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chippygreen 04-05-2019 08:29 PM

[Video in #161] Bashkin OM - Multiscale - Swiss Moon/Panama Rosewood w/Wingert HS
5 Attachment(s)
Hey folks, just getting a slow rolling start to my first ever build, with Michael Bashkin. No build pics to see yet, but we've picked out the Panama Rosewood back and sides.

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I am also thrilled to have a custom headstock being done by the incredible Jimmi Wingert - Michael was able to persuade her to fit me into her reduced schedule.

The design is a Japanese Maple in the fall, which, like other jobs Jimmi has done for Bashkin Guitars, is based on a Japanese woodblock print, this time by one of my favorite modern woodblock artists, Toshi Yoshida.

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The Japanese Maple is a special tree to me and my family and we wanted to commemorate our history with it with this build. Unlike the "Wave" and "Flute Player" headstocks she has done for Michael in the past, Jimmi will use wood marquetry rather than shell.

We also decided to go with a natural maple background, to match the light background of the original woodblock print. It's still a work in progress, and of course I love it, but I think objectively speaking, Jimmi is quite special at what she does.

justonwo 04-05-2019 10:08 PM

Yes! I love Bashkin’s work.

welshruss 04-05-2019 10:29 PM

Very tasty inlay. I love my two Bashkins.

JJI 04-05-2019 11:49 PM

That is and will be beautiful

iim7V7IM7 04-05-2019 11:50 PM

Looking forward to watching this one come to life on Michael’s bench...:up:

colins 04-06-2019 02:52 AM

Congratulations on the build and especially on getting some of Jimmi's beautiful work on your guitar.

Will be interested to read your approach to the multiscale neck too.


jaymarsch 04-06-2019 04:25 AM

Fabulous! I love Japanese maples and this will look gorgeous. Jimmi does amazing work and I am fortunate to have an inlay on one of my Wingert headstocks. This one will be fun to follow.


bmh1 04-06-2019 08:22 AM

'That inlay is beautiful! And a Bashkin!!! What a special guitar this will be....

Thanks for letting us follow along!


chippygreen 04-06-2019 12:23 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Thanks everyone for the kind comments and interest so far. I'm still a fairly new player, but fortunate to be at a stage in my life where a build is feasible, even though I am not deeply knowledgeable about guitars or luthiery -- though being on the forum and meeting people here have really helped and influence this build, which is why I thought it would be nice to share back to the extent helpful to others.

One idea I had was I thought it might be interesting to provide a behind-the-scenes look at some of the design process and iterations, starting with some of the back and forth with Michael and Jimmi.

I had no idea that Jimmi was on a reduced schedule when I asked Michael about a custom headstock. I admired the work on his Wave and Flute Player guitars, and initially was just curious about what it would cost to accentuate the build. Recognizing that cost and feasibility would depend on the complexity of the work, I looked around for a design that had the aesthetic I was seeking. Our family had just completed the first of two recent trips to Japan, and I had long admired Toshi Yoshida's woodblock prints. As an admirer of minimalism, a believer in letting beautiful wood speak for itself, and finding commonality of those concepts in Japanese woodworking, these concepts greatly influenced the overall design language for the build. In this respect Michael and I were quickly able to align on ideas, and his level of engagement and thoughtfulness regarding ideas I had were truly amazing all the way through.

Much of Yoshida's landscape and street scene depictions don't map well to the limited real estate of the guitar headstock, so I was pleased to find that he had done some close up work that had the potential to scale well. When I came across a series of prints he had done on birds in different seasons, I was struck by his print, "Serenity of Red Maple".

The late fall setting, with the last determined leaves clinging to their branches, retained enough negative space, particularly towards the top of the artwork, that would allow the headstock to breathe, and I felt I had found subject matter that would not distract from the guitar.

In discussions, Michael and I decided to eliminate the bird from the print and focus on the maple leaves and branches. It felt to us like the simple gradated color scheme of the leaves in differing stages of turn would provide a subdued yet still visually interesting subject.

I was pleased that Jimmi thought the work challenging and interesting enough to take it on, so much so that she provided an initial photoshop mockup as a design proposal, offering two options - one with an upper branch removed and the other with the upper branch in place (we opted for the latter, shown on the left).

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With Jimmi now engaged and interested, we discussed materials, and Jimmi provided some visual mockups that simulated material choices - one that closely replicated the original print, one that substituted the marquetry with shellwork, and a third that showed a more traditional dark stained wood headstock.

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After discussion with Michael, we decided the first design was the most attractive. This led to a discussion of how to achieve visual and color balance for the guitar as a whole, and I looked at some of Michael's guitars where he crafted his incredible art deco headstock work in lighter tone woods. There are not a lot of light colored headstocks in the some courage and self-belief needed to be injected at this point!

We decided the light maple background needed to be properly framed by binding it in ebony, with an ebony backing plate to give visual weight to the head of the guitar. The binding would carry through with ebony binding down the fingerboard and through the body. Jimmi's uncolored template helps this visualization process.

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The tree branches are in walnut, and the leaves in koa, so for now we plan to use walnut and koa purfling inside the ebony binding.

One consensus that emerged in discussions with Michael was the importance of restraint - to limit how ornate or elaborate other design aspects on the guitar would appear, so that the headstock would draw the most visual attention, with the other motifs respectfully falling in place in a complementary way. Given the fan fret and florentine cutaway, we recognized it would be easy to go over the top, and needed to respect the conformance of form to function for the guitar to not have an overly important sense of self.

Some aesthetic decisions remain, such as whether to use maple or amber for the fret markers. We have some ideas for the rosette and end graft, based on sketches I've sent to Michael, but which he will model out to scale.

Ok, that's it for now! As I said, a slow rolling start...

Nemoman 04-06-2019 01:12 PM

This looks to be the start of a really incredible guitar!

I've always loved Michael's aesthetics and design sense, and this collaboration between the two of you and Jimmi is really over the top in a most excellent way!

Can't wait to see the progress as you move forward...

Kudos to all involved!

colins 04-07-2019 01:59 AM

Chippy.... thanks for your latest inlay post! It would have been tough deciding which of Jimmi's mock-ups to use, as each one has special qualities. You will have to commission a second build, and continue the theme :).

For those who may be wondering about Jimmi's reduced schedule...she is a new Mom.

massimo 04-07-2019 03:16 AM

Congrats on your build.
I have had my wonderful Bashkin for 10 years now, and it keeps giving me it just keeps getting better and better. Great human being, and great builder:)


chippygreen 04-07-2019 01:07 PM


Originally Posted by colins (Post 6029412)
Chippy.... thanks for your latest inlay post! It would have been tough deciding which of Jimmi's mock-ups to use, as each one has special qualities. You will have to commission a second build, and continue the theme :).

For those who may be wondering about Jimmi's reduced schedule...she is a new Mom.

It was tough indeed - will run the 'first of a series" idea by the Mrs...sure she will love that! And yes, it was amazing to have Jimmi agree to set aside some of her precious new mom time for this - I feel really blessed to have her and Michael working together on this first build...


Originally Posted by massimo (Post 6029423)
Congrats on your build.
I have had my wonderful Bashkin for 10 years now, and it keeps giving me it just keeps getting better and better. Great human being, and great builder:)

Massimo, could not agree more on both counts. Michael has not only been a pleasure to work with, but is just a fantastic person in my experience and by accounts of so many people I've spoken to.

gitarro 04-07-2019 06:45 PM

One of the first guitars i ever commissioned was a Bashkin Placencia. Michael Bashkin makes great guitars with a unique aesthetic look that is his and his only - a very difficult thing to achieve these days. I have noticed that his placencia guitar shape has in fact been paid homage to by several luthiers. And the OP's Japanese wood print inspired headstock will look perfect on his headstock design - i still remember the photos of the Great Wave Bashkin that jimmi wingert expertly and artfully inlaid and there are few guitars that look as nice as a bashkin eith japanese style designs.

Robbypad 04-07-2019 09:49 PM

My 2008 Bashkin fan fret.....
My 2008 Bashkin OM fan fret in African Black Wood is phenomenal. I have a wonderful eir OM Placencia currently on AGF, but it may be sold tomorrow.

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