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  #1  
Old 01-13-2019, 07:13 PM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Default Hatcher's Top Ten Builds

I am going to list for you the top ten builds I'd like to build from the woods I have in my wood locker. They will be what I am calling my Perfect Pairings offering. Each week I am going to post up a paired top and side set and I am going to explain the characteristics of these woods and what makes these a perfect pair. In some cases these will be what I consider the best particular woods in my inventory, in other cases it may be just why these are a perfect pair. In all cases when I am in my shop and considering what I would really like to add to my build list these are the top 10. I will also be posting these pairs on a thread on the AGF Marketplace forum explaining the pricing and the incentive I'll be adding to encourage others to want me to build these too.



So in no particular order for the first week's posting I am putting up the best spruce top set I have ever owned or seen and a back and side set from "The Fiddleback Tree":



I'll start with the top. It is an alpine Swiss Moon Spruce top that I have had hidden away for nine years. This is a very stiff example of Spruce but, it is also the lightest Swiss Spruce I have ever seen. It's light even by Western Red Cedar standards and it is gorgeous. It has even grain, color, and shimmering medullary rays. The tap tones are fabulous as well as how they sustain.





The Honduran Fiddleback Tree back comes from a log processed by Hibdon Hardwoods. The log produced 400 back sets and have the most even and prominent curl most experienced folks have ever seen. Like the quilted "Tree" it is a very stiff and it is hard Mahogany more like Cuban than Honduran.





What makes these a perfect pair is the hard Mahogany combined with a Western Cedar fast response on a spruce top. This will be a very well balanced, responsive, and full sounding instrument. Not to mention just flat out gorgeous. It would be particularly well suited for my larger guitars, the small jumbo Josie or the grand auditorium Greta:



I have started this year out building another Fiddleback Tree guitar with a very nice Englemann Spruce top. After my initial impressions of this wood I am anxious to line up another as we'll not see this wood available for long.
You can see that build in process on my Hatcher Studio '19 thread.
So this is the first of ten. You will be able to see the pricing and incentives in the AGF Marketplace forum. Collect all ten!
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2019, 10:56 PM
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Erithon Erithon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
In all cases when I am in my shop and considering what I would really like to add to my build list these are the top 10. I will also be posting these pairs on a thread on the AGF Marketplace forum explaining the pricing and the incentive I'll be adding to encourage others to want me to build these too.
Intriguing and enticing!

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Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
I'll start with the top. It is an alpine Swiss Moon Spruce top that I have had hidden away for nine years. This is a very stiff example of Spruce but, it is also the lightest Swiss Spruce I have ever seen. It's light even by Western Red Cedar standards and it is gorgeous. It has even grain, color, and shimmering medullary rays. The tap tones are fabulous as well as how they sustain.
That's the Swiss top I tapped alongside the Cedars, right? It was just as you describe, and nearly persuaded me to leave the Cedar train.

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Collect all ten!
hahaha
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:21 AM
DamianL DamianL is offline
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A great idea!

I am sure there’s a lot of folks like me who would love to have a look around the wood stash and dream about having a new custom build, but who don’t want to be annoying tyre-kickers when luthiers are busy.

But I also know that the more I see the wood, the more I think of turning that dream into reality!
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:36 AM
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Yup, another Hatcher thread I will follow with great interest!
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:57 AM
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Smile Along for this ride!

What a thrill ride this will be! Holy Smokes, what a wood combo...
I am a Cedar fan, and love good Mahogany too. You hooked me at the start.

Thanks for sharing and may they all get to happy new owners and be making music ASAP

Cheers

Paul
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:18 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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What a great idea - informative and fun to follow. Thanks, Mark.

Best,
Jayne
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erithon View Post
Intriguing and enticing!
That's the Swiss top I tapped alongside the Cedars, right? It was just as you describe, and nearly persuaded me to leave the Cedar train.
Yes, that is the same Swiss Spruce top. It would serve well as the poster child for not defining the characteristics of a top tonewood by it’s species!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DamianL View Post
A great idea!
I am sure there’s a lot of folks like me who would love to have a look around the wood stash and dream about having a new custom build, but who don’t want to be annoying tyre-kickers when luthiers are busy.
But I also know that the more I see the wood, the more I think of turning that dream into reality!
Sorting through a wood stash and dreaming certainly is addictive. I do find the familiarity gained helps inform me when I am purchasing additional woods. Very often I’ll see an available top and just know what back set I’d like to put that on.

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Originally Posted by mikealpine View Post
Yup, another Hatcher thread I will follow with great interest!
Thanks Mike! I’ll have a real variety some of which may peak your interest!

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Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
What a thrill ride this will be! Holy Smokes, what a wood combo...
I am a Cedar fan, and love good Mahogany too. You hooked me at the start.
Thanks for sharing and may they all get to happy new owners and be making music ASAP
Cheers
Paul
Thanks for following along Paul!

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Originally Posted by jaymarsch View Post
What a great idea - informative and fun to follow. Thanks, Mark.
Best,
Jayne
Thanks Jayne, I always have ideas about what and why a particular top should go with a given back and side set. There are some pairs that I have pretty well locked and I thought I’d share my thinking. Very often I have clients that want to be sure I am excited about what we are building so I thought maybe I should just put my favorites list out there.
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  #8  
Old 01-20-2019, 02:08 PM
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Default Week #2 Figured Plum Katalox and Sitka

Here is my second offering in my Perfect Pairings Series. It is an unusual Katalox back and side set that has plum coloring with some wonderful figure:





Sometimes called Royal Mexican Ebony it is among the very stiffest and strongest woods available worldwide. It is not a true ebony, I tend to think of it as ebony on steroids. Normally Katalox has a chocolate brown color. This plum coloring is a rare exception. Unlike most ebonies Katalox has a wonderful ring when tapped, great sustain and a musical timbre. Because it has such a smooth hard surface it offers a great reflective surface on a guitar back which may help with forward projection. It has a better stiffness to weight ratio than ebony so it can be made thinner than ebony while voicing the back making it a little lighter than an ebony backed guitar even though we are starting out with a heavier wood.

I am pairing this with a Sitka top:





I normally wouldn't want to pair Sitka with such a hard back and side set. The fear would be the guitar would tend to be too shrill and I would have to compromise the woods potential by trying to even that shrill out. In any case, it might be years before the Sitka opened up and reached it's potential in this combination. And that's why I am offering this particular Sitka top. I purchased a number of tops about 10 years ago that were cut 2 years before from a standing deadwood Sitka tree. The tree stood dead for 60 years. So this top has been aging for about 72 years. I used up the sister sets pretty quickly because I was getting such good results but, I stashed the best one away thinking I'd like to use this wood again after I had gained more experience as a builder.
72 year old Sitka is not the same as 7 or even 15 year old Sitka. There are a lot of changes wood goes through with age. This is especially true during the first 30 years.
I am picking this top because it will have the strength and headroom to handle this Katalox set and it has rounded out with age to get past the overly shrill sound that I wouldn't want to put my name on!

These are large wood sets and will accommodate larger guitars. Larger sets will deepen the guitars voice and give that reflective back some room to play. So like the week #1 set I would recommend my small jumbo Josie and my grand auditorium Greta models for the pairing:

JosieGreta

You can see this offering and pricing in the MarketPlace Forum thread I am running.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2019, 09:12 AM
jmat jmat is offline
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Very fun thread Mark! I will be following this. I like that Mahogany / Spruce combination.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jmat View Post
Very fun thread Mark! I will be following this. I like that Mahogany / Spruce combination.
Thanks jmat, Guitars are such complex instruments I thought I’d try something different and talk about the top and back/side sets as the starting point. I think it starts to become interesting if we take it down to the perspective of individual pieces of wood and trying to discuss why I would want to pair this piece of wood with that piece of wood instead than the rather generic species statements like “Cedar on Cocobolo”

Mark
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2019, 09:16 PM
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That Katalox is gorgeous! The Sitka appears to have a slightly darker color, more like cedar (could be tired eyes), and imagine the two will look amazing under finish.
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2019, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mikealpine View Post
That Katalox is gorgeous! The Sitka appears to have a slightly darker color, more like cedar (could be tired eyes), and imagine the two will look amazing under finish.
Thanks Mike!

This Cedar top is darker than normal because it is so old. The color is a nice match with the lighter coloring in the Katalox.

Thanks for commenting
Mark
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  #13  
Old 01-22-2019, 02:33 PM
Jamiejoon Jamiejoon is offline
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Love the Katalox/old Sitka pairing! I bet that will be a dynamite guitar.
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2019, 03:29 PM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Love the Katalox/old Sitka pairing! I bet that will be a dynamite guitar.
Me too! Thanks for commenting Janiejoon
Mark
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2019, 12:50 PM
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Mark,
Great idea for a thread and thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. As a guy who dabbles in building as a hobby, I am often wondering about different pairings of wood. It is great to get some insight on the subject. I will be following along.
Travis
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