Melvyn is giving us a chance to catch up with him and answer your questions. Also, he we be donating some copies of the new book for us to give away to members!
From his press release for the 3rd edition:
From a 10 x 8 book of 160 pages and 250 illustrations in 1986 to 304 pages, 11 x 9 and with close on 750 drawings, diagrams and photographs, the book now covers far more of the subject, and in greater detail, without losing the common touch that made it so successful to begin with. Melvyn Hiscock has been making guitars for almost forty years and has poured that experience into this third edition.
He also promises that the jokes are just as bad as before!
Some background information from Melvyn:
So feel free to start asking questions!Is it really ten years since I did the interview with Clint? How can that be? I suppose that a lot has happened and so time tends to fly by in those circumstances, and there has been some complications to life that have confused things.
I think I was in the process of releasing my acoustic book back then and the timing could not have been worse. We had the big recession, I had some personal stuff that was distracting and it was all at the wrong time. On top of that I lost my dad and moved in to look after my mother, got dumped by the girlfriend, it was not a fun time.
I was in two minds about a third edition as it is a LOT of work and ends up costing a lot of money. NBS Publications has, until very recently, been just me, so money can be tight sometimes.
The first edition was through another publisher but I was not happy with them, so when I did the 1998 edition, that was all me. I even used to take the books to the airport when they shipped. If you are in the US and have the edition with the foreword by Brian May, then I drove that to the airport myself!
I thought hard about just doing another reprint, but there were a lot of things I wanted to expand on, so it had to be a new edition.
The 1998 edition had taken close on two years to produce, and I didn’t want to tie myself up for that long, so I decided to give myself six months. I knew that was pretty well impossible but it was worth trying. I had worked in publishing and got sick of people telling me that two years was not long enough to write a 70,000 word book, so I decided to see if I could prove myself right!
I started on 10 January 2016, I remember as it was the day David Bowie died, and I did 50,000 words in the first week. I then did another 20,000 the second week and integrated that with the existing typescript and had a complete first pass in 17 days.
I only did that to prove to myself that it is possible, but then I had to get started on the new drawings, photographs and everything else.
This was the point when things started going pear-shaped again, firstly my mum died in May and so I had to get the house ready for sale and then, in August 2016, I got diagnosed with colon cancer.
Since then it has spread to the liver and beyond, I have had various sorts of chemo but I was determined to complete the book. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and I had met, and married, a fantastic lady called Caroline and wanted to leave her the book.
It has slowed things up, but has also given me the chance to take a much deeper look at the book. I had to rewrite the wood chapter twice as the CITES rules changed. There is a lot more on design, wiring and much more on kit guitars, so I hope it is worth waiting for.
The new edition does have some stuff that might be controversial to some people, Kent Armstrong has written me some stuff for the wiring
chapter that completely debunks the expensive capacitor argument, I have some comments on ‘tone wood’.