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-   -   Taran guitar club: Lapsed member returns - Tirga Mhor. (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=629780)

steveh 10-27-2021 08:52 AM

Taran guitar club: Lapsed member returns - Tirga Mhor.
 
I've been a huge fan of Stefan Sobell's guitars for many years. Indeed, it was an IRW Model 0 (made predominantly by Nigel Forster when Stefan’s apprentice) that ignited my passion for steel-strings. Sobells have incredible clarity and separation but can be somewhat "steely" and "cold" and, ultimately, this has caused me to move on, only to return a couple of years later, and so the pattern repeats: I've owned 5 over the years. I think Rory Dowling's instruments are very, very similar - I owned a Taran Mhor several years ago that was uncannily Sobellian: It looked exactly like one and also had tons of clarity and "spit", as Rory would say but, again, a bit cold.

After years of GAS I ended up with guitars by Tom Sands and Ed Claxton, and was perfectly content; great, top-class instruments. However, when I played Rory Dowling's "Mk II" Tirga Mhor in 2019, I was smitten despite not being in the market for a new guitar at all. Why? Well, because it seemed to me to combine the best of Sobell in a much warmer, richer, forgiving, and responsive package; i.e. a personal "Holy Grail". I resisted (I was perfectly happy with my two steel-strings) but, inevitably I ordered one, asking Rory to build me a clone of the guitar that had smitten me: Spruce mated with Malaysian blackwood BS and a Santos mahogany neck.

Some details of Rory's new Tirga Mhor and my thoughts on it here:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...hlight=simpson

Of course the pandemic intervened. Rory finally started my guitar but, as a health-care worker, I just haven't had the time (or inclination if I'm candid; I'm worn-out) to post a build thread. And frankly, the AGF is swarming with Taran threads currently. Cutting to the chase, the guitar arrived a couple of weeks ago and I am completely blown away. Predictably, I was nervous it might not replicate the "magic" of the previous guitar (now owned by my pal Ian), but I needn't have worried. It has great clarity, projection, and separation but is completely devoid of the rather "dry" and steely characteristics I've heard from Rory previously. I'm also surprised to find that this rich tonality steers more towards my Sands than Claxton - I would have predicted the reverse, given that Rory's Mk. II Mhor was inspired originally by a Martin 000-18.

It's obvious to me that Rory now can now swing sonically anywhere between that forceful, projection so beloved of Martin Simpson, and a richer, mellifluous and more responsive alternative, much better suited to bedroom heroes like me. Indeed, when Martin's first Mhor came up for sale (as he commissioned a second), Rory cautioned me against buying it, stating that it would have too much "spit" for my liking. He can titrate to personal taste with ease. Oh, and Rory’s woodworking is spectacular: In that regard, very few are equal and none better.

So, very, very pleased indeed. I'll stick up a couple of videos in the near future but, in the meantime, here is a pic to whet the appetites of the exponential Taran fan club around here, coupled with details of last Saturday’s activities:

Cheers, Steve

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...1ea88d94_k.jpg

Nemoman 10-27-2021 09:39 AM

Congrats on another beautiful guitar, Steve--I look forward to seeing your videos with it.

And thanks for all your work along the health care front--much appreciated.

MThomson 10-27-2021 10:45 AM

Congratulations on what I am sure is a beautiful guitar. Hope that playing it gives you some respite from the chaos of being a healthcare worker at the moment. I envy you the guitar (for two days anyway...) but not the day job.

Deft Tungsman 10-27-2021 12:41 PM

Congratulations, Steve!!

Judging from that one picture, your new guitar looks stunning, which is my passive/agressive way of asking for more photos, haha!

More importantly, it’s great that Rory has delivered an instrument that delivers the sound and responsiveness you had in mind when you commissioned the build.

May you continue to enjoy it enough to keep on dallying in the high tension world of steel string acoustic guitars.

Portland Bill 10-27-2021 02:21 PM

All good things come to those who wait Steve, Congratulations.

iim7V7IM7 10-27-2021 03:02 PM

Congrats…:up:

As Rick Blaine said to Louis Renault “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”.

Scallywag 10-27-2021 08:27 PM

Very happy for you!

RodB 10-28-2021 01:09 AM

Lovely looking guitar Steve, I really like the orientation of the rosette rings and how this gives a very balanced look to the whole guitar.

I read your post with interest given what you had previously said about the sound characteristics of other Taran guitars you had played. Your description of this guitar is much more familiar to me, and mine is from 2017 (‘The Taran’ 100th Instrument), and therefore pre compression bracing.

Enjoy!

UKPhil 10-28-2021 01:50 AM

What a beautiful looking instrument that is Steve. The rosette is just stunning.

I completely understand and agree with your words on the sound of guitars and I'm so pleased this worked on well for you.

Kerbie 10-28-2021 02:02 AM

That's gorgeous... congratulations!

Haasome 10-28-2021 05:40 AM

Outstanding Steve. What a great guitar. Congratulations.

steveh 10-29-2021 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemoman (Post 6842068)
Congrats on another beautiful guitar, Steve--I look forward to seeing your videos with it.

Thanks – working on a couple of pieces and will have them up next month I hope.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MThomson (Post 6842139)
Congratulations on what I am sure is a beautiful guitar.

Thanks – it is; you must be close to getting yours? Well before Christmas I hope?!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deft Tungsman (Post 6842228)
May you continue to enjoy it enough to keep on dallying in the high tension world of steel string acoustic guitars.

Yes – it’s kept me away from its nylon brethren and has had me A-B-C ing it with my Sands and Claxton repeatedly. It is a phenomenal instrument, but quite different to the Claxton.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Portland Bill (Post 6842305)
All good things come to those who wait Steve

Thanks Tony. I know what you are thinking but this is sooooo different to the one you played a few years back. Would be great to see what you think if we can hook up again.

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6842333)
As Rick Blaine said to Louis Renault “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”.

I think so also!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scallywag (Post 6842549)
Very happy for you!

Thanks! How is yours bearing up? You had two honeymoons to cope with: guitar + a real one. I really do notice what you said about the sonic “swell” that follows a picked note. For me, that’s a hallmark of a really well made luthier instrument, but, even then, I’m hearing it perhaps more on this Taran than any other guitar – the notes are just so thick and meaty, and throughout the whole audible spectrum also.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RodB (Post 6842630)
Your description of this guitar is much more familiar to me, and mine is from 2017 (‘The Taran’ 100th Instrument), and therefore pre compression bracing.

Indeed. I’ve spoken a lot to Rory about why these sound so different to his earlier work. I know the back is now much freer to vibrate than previously, and the sides are waaaaaay stiffer, but I suspect it’s mainly because the top is far less arched than the Sobell type radius of a few years back (indeed Stefan is now building “flat-top” guitars himself).

Quote:

Originally Posted by UKPhil (Post 6842640)
I'm so pleased this worked on well for you.

Thanks so much Phil!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kerbie (Post 6842644)
That's gorgeous... congratulations!

Thank you!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haasome (Post 6842699)
Outstanding Steve. What a great guitar.

And thank you!

Cheers,
Steve

MThomson 10-29-2021 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steveh (Post 6843669)
Thanks – it is; you must be close to getting yours? Well before Christmas I hope?!

Very close - in fact, I collected it 2 hours ago!! Still getting my head around what I now have. It's rather lovely.

Adamski 11-02-2021 01:27 PM

Wow
 
Nice work Steve, it looks lovely (as Rory's instruments always do)...I can't want to play it!

Michael Watts 11-09-2021 05:08 AM

Congratulations Steve! Wonderful looking guitar!

usb_chord 11-12-2021 10:47 AM

First I've heard that sound described as having "spit". it's a pretty brilliant descriptor. Congrats on finding the right guitar of that lineage, Steve!

steveh 11-15-2021 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael Watts (Post 6851737)
Congratulations Steve! Wonderful looking guitar!

Many thanks Michael; perhaps you'll play it when we all meet up again...if that ever happens!

Quote:

Originally Posted by usb_chord (Post 6854526)
First I've heard that sound described as having "spit". it's a pretty brilliant descriptor. Congrats on finding the right guitar of that lineage, Steve!

Brian, you'll have to credit "spit" to Rory - that's where I first came across the term as applied to guitar sonics, but it's great onomatpoeia, especially when describing that projecting, bright, separated type of sound. However, I needed a bit of the opposite mixed in...what's the opposite of "spit" BTW? Swallow?!

I've remained completely mesmerised by it since delivery, spending ages just listening to the sustain and quality of miscellaneous notes played at random, slouched in front of the TV, late at night when I've had a bit too much to drink.

Cheers,
Steve

steveh 12-23-2021 12:20 PM

So, the Christmas break meant I could find some time this morning to record a little ditty on this fabulous instrument. I hope the AGF doesn’t mind it’s not some delicate Celtic air, played slowly, with endless opportunities for the sustain to ring on and on like a chorus of Angels; there’s plenty of that demonstrating Rory’s guitars elsewhere.

Instead, since I am Martin Carthy’s no. 1 fan, I thought I’d tackle a real finger twister that he played live a lot in the mid 80’s. Not easy, so please excuse the clams; guitar-playing is definitely not the day job! Tuning is CGCDGA…yes “A”, so the top E especially is way, way down. Lots of palm muting as well, to give that metronomic Carthy “thud” (well, that’s what I’m aiming for anyway).



That I even considered a Carthy tune for this guitar says a lot about it’s ability to tackle different genres; I’ve generally found that Carthy’s music doesn’t translate at all well to modern fingerstyle Somogyi-esque instruments: You really need something more “Martin”. So, I’ve been using a mahogany Claxton OM for these tunes but I think the Taran copes superbly (perhaps even better…). Whatever, I haven’t been able to keep my hands off it since it arrived. It’s everything I wanted – as good as the one I played a couple of years ago that precipitated this unexpected commission. Thanks +++ Rory!

Seasons best everyone.

Cheers,
Steve

Vaillant75 12-24-2021 01:31 AM

Hi Steve,
Thanks for taking the time for the demo, very nice indeed! I heard from Marc that you found the guitar to be overlapping more with the Sands than the Claxton. It's interesting because I hear quite a bit of punch and directness in this recording, qualities that I would not intuitively link to a Sands guitar. Might also be the song choice, which purposefully was no some airy Celtic music.

Despite being mostly into classical, you've now landed on a very beautiful and diverse acoustic collection, congratulations.

Cheers,

MThomson 12-24-2021 03:13 AM

Thanks for the demo, the sound holds up very well for being tuned that far down. Can definitely hear similarities to the sound of my guitar and that's a very good thing indeed. I hope you get lots of time to enjoy it over the break.

steveh 04-29-2022 10:59 AM

Just in case anyone's interested in what this sounds like in DADGAD, here's a rough and ready recording I did yesterday, of a fingerstyle arrangement of ABBA's Arrival (inspired by my love of The Darkness, who take to the stage with Arrival).

Lots of clams etc. but, hey, I have a day job and it's not music!

Predictably, the audio doesn't really convey what a sweet, sweet tone this box has: It continues to delight me on a daily basis; such a great combination of world-class tone, build, and comfortable feel. Undeniably one of the very best instruments I've ever held.

Cheers,
Steve

MThomson 04-29-2022 02:48 PM

Beautiful guitar and it sounds great. I'm glad you're still enjoying it so much.

volman 04-30-2022 09:45 AM

Such an incredible tone. I'm absolutely enamored with my Mhor, so much so that I have a 2025 build slot reserved with Rory. I'm debating on an Oreval or another Mhor. It's great to hear more sound clips like what you've posted since it helps to hear all the different things Rory is able to do with the Mhor while still having that signature Taran personality shine through. Too bad there aren't more available sound clips of the Oreval. Redwood personally doesn't suit what I want and most of the available Oreval audio is from Redwood/walnut guitars.

MThomson 04-30-2022 11:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by volman (Post 6991177)
Such an incredible tone. I'm absolutely enamored with my Mhor, so much so that I have a 2025 build slot reserved with Rory. I'm debating on an Oreval or another Mhor. It's great to hear more sound clips like what you've posted since it helps to hear all the different things Rory is able to do with the Mhor while still having that signature Taran personality shine through. Too bad there aren't more available sound clips of the Oreval. Redwood personally doesn't suit what I want and most of the available Oreval audio is from Redwood/walnut guitars.

I know you've likely found this, but just in case


volman 04-30-2022 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MThomson (Post 6991258)
I know you've likely found this, but just in case


I've actually watched that one several times, but he says that it was built for someone who would be flat picking...so I know the voicing won't be quite the same as what I would want for fingerstyle. Still sounds great and certainly looks fantastic. Thanks for making sure I had seen it. I'm sure more clips will be available of all Taran models by the time my build starts.

FrankCousins 05-02-2022 06:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by volman (Post 6991262)
I've actually watched that one several times, but he says that it was built for someone who would be flat picking...so I know the voicing won't be quite the same as what I would want for fingerstyle. Still sounds great and certainly looks fantastic. Thanks for making sure I had seen it. I'm sure more clips will be available of all Taran models by the time my build starts.

I have an Oreval and its just like Michael Watts says, its fine for finger style, but comes into its own when you attack it more and its perfect for my style of heavy right hand (mine is Adi/Mad rose)

I have a 2023 Build slot with with Rory and will most likely go with Tirga beag like Dustin Durlow's in either BRW or African BW with Italian or German top - we will see ;-)

volman 05-02-2022 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCousins (Post 6992516)
I have an Oreval and its just like Michael Watts says, its fine for finger style, but comes into its own when you attack it more and its perfect for my style of heavy right hand (mine is Adi/Mad rose)

I have a 2023 Build slot with with Rory and will most likely go with Tirga beag like Dustin Durlow's in either BRW or African BW with Italian or German top - we will see ;-)

That's awesome feedback...thanks. I love all the "spit", projection, and note separation in my Tirga Mhor. I'm looking for something that retains all of that but with a stronger (but not muddy) bass and a bigger body guitar sound overall...hence my interest in the Oreval. I'm very much leaning towards the same wood choices as you with African Blackwood and either German or Italian spruce. I have a hunch that a Tirga Mhor in that combo would hit the mark, but I've yet to have a good conversation with Rory about it since my build is so far off. Plenty of time to sort it out and keep enjoying and discovering sound clips to help inform my decision.


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