Hello dear friends of Astha Guitars!
Last spring we were able to purchase a used and fully revised wide belt sanding machine, a true precision machine by the Swiss company Kuendig. We thank God for the generosity of the Kuendig company to offer this machine to us for such a low price and we are even more thankful for a gracious Swiss sponsor who not only purchased the machine for us but also paid for the shipping to India!
Packing the machine in Switzerland…
This machine will be of tremendous help for us to bring our tops, backs and sides to their final thickness with a 0.1mm accuracy! Importing this machine was incredibly difficult though as going through Indian Customs is just a nightmare… Getting this 2000kg wooden box from the Bangalore Customs Centre to the rather remote area where the workshop is was another adventure on its own…
By the end of September we were finally able to run it for the first time in the workshop and we already pre sanded many nice Guitars sets!
Unloading the machine in India…
The new machine in action!
By the beginning of October Luke spent another two weeks with the guys in India for some further training for the finishing process. The team has been working on another batch of guitars during summer on their own supervised by Luke via Whatapp/Skype from back home in Switzerland 🙂 The guys did really well!
Unfortunately the CNC controller got busted over the summer probably due to some power fluctuation and so we couldn’t get as much done as planned while Luke was there. But this gave us the chance to start with the first prototypes for the Astha electric guitars earlier as expected! We’re quite excited about those new creations and we’re looking forward to show you the first finished ones soon!
Here the drawings for our first electric guitar and bass models! Further details will follow soon. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to preorder one 🙂
During the second 3 week training in April the first 6 guitars were finished! This time we went step by step through the second part of the building process to the final completion of the instruments. One of the focus was also the introduction on the CNC machine for the inlays. Unfortunately the time was a little tight to go into depth for the lacquering process but thankfully we got the finished! Here a few impression…
It’s been really good seeing 4 very proud faces after the training holding the finished guitars!
So here are the first few finished guitars! These are still considered prototypes and we’re in the process of finalizing all the details for the fixed models. However, we do want to offer some custom models right from the beginning with a small choice of wood combinations and a variety of nice indian style inlays. Here four samples, the 2 other ones Luke brought took to Switzerland to finish there.
ASTHA – Medium with cutaway and bevels
Swiss Spruce / Indian Mahogany
Gecko Abalone inlay
ASTHA – Medium with cutaway
Swiss Spruce / Indian Rosewood
Indian leaf Pearl inlay
ASTHA – Big
Swiss Spruce / Indian Mahogany
Indian elephant inlay
ASTHA – Big with cutaway
Swiss Spruce / Indian Mahogany
Indian leaf Abalone inlay
Indian peacock feather inlay
(on one of the unfinished guitars)
During the last week of our second training David and Nishchith were also busy preparing for David’s wedding!
David decided to celebrate this special day on the ACTS campus right at the Astha Guitars workshop! What a special event that was for all of us! Also the deco looked amazing!
David & Ashwitha, all the best and God’s blessing on your marriage!
The first training time is over and we had a very intense but great time together! Luke spent 3 1/2 weeks training the the crew in the new workshop. Scott, a good canadian friend who’s been working with Luke in Switzerland before was also part of the training and a good support!
(first picture from left to right: Luke, Nishchith, Moses, David, Scott, Philip, Santosh)
Once all the machines were set up properly we finally started building guitars!!
Luke brought a lot of templates and jigs from Switzerland and we also had to build many more. Jigs help tremendously to get the jobs done very accurately and efficient.
Even though we do as many jobs by machine as we can, there is lots of hand work left which demand very high skills. Luckily the guys are learning quickly :)!
Also on this trip we got to do some shopping for tools and supplies in the crazy streets Bangalore…
We got as far as assembling the body and having the neck preshaped. Luke will be back in April for training part 2 of the whole finishing process. Stay with us!
By the way; Philip (the long term ACTS carpenter) already built a few guitars around 25 years ago! He never would have thought he will ever get back into this business on a different level 🙂
We are very excited about the progress of the renovations on the old medical clinic building which will very soon become our guitar workshop! Just in time with Luke being in India in October we received miraculously a massive donation to buy most of the major machinery for the workshop! We had a great time connecting as a team by doing lots of planning and shopping for tools and machinery (which was a fun adventure especially for Luke as things function a bit differently in India than in Switzerland :)).
Lukas will be back in Bangalore in January/February to run the first training with the crew. We are all very excited to finally start building guitars in India!
Promo video coming soon…!
The workshop looks great and is waiting for the work benches and machines to be moved in! A lot of effort has been put into this building! Thanks a lot guys!
Tool hunting in the craziness of Bangalore’s business streets…
Unfortunately good used machines were still very expensive, so we ended up buying all new machines and made some good deals!
We also found a great tone wood supplier in Cochin (Kerela) for Indian Rosewood and Indian Mahogany!
Some more indian impressions… such a different place!
Everybody was thrilled about the first prototype Astha Guitar!
Eli Kretzmann, a good friend of Luke from the US was also part of the tool and wood hunting trip. He is very India experienced and he’s been a great help! Most winters he spends in Nepal now, check out what he is doing there! www.overtheedgetravel.com