Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 8, 2012

Crafting the music

TAHLEQUAH — The guitar evolved into the stringed instrument played today from ancient cousins in central Asia and India.

Each new craftsman has changed the guitar’s style and sound by design, including local musician Scott Lawrence.

“I started building guitars to make the kind of guitar I always wanted and couldn’t afford,” Lawrence said.

After extensive research, Lawrence now creates his own guitars, known as D’Lorenzo.

“The design is about engineering a more responsive guitar,” he said. “I’m trying to make an acoustically superior instrument that has more acoustic volume, projection, sustain and tone.”

In his retirement career, the former physical therapist has made between 50 and 60 guitars. Quality of tone and the playability of the instrument are his priorities.

“The only way to make a name for myself is to not just do something different, but better – to advance the art of guitar building,” he said. “My interest is not in making a decorative guitar, so much as one full of tone that just makes you want to play.”

A trumpet needs a band behind it to make it sound right, he said, but a guitar you can get lost in for hours.

“I’m inspired by music without limits and the ability to improvise and go wherever you want to go,” said Lawrence.

He played trumpet in school in New Orleans, where all students play music beginning in second grade.

“They’ve got their own style of music, and that’s what they listen to,” he said. “They take it seriously down there.”

At 12, he received a Sears Silvertone and has always had and played guitars since.

As a youth, he honed woodworking skills, restoring and building custom furniture with his grandfather, Roy Larson, a cabinet maker in Minnesota.

His dad was in the military, so Lawrence traveled a lot. He started performing professionally at age 16, while living in Washington, D.C.

“[I like] rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “Like most kids, you stick with it or get bored and go on to something else.”

In the 1970s, he began repairing guitars for a music store in Cincinnati while attending commercial art school. This is where he gained the confidence to build his own guitars.

“A man retired from Gretsch worked there, and I learned a lot working with him,” Lawrence said.  “I was studying jazz with good Cincinnati musicians, too.”

In his 20s, he built three Martin guitars from kits.

He had custom cabinet shops and restored furniture in Seattle and Colorado before coming to Oklahoma to earn a degree in physical therapy. Today, he works in a wood shop he built from the slab up. He uses hand tools that belonged to his grandfather to craft his wood into guitar pieces. Around his shop are guitars in various stages of the process, as well as repair jobs, including an 1800s cello.

“Each guitar is an improvement on the last,” Lawrence said.

“I continue to study and do research about acoustical design and engineering, and structural engineering, as well.”

An arch top has between 160 and 180 hours into it. He actually carves out the shape rather than steam-bends it. A flat-top requires between 110 and 120 hours to complete.

“I’ve built Gypsy jazz guitars, a hybrid between arch-top and a flat-top, and occasionally I do an electric guitar just for the fun,” he said.

He doesn’t care for custom “wacky” designs.

“Those wanting a custom guitar in a wacky design, shaped like Ecuador? I’m just not the guy,” he said. “But conventional lines and high-performance features, I can do that. Custom woods, voice or tone, I can do that.”

He’s moving toward using more domestic hardwoods, like black walnut and maple, because he doesn’t want to contribute to the extinction of tropical hardwoods like Brazilian rosewood and Honduran mahogany.

D’Lorenzo guitars are priced around $2,400 for flattops and $6,500 for high-end, arch-top models. His creations are selling at shows and markets, and now he’s marketing online.

“Prices are very competitive, compared to a factory Martin,” Lawrence said. “You can buy a guitar for any budget; that’s fine for a student. But a serious instrumentalist and guitarist who is very demanding for a guitar that plays right and sounds right, and is responsive to his style, can pay up in the range of $25,000.”

At a recent guitar show in Dallas, Clint Strong, a guitarist who tours with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard sat down and played a D’Lorenzo guitar for about 20 minutes, “and a crowd gathered.”

“I’m looking for an instrumentalist to endorse my guitar,” Lawrence said. “Tommy Emmanuel and Leo Kotke, or Brad Paisley or Vince Gill, as long as they can scorch them frets.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • SR-WalkaMile1.jpg Walk a Mile 2014

    Men squeezed into feminine footwear Saturday by the hundreds to walk in solidarity with women on the issue of sexual violence – and their clop-clop-clopping echoed down Muskogee Avenue.
    The fourth annual “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” brought men to Norris Park, accompanied by their enthusiastic female supporters, to walk – and often wobble – in high heels over a mile-long course to raise funds for Help-In-Crisis.
    “It hurts every year,” said John Christie, a Sequoyah High School student participating in his third Walk a Mile. “I get home, sit down, blisters come up and the calves hurt. But it is worth it. It’s for a good cause.”

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • adams-christopher.jpg Michigan man gets 13 years on plea to rape, sodomy of girl

    A 28-year-old Michigan man will spend about 13 years in an Oklahoma state prison after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy involving a 13-year-old girl.
    Christopher Dale Adams, of Lake Orion, Mich., received a 13-year prison sentence for each of the five charges, to be followed by seven years suspended. All sentences will run concurrently.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • logan-amy.jpg Police take down pair on pot distribution charge

    Tahlequah police officers arrested a pair Sunday night for allegedly possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
    Tahlequah Officer Cody Warren said police were asked to investigate when 35-year-old Amy N. Logan, of Tahlequah, allegedly took a family member’s car without permission.
    While Warren was speaking with the owners of the vehicle, Logan arrived along with 26-year-old Theoplilus James Mollie, of Tulsa.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • land-lisa.jpg Two nailed with meth, pot hidden in bag of chips

    Two people were arrested early Monday morning when Tahlequah police stopped a vehicle near Basin Avenue and found methamphetamine and marijuana hidden in a bag of chips.
    Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said he noticed a Nissan heading north on Park Hill Road, and the vehicle later stopped in an intersection.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gawf-johnny.jpg Nylon case doesn’t fool deputy; drug charges to be filed

    A Tahlequah man is jailed at the Cherokee County Detention Center after being arrested on drug possession charges.
    Deputy Michael Cates stopped Johnny Lee Gawf, 25, near Stick Ross Mountain Road and U.S. Highway 62. Gawf did not have his driver’s license and had a no-bond warrant for failure to pay.
    When Gawf was asked to step out of his vehicle, he allegedly reached into a pocket and pulled out a black nylon case, which he claimed to be a pocket knife. Gawf sat the case in the seat of the vehicle.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-CN-citizenship.jpg Dual citizenship still OK for tribes

    It’s been almost a year since the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma was forced to close its casino, leaving about 150 members without jobs.
    Right before the operations was shuttered, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker offered a plan to absorb UKB employees, scheduling three employment registration meetings in September 2013.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • TPS to hold graduation at Doc Wadley, after all

    A letter obtained by the Tahlequah Daily Press states that graduation exercises for the Tahlequah High School Class of 2014 will be held at Doc Wadley Stadium on May 23.
    Tahlequah Public Schools received an invitation from the city and Northeastern State University to hold the graduation ceremony inside the NSU multipurpose event center, and the district was initially agreeable. But the necessity of limiting invitations to 10 or 15 per student because of seating concerns drew heavy criticism from seniors and parents.

    April 22, 2014

  • Woman allegedly went after relative, then cop

    Deputies say a 22-year-old woman assaulted a family member Saturday, then attacked an officer when he tried to arrest her.
    Deputy Bryan Qualls was sent to investigate the domestic disturbance at Hilltop Circle. Donna Wilder, the alleged victim, told Qualls that the suspect, Kaylynn Sharp, was hiding in the garage, and had struck her in the face several times.

    April 22, 2014

  • jn-city-pool.jpg City of Tahlequah progressing on bond projects

    Just more than a year after the city began collecting a sales tax funds for use on capital improvements, crews continue to work toward finishing several of the projects.
    “We’re going to deliver everything we said we would,” Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols said Friday.
    The $21-million-plus bond issue approved in 2013 includes about $10 million worth of street projects. South Muskogee Avenue will eventually be widened into a five-lane stretch; East Fourth Street’s widening project is underway; and West Fourth will become, at least in part, a three-lane road.
    Projects will also focus on parts of North Grand, East Allen, Bluff, Crafton, and North Cedar.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall-dustin.jpg Four men charged with burglary

    Four local men are facing burglary and stolen-property charges in Cherokee County District Court.
    Prosecutors have charged the four men with second-degree burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Stocks