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Interview with Mike Mankel, August 31, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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0:01 - Introduction / bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Here with Mike Mankel, um, uh, to talk about what he does. Which is incredible.

Segment Synopsis: Mike Mankel is introduced and gives a brief summary of himself. He talks about how he began making bourbon barrel guitars, the challenges involved, and the importance to him of creating something unique.

Keywords: Aged wood; Bourbon barrels; Building; Challenges; Creativity; Reclaimed wood; Seasoned wood; Unique; Used wood; Vision; Wood

Subjects: Art.; Creative ability.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.; Quality of products.

7:11 - Importance of quality in making bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Um, which, which takes me to the point of, of the guitars themselves.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about the importance to him of creating not only a beautiful looking instrument, but also one that plays well.

Keywords: Hand-made; Playing; Relationships; Sound

Subjects: Art.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Quality of products.

9:08 - Process of making bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Talk about your process.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel describes the process of creating a bourbon barrel guitar from obtaining the barrel heads to the finished product. He talks about the importance of preserving the distillery stamps, why he chose the single cutaway guitar style, and the challenge of creating the neck from barrel wood.

Keywords: Barrel heads; Boards; Char; Cooperages; Curvature; Curves; Distillery stamps; Fret boards; Guitar necks; Joiners; Planes; Planing; Process; Reclaimed wood; Single cutaway guitar style; Staves; Uniformity; Used wood; Warped; Woodworking

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Distillation.; Distilleries--Kentucky; Distillers.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.; Whiskey industry

18:02 - Factors in deciding to begin making bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Well, that, that being said, you, you, you have patented this process.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about some of the factors that influenced him to begin creating bourbon barrel guitars, including their uniqueness, as well as the significance of seeing his wedding anniversary on the first barrel head he received.

Keywords: Barrel heads; Buffalo Trace Distillery; Date stamps; Factors; First guitar; Patent filing; Reclaimed wood; Research; Trademarks; Uniqueness; Used wood; Wedding anniversaries

Subjects: Art.; Bourbon whiskey; Creative ability.; Distillation.; Distilleries--Kentucky; Distillers.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.; Whiskey industry

21:56 - Aesthetics of the bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Well, you know, whenever you're making a guitar, you know, I think again there are some traditional patterns...

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about some of the aesthetic decisions he made when designing the bourbon barrel guitars, including the shape of the instrument, the shape of the head stock, and designing the logo for his company.

Keywords: Aesthetics; Barrel heads; Bourbon Barrel Guitar Company; Bourbon bottles; Designs; Guitar necks; Guitar styles; Head stocks; Iconic; Logos; Reclaimed wood; Shapes; Single cutaway guitar style; Size; Spirits; Used wood

Subjects: Art.; Bourbon whiskey; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.

28:23 - Family instruments as inspiration for making bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: So this is one of those, you know, interviews that, you know, um--'cause we do oral history here.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about some of the instruments he now owns which have been passed down in his family through several generations.

Keywords: Family; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Guitars; Inspiration; Mothers; One-string violins; Parents; Playing music; Support; Violins

Subjects: Art and music.; Musical families; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.

31:42 - Adding to the life of a barrel by making bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Um, enjoyed learning woodworking.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about his feelings on using reclaimed wood for his guitars and the idea of barrels and other wood being reused for new purposes, giving them another life.

Keywords: Building; Cooperages; Long-lasting; Pianos; Purposes; Reclaimed wood; Renewing; Soundboards; Used wood; Wood; Woodworking

Subjects: Art.; Bourbon whiskey; Distillation.; Distilleries--Kentucky; Distillers.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.; Whiskey industry

37:38 - Spreading the word about bourbon barrel guitars

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's go back to the bourbon barrel guitars.

Segment Synopsis: Mankel talks about how he is going to inform potential clients about his work, including his website and connections with musicians and artists. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Excitement; Future; Musicians; Plans; Websites

Subjects: Art and music.; Electric guitar makers; Electric guitar.; Guitar makers.; Guitar--Construction.; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musical inventions and patents.


Hyperlink: Link to Mankel's website Bourbonbarrelguitar.com
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