Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some Recent Instruments

  Here's some of the last instruments to come off the bench here.  First up is a 14 fret Orchestra Model (OM) built in standard Martin fashion as far as shape, and bracing goes.  I built one OM before this back when I was at Roberto Venn, but in general I've wanted to stay away from building Martin style guitars.  Partly because I'm usually attracted to a different sound and aesthetic, and partly because there's enough people out there building Martin inspired creations.  But my friend and great songwriter Louis Ledford approached me with an interesting commission.  He had a really nice guitar case..  and wanted me to build the guitar to fit it.  The details on how and why he had just this case and not the guitar were fuzzy, but we brought it down to the shop, measured it up, and sure enough it was built to fit an OM.  So after a bit of research and settling on wood selection and details, we came out with this.

Louis chose the headstock shape based on a really cool old European guitar he has.  The four leaf clover was also his idea, and is suitable as this is my 13th guitar.

   It's got Walnut back and sides, a Cedar top, Ebony fretboard and bridge, Maple bindings, and Mahogany for the neck.  The sound is awesome!  Resonant, and loud, but still retaining a lot of warmth.  It's a very balanced, sweet tone that collaborates very well with Louis' mellow raspy voice.  You can check him out here..

  Next up is an X-braced L-1 made for great musician, and my good friend, Reeb Willms.  This one has Mahogany back and sides, Sitka Spruce top, and Rosewood fingerboard, bridge, and bindings.

With the dark sunburst and the inlay style, it is reminiscent of the old Gibson Nick Lucas.  The middle of the rosette is curly Koa.  Reeb sings and plays with Foghorn Stringband, and you can find more about them here..

  Finally the most recent build here is this all mahogany mandolinetto.

  Based on the century old Vernon, this little buddy boasts a more modern style with a curly maple bound fingerboard and matching pickguard.  The fret position inlays are also maple.  It carries a lot of volume, and packs a warm, woody punch.  I sat playing this for a good hour after stringing it up, and found it very versatile with a good range of tones available.  The fingerboard and bridge are Oregon Black Walnut originally felled and milled by Doc at Doc's Banjos.

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