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  #1  
Old 04-25-2023, 04:06 PM
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Default Morgan Kelsey 2023

A new thread to cover my builds for the rest of the year.

First up, I composed a short sketch on this recently completed guitar with a Sitka Spruce top and Wenge back and sides. I had this one at Artisan with me - it's just a regular old guitar without any tongue drums in it or anything. I really like how this one is developing. It has a very immediate sound, is well balanced overall with fat, round trebles and a lot of overtones.

This is a straight up recording through a pair of Lauten LA120s into an Apogee duet. I did no post-processing at all here, I just got a decent level and went with it. Headphones recommended of course.



It is still available, but I certainly don't mind keeping this one around either.
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Last edited by morgankelsey; 04-25-2023 at 04:07 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-26-2023, 07:29 AM
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Morgan - pleasure to meet you at the show!

I played this one.....A LOT....at the show.....absolutely loved it.....just incredible balance, tone and clarity......this is a lifetime guitar for someone......hard to put down....

BLWS!
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Old 04-26-2023, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by blews View Post
Morgan - pleasure to meet you at the show!

I played this one.....A LOT....at the show.....absolutely loved it.....just incredible balance, tone and clarity......this is a lifetime guitar for someone......hard to put down....

BLWS!
Thanks so much for the kind words!

Hmmm I see you are in NC, you must be Jim, it was a pleasure meeting you too.
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Old 04-27-2023, 07:56 PM
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Morgan, it was a treat stopping by your table at Artisan. And your excellent pics tell a true tale—fabulous craftsmanship all around. I found your work inspiring, sir!

Steve
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Old 04-27-2023, 11:15 PM
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I am very curious to hear about the response you got to your drum guitar. Any tales or comments?
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Old 04-28-2023, 07:21 AM
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Morgan, it was a treat stopping by your table at Artisan. And your excellent pics tell a true tale—fabulous craftsmanship all around. I found your work inspiring, sir!
Thanks, Steve, great meeting you and Ryan in person! I found your guitars to be stunning in person, pictures never capture the overall experience.

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I am very curious to hear about the response you got to your drum guitar. Any tales or comments?
People were definitely curious as to what the drums were, most thought it was an elaborate mechanism for opening and closing the soundport. I did get lots of positive feedback, although people don't generally offer negative comments without solicitation. Percussive fingerstyle is a niche of a niche though, and there were only two who came to my booth who could actually utilize it - one was Joe McMurray and he really dug it.

I do have a commission for another tongue drum guitar that is now underway, I will post pics of that one soon.
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Old 06-03-2023, 06:28 PM
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This next guitar is another tongue drum guitar, and I'm pretty excited for this one as it's going to someone who is a well known percussive player that plays and tours quite a bit.

The basic specs are: Bostogne walnut back and sides, a bearclaw Sitka top, 25"-25.75" scale fan fret, Spanish cedar neck, and a snakewood fingerboard.

Here is the wood for the back and sides:



This one will have 3 tongue drums in the bass side of the guitar, accessible at the upper bout. They will be tuned to D, G, and A. The drums are Padauk. Here they are in their basic form:



And here they are in a Honduran Mahogany body, ready to be mounted within the guitar later on in the build:

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Old 06-04-2023, 05:34 PM
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The billet I cut the sides from is wide enough that I can get the bindings from it too, so after some careful marking and measuring I cut them off. I'll try to line them back up in their original positions when they go on the guitar itself so the curl and grain lines up:



I'm making structured (laminated) sides, the outer and inner are the walnut, and the middle layer is 1/32" thick aircraft-grade plywood. The plywood bends really well, here are all three layers already bent and ready to be glued up. I put a wash coat of shellac on the outside of the outer layer and the inside of the inner. This helps with cleanup of any glue that makes it through the pores.



Next they go onto an inner form and into a vacuum bag. I use a non-foaming polyurethane glue for the lamination.



And here is a side out of the bag, ready to become part of a guitar. They hold their shape really well after this process which is part of the reason I do it. Once they are glued to the head and tail blocks it is a very light and rigid structure, so the top and back aren't fighting to keep the guitar in a guitar shape.



Here are the completed rims, liners next!

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Old 06-08-2023, 06:25 PM
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Back to the drums for a minute, I did something new with these three and installed piezos on each of them. Percussive guys aren't shy at all about having a lot of outputs, so these will be going to their own dedicated jack.



Here is a youtube short demonstrating the sound. I was surprised how well it works, the video doesn't really do it justice of course:



Here they are mounted into the upper bout of the bass side:

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Old 06-09-2023, 03:41 PM
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This is delightfully weird. Well done!
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Old 06-09-2023, 04:22 PM
Rwpierce Rwpierce is offline
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Very cool out of the box inside the box thinking!!
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Old 06-16-2023, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mas30066 View Post
This is delightfully weird. Well done!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwpierce View Post
Very cool out of the box inside the box thinking!!
Thank you both!

On to the plates. The back is Bostogne walnut which is the hardest of the walnut family but still not bright like a rosewood. I adopted an idea I got from John Kinnaird and capped the back braces with Padauk. This definitely gives it a little more 'ping'!





The center lines will split and carry around the edge once bound.

I carried the theme to the front as well, which is bearclaw Sitka spruce.



A view of the inside with the top on. The drum box is pinned at the head block and also to supports on the side. It may look like it's resting on the braces here but there is an ample amount of space between so they don't interfere with each other.



Here are a couple of detail shots from the inside as well. I take some care to make things fit really well, which hopefully means they will never be seen again. It's sort of a paradox.





That is 3/4" birch plywood for the tail block. This area is prone to splitting, and even more so on this guitar as it will have three output jacks down here, so I use birch plywood here.



Box closed!



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Old 08-27-2023, 02:31 PM
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I am behind on updates, but here is the progress on this build:

Binding and purfling completed, that is lacewood in the purfling, and the bindings came from the sides themselves.







I also put a small arm bevel on:



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  #14  
Old 08-27-2023, 02:34 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old 08-27-2023, 07:19 PM
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You did it again Morgan—fabulous craftsmanship! That’s a beauty.
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