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  #121  
Old 03-16-2010, 05:46 PM
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Default Tone and playability - first impressions

(feel free to add your observations, El C! )

The tone is soft and warm - I have no better words. "Soft" not in volume, but in how the tones surround you.

I was able to A/B Wanderer with Volcano - if you haven't caught the thread on Volcano click here. Volcano has cocobolo B&S and a blue spruce top. Playing the same handful of bars on both what jumped out was the richness of Volcano and the purity of Wanderer. I count that to both the back and sides (mahogany vs cocobolo) as well as the brilliance of the blue spruce compared to the warmth and depth of the sinker cedar. Just plucking a single string gives the rich overtones with Volcano, and the mahogany fundamental purity that lasts for over 30 seconds (I've not yet sat down with a stopwatch! but the sustain is elegant and fades in a very slow, linear fashion).

Playability - Volcano has Mike's standard neck carve, although in the Meridian it's set just a smidge further into the body and the body is about 1/4" shorter than the CX. Wanderer has a slightly (1/32") slimmer nut, with Mike's standard taper down to 2.217" at the 12th and saddle, with the taper of the fretboard giving you a bit more room all the way down.

Playing it is like butter - just like that worn-out pair of jeans and flannel shirt that you put on when you really just want to relax. Barre-ing is easy; fingerstyle there's enough room to maneuver around the fretboard without hesitation - although for you with standard hands (mine are size 8, or medium) you would want to stay with Mike's standard width nut and saddle. For me I'm comfortable with the standard and for quick chord formations the slightly smaller carve on Wanderer is smooth and quick.

I will be getting some professional pictures up soon, but I hope you can get the overall look by mentally putting together the closeups of the various parts.

Mike did a great job and this guitar is a joy to behold and to hold and play. I hope many of you will at some time be near enough to stop by for a test drive. I certainly recommend Mike as a builder to be considered seriously if you are shopping or even considering a build. His new parlour is fantastic as well -- I'll be posting a few shots in a "shop visit" tour thread soon.

Questions cheerfully answered! Thanks again for taking the journey with me.

Phil
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  #122  
Old 03-16-2010, 06:35 PM
hreboredo hreboredo is offline
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Great to hear how much you're enjoying both guitars. Do you think the Tree mahogany sounds different than regular?
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  #123  
Old 03-16-2010, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hreboredo View Post
Great to hear how much you're enjoying both guitars. Do you think the Tree mahogany sounds different than regular?
Hard for me to tell, truthfully. I've only spent a significant amount of time playing a Taylor all-mahogany; no other mahogany guitars. It's certainly got more sustain and depth (richness of tone - not overtone) compared to the mahogany top.

There's no real comparison between the two. I'd think that I'd have to be blindfolded to find out if I could really tell the difference between two similarly-built mahogany guitars with similar tops - whether the 'tree' is significantly different than a good straight-grained Honduran mahogany.

Even if were not - I'd still seriously consider the quilted tree - there's much enjoyment to be had from glancing down and losing yourself in that 3D set! And it's certainly the best mahogany I've ever heard.

Hope this helps -- and I'm looking forward to seeing Hank's guitar when he gets it done for you!!

Regards,

Phil
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  #124  
Old 03-16-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default fiber-sided kerfing

I missed showing this detail and had Mike explain and show me when I was at the shop. On the left is standard kerfing; on the right is the kerfing with a fiber-strip added. Mike's been using this for several years, and showed me how the fiber adds flexible strength to the kerfing, allowing bending and re-bending without splitting the underlying kerfing.

I thought it was interesting and worth showing. You can see this in the shot below it with Wanderer's sides glued up.

Cheers,

Phil



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  #125  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:43 AM
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drcmusic7 drcmusic7 is offline
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Congrats! What a stunning guitar. Hope you enjoy it for years to come... I'm looking forward to sound clips.

Kindly,
Danny
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  #126  
Old 03-17-2010, 10:58 AM
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I was lucky enough to be only the second person to see/hear/play this guitar. So, here are my impressions.

First, you simply cannot get around the visual impact of this guitar. It is literally stunning. Now, I know there are always guys on forums like this who say that they don't give a hoot about a guitar's appearance, but, you simply cannot help but be affected by the sheer beauty of this guitar.

The impact actually starts with the BAM case cover and case. It is kinda like a fine brooch where the surrounding setting is beautiful gold and jewels that are designed to set off the precious jewel in the middle. First the remarkable case cover came off, then, the the impressive looking case was opened, and, finally, there was this just stunning guitar glinting like a 10 carat ruby. And, at the risk of pushing the metaphore, when I was allowed to take it out for a close inspection, like a 10 carat ruby, every angle reveals yet another beautiful facet of detail. It is going to take a lot of pictures to fully capture all the fine features and details of this guitar. And the closer you look, the more impressed you are with the flawless workmanship. Of course "The Tree" hog b&s is hypnotic, but it is the sum of all the parts of this guitar that exceeds the whole.

Ok, so, how did it sound? Well, with a guitar this stunning, your expectations of how it is going to sound are already pretty darn high, so, I was surprised when the first open Emaj chord knocked me back on my butt. The amount of tone coming out of this thing is amazing. And I, like Phil, am finding that I am more of a cedar/redwood guy than a spruce guy. So, the sweetness is just what I want to hear in a guitar. The tone is both huge and sweet. The bass response is 100% complete and satisfying and the trebles very sweet, clear, and ringing. The string separation is amazing, no cross talk at all, and the balance accross all strings is just superb. It is ideal for the fingerstyle stuff I play. I could get lost in this guitar just playing an open chord every few minutes and listening to the response.

Ok, how does it play? As usual for a Baranik, it plays much smaller than it looks. By that I mean that, while it is certainly larger than an OM, it plays like one. Mike has figured out how to design these things so that they are just more comfortable than they should be. Think butter, not margarine, real butter.

Other than that, I didn't like it.
LC
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  #127  
Old 03-17-2010, 10:59 AM
taylorman197 taylorman197 is offline
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very very very nice guitar phil. congrats on finally getting that beauty!
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  #128  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:44 AM
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Beautiful Phil and the BAM case certainly is fitting for Mike's marvelous creation. You are one lucky guy Actually, I guess anyone that has a custom build is a lucky guy/gal, but you're a "wee bit" luckier with this Baranik!
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  #129  
Old 03-17-2010, 12:02 PM
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Thanks Danny, Tman, and Hen! I've never seen anything to top it - and like LC says, the visual is something you can't get around... until you strum that first chord!

Thanks for the "objective" review, too, LC!

Phil
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  #130  
Old 03-17-2010, 02:58 PM
jimmy bookout jimmy bookout is offline
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I am going to send this thread to my law firm, the great guys at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe. So when the divorce proceedings begin, I can blame the OP/Michael/and all the folks that posted in the preceeding 9 pages.

Jimmy
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  #131  
Old 03-17-2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmy bookout View Post
I am going to send this thread to my law firm, the great guys at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe. So when the divorce proceedings begin, I can blame the OP/Michael/and all the folks that posted in the preceeding 9 pages.

Jimmy
Ha! I understand! However, having been through the real thing once I'd recommend something less painful, like threatening immolation or branding her name across your forehead as a symbol of your undying devotion....!

...followed closely by a well-rehearsed litany of reasons why it is really a brilliant idea to obtain a new, made-just-for-you, custom Baranik Meridian Concert with adjustable neck, cutaway, soundport, double sides, and your choice of some of the nicest wood sets around! And that if you'd had one of these during the 2008-2009 downturn you would be well ahead of that deflated 401k you hung on to desperately!!!

It might work...

Cheers!

Phil
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  #132  
Old 03-18-2010, 11:39 PM
RogerC RogerC is offline
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Ok Phil,

Dude....


(that's all I've got)
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  #133  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:09 AM
taylorman197 taylorman197 is offline
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Dude....

bud light beer commercial works... but i prefer the heineken "walk-in-fridge-reaction" on this one....
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  #134  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:25 AM
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Default Hold on to your beers, mates...

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Originally Posted by taylorman197 View Post
bud light beer commercial works... but i prefer the heineken "walk-in-fridge-reaction" on this one....
Here's just a sample of pics from a shoot yesterday... there will be some more photoshopping and there are more images, but these kind of "jumped out" and will give you a better visual experience of the finished guitar..

These blew me away, and I play it most days!

Photography by Tom Mills http://www.yessy.com/TomMillsPhoto

Thanks all..

Phil

First, the feature that catches everyone's attention...


Mike Baranik is truly a master of the details!


"Play me! Play me!"


Capturing some of the silking on the sinker cedar, and close up of detail of the rosette...


No words for this one...


Soundport, bound in macassar ebony...
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  #135  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:55 AM
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El Conquistador El Conquistador is offline
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Wow Phil, this photographer is really good. While pictures can never do a guitar like this justice, these are coming about as close as I have seen. Very cool!
LC
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