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-   -   MARK BLANCHARD Bristlecone [Italian Spruce | Brazilian Rosewood] (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=596397)

iim7V7IM7 02-14-2021 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamiejoon (Post 6635427)
Bob, your posts are some of my favorite - so interesting and educational...and you have great taste. This guitar looks like another masterpiece. The BRW is exceptional.

Jamie, I am glad to hear that you enjoy these build posts. I sometimes feel like I am writing to myself :). I know after all these years that most people read them and donít take the time to comment and they continue to be read many years after the last posting.

jt1 02-14-2021 05:11 PM

Bob,

Stunning stuff, as always, from Mark (and from you, too).

Mark offers a rare blend of old world craft and new world innovation.

Iím liking forward to the day this year (fingers crossed) that we can meet at a guitar show, hang and trade guitars (bring this one, please), and partake of a good meal mated with equally good wine.

iim7V7IM7 02-14-2021 07:26 PM

It will either be Oct 2021 (Woodstock), Apr 2022 (Artisan) or Oct 2022 (Woodstock) at this point JT, but you can count on it...:up:

Quote:

Originally Posted by jt1 (Post 6635781)
Bob,

Stunning stuff, as always, from Mark (and from you, too).

Mark offers a rare blend of old world craft and new world innovation.

Iím liking forward to the day this year (fingers crossed) that we can meet at a guitar show, hang and trade guitars (bring this one, please), and partake of a good meal mated with equally good wine.


AndreF 02-15-2021 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6635645)
I sometimes feel like I am writing to myself :). I know after all these years that most people read them and don’t take the time to comment and they continue to be read many years after the last posting.

Not just writing to yourself Bob.
Mark's work is amazing, and his results speak for themselves. This latest build of his/yours is spectacular. (Mark told me once: All rosewoods are nice, but brazilian is king.:))
When I took my Pinyon in for a tune-up at the Music Emporium a few years ago, the in house luthier/tech at the time said that he had never encountered such detailed workmanship and customization on the inner bracings. An area that a player is unlikely to ever see, or appreciate, but is really crucial to the overall build. As we have witnessed in these descriptions of your Bristlecone.
Speaking of which, you have such an eloquent style of describing Mark's work. It's like reading the captions that accompany stills in a fine art book. I really enjoy reading your threads so no, you're not just writing to yourself.
And hearty congrats on your next Blanchard!:up:

iim7V7IM7 02-15-2021 08:13 AM

Thank you Andre...:). My narrative is only as good as the time that Mark takes to generously share his process with me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndreF (Post 6636352)
Not just writing to yourself Bob.
Mark's work is amazing, and his results speak for themselves. This latest build of his/yours is spectacular. (Mark told me once: All rosewoods are nice, but brazilian is king.:))
When I took my Pinyon in for a tune-up at the Music Emporium a few years ago, the in house luthier/tech at the time said that he had never encountered such detailed workmanship and customization on the inner bracings. An area that a player is unlikely to ever see, or appreciate, but is really crucial to the overall build. As we have witnessed in these descriptions of your Bristlecone.
Speaking of which, you have such an eloquent style of describing Mark's work. It's like reading the captions that accompany stills in a fine art book. I really enjoy reading your threads so no, you're not just writing to yourself.
And hearty congrats on your next Blanchard!:up:


Ukulele_Eddie 02-19-2021 09:06 AM

Fantastic thread, Bob. Thanks for highlighting Mark's exquisite work. I'm sure you are excited to soon receive this gorgeous guitar.

iim7V7IM7 02-19-2021 09:26 AM

Thanks very much.

It is always exciting to see an instrument go from a mutual client/luthier vision, to wood, to components to becoming an instrument. There is a special bond between an owner and a guitar that comes from witnessing its creation. The guitar is in Mark's nitro finishing process through mid-March. I am hoping to receive it in April...:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele_Eddie (Post 6640508)
Fantastic thread, Bob. Thanks for highlighting Mark's exquisite work. I'm sure you are excited to soon receive this gorgeous guitar.


iim7V7IM7 02-24-2021 06:57 PM

Nitro
 
Mark was able to finish applying the nitrocellulose lacquer to my Bristlecone today. In about two weeks, he will do the first wet sanding, then hang it back up on the drying rack for another two weeks.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...C412F8936.jpeg

cigarfan 02-25-2021 04:50 AM

Looks great!

Absolutely the most anxious part of a build for the soon to be owner. Paint can never dry fast enough. Hope you are doing well Bob! :)

iim7V7IM7 02-25-2021 05:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cigarfan (Post 6646333)
Looks great!

Absolutely the most anxious part of a build for the soon to be owner. Paint can never dry fast enough. Hope you are doing well Bob! :)

I am doing as well as one can in month number 14 of 2020 Dennis and I hope that you and yours are as well...:).

While this time in a build can seem to pass slowly due to anticipation, the part that is worse at least for me is once strings are on the guitar. I have always chosen to leave a guitar with a builder for a week or two after the strings are on to let it settle in and allow for a post-settling in setup.

mhw48 02-25-2021 09:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6646337)
I am doing as well as one can in month number 14 of 2020

That is a very apt description of the strange, suspended times were are in...

Steve Kinnaird 03-03-2021 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamiejoon (Post 6635427)
Bob, your posts are some of my favorite - so interesting and educational...and you have great taste. This guitar looks like another masterpiece. The BRW is exceptional.

Indeed, what Jamie said. Bob, you could recalibrate your straightedges against that Brazilian grain. Wow! Thatís the kind of stuff that doesnít grow on trees. And the Koa purflings are an inspired choice against that dark sea of Brazilian linearity.

Steve

iim7V7IM7 03-04-2021 05:26 AM

Glad to see that the power has returned to Nacogdoches Steve and thanks as always for chiming in :). Mark usually uses maple for his purflings and given the dark, straight grained nature of this set a lower contrast yet figured purflings seemed like a good choice. The “dark sea of linearity” seems like the name of a song or a poem.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Kinnaird (Post 6652634)
Indeed, what Jamie said. Bob, you could recalibrate your straightedges against that Brazilian grain. Wow! That’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t grow on trees. And the Koa purflings are an inspired choice against that dark sea of Brazilian linearity.

Steve


BlackKeys36 03-04-2021 09:03 AM

You definitely aren't writing to yourself! Enjoying every word of the thread and can't wait to hear this one and see it complete!

iim7V7IM7 03-05-2021 04:28 PM

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying seeing Markís Bristlecone go from, concept and wood to becoming a finished instrument. This thread (and others on AGF) provide a bit of insight why all of these luthier made guitars sound so different from each other...:)
Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackKeys36 (Post 6652910)
You definitely aren't writing to yourself! Enjoying every word of the thread and can't wait to hear this one and see it complete!


eKat 03-10-2021 10:15 AM

Hi, everybody - Kath here - it's been a while since posting up on the 13th Fret.

I just learned about this thread and recognize some of you from back in the day and wanted to say hi to Al Carruth, Richard Mott, AndreF, rick-slo and Steve Kinnaird. Glad you to see that you're all still active in the scene.

And, Bob, (iim7V7IM7) when I was down at Blanchard's for last ski season, before the pandemic shut down the ski areas and chased me back to our place in Montana, he shared your design ideas with me.

Your custom Bristlecone is going to be magnificent. I particularly like the curly Koa purflings; nice, mellow touch that doesn't distract from Blanchard's understated elegance.

Back in the day I did the photography and wrote what we called Luthier's Logs; little "Baby Books" for lack of a better descriptor, for each guitar that Blanchard built. None of our clients knew they were getting them, they were just little surprises that hid in the cases until the client looked around and found them in the pocket. Sometimes that would take longer than you'd think. They were nowhere near as detailed as the entries in this tread.

I'M LOVIN' IT!

Blanchard's is a rare and precious gift and it does my soul good to see such a wonderful, heartfelt thread, sharing it with the industry.

Interestingly, Blanchard Guitar #1 was my secret surprise Christmas gift in 1994. Her name is Katrianna, she's a classical and I'm afraid she started this entire mess.

HA!

Well, here's to seeing this thread to the very end. I'll be waiting with bated breath to hear how you like your new Bristlecone, Bob. If California wasn't such a hot bed, I'd be back down at Blanchard's for ski season, but I probably won't be there to play it before it gets shipped off. I hope it finds you pleased.

Thanks, guys, I hope you don't mind me hangin' out . . . and remember. . . KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!

iim7V7IM7 03-10-2021 10:49 AM

Kathy, thanks for chiming in...:up:

This is actually the second time that I have journaled one of Mark's builds. Mark built me a Pinyon 6-years ago.

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=394206

In that build thread, I believe Derek (Rick-slo) shared some of your photos from the book that you prepared back in the day.


Quote:

Originally Posted by eKat (Post 6658425)
Hi, everybody - Kath here - it's been a while since posting up on the 13th Fret.

I just learned about this thread and recognize some of you from back in the day and wanted to say hi to Al Carruth, Richard Mott, AndreF, rick-slo and Steve Kinnaird. Glad you to see that you're all still active in the scene.

And, Bob, (iim7V7IM7) when I was down at Blanchard's for last ski season, before the pandemic shut down the ski areas and chased me back to our place in Montana, he shared your design ideas with me.

Your custom Bristlecone is going to be magnificent. I particularly like the curly Koa purflings; nice, mellow touch that doesn't distract from Blanchard's understated elegance.

Back in the day I did the photography and wrote what we called Luthier's Logs; little "Baby Books" for lack of a better descriptor, for each guitar that Blanchard built. None of our clients knew they were getting them, they were just little surprises that hid in the cases until the client looked around and found them in the pocket. Sometimes that would take longer than you'd think. They were nowhere near as detailed as the entries in this tread.

I'M LOVIN' IT!

Blanchard's is a rare and precious gift and it does my soul good to see such a wonderful, heartfelt thread, sharing it with the industry.

Interestingly, Blanchard Guitar #1 was my secret surprise Christmas gift in 1994. Her name is Katrianna, she's a classical and I'm afraid she started this entire mess.

HA!

Well, here's to seeing this thread to the very end. I'll be waiting with bated breath to hear how you like your new Bristlecone, Bob. If California wasn't such a hot bed, I'd be back down at Blanchard's for ski season, but I probably won't be there to play it before it gets shipped off. I hope it finds you pleased.

Thanks, guys, I hope you don't mind me hangin' out . . . and remember. . . KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!


eKat 03-10-2021 11:08 AM

Thanks, Bob!

I just checked out those older threads.

SO TOTALLY RAD!

Once SARS-CoV-2 is history, all y'alls gotta go up to Mammoth (well. . . Crowley) and see that new shop.

Something interesting happens in there. You're surrounded by tools that he has designed and hand built so he can use them when he designs and builds everything from bomber truss rods to incredible guitars and beyond.

After 42 years he still completely flabbergasts me.

He really is reMARKable!

Alan Carruth 03-10-2021 11:13 AM

It's nice to hear from you, Kath!

"Interestingly, Blanchard Guitar #1 was my secret surprise Christmas gift in 1994. Her name is Katrianna, she's a classical and I'm afraid she started this entire mess."

I seem to remember that the top Mark brought to the plate tuning workshop in Palo Alto was a steel string, but it may have been that Classical. It was a while ago! Mark is smarter than I am, and keeps better records, and I've learned a lot from him. I wish it was easier for all of us to get together, but these groups do help.

eKat 03-10-2021 11:26 AM

Hi, Al!

Yeah. . . that could have been the 2nd top for Katrianna. After a few months he didn't like it and wanted to replace it.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

He had to strong arm me into giving it up. I hadn't even gotten use to it enough to not cry when I tried to play it and sing at the same time and he wanted to rip her out of my heart. HA.

He won.

And. . . that free plate tuning clinic in Palo Alto was the very best. I think my favorite part was when we all went out to lunch and you guys were plastered with purple and silver glitter.

GOOD TIMES, Al - good times, fer sher!

I remember saying you guys seemed to be cut from the same mold. To which you added that it wasn't the green furry stuff that grows on Vermont cheddar.

:-)

Guitars44me 03-10-2021 01:52 PM

I agree with John
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackKeys36 (Post 6652910)
You definitely aren't writing to yourself! Enjoying every word of the thread and can't wait to hear this one and see it complete!

Just chiming in to say I am loving this...

Thanks!

Paul

iim7V7IM7 03-14-2021 06:32 PM

Roughing a Bridge
 
In the first photo Mark is creating a slot with a 3/16Ē diameter end mill on his Logan Lathe.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...972F0CE89.jpeg

In the second shot, Mark is drilling 2.250Ē spacing bridge pin holes using one of his fixtures.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...A197925EC.jpeg

The third photo shows the complete rough shaping of the Ebony bridge. It weighs only 26 grams.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...9A3471212.jpeg

Steve Kinnaird 03-15-2021 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eKat (Post 6658425)
Hi, everybody - Kath here - it's been a while since posting up on the 13th Fret.

I just learned about this thread and recognize some of you from back in the day and wanted to say hi to Al Carruth, Richard Mott, AndreF, rick-slo and Steve Kinnaird. Glad you to see that you're all still active in the scene...

Your custom Bristlecone is going to be magnificent. I particularly like the curly Koa purflings; nice, mellow touch that doesn't distract from Blanchard's understated elegance.

Hi Kath, thanks for the honorable mention. I am in total agreement about the Koa purfling which pops away, nestled there in all that rich darkness. Like a good supporting actor, it simply adds to the already fine ensemble cast.

Steve

Richard Mott 03-15-2021 08:51 AM

Kath! Wonderful to see your posts and a warm hello after too many years! óRichard

eKat 03-15-2021 10:52 AM

Hey Steve and Richard. . . YAY. . . good to hear from you guys, too. I've been catching up on some other threads and see that my long time friend Marc Durso posts up once in a while. I'll have to let him know about this thread.

This forum is rich in history, that's for sure.

I love this industry. Just about everybody involved in it is creative and helpful. I mean, where else do you see practitioners sharing their work so openly; warts and all.

Blanchard and I went to Gryphon one night for an Al Carruth lecture on free plate tuning and Frank Ford did the intro. What he said that night, which was back in the 1900s, has stuck with me ever since. I won't be able to quote him, but the gist of it was him explaining that sharing techniques, openly, isn't a matter of leaking secrets, it's the best way to raise the level of skill for the entire industry, because after all it's just information; the luthier has to take it and actually go out and do the work.

Also back in the 1900s I was intimately involved in the surfboard building industry and well, let's just say, I didn't know one shaper or one glasser who spilled his secrets to anybody!

The luthier's art is anything but cut throat.

Keep it alive, you guys, it's a beautiful thing.

rick-slo 03-15-2021 12:01 PM

Kathy (eKat), hello and regards. My Bristlecone Swiss Spruce Macassar Ebony is still with me. It plays and records very well and I use it a lot.

AndreF 03-15-2021 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eKat (Post 6663115)
... because after all it's just information; the luthier has to take it and actually go out and do the work.

Hey Kath! I see that you've posted a few times already. I would recognize your inimitable style anywhere! :)
So nice to hear from you again.
I quoted your words above because they could also apply to guitar players equally as well!
Lil Pinny is still with me and not going anywhere. ;)

eKat 03-16-2021 07:20 AM

HI, GUYS!
 
Yo, rick-slo and Andre, itís so cool to be hanginí out with you after all these years. I listened to your recordings again and they brought back killer memories.

Iím so stoked that you both still have your Blanchards.

Upon starting out, I thought we were creating family heirlooms. The first time I saw that one had changed hands, I cried my eyes out. Blanchard heard me down in the shop and ran up the stairs to see which one of our moms had died.

I stood up and blocked the Cinema Display and he actually moved me out of the way and stood there staring while I thought heíd share in my dismay. He grabbed me by the shoulders and said, ďWHOA, he got more than it cost new. . . Kath, this is a good thing.Ē

OK, so I had unrealistic expectations; I was so much older then, Iím younger than that, now!

Keep it up you guys, this really is a beautiful thing.

iim7V7IM7 03-19-2021 03:19 PM

Wet Sanding
 
It has been about three weeks since Mark finished his last wet out with the the nitrocellulose lacquer. Today, he wet sanded the finish with 1,500 grit and soapy water. Fortunately, there was no need for any further drop fills.The guitar should be ready for the next step in about another week. In the shot that he sent you can begin to see the the contrast of the Macassar Ebony bindings (darker) and the curly/mottled Koa purflings (lighter) against the straight grained Brazilian Rosewood back and sides.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...F63E5D043.jpeg

mhw48 03-19-2021 08:22 PM

I know itís the correct technique, but a photo of a wet guitar just freaks me out!
That binding is really beautiful against the BRW.


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