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  #166  
Old 06-21-2014, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
I have worked a little too efficiently, and I find I have time to build an unsolicited guitar before my next commitment comes up. Or a violin. Or about 3 Ukes, but I just did that. This last guitar went fantastically smoothly (so far), and I'm think another guitar would be great.

I have about 450 set of wood put up over the last 35 years or so, dry as a bone, and ready to build with. Most of it is mundane rosewood (5 kinds, but mostly Brazilian), mahogany, pernambuco, maple, koa, and walnut; the same old same old, in a way. I thought I'd like to build with something no one seems to be asking for, but I believe would be absolutely wonderful. And I thought it might be fun to ask you what you think of the five potential choices I've pulled out of the wood locker today. Unless somebody interfers by offering me money, I am thinking this will be an only slightly embellished WRX type thing, not unlike the one I just did in that way.

Here are the sets I've pulled:

Cuban Mahogany. Edited as I'd called this Spanish Cedar! I've have this set for 6 or 8 years, and people say it makes the best "mahogany" guitars ever. I wouldn't really know, but I did once play a Kim Walker in this wood that I would have been proud to have made. This set has mild flame throughout, and is very hard on the surface, stiff as can be, and just feels right.


European Pear. Traditional for Lutes, and as an alternative to maple in violins and cellos, I've never heard a bad word about the tone when used for a guitar. At worst, I've heard it called plain, but that is a bit odd when I look at this set as it is far from plain, and just exudes a rich warmth visually. This set is somewhat more flamed than the Cedar. I'll likely join this back the other way but the dark stuff looks great to me and will be largely lost.


Black Limba. A mahogany substitute. I'm told, but lighter in weight and very resonant. Best known as he wood used in the Gibson Flying V solidbodies. Ought to work well. And LOOK at it!


Ceylon Satinwood. Not what this wood is at all, but I have forgotten the name. If you can get past the color, this wood is gorgeous and it is also hard as nails and completely UP on the Q scale, which means it has serious tap tone; rings like a bell.


Chechen. This is the only wood here I've used before. This is my last set, and I want to use it again before I'm done. Both of the
previous efforts are at the absolute top of my game, and nothing is more beautiful excepting possibly the right set of Brazilian.


What do you think? I don't have to decide till early next week, or never, I could change my mind and make a fiddle!
Bruce,

The Chechen is gorgeous, but it looks like the size of the back halves is insufficient? What does it sound like, I've never heard of this wood before.

Thanks.
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  #167  
Old 06-22-2014, 10:04 AM
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Chechen is a super hard wood that maintains its color extraordinarily well over time and finishes easily due to its small pore structure. I didn't use it this time because I have twice before and wanted to do something different. Both guitars I have made from it work very well, which is understatement. The set I pictured early in this thread is big enough for a 000 or OM, the side is overlapping the back in the picture.

Here is Firenze, the first Chechen guitar.

And here is Peter Rodman's MasterClass diploma, the second Chechen guitar.
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Last edited by Bruce Sexauer; 06-24-2014 at 05:28 PM.
  #168  
Old 06-22-2014, 12:46 PM
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"wanted to do something different..."

speaking of which - what ever happened to that pear?
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  #169  
Old 06-22-2014, 06:43 PM
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Ah, the Pear . . . . I have been distracted, but it is ready to assemble, and has been so for weeks.
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  #170  
Old 06-24-2014, 05:25 PM
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I delivered the #51 resurrection temporarily back to its caretaker, Bill, today. The widow of the fellow I made it for is moving out of town, and Bill wanted to show it to her before she goes. This is fair as it will be hers again when Bill passes. And you think your life is complicated! Anyway, I thought I'd tell you that it sounds as it should, like one of my guitars with 20 years of playing on it. Much better than I personally expected, lacking some of the balance of my newer work, but missing none of the tone. . . if it is not actually a little richer yet!

Here are some pics w/Bill in the background:










On anoher related subject, I finished up the Baritone JB-Uke's binding and glued on the Fingerboard today:
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  #171  
Old 06-24-2014, 10:21 PM
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I was passing thru Petaluma this morning, and stopped to say hi to Bruce, and scored an opportunity to play #51 for a few before Bruce turned it over. It was a little scary looking - it's definitely been thru the wringer - but it was a really wonderful sounding and easy playing guitar. If it is in any way indicative of what to expect from one of Bruces other guitars as they age, its all very, very good -

I also got a chance to quickly play a couple others - a "mini" dread that was exceptional, but I need to spend a bit more time with it someday with my phone off. The one that kinda blew my socks off was the little black limba he recently finished. It's hard to use any superlatives when trying to describe one of Bruces guitars - they all sound very good, but because they are each so uniquely hand-made, they each have a character that has to be felt and experienced. But this black limba has a clarity and balance and projection that has gotta put it up in that top few percent of his work. In the same league as the maple "relic" of his I tried a couple years back that still haunts in the back of my mind -

I'm realizing that the day I own a Sexauer is getting closer - but I think
I'm gonna enjoy alot more shopping -
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  #172  
Old 06-25-2014, 11:53 AM
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Always a pleasure to have a visit from Tad!

I have started down the path to the next FT-0-JB/2, again in South American Brownwood with an Adirondack top. This will be conceptually similar to the Limba Tad describes in the previous post, but considerably more upscale.

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  #173  
Old 06-25-2014, 06:34 PM
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Started the finish process on the JB-Uke-Baritone:


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  #174  
Old 06-25-2014, 07:49 PM
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Hmmm..... That Uke is going to be Beautiful!
  #175  
Old 06-25-2014, 08:06 PM
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I really like the heelplate detail. The way the the binding concludes and how it integrates with the back...kudos
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  #176  
Old 06-26-2014, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
Chechen is a super hard wood that maintains its color extraordinarily well over time and finishes easily due to its small pore structure. I didn't use it this time because I have twice before and wanted to do something different. Both guitars I have made from it work very well, which is understatement. The set I pictured early in this thread is big enough for a 000 or OM, the side is overlapping the back in the picture.

Here is Firenze, the first Chechen guitar.

And here is Peter Rodman's MasterClass diploma, the second Chechen guitar.
Sorry to ask again, would it possible to ask what Chechen as a tonewood sounds like? I presume it's at the harder side of the rosewoods like Honduran?

#51 looks like it has a lot of stories to tell. I presume it was not finished with the oil finish used for your more recent instruments?
  #177  
Old 06-26-2014, 10:17 AM
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Sorry to ask again, would it possible to ask what Chechen as a tonewood sounds like? I presume it's at the harder side of the rosewoods like Honduran?

#51 looks like it has a lot of stories to tell. I presume it was not finished with the oil finish used for your more recent instruments?
I have written and deleted a large paragraph here on the relative hardness of woods and failed to give you a better answer. I am trying again.

The strength to weight ratio seems like most of the equation when talking about guitar tonewoods, but there are some standouts, woods that bring a peculiar character to the party. Brazilian rosewood is an example of it, Pernambuco and Jatoba are a couple of others. And there are so hard they must be dealt with is a special way such as African Blackwood and Cocobolo. Chechen is a mainstream sounding material, hard enough to give the clarity and projection we crave but not so hard that it is peculiar sounding or required special treatment to get the desired character.

In luthier code, super hard and successful sums it up nicely!

I am not certain which finish is on #51. I first used Oil Varnish in 1969 and used it occasionally throughout my career. I also used Nitro and waterbourne in the period when I made #51. I committed to Oil Varnish in 2000, I think.
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  #178  
Old 06-26-2014, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
Always a pleasure to have a visit from Tad!

I have started down the path to the next FT-0-JB/2, again in South American Brownwood with an Adirondack top. This will be conceptually similar to the Limba Tad describes in the previous post, but considerably more upscale.

Lovely materials there, Bruce!
Will be fun to watch this one.

Steve
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  #179  
Old 06-26-2014, 05:25 PM
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I am succumbing to pear pressure and so I buffed it out today, and may even glue the neck to the body.








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  #180  
Old 06-26-2014, 08:31 PM
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South American Brownwood reminds me of potted meat product, nice and vague. I'm sure the similarity ends there
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