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dennisczech 02-23-2021 08:11 AM

McNally OM build, Adi/Cuban: Guitar has landed
In March last year I decided to go with a 00 and an OM from Ciaran. The 00 arrived for Christmas and is being loved and played a lot, so I've managed to hold the anticipation for the OM. Both guitars built with woods supplied by me, a first for me.

It was due to be built in the last batch, but the sides I supplied were pretty slabby and cracked in bending, so the build was delayed until now. Ciaran offered me a range of alternatives, and I was very tempted by bog oak, but my heart was still set on Cuban mahogany. We managed to find another set of old Cuban back/sides as an alternative, but I really like the figure of the original set, which was salvaged from old furniture so is probably around 200 years old, and had an emotional attachment for me.

Luckily, the original supplier managed to replace the sides with a comparable, more quartered set which have survived bending. The adi top is from John Arnold's 2014 ventures into the woods with the Hampton Bros. Specs are a 1 13/16 nut, manzer wedge body and soundport. And off we go!

steveh 02-26-2021 11:51 AM

Hi Dennis; just seen this.

I'd not come across Cairan McNally, so have just spent the last 10 minutes on his website: Very impressive. His prices also look extremely reasonable for a luthier built instrument.

Have you posted about your 00? It would be great to see and hear it. I know you have played some absolutely stellar guitars over the years.

Bog oak seems to be this years "hype", so I understand the temptation, but your Cuban looks great. I asked Ralph Bown many years ago about an OM in Cuban and he feared he would not be able to get his hands on any that was decent enough to build with so very well done for that.

Does your 00 have a soundport? I hate those things!


ChuckS 02-26-2021 12:04 PM

Hello Dennis,
The tonewoods you've chosen look fantastic! I'm a big fan of Cuban Mahogany, and pairing it with Red Spruce should be great. Is there a certain playing style, or type of song, that you are targeting this for?

dennisczech 02-26-2021 12:58 PM

Hey Steve, here's the link to the original 00 build thread:

a couple of vids of the 00:

The tone has continued to mature since. As for soundports, I love those things!

Chuck, I am indeed excited about the woods combo. I guess I'm looking for something similar to the 00 but bigger all round sound if that makes sense, suitable for the kind of mixed fingerstyle stuff I like but hopefully versatile enough to tolerate a fat pick wielded in anger...

dennisczech 03-15-2021 06:29 AM

Update pics. Fingerboard and bridge will be rosewood. I'm going for simple appointments, let the wood speak for itself. I kind of like the colours in the red spruce.

dennisczech 03-22-2021 06:34 AM

Should be a box this week. The excitement of anticipation never changes.

ChuckS 03-22-2021 08:06 AM

Oh my, what a set of tonewoods. The coloring is great for the top and back. The Cuban Mh seems really dark. I think you'll be very happy that you've chosen a simplistic design to let the woods speak for themselves.

Guitars44me 03-23-2021 12:07 PM

Pretty woods!
Beautiful woods. Cuban Mahogany is such nice stuff...

I love soundports and a Wedge is always a plus in my book! Comfort is so comfortable! Hahaha



steveh 03-23-2021 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by dennisczech (Post 6669085)
The excitement of anticipation never changes.

Never was a truer thing said!

I often think the journey is the best bit. I'm currently waiting on a nylon guitar - 2 years in, 2 years further to go. Savour every moment...


dennisczech 03-23-2021 04:20 PM

I guess the anticipation provides room for the fantasy to flourish. Gotta say though, I'm still loving my 00 after 3 months of reality, and it's made me want to actively play more rather than cruise the internet and fantasise. It sits nicely in my desired spot between power and sweetness, with a chiming musicality that is noticeably beautiful. I've just been comparing it to my other 00 which is ultra-lightly built sitka over mahogany 12 fret, and has a bit more power but is slightly more brittle tonally.
So I'm looking forward to this Adi-topped OM, which I'm presuming will provide a little more oomph than the 00. Box progressing to bound status!

dennisczech 03-25-2021 04:15 PM

And we have a wedged box!

dennisczech 03-29-2021 10:47 AM

Starting to pop under the spray... the neck has some stain

dennisczech 04-02-2021 05:19 AM

I asked Ciaran to keep the finish as thin as possible, so he has done 9 coats of satin instead of the usual 12. Should be assembled and strung up by the end of next week!

Malcolm Kindnes 04-02-2021 06:26 AM

Congratulations, looks very nice. Ciaran is a great builder and a very pleasant young man to deal with.

Nemoman 04-02-2021 09:36 AM

Wow--that mahogany and the adi look fantastic under finish!

steveh 04-03-2021 03:21 AM

Didn't realise this had a wedge Dennis.
Now they are something I definitely am in favour of: I used to be a sceptic but as I've got older I find that even medium sized guitars can be a bit of a handful, especially as I often find myself playing when slouched on the couch at the end of a busy day. I had a Kostal OM and a pal had a pretty-much identical Kostal but with a wedge, and it definitely made his instrument more comfortable to play.

Guitar looks lovely.


dennisczech 04-03-2021 04:43 AM

Same as that Steve, these days I find anything larger than a classical a bit bulky, and I don't really like a depth greater than 105mm so even on an OM the wedge is pretty vital!

dennisczech 04-06-2021 01:13 PM

Santos rosewood FB, which will match the headstock and bridge

dennisczech 04-08-2021 11:18 AM

Ciaran says it "has that Adirondack growl". Just awaiting fine tuning and ready to ship out on Monday.

steveh 04-09-2021 03:18 AM

Looks lovely: Pure and elegant.

The expectation must be intolerable?!


dennisczech 04-16-2021 04:56 PM

Well, it's been about a year, and all the anticipation resolves in opening that box kindly left outside my door by UPS. Nice guitar :)
The satin finish is quite understated, which I like, and the simplicity of the build does let the woods speak for themselves. I am glad I went for the 47mm (1 27/32!) nut width, I seem to have settled on 47 or 48mm as optimum.
Soundwise, it's had a couple of days to settle in, wake up and start accepting its new life as a guitar. Big, singing tone, very responsively voiced for fingerstyle, lots of sustain. Definitely in the same family tonewise as the McNally 00, but stronger and bolder as you would expect. I really like the Adi top, it's got a lot of musical personality, and the Cuban, well it sounds like mahogany but with a bit extra, a bit more chorus and overtones, maybe a bit more rosewood-ish? Very rewarding to play, so I'm having fun. I'll update with a recording in a few weeks.
There's quite a cool effect that happens in DADGAD when I play the G and B string one semitone apart, the wave dissonance creates a fascinating kind of sonic ripple that sustains for several seconds.

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