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Old 02-26-2019, 07:50 PM
guitaradam guitaradam is offline
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Default TYLER ROBBINS - SPECIAL PROJECT

Hey folks,

I decided to start a thread regarding a special project that Tyler Robbins and I have been doing together for the past little while. I think it's a fun project that many might find interesting for a few different reasons that I'll explain. Additionally we decided to approach this as a team. As we both add to the thread, we each have a perspective and insights as builder and player that hopefully complement each other.

I've had a limited presence on AGF as a person who posts. I am a frequent visitor and find the topics, audience and discussions engaging. So I guess I'll start with this one.

OK here goes.

Skipping some history and such, I decided to reach out to Tyler and inquire about a commissioned build. His artistry was unique. The lines on his guitar, his headstock and his ornamentation work was clever, fresh and clean. To be frank, I had heard quite little of his actual tone and sound, but enough to pique the ears and "tune in" to what he was doing.

So again, I reached out. Tyler, I suppose could be called a relative newcomer builder and he is developing his craft and refining his touch. And yet, our dialogue and discussions made me feel that I was dealing with someone who had a deeper well of knowledge than I had anticipated. He instilled confidence and calm. Here's what transpired.

I asked if Tyler was taking build requests to which he responded affirmatively. We discussed many of his previous builds, woods used, guitar sizes, esthetics, etc. At some point, I asked him about Brazilian. I told him I hadn't seen a "Robbins Brazilian" yet? He indicated his extensive experience working with Bryan Galloup, and time using Bryan's deep stash of brazilian, but acknowledged he'd never used Brazilian on his own instruments. We also talked about his time with the Galloup School and Tyler's thoughts on the science of sound creation, how to create a consistent outcome, especially as a younger builder looking to create a name for himself. We talked both the art and science of luthiery for quite a while. Back and forth and back forth. His love of luthiery was evident and though a simple and quiet fellow, was engaging, thoughtful, respectful and desirous to develop a good relationship with a potential client and ultimately blow my socks off with a stunning build.

As some point, I brought up The Somogyi Incident: an attempt by Ervin to create three identical guitars using three sister sets of brazilian for the back and sides. Only the tops were different, one cedar, one european and one sitka. It was a sensationally engaging project and the results were delightful. Never had something like this been attempted. As we discussed the Somogyi experiment, an idea brewed. I threw out an idea. Flip the idea on its head. Create 3 separate guitars using different back and side sets, and use 3 identical wood tops, or at least as "identical" as one could find.

The idea seemed to resonate with Tyler and he latched right on enthusiastically. And off we went to find some wood. After some time, we settled on three sets. The first was a sensational set of Brazilian, dark and chocolatey with lighter veins streaking through. The second, a delightful set of quarter sawn Madagascar Rosewood. And lastly, a sexy set of Macassar Ebony. For the tops, Tyler diligent worked through many tops and found an almost identical trio of Italian tops. Top shelf kind of stuff. Identical in virtually EVERY measurement possible by any luthiery standards and quality control. So it began...

to be determined was esthetics and styling and all that but the idea was born:

Guitar 1: Brazilian Rosewood/Italian
Guitar 2: Madagascar Rosewood/Italian
Guitar 3: Macassar Ebony/Italian

What would the results be? Could we control the tops closely enough to be able to truly hear the differences between the different wood sets? How would they color the sound? Lots of talk of measurements and gauges and thicknesses and stiffnesses - is sound creation a science? Or are there undefinable, unmeasurable variables, like a masters touch or the contributions of different wood sets... Intriguing don't you think? We haven't heard the results yet, but are getting close. We want to share the story and journey with you.

to be continued...

I'll invite Tyler at this point to jump in on this thread and share some initial pictures of the wood sets (Tyler is a phenomenal photographer as well) and some thoughts on the early stages of the builds...

Tyler, the stage is yours...

Last edited by Acousticado; 02-28-2019 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 02-26-2019, 08:42 PM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile Cool concept!

This will be a LOT of fun to follow.

Woohoo...

Paul
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:02 PM
Ganes Ganes is offline
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Oh boy.....

Craig
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Old 02-26-2019, 11:13 PM
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This project will be a great one! I saw the BRW R1 & Macassar Ebony R1 on Tyler's Instagram. Indeed, stunning guitars! Looking forward to hearing the result!
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:53 AM
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I will definitely keep an eye on this thread!
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Old 02-27-2019, 07:59 AM
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Very interesting indeed. I will be following along.
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Old 02-27-2019, 08:29 AM
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Very cool--looking forward to following along!
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:09 AM
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This is a great idea and should be a fun post to watch.
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:42 PM
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Sorry for the delay guys. I have been working hard to get a couple guitars into the booth and now that they have reached that stage, I have a moment to sit and talk about this experience in between spraying coats.

First of all, thanks for the awesome introduction Adam! Much appreciated

So for those of you who do not know, I apprenticed under and still work with both Bryan Galloup and Sam Guidry. They have developed a system over the past 10-15 years that allows us to analyze and in turn grade wood based on measurable material properties. Controlling variables is key as it allows for greater consistency from one build to the next as well as the insight to make informed changes to a build to reach a desired outcome. The basics of this build method were introduced to me upon my arrival to the Galloup school and have been expanded upon over the last five years of working in this shop.

When Adam brought up this idea of building 3 identical guitars with different back and sides, I was immediately drawn to it because I knew with the skills that I have acquired I could control the tops very accurately. This would give us a good shot a isolating the variable of the back and sides to really hear the role they play in tone.

As Adam said Brazilian was the first on our list. After some searching we were able to locate a really amazing set.


I have had my hands on many sets of Brazilian while working at the shop and this set we found was still able to impress me when I tapped it. I'm not sure I've ever heard a tap tone with so much sustain and clarity. Needless to say, I am very excited to hear how that initial tap translates within the completed instrument.

Next was a set of quartersawn Madagascar Rosewood. This was another one of the highly sought after tonewoods that I hadn't yet had the opportunity to to work with. The straight grain was very appealing and we decided to add it to the list.



Last was a set of Macassar Ebony that I had in my stash for a while. I loved the grain on it and it apparently caught Adams eye as well so we decided to make this the third. This one will be the interesting one since it is much different then the other two species. It is noticeably heavier and therefore had a more reserved tap that did not ring out as much as the others. Is this good or bad within my build style? We'll know in a few weeks.



Lastly, lets talk tops.



I ordered in 55 German and Italian tops from a supplier with a good return policy because lets be honest...a young guitar builder such as myself does not have "55 European tops money". I tested each one and as luck would have it, there were only 3 that tested high enough to be used for this project. The Galloup rating system essentially works on a scale from 1-10, although higher ratings are possible. The higher the rating the better the stiffness to weight ratio and the more efficient the piece will be. All 3 tops rated at or just above 10 and they were all Italian spruce.





So with that, the wood was selected and we were ready to dive into the designs for the trio.

Lets hear your thoughts on the themes and design process from your perspective Adam.

Back to the spray booth for me. Talk to you soon guys!

-Tyler
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:27 AM
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Great project! It is going to be very interesting to follow and eventually realize the sonic comparisons.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:52 AM
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Some mighty fine looking woods right there!
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:58 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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That brazilian rosewood is indeed the good stuff! It is interesting that such a set was found to have better tap tone than other braz sets.

A question for Tyler Robbins - did you find that brazilian rosewood set to be denser and older than most of the brazilian rosewood sets you have seen or used at the shop? And is the darker even black colour indicative of such properties as compared to lighter or more brown colored braz sets?

I ask this because I have read articles in the past that alleged that Brazilians referred to such dark old growth brazilian as imperial brazilian rosewood grade.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:51 PM
RobbinsT RobbinsT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
That brazilian rosewood is indeed the good stuff! It is interesting that such a set was found to have better tap tone than other braz sets.

A question for Tyler Robbins - did you find that brazilian rosewood set to be denser and older than most of the brazilian rosewood sets you have seen or used at the shop? And is the darker even black colour indicative of such properties as compared to lighter or more brown colored braz sets?

I ask this because I have read articles in the past that alleged that Brazilians referred to such dark old growth brazilian as imperial brazilian rosewood grade.

Yes this set would be considered Imperial grade. The seller called it that and I was not familiar with the term so I looked it up and it does fit the criteria. It is dense, more so the the lighter stuff but it seems as though the extra weight was offset by its stiffness. I dont have a way to know how old it is for sure. I’ve heard people refer to it as “beam” wood which would make sense to me considering it’s strength based on this piece. From what I remember when I was going through Bryans stash, the darker sets seemed to have a bit more weight to them. This Brazilian is heavier then the Madagascar but not as heavy as the ebony.


-Tyler
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:11 PM
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Beautiful woods! Can’t wait to follow along.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:53 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Thanks for your reply Tyler -
I was actually wondering if it was beam wood as a lot of the beam wood sets I have seen on the net seems to be older and darker and shot through with that kind of orange or reddish streaks. It is a beautiful set of wood and I am looking forward to seeing it being turned into part of a great looking and sounding guitar !


Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbinsT View Post
Yes this set would be considered Imperial grade. The seller called it that and I was not familiar with the term so I looked it up and it does fit the criteria. It is dense, more so the the lighter stuff but it seems as though the extra weight was offset by its stiffness. I dont have a way to know how old it is for sure. I’ve heard people refer to it as “beam” wood which would make sense to me considering it’s strength based on this piece. From what I remember when I was going through Bryans stash, the darker sets seemed to have a bit more weight to them. This Brazilian is heavier then the Madagascar but not as heavy as the ebony.


-Tyler
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