Philosophy / Methodology
Much of my approach to building has been developed through years of hard work and personal exploration coupled with hands-on instruction from two extremely talented master luthiers – Frank Finocchio and Ervin Somogyi.
The heart and soul of my philosophy is a dedication to uncompromising quality. I insist on using only the finest quality materials and I take all the time necessary to ensure the workmanship is top-shelf. I fuss over every detail on every guitar whether you will ever see the work or not. The inside of the truss rod cavity gets the same attention to detail as the bridge, the bindings, the frets, and everything else. Each guitar I build is a tangible symbol of my integrity, my craftsmanship, and my passion. I put everything I have into each instrument I build and it doesn’t leave my shop unless it is perfect.
My goal is to build an instrument that sounds great, plays like it was made for your hands, and is impressive to look at.
Here are a few of the features I build into every Poling Guitar:
Lightly Built Tops
By conventional standards my tops and my bracing are lighter than you may be used to seeing. Since every piece of wood is different, I spend a considerable amount of time searching for the stiffest most responsive tops – ensuring each is perfectly quartersawn with little to no grain run out. I then thickness the top to a target deflection — not a standardized thickness. This helps ensure every top is as responsive as possible without being over or under built. Additionally, working to a target stiffness helps generate a consistency in the overall sound of my guitars.
All of my tops are braced with the stiffest Adirondack Red Spruce available. Tops are inserted into a special "tapping mold" and voiced to meet the needs of each customer and their specific goals. In addition to lightening the bracing during the voicing process, I slightly adjust the brace positions such as: opening or closing the angle of the x-brace, adjusting the position of the tone bars, or changing the location of the finger braces — this makes a significant difference in the responsiveness and "voice" of each guitar. I work closely with each customer to help uncover just the sound they are looking for.
My backs are also built lightly by conventional standards. Each is braced with the finest quality Adirondack Red Spruce available. The back is a significant contributing factor in the production of sound and a lightly built back will produce a guitar with a rich, large sound quality.
Reinforced Rim Assemblies
I build the sides and rim assemblies of my guitars to be as absolutely stiff as I can make them. This helps to reduce the energy absorbed into the sides and helps to contribute to a richer overall sound. To achieve this I laminate two thin premium tonewood sides with an industrial epoxy resin. And, for added stiffness, I employ "capped linings" popularized by Charles Fox. In combination, this produces the stiffest rim assemblies possible, without adding appreciable weight. I believe this makes a significant contribution to the overall tone and sustain of the guitar.
My standard neck uses a 3-ply lamination of the finest Honduran Mahogany or Maple available. Laminated neck blocks are very popular with custom builders because of their added strength, aesthetic beauty and due to the growing difficulty to acquire stock material large enough for solid neck blanks.
The backs of all of my headstocks include a veneer for both aesthetic beauty and additional strength in the headstock. Necks that are constructed from a single blank are traditionally weakest in the headstock area. This backstrap veneer provides additional support and dramatically strengthens this area of the neck.
Finally, I install a premium double action truss rod and two carbon fiber rods for additional stability. With all of these features and reinforcements my necks will comfortably withstand generations of constant string pressure.
Compound Radius Fingerboards
I offer compound radius fingerboards on all of my guitars as a way to improve player comfort and playability and achieve a very uniform action across the entire length of the fretboard.
Bridge / Saddle Construction
My bridges employ several modern features for increased energy transfer, intonation, and durability. First, my bridges do not have the typical "winged" profile they use a domed profile to provide a light, stiff footprint for maximum energy transfer. I use a 1/4" saddle to allow the strings to make greater surface area contact, thus helping with the flow of energy, and finally the saddles are angled back 5 degrees to capitalize on the forward pull of the strings to maximize contact between the bottom of the saddle and the bridge. All of this lends toward a more brilliant "alive" tone.