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Cocobolo Kid 01-20-2020 11:28 PM

Build: 2020 Ray Kraut 00, Swiss/Brazilian
I am extremely excited to be posting this Raymond Kraut 00 build thread. I have been lucky enough to own and play fine luthier-built acoustic guitars for over ten years, and I have always admired the aesthetics of Kraut guitars. However, I felt they were outside the price range I was willing to pay. That all changed when I met Ray in late 2018 and finally played one of his guitars for the first time. I was floored by the unparalleled response, dynamics and tone. Even more fortunately for me, in 2018 Ray moved and set up shop in Tucson, Arizona, less than ten miles from where I live. I have been visiting Ray's shop every week or two for the last year, and we have become great friends. I cannot speak highly enough about Ray's honesty, openness and loyalty. Ray also loves animals as much as I do. He takes his dog Kees almost everywhere he goes. Ray has been quietly trying to perfect building the most optimally responsive acoustic guitar possible since he apprenticed with Ervin Somogyi over a decade ago.

Ray makes three different models of acoustic guitars, and I selected his newest and smallest design, the 00 model. It is a little less than 14.5 inches across at the lower bout and about 4.25 inches deep at the tail. I liked this model because it has great articulation, bloom and balance with just enough low bass. It is also very comfortable to play.

Enough of the introduction. Here are some photos.

Ray flew to Switzerland last year, and picked out twenty or so master grade spruce tops. Here is the one I chose, with no runout, great silking, uniform fine grain, and a very high stiffness to weight ratio:

This is the set of Brazilian rosewood I selected. Ray has had this set in his shop for several years.

Finally, I located a unique set of handmade Reischl tuning machines for this guitar. Unfortunately, these tuners are not being made any more.

I will post more photos shortly, so thanks for looking and stay tuned.

Cocobolo Kid 01-20-2020 11:40 PM

Build Photos - Rosette
The build has started and I am hoping for a March delivery.

Ray and I discussed what I liked about his past rosettes, and after drawing up several designs, this is the design and materials we selected:

Here is the beginning of the rosette:

Here are two pieces of the dyed spalted wood after being inlayed.

Ray is well known for his beautiful and unique rosettes (no two are alike). I am biased, of course, but I think this is one of his best to date:

Cocobolo Kid 01-20-2020 11:46 PM

Build Photo - Back and Sides
Here are a few more build photos.

The sides after being bent:

Closeup of the Brazilian rosewood back after the back braces have been glued and shaped:

The back after the box has been closed up:

That is all I have for now. I should be visiting Ray in the next couple days, so I will post photos as this build progresses. Thanks again for looking.

Guitars44me 01-21-2020 12:46 AM

Nice!!! You must be stoked.

Cool to be close enough to visit your builder. What fun!!!



colins 01-21-2020 03:18 AM

So good to see it happening John!

That is going to be an awesome guitar and it is great you can be close to the build.

cigarfan 01-21-2020 05:13 AM

Very nice start. Your rosette is beautiful. I look forward to seeing this come together.

Parlorman 01-21-2020 05:54 AM

Very nice. I’m looking forward to seeing more updates.

Carmel Cedar 01-21-2020 10:29 AM

John - that is an amazing rosette. Congratulations on what looks to be an amazing build! Great choice on going for a 00, Ray is so proud of that model.

You are indeed lucky to have him in town. I stopped by for a visit to his shop a month ago (he mentioned your build). I was inspired by his passion for excellence in working with wood and crafting flawless and stunningly responsive instruments. Awesome that you can visit him regularly! :up:

Bill Kraus 01-21-2020 10:41 AM

Nice, love the rays in that top.

Diamondave 01-21-2020 01:02 PM

Very exciting, I have a 2020 Kraut build myself...!!!! I've played numerous of Ray's most recent builds and I'm totally blown away.... Congrats, tuned in

Erithon 01-22-2020 09:24 AM

Wow, very exciting! I've played a couple Kraut guitars and they really appealed to me. I'll be following closely. This will be fun!

Cocobolo Kid 01-22-2020 11:41 AM

Kraut 00
Paul, Colin, Cigarfan, Bill, CarmelCedar, Bill Kraus, Diamondave, and Erithon, thanks so much for posting and for the kind words.

CarmelCedar, it is too bad that I did not get to meet you when you were here in Tucson. Maybe next time. Ray is indeed very passionate about his craft, and he is a perfectionist like me, which is great.

Diamondave, I keep admiring the guitar Ray is building for you. I wish I could afford all the upgrades you are getting, like Ray's elegant and gorgeous raised fingerboard. I did spring for the same Brazilian rosewood bridge and fingerboard though.

I do feel extremely fortunate to live so close to a world class luthier like Ray. It is great fun to watch him build guitars. I knew the large steps involved, but it is amazing to see all the little, and equally important, steps in between. The collaboration on a custom build is even more fun when I can pick out every piece of wood and see all the progress as it happens. The fact that Ray is also such a terrific person is the cherry on top.

I will post more progress photos in a couple days. I will also post photos of Ray's shop since he has some amazing shop tools and machines.

El Conquistador 01-23-2020 10:53 AM


Originally Posted by Cocobolo Kid (Post 6271017)

Ray flew to Switzerland last year, and picked out twenty or so master grade spruce tops. Here is the one I chose, with no runout, great silking, and a very high stiffness to weight ratio:

Wow John, that is one good looking piece of spruce!

Looking forward to the next batch of pictures.


Cocobolo Kid 01-25-2020 11:12 PM

Kraut 00

Originally Posted by El Conquistador (Post 6273349)
Wow John, that is one good looking piece of spruce!

Looking forward to the next batch of pictures.


Thanks so much Steve. Ray and I went through about twenty master grade Swiss spruce tops he had picked out in Switzerland, and we were both attracted to this top.

Posting more pictures in the next half hour.

Cocobolo Kid 01-25-2020 11:33 PM

Kraut 00
I visited Ray's shop yesterday, and he had made a lot of progress. He had completed the binding and purfling on the back and front of the guitar. Here are a few photos:

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