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Old 11-02-2020, 01:14 AM
usb_chord usb_chord is offline
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Default Circa (John Slobod) 00 - A Build Thread

If you wake me up out of a dead sleep and ask me “Quick! Who is your favorite guitar builder??” I’m certain I’ll reply without hesitation - “John Slobod of Circa Guitars in Portland Maine”. As of now, I’ve played about 1/4 of his entire output. How? Well, it was strange balance of intent and being in the right places at the right times. Over the past 8 years or so I’ve really put myself in the way of them. Dealers, friends, festivals and everything in between.

When you play that number of guitars from any marker you start to notice some pretty strong themes. Obviously John’s guitars are just freakishly well executed. I always say if you’re impressed by the fit and finish of a Collings, close examination of a Circa will startle you. John’s lines are as clean as they come, the way the purfling meets and disappears (good luck finding the glue joint!), his bridges, volutes, arched slot-head walls, the whole package. It’s so elegant and subtle; the inside of the box is a complete and utter marvel!

The thing about John’s work that has impressed me most is how versatile and consistent he is when voicing his guitars. I’ve played guitars of his that respond to a light touch like a high-end cedar-topped classical. Others that seem to have unlimited headroom and more projection than what should be possible in an un-amplified steel string. I've played large rosewood guitars of his with the EQ balance of great mahogany OMs and parlor sized Circas with dread-level bass response and expansiveness. The thing all of his guitars seem to share, though, is a well-placed fundamental and the greatest midrange frequencies known to mankind.

We’re doing a 00 in German/Maple, braced in John’s vintage style with a low X, some scallop and fairly light overall build. He voiced a lot of 00s that way earlier in his career (still does, of course) and I’ve found those tend to work best for the way I like to play guitars this small. Cosmetically, I’m sorta going for the combination of Al Petteway’s two Circa 12-fretters - his 00 and the 000c. This is actually the first Circa I’ve done to my specifications. I just checked my records and this build has been pending for SEVEN YEARS. Good news, though - you’ll be hearing the finished guitar in 2 months or so!

And now, some pics!

Here’s what I requested -



And here it is on the shelf! (I was informed later that there IS one more maple guitar in this batch) -




















Last edited by usb_chord; 11-02-2020 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 11-02-2020, 01:29 AM
usb_chord usb_chord is offline
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Some additional thoughts - I LOOOOVE the look of that maple next to the binding! I just can't stop looking at that slot head!! The pyramid bridge suspense is KILLING ME. I'm thinking of doing simple ebony bridge pins. Ebony nut?! Not sure yet. . . John is currently experimenting with stains to see if he can achieve a transparent or opaque black finish for the neck. That's the only risky thing we're shooting for with this one. I went with black binding to more effectively integrate the body with the neck of this guitar. I'd be remiss if I didnt mention Michael Watts' and his magnificent signature model as a big part of my inspiration here. Dear buddy ol' pal, I hope you'll forgive the co-opt!

I've decided this build thread needs a theme song. I'm going with -

Last edited by usb_chord; 11-02-2020 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 11-02-2020, 02:30 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Eye-popping, gorgeous! That could be the perfect guitar. Well worth the wait, I think. Call me if you need somebody to test drive it for you! Congratulations!
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Old 11-02-2020, 03:26 AM
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Diamondave Diamondave is offline
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00 Maple Slobod, smart man....!!! These next two months will go by in a split second compared to 7 years
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:17 AM
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fredsj200 fredsj200 is offline
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WOW!!! Congrats!!! You are much more patient than me (LOL). That just looks down right gorgeous. Can not wait to see the finished product. You are very fortunate to have experienced so many of John's great instruments. I have just acquired my first Circa. It's an early build from 2002 and the workmanship/sound and playability is just exceptional.

Best of luck
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:25 AM
jt1 jt1 is offline
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Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the pics with us.
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:48 AM
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Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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My, my, that's sublime !

German spruce/maple Circa 00 = wish-list guitar.

Thanks for sharing the pics and scratching the itch.
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:53 AM
soma5 soma5 is offline
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I'm also on his list for a long-scale 12-fret 00, different materials. I'm still on the fence about a cutaway. Your build has me buzzing, actually! Beautiful, especially in all of the details!
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:59 AM
Vaillant75 Vaillant75 is offline
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I also have a soft spot for a maple Circa 00.. Particularly the black and white scheme. Will enjoy this one.
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:06 AM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Congrats...
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:52 AM
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SprintBob SprintBob is offline
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Congrats on a beautiful build. I briefly played one of John ‘s guitars at the 2019 Swannanoa Week and the clarity and responsiveness was amazing.
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:11 AM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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The problem with Slobod is that his work is so sloppy. I mean, clearly he just threw that thing together.

If you awakened me in the middle of the night I think I would say, “SlobdelGeyt. Where’s my binky? Brian, what are you doing here? Now that I’m awake, and since you’re here, please stop posting those clips of you playing on Facebook. You’re making us look bad. Leave the Circa 00-12 here and please let me go back to sleep.”
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:48 AM
Rwpierce Rwpierce is offline
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Congratulations Brian, I'm on his list for 2021 and I'm going maple also. Still trying to decide Adi OM or 000c. Would love to hear your impressions when you receive this beauty and put it through its paces.
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Old 11-02-2020, 01:07 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I have played a number of John's fine guitars over the years. Congratulations on this beauty!

Best,
Jayne
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Old 11-03-2020, 04:22 AM
Marei Marei is offline
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Hi Brian, thanks for the pictures. I am very very excited for you. Is the second guitar by any chance a Adirondack/Maple OM? That would be mine which John expects to deliver in spring of 2021.
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