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usb_chord 11-02-2020 01:14 AM

Circa (John Slobod) 00 - A Build Thread
If you wake me up out of a dead sleep and ask me “Quick! Who is your favorite guitar builder??” I’m certain I’ll reply without hesitation - “John Slobod of Circa Guitars in Portland Maine”. As of now, I’ve played about 1/4 of his entire output. How? Well, it was strange balance of intent and being in the right places at the right times. Over the past 8 years or so I’ve really put myself in the way of them. Dealers, friends, festivals and everything in between.

When you play that number of guitars from any marker you start to notice some pretty strong themes. Obviously John’s guitars are just freakishly well executed. I always say if you’re impressed by the fit and finish of a Collings, close examination of a Circa will startle you. John’s lines are as clean as they come, the way the purfling meets and disappears (good luck finding the glue joint!), his bridges, volutes, arched slot-head walls, the whole package. It’s so elegant and subtle; the inside of the box is a complete and utter marvel!

The thing about John’s work that has impressed me most is how versatile and consistent he is when voicing his guitars. I’ve played guitars of his that respond to a light touch like a high-end cedar-topped classical. Others that seem to have unlimited headroom and more projection than what should be possible in an un-amplified steel string. I've played large rosewood guitars of his with the EQ balance of great mahogany OMs and parlor sized Circas with dread-level bass response and expansiveness. The thing all of his guitars seem to share, though, is a well-placed fundamental and the greatest midrange frequencies known to mankind.

We’re doing a 00 in German/Maple, braced in John’s vintage style with a low X, some scallop and fairly light overall build. He voiced a lot of 00s that way earlier in his career (still does, of course) and I’ve found those tend to work best for the way I like to play guitars this small. Cosmetically, I’m sorta going for the combination of Al Petteway’s two Circa 12-fretters - his 00 and the 000c. This is actually the first Circa I’ve done to my specifications. I just checked my records and this build has been pending for SEVEN YEARS. Good news, though - you’ll be hearing the finished guitar in 2 months or so!

And now, some pics!

Here’s what I requested -

And here it is on the shelf! (I was informed later that there IS one more maple guitar in this batch) -

usb_chord 11-02-2020 01:29 AM

Some additional thoughts - I LOOOOVE the look of that maple next to the binding! I just can't stop looking at that slot head!! The pyramid bridge suspense is KILLING ME. I'm thinking of doing simple ebony bridge pins. Ebony nut?! Not sure yet. . . John is currently experimenting with stains to see if he can achieve a transparent or opaque black finish for the neck. That's the only risky thing we're shooting for with this one. I went with black binding to more effectively integrate the body with the neck of this guitar. I'd be remiss if I didnt mention Michael Watts' and his magnificent signature model as a big part of my inspiration here. Dear buddy ol' pal, I hope you'll forgive the co-opt!

I've decided this build thread needs a theme song. I'm going with -

Kerbie 11-02-2020 02:30 AM

:eek: Eye-popping, gorgeous! That could be the perfect guitar. Well worth the wait, I think. Call me if you need somebody to test drive it for you! Congratulations!

Diamondave 11-02-2020 03:26 AM

00 Maple Slobod, smart man....!!! These next two months will go by in a split second compared to 7 years:roll:

fredsj200 11-02-2020 05:17 AM

WOW!!! Congrats!!! You are much more patient than me (LOL). That just looks down right gorgeous. Can not wait to see the finished product. You are very fortunate to have experienced so many of John's great instruments. I have just acquired my first Circa. It's an early build from 2002 and the workmanship/sound and playability is just exceptional.

Best of luck

jt1 11-02-2020 05:25 AM

Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the pics with us.

Deft Tungsman 11-02-2020 05:48 AM

My, my, that's sublime !

German spruce/maple Circa 00 = wish-list guitar.

Thanks for sharing the pics and scratching the itch.

soma5 11-02-2020 05:53 AM

I'm also on his list for a long-scale 12-fret 00, different materials. I'm still on the fence about a cutaway. Your build has me buzzing, actually! Beautiful, especially in all of the details!

Vaillant75 11-02-2020 05:59 AM

I also have a soft spot for a maple Circa 00.. Particularly the black and white scheme. Will enjoy this one.

iim7V7IM7 11-02-2020 06:06 AM


SprintBob 11-02-2020 06:52 AM

Congrats on a beautiful build. I briefly played one of John ‘s guitars at the 2019 Swannanoa Week and the clarity and responsiveness was amazing.

justonwo 11-02-2020 10:11 AM

The problem with Slobod is that his work is so sloppy. I mean, clearly he just threw that thing together.

If you awakened me in the middle of the night I think I would say, “SlobdelGeyt. Where’s my binky? Brian, what are you doing here? Now that I’m awake, and since you’re here, please stop posting those clips of you playing on Facebook. You’re making us look bad. Leave the Circa 00-12 here and please let me go back to sleep.”

Rwpierce 11-02-2020 10:48 AM

Congratulations Brian, I'm on his list for 2021 and I'm going maple also. Still trying to decide Adi OM or 000c. Would love to hear your impressions when you receive this beauty and put it through its paces.

jaymarsch 11-02-2020 01:07 PM

I have played a number of John's fine guitars over the years. Congratulations on this beauty!


Marei 11-03-2020 04:22 AM

Hi Brian, thanks for the pictures. I am very very excited for you. Is the second guitar by any chance a Adirondack/Maple OM? That would be mine which John expects to deliver in spring of 2021.

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