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  #1  
Old 12-08-2009, 09:32 PM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Default "Wanderer" - Baranik Concert Meridian "tree" mahogany and sinker cedar build

Well, all, I've been waiting very impatiently for a long while to get to start posting this. It's a bit of a longish story, so those who are only looking for the "graphic novel" version should skip on down...

I bought a Baranik CX with Brazilian and German Spruce 2 years ago from JasonA from the forum. Incredible guitar. My first luthier built that I'd even touched, let alone heard. And yeah, I was hooked.

Somewhere along the way I saw the RTaylor "tree" mahogany option (all sets are now sold I believe) and was really struck by the look and the story. I love mahogany guitars anyway - I had about that time completed a three year tour of various Taylors beginning with a 714 (EIR/cedar), then an all Koa GS, then a 914 coco/englemann, finally discovering an all mahogany 514 - which fit my musical needs and tastes perfectly.

I saw a picture of a tree mahogany that Mike Baranik had built sometime in the past (this picture)

and asked him about it. We discussed a mahogany guitar, and he told me he had some non-tree but nicely figured mahogany. But when I visited his shop in 2008 he pulled out a back (only) set of the tree, and showed me a sinker cedar top set, and we both looked at each other and it was settled. He looked for quite a while for a complementary side set of the 'tree', and ended up buying a set from Lance McCollum a few months before Lance's untimely death. Mike and Lance had shared a lot of time together and that added to the "story". Just this past summer he found a set of figured mahogany perfectly sized for the double sides - more serendipity.

The final piece of the story was the name - "Wanderer". Sailing vessels - stories, real ones, some racing, some personal memories - have been very important at various points in my life. Reading "Dove" - the Robin Lee Graham circumnavigation story, he noted Sterling Hayden's book "Wanderer" which was the name of the schooner Hayden took off with his kids in the 50s (another long story). The name fits this storied back and sides set as well as the sinker cedar, and "Wanderer" is now under construction.

At Healdsburg Mike and I agreed that the guitar would be one of his new "Meridian Concert" models - double sides, port, fully adjustable neck via a small hex head screw inset into the neck heel strap button, even more asymmetric body - some really great innovations, and he's at last getting the build started in his new shop in California.

I'll post some along the way pictures - Mike wanted to document this build more fully, as he didn't have a lot of pictures of the previous "tree" build.

Not all the specs are quite settled. Binding and purfling are still up in the air until we see how the colors look; the exact neck width and carve we're working on. I'm wanting something sort of between Mike's standard width and the narrow standard Taylor neck - we'll get there.

Thanks for looking. Questions welcome, answers given whether factual or not (!).

Phil









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  #2  
Old 12-08-2009, 09:43 PM
Dr. Overtones Dr. Overtones is offline
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Holy barbecue sauce. You're so lucky!
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:45 PM
cpabolting cpabolting is offline
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How awesome is that. The allure of the tree is strong!
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:46 PM
Dr. Overtones Dr. Overtones is offline
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I wonder if it would be possible to reproduce trees with that figure with the right amount of breeding.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:14 PM
Martin_Nut Martin_Nut is offline
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Baranik .... "the tree" .... doesn't get much better. Lookin forward to following this one - luck!
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:01 AM
RogerC RogerC is offline
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Ok Phil, we're gonna have to have another lunch date in Stillwater as soon as you get this thing ... and it may have to be a loooong lunch
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:23 AM
Fliss Fliss is offline
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Wow, that is going to be great, thanks for sharing your story! The moral of this tale is, of course, that visiting luthiers' workshops can lead you into temptation...

Fliss
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:46 AM
Huckleberry Huckleberry is offline
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This is going to be a killer guitar!

Mike's guitars are right up with the best of the best. I will never let my JX go - for my style and tastes it really is the best guitar I've ever played.

Keep us posted on the build, and hope you don't have to wait too long for your new baby.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:48 AM
JasonA JasonA is offline
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Nice!! Of all the Baraniks I've been able to try, there was only one mahogany, and it was terrific. Should be spectacular with sinker cedar!
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:50 AM
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I've been looking forward to watching your Meridian coming to life. Great backstory Phil and thanks for kicking thus off.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:18 AM
K III K III is offline
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Hey Phil,
does this set have the 'veins' that R Taylor pictures on some of his sets? I couldn't tell from the raw wood picture.

It's going to be a great guitar in any case, and you will probably soon be the person with most 'tree' guitars in the world

Keep posting pics.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:19 AM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K III View Post
Hey Phil,
does this set have the 'veins' that R Taylor pictures on some of his sets? I couldn't tell from the raw wood picture.

It's going to be a great guitar in any case, and you will probably soon be the person with most 'tree' guitars in the world

Keep posting pics.
It's not the heavily veined quilting that the RTaylor pictures showed - but it is a beautiful set.

Thanks for all the comments and interest! I'll keep the pictures coming... Baranik... tree mahogany... sinker cedar (which I'd never heard of but it was really lovely to see... wonderful ruler-straight grain...)... and in a Meridian w/ Florentine cut... IP-1 Highlander... can't remember any other specifics off the top of my head.

We're looking at two very dissimilar binding/purfling options.. spalted maple or koa or some other light wood, or dark, subtle ebony (like Macassar). Mike will mock up both and see how it looks.

Estimating a February completion. Some of you know I bought the "lava" cocobolo negro/blue spruce Meridian that Mike built for Montreal and Healdsburg this year -- that's still in Mike's shop awaiting a Highlander installation. So by late winter I'll have a very complementary set of Meridians!

Phil
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2009, 11:32 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry View Post
This is going to be a killer guitar!

Mike's guitars are right up with the best of the best. I will never let my JX go - for my style and tastes it really is the best guitar I've ever played.

Keep us posted on the build, and hope you don't have to wait too long for your new baby.

Hi Huck,
Did you buy your JX from TAMCO used?

Tony
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2009, 11:34 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Default Baranik

Hi Rio,
Looking forward to following this,and hope it exceeds your expectations.

Cheers Tony
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2009, 03:29 PM
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Default Sinker Cedar

I thought I'd add these shots - this is the sinker cedar top. Look at that grain!



and, to contrast, a normal cedar top (right) on top of the sinker. Love that dark, smokey look!

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