Learning, sharing knowledge and being part of the classical guitar community are important to me. Although I have limited time to teach hands-on in the workshop, I am enthusiastic about teaching builders and players through lectures, writing, podcasts and videos. Below, you will find a variety of topics that I have shared with builders, guitarists and non-musicians alike at universities, guitar societies and international forums. If you are interested in hosting an event for your group, please contact me.
A Player's Guide to Guitar Mechanics is a video course available at ClassicalGuitarCorner.com's online classical guitar academy. In this 10-part series produced by Simon Powis, Gary discusses in detailed, yet practical terms why guitars do or do not perform at an optimum level, and what can be done to get the maximum amount of enjoyment from them. Topics include:
1. Setting Your Action
2. Setting Action at the Nut
3. Neck Angle
4. Fingerboard Relief
5. Scale Length
6. Neck Shape
7. String Spacing
Watch Setting Your Action
Guitar Care 101 is a series of short articles written for the tonebase blog designed to give players practical advice on how to care for their guitars and how they work.
5. Tuning machines: what’s new and old How to install tuning machines (PDF file)
The Luthier as Structural and Sound Engineer: How Luthiers Shape Sound with the Soundboard is an in-depth article written for Soundboard, the journal of the Guitar Foundation of America. Gary discusses how luthiers influence a guitar's sound by manipulating structural features on the soundboard. An accompanying lecture/demonstration was presented at the GFA Convention in June 2016. Reprinted with kind permission by the GFA. Read the article >>
"Ben's Luthier" in Benjamin Verdery: A Montage of a Classical Guitarist Ed. T. Donahue. Rowman and Littlefield, 2018. Along with illuminating chapters written by Benjamin Verdery's friends and colleagues, I share how I met Ben, about our friendship, the relationship he has with his guitars and music, and the guitars I've built for him. Foreward by Leo Brouwer and Afterward by Benjamin Verdery.
With Leo Brouwer at the 2018 GFA Convention. Maestro Brouwer wrote the Foreward and I wrote Chapter 13.
Podcast Interview Part 1 and Part 2 with Simon Powis of ClassicalGuitarCorner.com. In this two-part interview, Gary answers a myriad of questions about guitar design and materials, what he listens for in guitars, tips for purchasing guitars, the concept of resonance, action, repairs, cases, the influence of strings and scale length, tuning machines, sound ports, arm rests and more. Recorded October 2015.
Podcast Interview with Bret Williams of Classical Guitar Insider. Gary tells how he got started in lutherie, what it's like to build guitars in the New York City area, a little about how guitars work, and the kind of guitars he builds. Recorded October 2013 and available free on iTunes. Go to episode 18, but also check out all the other interesting interviews of classical guitar personalities. Interview starts at 14:45.
Luthier Profile Interview from Soundboard (vol. 39.4), the publication of the Guitar Foundation of America. Fellow luthier Aaron Ringo asks Gary about his beginnings in lutherie, neck design, rosettes, wood selection and guitar playing. Reprinted with kind permission by the GFA.
T.V. interview in Paraguay
Essential Knowledge for Guitarists is a presentation developed for guitar teachers and undergraduate and graduate guitar performance majors that teaches essential information about owning, playing, and purchasing guitars. 1) What controls action? 2) What controls intontation 3) What is fingerboard relief and why do I need a little, but not a lot? 4) How do different strings affect sound and playability? 5) Why is humidity important? 6) Cases and travel.
1. Yale University, New Haven, CT, Jan. 2017
2. Mannes School of Music, New York City, Jan. 2017
3. New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ, Feb. 2017
4. State Univ. of New York, Purchase, Mar. 10, 2017
5. Manhattan School of Music, Sep. 12, 2018
6. Mannes School of Music, New York City, Nov. 1, 2018
Controlling Resonance and Tone Quality through Structure is a presentation for beginning through advanced luthiers designed to provide an understanding of the physical basis for controlling guitar sound and consistency. Starting with principles of resonance and the structural and mechanical variables that influence it, this presentation provides the conceptual and practical means for a builder to alter a guitar’s voice.
3rd International Forum of Lutherie, Asuncion, Paraguay Oct. 2016
Controlling Sound gives players a fascinating look into what real lutherie is about—getting the sound. The presentation introduces acoustic and structural concepts in a fun and painless way through demonstrations. The presentation delves into what hand builders do to pull out every drop of sound using materials, design and execution. This session will answer questions such as: 1) what makes a luthier-built guitar sound so much better than a factory-built guitar? 2) why do spruce guitars sound different than cedars? 3) how does a guitar’s structure determine its sound? and 4) what are the current trends in guitar building? This is the most interesting talk for avid amateur players (such as in guitar societies) and college through professional players.
1. Philadelphia Classical Guitar Festival, Apr. 14, 2019
2. Guitar Foundation of America Convention, Denver, CO, Jun. 2016.
3. Bloomingdale Guitar Festival, New York City, Jan. 2013
4. New York City Classical Guitar Society, Oct. 2012
5. William Paterson University Guitar Fest, Wayne, NJ, Apr. 2010
6. New Jersey Guitar and Music Society, Hackensack, NJ, Jan. 2009
The Intersecting Worlds of Luthier and Player starts with Gary interviewing a professional guitarist about his/her relationship with the instrument, giving the guitarist an opportunity to discuss and demonstrate the musical/playable qualities of a concert-level guitar and the realities, joys, frustrations of a the guitar as a tool of the trade. The brief discussion is followed by a more formal talk on how I as a builder fulfill these needs. The presentation explores traditional and contemporary features on classical guitars and how players’ needs influence the type of guitars luthiers build. This talk is more about design, structural and acoustical concepts and less about how guitars are built step by step. The presentation can be modified to include the type of basic info that someone might like to know if they are going to buy a guitar. This talk has been the most popular for hard-core guitarists as well as non-musicians and is particularly inviting for audience questions and extended discussion.
1. Philadelphia Classical Guitar Festival, with guitarist Jordan Dodson, Apr. 2017
2. Beau Monde Guitars, with guitarist Matthew Pidi, Northvale, NJ, Jan. 2015
3. Museum of American Heritage Lecture Series, with guitarist Yuri Liberzon,
The Parsons School of Design and Mannes College of Music, New York City, Nov. 2013
5. Yale Guitar Extravaganza, with guitarist Benjamin Verdery, New Haven, CT, Mar. 2012
6. Wall Guitar Festival, with guitarist Christopher Kenniff, Wall, NJ, May 2011
Contemporary Guitar Design was developed for the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Guitar design features are discussed within the historical context of players’ needs, musically and physically, and stretches into cutting-edge elements and building techniques of today.
“The Future of Guitar and Instrument Design” lecture series, The Parsons School of Design and Mannes College of Music, New York City, Nov. 2013
Confessions of a Luthier gives an inside and personal look into lutherie as a profession and the lessons learned from players and the craft.
Sample Description: A professional luthier wears many hats: craftsman, businessman, acoustician, engineer, musician, research scientist, and sometimes psychotherapist to the player. Join luthier Garrett Lee for an inside look into the world of classical guitar building as a career. Having observed hundreds and hundreds of guitarists play an equally large number of different guitars, Gary has had the unique opportunity to observe how different guitarists interact with their instruments. What are concert players really looking for in a guitar? How does one start building guitars and what does it take to do it professionally? Where do you get all that wood? What is the hardest part about building guitars and is it really possible to control such a complex system? Learn the answers to these questions and more through a different perspective on the world of classical guitar.
New York City Classical Guitar Society, Oct. 2015
What Does a Luthier Do in the 21st Century? is designed for general audiences and illuminates the many facets of being a luthier in the modern world. More than just a description of what I build, I delve into the questions that have defined my career in instrument making: why and how did you transition from a career in science? What do professional guitarists want? What determines a guitar's sound and how do you shape that sound? What temperament is required to be a luthier and what drives you?
Senior's Group, Wayne, NJ, June 2018
Presentation with Fred Hand