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Old 02-15-2021, 01:00 PM
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Ukulele_Eddie Ukulele_Eddie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Santa Monica, CA
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Default A Little Bump in the Road

Well, a bit of an update here. Ben was polishing that gorgeous ziricote back to a glorious luster, whistling while he admired the beauty of this fine specimen of a guitar. And then he saw it. No, not his handsome reflection. Well, yes, he saw that, too. What was "it"? Well, I guess it was more of a "them" than an "it." Small disturbances in the reflection of the overhead light. It meant only one thing: fault lines under the lacquer, destined to be cracks some day when they grow up.

Double. Rat. Farts.

Ben called and left a message of distress and also followed up by email to update me on this unfortunate event. I know that wood is organic. It can happen. And some woods are more crack-prone than others. I know luthiers who won't build with ziricote as they call it Mexican Crackwood. Too risky.

He offered a couple of options. Cleating them would likely solve this once and for all. But neither of us liked that option for obvious reasons. A repair out of the gate on such a fine guitar just seems, well, not right. Ben didn't want this but knew how much I loved that back. I could tell Ben didn't feel good about this option and I certainly didn't.

So we decided the best path forward would be to replace the back. From his current stock, we quickly narrowed the section to two fine looking backs that would match color-wise, Z8 and Z162. Both are incredibly lovely, but, sadly, neither has pronounced sapwood, which I had my heart set on. He even checked what was available from his trusted suppliers. Nothing close. Broader internet search. Nada.

Ironically, the next day the fault lines were not invisible. That's right. Not visible. At all. Ben believes they may have shown themselves because of the heat of the buffing wheel. But he knows they are there. And if the guitar was shipped like this it would drive him mad like the beating heart in Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.

So, we discussed reserving either Z8 or Z162 and then keeping an eye on the market for a set more similar to the current back. I have no problem waiting, even a year or more, if it might yield a back more like the current one. This is a dream guitar for me, so why rush it? Besides, maybe in a year I'll be able to play something musical. And Ben had no problem waiting, either. He wants every one of his customers to be ecstatic.

While some luthiers would have been happy to put aside the box and move on to something else, it gnawed at Ben. He dialed up the secret Top Tier Luthier "Bat Light" and sent out a distress signal. Would anyone respond?

Voila! A set that looks like a possible excellent match was found. It's the horizontal pic (not sure why it shows that way). Better yet, it's not all that far from him and has been in this luthier's climate-controlled stash for more than 10 years. Ben will take the current guitar box with him and compare in person to see if we have our donor back. If we do, fantabulous.

If we don't, I don't mind waiting though I worry Ben will go absolutely mad searching the ends of the globe for just the right piece. The story might end with the good news that I finally got my dream Ziricote Arum. The bad news would be it was the last guitar Ben would complete. Driven entirely mad by the epic journey, he would eventually live a sad life in the shadows of Mordor, hanging with Gollum, muttering about "My Precious".

Story to be continued... ;-)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fault Lines IMG_4712.jpg (45.8 KB, 143 views)
File Type: jpg Z8 - IMG_4720.jpg (53.4 KB, 147 views)
File Type: jpg Z162 - IMG_4722.jpg (48.3 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg Possible Replacment - IMG_2192.jpg (34.7 KB, 142 views)
12-fret Small Body Addict & Sucker for Exquisite Craftsmanship
  • Doerr Trinity Select Signature Swiss Spruce/BRW
  • Wilborn Arum Tunnel 14 Redwood/Ziricote
  • Beneteau 0-12 Sitka/Mahogany
  • Martin 1931 Authentic 00-17

Last edited by Ukulele_Eddie; 02-15-2021 at 11:51 PM.
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