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Old 05-20-2020, 10:21 AM
Hanter Hanter is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 229

To have a master luthier build me a guitar and concurrently documenting it on AGF has been one of those things on my bucket list. Woke up with a pleasant surprise this morning to find John underway with this build thread as we begin an amazing journey.

First off, some back stories, and I will post some pics later in the day.

It was John Kinnaird's post on his spec West Coast OM (Euro/Coco) recently that got me intrigued and interested. As I heard Al Petteway going through his demo I was smitten by the sound of the guitar, the power and clarity it had, I wanted a guitar just like that!

So I wrote to John, and I was equally enamored by his attitudes and approaches. It was a very resolute decision to have him build my next guitar of my dreams.

Why is this guitar special? Of course its special cos its a custom guitar but more so, the wood choices and combination, as it slowly shapes up, is gonna turn into a real nail biter. The sound, I have no doubt it will be a tonal cannon.

Top Wood.
I inquired about Redwood, and in particular the famed Lucky Strike and Tunnel series Redwoods. John is, obviously, not a stranger to Redwoods as he has built with them throughout his career, but he has never built with an LS or Tunnel series Redwood (I'm surprised no one has asked), and therefore was also interested to see how they compared to the tops in his stash. Immediately, I saw John raise a thread on AGF to ask about Tunnel Redwood (another testament to his great and efficient personality). A week or so later, he had Redwood tops to choose from, and he had this to say:"...impressed...very pretty and ring with a beautiful tap tone...original plan was to buy 3 but I'm thinking 6 now...favorite to work with will be the mineral stained top for sonic reasons and I like the look...impressed with the response...very lively...louder tap tone than euro..."

And so the top was chosen. This is going to be John Kinnaird's first build with a Tunnel 14.

To those of you who are interested in a John Kinnaird custom build, he has more sets of Tunnel redwood in his stash now *wink wink*. To future beneficiaries don't mind me while I take some credit for increasing his inventory of amazing woods. You're welcome.

Back & Sides.
I have always had an affinity for Cocobolo, probably because back in my student days as I was trading guitars in London I had the privilege to own a Taylor Limited Edition 814 and that had the most beautiful Cocobolo. It had great tone, power, projection, it was bright and sweet when it needed to be and robust as well. It could handle anything thrown its way and also smelled great! I told John about this and he went digging into his Cocobolo stash. He sent over a series of pics and I immediately found a favorite. These were his words about the set:"...had that set for so long that I was surprised to see it when going through...its the forgotten might be my favorite...did tap the Cocobolo and compared it with a braz back. Very comparable. Both sounded Woodstock. I'm going to use this set if you decide against it..."*John if you have any other info on the age, origin of the Cocobolo, I'd like to hear it!

So this is some old, seasoned, wild grained, braz-comparable, exhibition-worthy and presentation grade Cocobolo. Easy choice bang bang.

Mind you, I was very happy with the wood choices at this point and I thought it was already a superstar guitar. I was wondering if I should go one step further and while browsing, saw this Fiddleback Tree binding sticks for sale. John immediately ordered enough sticks for this to feature as a binding and in the bevel too. In my limited vision I thought the flame of the Fiddleback would set off perfectly with the T14 and Coco, but I didn't want it to be over-the-top. The bindings hold the guitar together, it should not steal the limelight from the rest of the guitar, yet it should provide the contrast and sparkle to the overall package. Finesse. So as John mentioned,we have not decided as a binding or a purfling, I will have to depend on the power of imagination, and some of the forum members' suggestions at this point.

Looking forward to this adventure!
2021 Build in Progress John Kinnaird Greybeard-12 Lucky Strike Redwood / African Blackwood
2010 Tony Karol Italian Alpine / Ziricote Karol Signature FOR SALE!
2006 Brook Euro Spruce / Flamed Maple Taw
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