone". Which if you read Abraham Lincolns Letters of Advice to Lawyers, comes up again and again as the very first place they should start their Studies in Law, on the path to becoming Lawyers.

The Commentaries on the Laws of England are an influential 18th Century Treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press here at Oxford  in 1765–1769. The work is divided into four volumes, on the rights of persons, the rights of things, of private wrongs and of public wrongs.

The Commentaries were long regarded as the Leading Work on the Development of English Law and played an Important Role in the Development of the American Legal System. The Commentaries are often quoted as the definitive Pre-Revolutionary source of common law by United States Courts.

Opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States quote from Blackstone's Work "Commentaries on the Laws of England " whenever they wish to engage in Historical Discussion that goes back that far, or farther, for example, when discussing the Actual Intent of the Framers of the Constitution.

You may also be interested to learn that the book was famously used as The Key in Benedict Arnold's Book Cipher, which he used to communicate secretly with his conspirator John Andre' during their plot.

To betray the Continental Army during the American Revolution.




The Salient Relevant Point.

Is that Sir William Blackstone Believed.

That underlying All Good Man Made Law, there existed, Fundamental Laws of Nature, and Fundamental Laws of God.

And Human Man Made Laws were at their Soundest and Best, when they were True to the Laws of Nature, True to the Ten Commandants and True to the Holy Bible.

These Values Shaped Sir William Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Laws of England". They Shaped Abraham Lincolns Understanding of what was Right and True, and gave him a Legal Framework for the Values we should base our Counties Life Upon.


Historically, they are a Big Part of the Greatness of Western Civilisation.


Think of all the internal strife and trouble that America would be in Today, if Abraham Lincolns Understanding of what was Right and True.

His Understanding how we Should Think and Act towards our Fellow Man, had not been Clearly Defined and Ultimately Decided by these Fundamental Human Values.

I write Fundamental Human Values, but of course, in reality, the Human Laws that Followed, were based as Sir William Blackstone Believed, and Abraham Lincoln Grasped, on the Principal that underlying All Good Man Made Law, there existed, Fundamental Laws of Nature, and Fundamental Laws of God.

As our Thinking and our Laws deviate strongly from these Underlying Values and Principles, we Formulate and Pass Bad Laws. Thus Conflict, Distress and Manifold Difficulties gradually arise over time, that cause Endless Harm and Confusion to People, Throughout the Land.

There is a Division, a Departure, and a Movement Away by the Framework of Understanding and Law that Shapes our Wider Societies Values, from the Underlying Values and Principles of The Law of Nature, that are Inherent and Essential to All Good Law.


Essentially, it is all fundamentally "Foolish Thinking" at Root.


Because of our "Foolish Thinking".

We are Misled to Look and Seek the Things we Believe will Satisfy Our Lives in the Wrong Places.

Perhaps if the City you live in has a Bad Drug Problem, then you see just one way of how this "Foolish Thinking" works within Society at a Practical Level.

But because of our "Foolish Thinking" and in our ignorance, we walk past Fountains of Water that Satisfies Life's Needs, to try to Slake Our Thirst.. In a Sahara of a Desert.. In Dry Wells of our Own Making.

In our "Foolish Thinking" we deceive ourselves to imagine we can Experience Life by Disconnecting from the Very Source of Life. Acting Independently, by Prodigally Walking Away from the Sound Underlying Principals and Laws of Life. By Ourselves Going Off and Making our Own Paths, Away From The Underlying Laws of Nature Itself.

There is a Quality of Spirit, Something Eternal in all of us Deep Down Inside, and because of this Inner Driving Force, All of Us have a Deep Inner Need and Longing for the Security, Self Worth  and Significance, that we were Originally Intended. For as All Men and Women have Significance and are Equal in Worth. There Exists a Desire to Return to Paradise Lost and Relationships that provided us with our True Identities in this World.

This Innate, Intrinsic Desire and Longing inside us, is so Fundamental to All We Are, that if we fail to Find a Spiritual Satisfaction for our Inner Selves in the Right, Proper and Good Way. In Relationships that provide a Lasting Satisfaction. Then we become Vulnerable to other Sources that provide a Temporary Release for our Desires and Needs, and Highly Susceptible to Deeply Perverting Harmful Ways of Life that Damage Ourselves, our Families, and Wider Society as a Whole.



"Foolish Thinking".

Causes us to Develop Strategies to Hold our Lives Together.

For all Human Behaviour is Ultimately Designed to Move Us Towards Our Goals in Life.

Whatever we Believe will Meet and Satisfy our Deepest Inner Needs, that will Eventually Define our Choice of Goal.

A Goal is an Objective that we Pursue, Albeit "Foolishly" because we Believe that is for us, Where Life is to be Found, it's what we think will Satisfy Our Souls.

But with the Pain of our Unmet Inner Needs, Relentlessly Driving Us Forward to find Satisfaction and Relief, and our Fallen, Misguided Natures and Beliefs Controlling us through Societies Values, and Guiding our Choice of Goal.

When that Foolishly Chosen Goal becomes Undermined or Uncertain, when it becomes Blocked or Increasingly Clear as Times Rolls By that it is Completely Unreachable Altogether For Us, then all kinds of Problems can Arise, Emotional Disturbances and even Disorders of the Personality.


This is how I was able to Accurately Predict the Future Problem.

That will Inevitably Befall the Ambitiously Over Confident Member who was the Subject of Earlier Posts.

And Took the Trouble to Help Him Understand, What will Happen. Why it will Happen and Hopefully by Further Reading, He Will Appreciate and Apply the Solution.

But because of our Proudly Wilful and Selfishly Carnal Fallen Natures, there is a Strongly Militant Natural Resistance to the Humility, Helplessness and Submission that Adhering to The Divinely Higher Laws, and Properly Aligned Relationships that Accord with the Best Laws of Life Requires.

Those Qualities of Life that are Under Pinned, by the Very Laws of Nature, The Ten Commandments and The Laws of God, if you like.

The Beliefs and Values that Made America, the Greatest, Most Powerful Nation on the Face of the Earth.

The Values of Sir William Blackstone and Abraham Lincoln.

I Commend Them to this House.



For Hesh.

As for all of us if we are Lucky.

Life Presents us with A Wide Range of Personal Choices.

And Everyday, Moment by Moment each of us can choose the Direction We Take.

We can Give Ourselves Away and Lose Ourselves to our Lower Natures, or Yield and Submit Ourselves to the Highest and Best Life Has to Offer.

We can weakly give into "The Wolf" in our Personalities, or Upwardly Aspire and yield to "The Angel" and can become a Dynamically Powerful Influence for Positive Good.

I for one, believe that Hesh has Repeatedly Revealed Himself to be an Individual of the Highest Qualities and Ideals, that he Strives to Be and Do The Best He Can Possibly Be and Do in Every Situation.


So I'll end my post, by repeating my Brief Opening Statement in this Thread.



Clearly, you are a man of the Finest Sensibilities, an individual of The Highest Ideals.

Seemingly a Person of Stirling Character and crucially, amongst the Very Best of Luthiers to be found anywhere in the World.

Although there are a tremendous number of Great Luthiers that Post here on and off from time to time here, you have formed part of an Elite Group that include Frank Ford, Dave Collins, Kerry, Rusty, Paul, Robbie and other regulars, who are MUST READS for anyone and everyone, that wishes to Gain Real Insight from the Experienced.

Frankly, I hesitate to write this, ironically, for fear some might take offense, but tramping on where Angels Fear to Tread.  Hesh, I consider Your Posts, to be THE Most Consistently Excellent of All The Posts, on this Superb Fora. Which, considering the High Class of WHO the other contributors are, is Very Noteworthy.  They are Always Dead On Target, and Informatively Laced with Impressive Background Knowledge, that is Pricelessly Invaluable.

You present yourself as the Absolute Epitome  of a Genuine, Helpful, Friend to those in need that are seeking guidance.  Cutting an Attractive Figure and Personality to all who are privileged to read your Commanding and Authoritative Thoughts. True to Character, rather than being judgementally aware of the weakness and failures of others, your naturally humble, personal accretion, is an all too acute awareness of your own shortcomings from the Lofty Ideals you so Notably Aspire, Upwardly Towards.


We All Wish You The Very Best!





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