The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Custom Shop

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 05-12-2019, 12:13 PM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default The Edwinson "Kilmer" Eclipse OM

I have had several requests to post a show 'n tell thread on the most unusual guitar I've ever made, which had its debut at the B.I.G. guitar show and celebration, hosted by our very own Tom B'sox, at his and Kathy's home in Texas, in the last weekend in March.

Have you ever heard of this poem? Of course you have. It seems to have imprinted into humanity's collective memory.

Trees
By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Here's a guitar that I built for my good friend and patron, KAHobbs. We named this guitar "Kilmer", after the author of the poem. For obvious reasons, the Tree is the concept and theme that formed this guitar. The concept has undergone several permutations, over a long course of development, finally arriving at this:



Kilmer is the third Edwinson guitar that Ken has owned. The first one, named "Jupiter", was released back into the wild, to make room for the second one, called the "Blackwood Rose".
Since I first met Ken when he bought the Jupiter guitar, he has become a lifetime friend. On his two commissioned builds, Ken has encouraged me to push past my known boundaries, and make something unique. The Kilmer guitar took that challenge to another level.
I have to admit, building this guitar felt a bit like a tightrope walk across a wide chasm. Ken had acquired this awesome set of Tree Mahogany in a direct trade for another custom guitar he owned. He handed this back and side set to me and asked, "Do you think you can do something with this?"
Well, who wouldn't want to build a guitar with a primo set of Tree Mahogany!

However, building an experimental, highly unusual guitar with such a high-value set of wood took me way outside of my comfort zone. I was worried that, in pushing the Eclipse OM guitar design into unknown territory, I might wind up with a boondoggle of a guitar.

boon·dog·gle
/ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/
informal•North American
noun
noun: boondoggle; plural noun: boondoggles

1.
work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

1.
waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.

Mostly, I wanted to build a great guitar for Ken, that he would enjoy from every angle, especially in the quality of tone and playability... And I really hoped it would have a cohesive, coherent visual design as well. I have to admit, I struggled at times, trying to visualize a pleasing end result.

To paraphrase Joyce Kilmer,

Guitars are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a Tree...

In the end (or beginning, actually), I think it turned out rather well.



Ken asked me to make a headstock that would have the straightest string pull over the nut possible. All my headstocks taper narrower at the crest for this reason; but Ken's request gave me latitude to come up with something really unique and modern. So after a lot of cogitation, I came up with this open headstock design that I now call the Omega headstock. The Omega has since become my most popular headstock design.



Ken liked the headstock shape and function, so he asked me to make a sound hole that echoed the shape of the open headstock. I twisted myself into a pretzel, trying to figure out how to do this. I had to consider the top bracing, the fingerboard extension, the bridge location, and also the necessity of having access to the soundbox interior, for installing a pickup, and any service or repairs that may eventually be needed.
As often happens when you leave conundrums like this up to the subconscious mind to solve, I had a Eureka moment as I was waking up one morning. Later, I sketched out this design, which has the headstock opening shape in the middle, and two adjoining ports. Ken liked the design, so I jigged it up, and made a tester, which we called the "Trifurcated Heart".



...But how to make this trifurcated heart sound hole so that it would still enable access to the inside of the box? Aha! Simple!
I made a three-ply trifurcated heart sound hole piece with Cocobolo on the show side, which fits into a recessed opening, and attaches with four mated pairs of Neodymium magnets. It works great!

I'm going to pause for now, so I can get some work done on another guitar. There are some other features on the Kilmer that you may find interesting, so I'll be back soon to fill in the blanks.

Thanks for looking!
__________________
Edwinson

Last edited by TomB'sox; 05-12-2019 at 08:32 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-12-2019, 12:25 PM
Markkunkel's Avatar
Markkunkel Markkunkel is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 467
Default

Dear dear Steve,

Only a master craftsman, with the soul of an artist and the heart of a lion, could make a guitar like that. THANK YOU for the beauty you bring into the world, "playable art" in abundance. Thank you for your vision. Thank you for your commitment and integrity and prowess and.... thank you for being YOU.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-12-2019, 02:00 PM
Sage97 Sage97 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: GA
Posts: 7,216
Default

Somehow, "Wow!" sounds like an understatement. Hope it sounds as great as it looks.
__________________
"Dreams are the answers to questions that we haven't figured out how to ask." - Mulder
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-12-2019, 02:10 PM
GaultierRedon14 GaultierRedon14 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 314
Default

After the initial shock wears off, it is clear that you really worked out the specifics on that rosette design--it really works nicely with the rest of the asymmetrical details. The proportions, choice of woods, it just looks like it was meant to be.
Very well done, Steve! It's also great that you had a generous client like Ken to allow you the artistic space to come up with such an original and touching design!
__________________
Instruments:
2009 Gibson 20th Anniv. Advanced Jumbo L.C. Adi/Madi
2015 Doerr "Signature" Trinity--Cedar/ Master Grade Brazilian
2016 Edwinson EPC
2016 Hippner "Torres"--German Spruce/Pernambuco
2019 McKnight Lowlander--German Spruce/Pernambuco
In Progress: 2019 Mario Beauregard OM--Torrefied Sinker Redwood/Pernambuco
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-12-2019, 08:20 PM
Ovation1 Ovation1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 108
Default

Very nice work. Do you have any sound clips?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-12-2019, 08:54 PM
Kahobbs Kahobbs is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 152
Default

I will post a sound clip or two when I have a quiet moment in the studio. Someone at the B.I.G. Event might have captured a sound clip when Justinwo, Michael Watt or Jason Kostal were playing Kilmer. I’m smitten with it and think it sounds wonderful.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-13-2019, 10:59 AM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default

I’d like to hear a sound clip too... The Kilmer guitar was strung up for the first time the day before we hit the road for Texas, to attend the B.I.G. Show. The only playing time I had on this guitar was about 45 minutes, to get the setup dialed in and do a little exploring. It sounded great right from the start, but I did not get to experience that magical thing that happens as a new guitar wakes up and discovers what it is.
Ken was at the B.I.G. Show, and that’s where he took possession of Kilmer. In fact, Joel and I were guests at Ken and Eilene’s home near Lake Charles LA, on the way to B.I.G. and on the way back. Their home is just about exactly halfway- so instead of driving ten hours in a day, we were able to break the trips into two, AND enjoy the warm hospitality of Ken and Eilene.

While we were at Tom’s B.I.G. Event, one of the highlights of my entire lutherie journey happened. Both Jason Kostal and Michael Watts spent a little quality time with the Kilmer guitar. I wish I had been able to record some of it, but there was so much going on, it would have gotten lost in the clatter and din. I did get some photos though.
Here’s Jason playing Kilmer through a Humphrey amp (and the guitar’s LR Baggs Lyric pickup).
In addition to his many other talents, not many people know that Jason is an awesome player, and actually has a Master’s Degree in Modern Fingerstyle guitar.IMG_1557766336.791825.jpg
Here’s another shot with Ken looking on. Jason played the Kilmer for about twenty minutes, and really seemed to be enjoying the experience. WE sure were!IMG_1557766434.354967.jpg

As if that were not enough, one of my all-time favorite guitar players, Michael Watts, also took Kilmer for a spin. This wasn’t even on my bucket list- it would have been too much to hope for.
IMG_1557766661.795441.jpgIMG_1557766684.272460.jpg
Now I can die happy. It doesn’t get any better than this.
__________________
Edwinson

Last edited by TomB'sox; 05-13-2019 at 03:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:01 PM
RGPGuitars RGPGuitars is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Peterborough, ONT
Posts: 175
Default

Incredible. Speechless.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:38 PM
nootis's Avatar
nootis nootis is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Sin City
Posts: 577
Default

I caught the second half of Jason playing Kilmer. I was blown away by both the sound that was coming out of the guitar and amp and of course, Jason's playing. This is something I won't soon forget, and I was lucky to have been at the right place at the right time (there was only a handful of us outside on the porch when this went down).

Also, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but the frets are somewhat scalloped as well per the owners' request for wrapping his thumb over the top of the neck. Overall, just an amazing achievement by Steve and you are deserving of the praise.
__________________
Lamehorse Saddle Pal Engelmann/MAD
R. Taylor Style 1 Adi/EIR
Stephen Kinnaird CS Adi/BRZ
Stehr GA L S Redwood/Figured EIR
Stehr GA Sinker/Italian Olivewood
Stehr SJ Sinker/BRZ 8 string
Stehr SJ Baritone Adi/Jacaranda (RW)

Martin Custom Dread
C A Cargo

Smokehouse Guitars Punch box cigar guitar 4 string
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-14-2019, 06:51 AM
invguy921's Avatar
invguy921 invguy921 is offline
Lovin' nice guitars...
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: S. Central Missouri
Posts: 2,425
Default

That guitar is just pretty darned cool. I don't think you've left an inch of real estate untended. Very nice indeed!
__________________
"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

Woody (aka: Mike)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-14-2019, 07:04 AM
David Wren's Avatar
David Wren David Wren is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 1,814
Default

What a spectacular looking instrument ... can't wait for the sound clip!
__________________
David Wren
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-14-2019, 08:47 AM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markkunkel View Post
Dear dear Steve,

Only a master craftsman, with the soul of an artist and the heart of a lion, could make a guitar like that. THANK YOU for the beauty you bring into the world, "playable art" in abundance. Thank you for your vision. Thank you for your commitment and integrity and prowess and.... thank you for being YOU.

Mark
Mark, it's been too long... How are you doing? I hope you and Jeanette are well and happy and still making music. I'm humbled by your kind words.
__________________
Edwinson
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-14-2019, 08:54 AM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage97 View Post
Somehow, "Wow!" sounds like an understatement. Hope it sounds as great as it looks.
Hey Ernie,
I'd like to point out that, like Ken, you were instrumental (pun intended) in spurring me on to expand my designs. When I built your Element guitar, you challenged me to come up with a new bridge and a new rosette design- which have become a thematic trademark since then. The "Element" style appointments, named after you, are a big part of my brand identity now.

I'd also like to mention to everyone that Sage97 (Ernie) is a world-class singer. He has sent me numerous recordings over the years, which I've compiled into my iTunes library. Listening to Ernie sing and play guitar is a very moving experience. I can't understand why he isn't a worldwide celebrity with talent like that.
__________________
Edwinson
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-14-2019, 08:57 AM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaultierRedon14 View Post
After the initial shock wears off, it is clear that you really worked out the specifics on that rosette design--it really works nicely with the rest of the asymmetrical details. The proportions, choice of woods, it just looks like it was meant to be.
Very well done, Steve! It's also great that you had a generous client like Ken to allow you the artistic space to come up with such an original and touching design!
Hey, Daniel,
You are yet another of my clients who challenged me to come up with a completely unique guitar. Hope you are still enjoying the De Profundis guitar (Bois de Rose back and sides, Ancient Sitka top, rosewood neck, Lignum Vitae appointments...)

I've been following your Tim McKnight built. It's looking fantastic. I'm sure when you receive that guitar, it will rock your world. There are none better than Tim.
__________________
Edwinson
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-14-2019, 09:06 AM
theEdwinson's Avatar
theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 1,256
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nootis View Post
I caught the second half of Jason playing Kilmer. I was blown away by both the sound that was coming out of the guitar and amp and of course, Jason's playing. This is something I won't soon forget, and I was lucky to have been at the right place at the right time (there was only a handful of us outside on the porch when this went down).

Also, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but the frets are somewhat scalloped as well per the owners' request for wrapping his thumb over the top of the neck. Overall, just an amazing achievement by Steve and you are deserving of the praise.
Yeah, that Humphrey amp was pretty special... Especially with Jason playing note-perfect Michael Hedges and Billy McLaughlin tunes. Wow.

Ken texted me a couple times since the show to tell me he noticed the Kilmer's sound really starting to come into full bloom. It had a big, airy resonance from the start, but the real magic hadn't happened yet. Although, Jason and Michael gave it some nice props.
Ken did ask me to gently scallop the fretboard's thumb side to better accommodate thumb-wrap bass note fretting. I think I'll do this more often.

Some other features of this guitar: Sound port with slider, can be open or closed, to alter the projection characteristics; Multiscale architecture, with a 24.75"- 25.25" scale spread; LR Baggs Lyric pickup installed; Omega style open headstock with Gotoh 510 Mini tuners. The tuners are fitted with custom made Cocobolo/Ebony 510-style buttons, made by Bill Wise at Charis guitars. Beautiful! Kilmer also has arm and rib bevels, and a scoop cutaway. Everything is trimmed with Cocobolo.
__________________
Edwinson
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Custom Shop

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=