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Old 04-13-2019, 01:31 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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Default Ken Hooper "The Tree" custom dreadnought (Warning: lots of pics)

I own some really nice guitars by some great luthiers (Henderson, Ken Miller, to name just a couple), but I have never had a guitar custom built to my own specs. So here we go. I commissioned Ken Hooper to build my first custom built guitar. I won't bore anyone with all the details, but this guitar will be unique enough that it will have a featured article in an upcoming issue of Fretboard Journal, along with Ken. The build details will be discussed in the article. So these pictures documenting the build are just cell phone pics or iPad pictures; there will be better pictures in the article with more detail and better res. I started with a Smokies red spruce top. For those not familiar, in 1995 Hurricane Opal blew down trees well into the Smoky Mtn National Park. Those trees are protected and must remain where they fall, unless it is across a roadway. John Arnold and Ted Davis were able to get two very old growth trees (350+ years) and make tops. Most all are gone by now, but John agreed to let me get one of his remaining tops for my build. Hard to see in the photos, but this top has GPI of 22-25 at the widest and as high as 55-60 GPI at the tightest. And it is nice and stiff.

So I paired that up with a set of wood from The Tree, and I know most everyone on this forum is aware of this wood. For a dreadnought I chose figure closer to the sausage quilt than the tortoise back, I felt like the more figured stuff might be a bit much on a dreadnought. And I had a friend who had some set back from many years ago and allowed me to get a great price on the set as well.

Ken bent the sides, and joined the top and back pieces a couple of months ago. He waited until the photographer for the FJ article was here for the bulk of the build (3/14-3/18), and in a 5 day span braced the top, back, joined the body, started the binding, did the rosette, started the neck with the headstock over plate, and I'm sure I'm leaving something out.

David Mathis did the headstock inlay, came by on Saturday morning with an engraved mock-up to proof, and returned on Sunday with the real one inlaid with Ken's design. A lot done in a short amount of time. The last pictures are with the sealer sprayed, and the guitar is currently in the spray booth. Our photographer (George Schneider) is returning to take pictures of the finished product on May 11th, so that will be the unveiling even though it will be done before then. But these pics get us to where we are at not. Hope you enjoy.





























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Old 04-13-2019, 01:32 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:33 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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Old 04-14-2019, 06:32 AM
GeoffStGermaine GeoffStGermaine is offline
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Beautiful guitar! Thanks for sharing all of these guild pics!
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:33 PM
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You must be stoked, Allen--looking forward to hearing you play it!!!
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:28 PM
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Wowzers, Allen!!! Isn't it amazing how the Tree Mahogany takes on a totally new dimension when it's hit by finish (or even solvent, for that matter).

I'm a sucker for the tortoise shell figure...but this example of the sausage figure is absolutely beautiful. And that Red Spruce top is off the charts as well. What a magnificent guitar this is going to be. I can't wait to see it finished, and hear her voice.

Joel
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:19 AM
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Absolutely beautiful! Bet that thang is gonna ring like a bell!
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:40 AM
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Wow, that's gorgeous... absolutely gorgeous!
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:14 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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Thanks folks, glad y'all enjoy the pics! Yes, I'm pretty stoked and can't wait to hear it. I also can't wait until the FJ article comes out once it is finished, and better pics and more of the custom details are shown.
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:22 PM
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Very nice, indeed! Such beautiful guitars being built these days by so many talented luthiers that I know very little about. Thanks for letting us get to peek into the creation of this one.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:02 PM
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Very beautiful!
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:17 PM
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Love that headstock inlay and logo. Very classy.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:35 PM
John K John K is offline
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Beautiful guitar! I can't wait to hear you playing it the way it deserves, and looking forward to FB journal. Congratulations!
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:30 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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I picked my guitar up yesterday (5/11). So here are some pics of the finished product as well as a short video of the first chords I played on it when I opened the case.









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Old 05-12-2019, 06:33 PM
Allen Shadd Allen Shadd is offline
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