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Old 01-07-2018, 01:30 PM
steveh steveh is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,551
Default Tom Sands MMD build-thread!

New year = time for a Tom Sands build thread. What could be better?

By way of background, I commissioned a couple of Kostals back in 2011 – hard to believe that is now 7 years ago. Jason was just out of Ervin Somogyi’s shop then and I was looking for a bright young thing to make me my dream guitar; I’d played a Somogyi MD at TAMCO in the UK and had been totally smitten but, unsurprisingly, couldn’t afford it (who can?!). Michael Watts put me in touch with Jason, who built me an MD and later an OM. Those wonderful guitars are documented in two AGF threads of >70K and >50K views respectively (thanks AGF!). Unfortunately, the Photobucket debacle means those threads are now picless:

Anyway, I loved those guitars but my guitar playing has always been repertoire driven and my pal Jonny infected me with the nylon disease, with the result that I was listening to more and more nylon guitar, especially modern repertoire (and especially Andrew York). I got a nylon guitar and, long story short, ended up playing it 90% of the time as those were the tunes I wanted to learn (and I found the challenge of playing nylon simultaneously frustrating and fascinating). The chance then arose to buy a lifetime nylon guitar. Jason’s star had risen very high in the interim, so selling my Kostals – with a very heavy heart – funded my new nylon.

Fast forward to last year and my pal Adam (“Adamski” here) had just received two guitars from Tom Sands. Like Jason, Tom was working with Ervin Somogyi and Adam had commissioned Tom’s first guitars under his own name, confident that the many he had built under the Somogyi name was a guarantee of success. In short, Adam was thrilled with his Sands’ and I was also pretty taken aback by how great they sounded for such a new builder. I really wasn’t in the market for a steel-string but, man I missed those Kostals... A Sands guitar would come in at way under another Kostal and Tom would be based in the UK (where I am) so, after a few weeks thinking about it, I got on Tom’s list, knowing that the longer I left it, the longer I’d have to wait and the more it would cost me. As it happened that was a great idea because several people had already jumped on after playing Adam’s guitars.

So, the brief was for Tom to build a single guitar that would give me the best of both Jason’s OM and MD – Tom’s “MMD”. The MMD is a big bigger than an OM and a bit smaller than an MD. It’s based on the “Studio” guitar that Ervin Somogyi made a few years back; essentially a smaller MD aimed at the Far Eastern market.

Because I know that nylon is where I’ll be most of the time, I don’t want a max spec steel-string: I opted for padauk back and sides, hoping this would be a great choice sonically, while avoiding the upgrade $$$ for BRW/ABW/madrose etc. Tom had the pick of a ton of nice padauk at Ervin’s shop since 99.9% of people who order a Somogyi want BRW and not padauk.

And here is that very same wood that Tom picked out for me after an afternoon of digging around and tap-testing:

More to come...
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