The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 05-08-2020, 01:40 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default McNally - new build

Hi all

I am planning on commissioning a new build from Ciaran McNally of MCNally guitars, and so am keen to gather some thoughts from those that have gone through the process.

I am exclusively a fingerstyle player - some modern and some Celtic but mostly in altered tunings of one sort or another (with nails)

I currently have three Furch guitars - a cedar/RW Grand auditorium, a spruce/RW OM and a cedar/hog OM. Of the three I play my spruce/RW OM24 the most as I find it the most balanced in tone, and I lean towards the OM size. I like the GA very much and enjoy the extra volume but like the size less and so it gets less play. My cedar/hog OM is my least played as I find the tone less to my taste.

I love my Furch guitars but am tempted by a newly hand built guitar by a luthier who is very well regarded and builds only 10-12 new instruments a year - I love the sound of his spruce/walnut OM here;

https://youtu.be/uWisFjpj-lw

So, given the cost of the new instrument I will need to offload 2 of the above three - current thinking is the GA and the cedar/hog OM and to keep my favourite spruce/RW OM.

With this in mind I don’t want to commission a guitar that is too similar to my Furch OM, and after discussion with Ciaran have begun to form a plan around a Euro spruce/Walnut OM.

I like a guitar with balance and clarity, but with sufficient bass and warmth in the tone to ensure it does not sound too thin or cold - but I definitely lean more towards the modern sound.

Ciaran describes a tone continuum with warmth/sustain on one end and sparkle/clarity on the other (Martin / Taylor) and puts his guitars somewhere to the right of the halfway point towards sparkle/clarity.

Some questions I am asking myself are;

1. Is spruce the right top or should I consider cedar (I do like the Lowden F25) I lean towards the better attack and cut of spruce.

2. Is the Euro spruce worth the up charge over Sitka(£300) - Ciaran’s view is it adds warmth to the clarity of the walnut

3. Walnut is a tonewood I haven’t played but it gets great reviews as light and resonant - better choice than RW?

4. Should I let both OM’s go and hold onto the GA as it represents more variety in tone (do I need two OM’s?)

I am realising that commissioning a new build is a weighty process now I am considering it so any lessons learned or thoughts on my ramblings would be appreciated from those that may have gone through it (or not)

Thanks in advance..
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-08-2020, 03:55 AM
JayBee1404's Avatar
JayBee1404 JayBee1404 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,681
Default

Those McNallys are beautiful guitars, both in appearance and sound - if I was in the market for another guitar, that’s the direction I’d be looking.

Re your questions...

1) I have a Walnut and Cedar Lowden F-23, it’s both warm and clear sounding (I know, sounds unlikely, but it’s true!). So I see Walnut/Cedar as a ‘good thing’.

2) My Brook OM (built mid-2019) has a Euro Spruce top with EIR B&S. It was very tight-sounding when new but, over the six months I’ve had the guitar, it’s opened up somewhat, and has what I’d describe as a ‘clear, well-defined’ tone, it’s a good example of the tone Brook guitars are noted for. I don’t hear it as especially ‘warm’, but it is a beautiful-sounding guitar for finger-style/picking.

3) Since acquiring the Lowden, Walnut has become my favourite B&S wood. If I were to commission a custom-build, it would almost certainly have Walnut B&S - warmer than mahogany, better definition and less ‘muddy’ than EIR.

4) Can’t answer, as I have zero experience with GA-style guitars.

Hope this helps?
__________________
Brook ‘Lamorna’ OM (European Spruce/EIR) (2019)
Lowden F-23 (Red Cedar/Bastogne Walnut) (2017)
Martin D-18 (2012)
Martin HD-28V (2010)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-08-2020, 04:18 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default

Thanks Jaybee - it does help!

It cements my view on Walnut - I think that part is locked in..

Cedar / Euro spruce - not so much, but the sound you describe as coming from your Brook Lamorna in terms of clarity and sparkle is what I am looking for (with a modicum of warmth)

Also great to hear you view McNally as a good bet.

Thank you.
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-08-2020, 04:37 AM
JayBee1404's Avatar
JayBee1404 JayBee1404 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,681
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
Also great to hear you view McNally as a good bet.
Indeed I do, along with Brook (check them out... https://www.brookguitars.com/index.html ). I like hand-built guitars, tastefully decorated, but without excessive ‘bling’. McNally and Brook seem to get it just right, AFAIC.

Looking forward to hearing what you order. And looking forward even more to seeing the pics and hearing the sound-clips when you have it in your hands!
__________________
Brook ‘Lamorna’ OM (European Spruce/EIR) (2019)
Lowden F-23 (Red Cedar/Bastogne Walnut) (2017)
Martin D-18 (2012)
Martin HD-28V (2010)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-08-2020, 05:15 AM
Guitarbench Guitarbench is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 335
Default

Sent you a message!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-08-2020, 08:42 AM
mercy mercy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Inland Empire, So California
Posts: 5,036
Default

Im sure whatever wood you choose a McNally will sound good. Ive owned walnut, hog and various rosewoods and ignoring the builder I would not choose walnut but then I wouldnt choose EI either. My ideal guitar, ignoring builder, would be Euro and some kind of rosewood like Guatemalan. But if there was a McNally I could afford on the Forum in walnut I would buy it because of the builder. Brooks are wonderful as well.
In your shoes I would sell the OM's and keep the larger one for real variety.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-08-2020, 09:44 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Im sure whatever wood you choose a McNally will sound good. Ive owned walnut, hog and various rosewoods and ignoring the builder I would not choose walnut but then I wouldnt choose EI either. My ideal guitar, ignoring builder, would be Euro and some kind of rosewood like Guatemalan. But if there was a McNally I could afford on the Forum in walnut I would buy it because of the builder. Brooks are wonderful as well.

In your shoes I would sell the OM's and keep the larger one for real variety.


Thanks Mercy - good info.

The size question and which one to keep is a challenge - logic tells me the same as you, however my instinct tells me that if you are an OM player then that’s the size to keep as however much I like the idea of the GA I just find the size puts me off a little so it doesn’t get the playing time.
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-08-2020, 01:18 PM
SJ VanSandt SJ VanSandt is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 2,016
Default

I have a guitar with black walnut and German spruce that I love dearly. I have found German spruce to be warmer than Sitka, but I don't think that is necessarily true of all Euro. spruces, and the differences are all small compared to the difference between typical cedar and typical spruce. I think the plan to go with a walnut/German OM is the best one. Trust your luthier's judgement (more than ours here on AGF, anyway).
__________________
Allison AJ, Kinnaird OM, Hatcher 00.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-08-2020, 01:30 PM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,038
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
Thanks Mercy - good info.

The size question and which one to keep is a challenge - logic tells me the same as you, however my instinct tells me that if you are an OM player then that’s the size to keep as however much I like the idea of the GA I just find the size puts me off a little so it doesn’t get the playing time.
I think a good OM is the most versatile guitar you can buy and Ciaran makes a good one.
I have an Irish made European spruce and European walnut 13 fret deep bodied OM and it works very well if you like a dry, woody sound.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-08-2020, 02:27 PM
SprintBob's Avatar
SprintBob SprintBob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Covington, LA
Posts: 3,686
Default

Peter,

I share the same preference for fingerstyle playing and a preference for OM/000 size guitars even though I have one outstanding 00.

I have a Kostal OMC on order that hopefully will get started in the next 8-12 weeks. It will have a German spruce top and master grade Koa back and sides. I was pulled to Koa due to my experience with a Taylor K-22 12 fret. I always found that guitar to have the sweetest balance but compared to my Collings, Froggy, and my SCGC’s, it did not have the sustain and “in your chest” reverb my higher end guitars produced. So in speaking with Jason, he understood where I was coming from and loved the challenge of building a Koa guitar with the same balance but a lot more clarity and projection. You probably want to go with tonewoods your builder of choice is comfortable working with but make sure you are both in agreement about what you are trying to achieve tonally.

Good luck, look forward to following your build thread.

Cheers,

Bob
__________________
Collings 0001A (Adi/Mahogany)
Emerald X-20 (all carbon fiber)
Froggy Bottom H-12 (Adi/EIR)
Rainsong CO-WS1005NST (all carbon fiber)
Robinson 12 Fret SS Dread (Spruce/Mahogany)
Santa Cruz Skye 00 (Adi/Coco)
Santa Cruz OM/PW (Cedar/EIR)
Eastman 810CE (Spruce/Maple archtop)

Last edited by SprintBob; 05-08-2020 at 07:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-08-2020, 02:34 PM
dennisczech dennisczech is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 159
Default

Good questions Wrighty. I'm commissioning Ciaran to build 2 guitars, one an S with a sinker cedar top, the other an OM with Adi top, mainly because I fancy a bit of variety. I think his signature tone is likely to come through whatever your wood choice, so it's down to preference. I suspect Ciaran's guitars will become more well-known as he's building an excellent product at a really good price point.
My hunch would be to offload the 2 Furch you play less, nothing wrong with having 2 OMs. Walnut sounds like a good choice, it will give you something a bit different from your RW OM. The upcharge issue is always a tricky one in terms of is it worth it, but Ciaran's advice re Euro spruce is probably sound. His guitars are well-priced anyway, so £300 in the long-term seems worth it. On the other hand, if you listen to the Sitka/Koa OM at TNAG, it sounds pretty warm.
Terence from Goodacoustics in Singapore has ordered a Euro spruce/Madrose OM that's just waiting for its last coat of finish following Ciaran's move back to NI. I was hoping to spend some time with this guitar if Terence is happy for it to stay in the UK for a while, and I'm based near you.
Nice to know that there are other McNally fans out there.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-08-2020, 03:01 PM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Peter,



I share the same preference for fingerstyle playing and a preference for OM/000 size guitars even though I have one outstanding 00.



I have a Kostal OMC on order that hopefully will get started in the next 8-12 weeks. It will have a German spruce top and master grade Koa back and sides. I was pulled to Koa due to my experience with a Taylor K-22 12 fret. I always found that guitar to have the sweetest balance but compared to my Collings, Froggy, and my SCGC’s, it did not have the sustain and “in your chest” reverb my higher end guitars produced. So in speaking with Jason, he understood where I was coming from and loved the challenge of building a Koa guitar with the same balance but a lot more clarity and projection. You probably to go with tonewoods your builder of choice is comfortable working with but make sure you are both in agreement about what you are trying to achieve tonally.



Good luck, look forward to following your build thread.



Cheers,



Bob


Thanks for the insight Bob..
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-08-2020, 03:04 PM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisczech View Post
Good questions Wrighty. I'm commissioning Ciaran to build 2 guitars, one an S with a sinker cedar top, the other an OM with Adi top, mainly because I fancy a bit of variety. I think his signature tone is likely to come through whatever your wood choice, so it's down to preference. I suspect Ciaran's guitars will become more well-known as he's building an excellent product at a really good price point.

My hunch would be to offload the 2 Furch you play less, nothing wrong with having 2 OMs. Walnut sounds like a good choice, it will give you something a bit different from your RW OM. The upcharge issue is always a tricky one in terms of is it worth it, but Ciaran's advice re Euro spruce is probably sound. His guitars are well-priced anyway, so £300 in the long-term seems worth it. On the other hand, if you listen to the Sitka/Koa OM at TNAG, it sounds pretty warm.

Terence from Goodacoustics in Singapore has ordered a Euro spruce/Madrose OM that's just waiting for its last coat of finish following Ciaran's move back to NI. I was hoping to spend some time with this guitar if Terence is happy for it to stay in the UK for a while, and I'm based near you.

Nice to know that there are other McNally fans out there.


Hi Dennis

Thanks for the thoughts - looking forward to seeing those two builds..

I am very excited about getting underway - I think Ciaran builds great guitars.

Peter
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-11-2020, 03:34 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Itchen Stoke, UK
Posts: 1,161
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Im sure whatever wood you choose a McNally will sound good. Ive owned walnut, hog and various rosewoods and ignoring the builder I would not choose walnut but then I wouldnt choose EI either. My ideal guitar, ignoring builder, would be Euro and some kind of rosewood like Guatemalan. But if there was a McNally I could afford on the Forum in walnut I would buy it because of the builder. Brooks are wonderful as well.

In your shoes I would sell the OM's and keep the larger one for real variety.


I have been pondering this further last week - I picked up and started playing the G23 with some commitment and realised that it represents probably the best of what Furch does - cedar topped GA guitars..

It is their best seller by some margin and is probably their guitar “sweet spot” and I do very much enjoy playing it.

So potentially the McNally OM replaces the Furch OM and I am better off holding on to the Furch GA after all..

I will struggle to let go of either of these - it’s not an easy call.
__________________
FOR SALE: Stonebridge / Furch OM22CM - 2011
Webber OM (2009 - Sitka/Sapele)
Furch OM24 SR (2016)
Masano 420 D18 (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A...2TVEhWes2Djrig
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-11-2020, 04:53 AM
SprintBob's Avatar
SprintBob SprintBob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Covington, LA
Posts: 3,686
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
I have been pondering this further last week - I picked up and started playing the G23 with some commitment and realised that it represents probably the best of what Furch does - cedar topped GA guitars..

It is their best seller by some margin and is probably their guitar “sweet spot” and I do very much enjoy playing it.

So potentially the McNally OM replaces the Furch OM and I am better off holding on to the Furch GA after all..

I will struggle to let go of either of these - it’s not an easy call.
I think that’s a good call on the GA. I had a cedar/EIR Taylor GS a few years ago that I fell in love with the tone but it was just too big to get comfortable playing it. I sold it and recently bought a used SCGC OM/PW in cedar/EIR. It’s a wonderful guitar for fingerstyle with a mellow but rich tone. It’s a nice contrast to my Adi topped guitars. I enjoy having tonewood diversity in my collection especially from luthiers who know how to “work the woods”. When working on a song, I usually have two out on the stands next to me and it makes the playing session more enjoyable swapping back and forth and enjoying the personality each guitar brings out.
__________________
Collings 0001A (Adi/Mahogany)
Emerald X-20 (all carbon fiber)
Froggy Bottom H-12 (Adi/EIR)
Rainsong CO-WS1005NST (all carbon fiber)
Robinson 12 Fret SS Dread (Spruce/Mahogany)
Santa Cruz Skye 00 (Adi/Coco)
Santa Cruz OM/PW (Cedar/EIR)
Eastman 810CE (Spruce/Maple archtop)
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 10:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=