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  #1  
Old 08-18-2015, 04:30 PM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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Default Sexauer JZ-16 (2015)

My last fully carved guitar, my 5th, was completed about 5 years ago. Then this last year I was commissioned to make a 000 with a carved back, a little like Santa Cruz was doing a few years ago. It came out better than I expected, and so I was moved to make a sixth archtop, which I completed today. 4 of my others are big at between 17 and 18 inches wide, and one of them was more or less 00 sized as well as having a 23.5" scale. The petite person who commissioned that piece asked for a big dark warm sound despite the size, and surprisingly, we agree that we hit the mark! I wanted something more like an L5, personally, so this new guitar is more to my own taste, and is 16" wide in the lower bout and has a 25.4" scale as that's what I'm used to. I haven't taken pictures yet, though I will, and I'll post some here. In my "blog" thread (Sexauer/'15, chapter 2)in the Custom shop there is something of a build thread on this guitar starting on the 7th page with post #93. Here is a sound clip, 2 tracks, "Talk of the Town"
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Last edited by Bruce Sexauer; 01-22-2016 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:09 PM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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Nice shots and commentary in your blog thread, Bruce. Thanks for thinking of us over here. I'm looking forward to more photos, and maybe more commentary on the tone.

The clip was great, but maybe one with a little less close mic / more room mic. Or maybe the audio path is a little limiting somewhere? Funny, the vocal is clearer than the guitar, but the guitar is louder, that's what makes me think the mic is too close or something?
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:08 PM
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Perhaps surprisingly, the two mics are about 18 inches away and neither is choked up on either the guitar or the vocal. To me, the guitar sounds pretty honest in the recording. Being just a day old, it is bound to get its bearing to a greater degree in relatively little time, I'd think. Also, the strings are LaBella 12-52 electric guitar strings, being all I had around, and are at least ten years old from an unsealed package! They have visible corrosion on them that feels abrasive when I play. There is no pick up.

I thought I would get around to serious pictures today, but instead I played music all day. Here are some snapshots taken just now:



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Old 08-18-2015, 10:41 PM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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OK, the strings, that makes sense. Wow, beautiful guitar. Thanks, Bruce.

K
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:34 AM
Uke Richard Uke Richard is offline
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Thank you for sharing. It looks very nice, Bruce! These three pics reveal many beautiful details IMHO. I am sure I would love to try it if I were closer. Bravo!

What made you choose a bone (I assume it's bone) saddle instead of a more traditional all wood one?
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Old 08-19-2015, 09:37 AM
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Although I have made just 6 fully carved guitars, I have also made a double handful of Selmer inspired tailpiece guitars, many of which use Schertler's BlueStick under saddle PU, which I really like and have unused examples of on hand. Using a drop-in bone saddle allows the option of this PU. It also makes more sense to me than an all wood saddle/bridge arrangement.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:44 PM
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Just stopped by the shop today and had a chance to play this one - I was surprised that Bruce was concerned this didn't have the volume he had hoped for, and apparently he was too because he had never had someone else play it while he could sit in front and listen. Please take this with a grain of salt - I am relatively inexperienced with the nuances of archtop guitars - but this one has amazing balance and tone, and really great volume with a nice level of sustain. You just don't really hear it all that way when you're playing it - but the audience definitely will because this guitar projects wonderfully. The workmanship is outstanding, as one would only expect of a Sexauer, and the organic truthfulness in the carving and the tactile grace of the neck and body - this is a really wonderful instrument. He had just changed the strings out for some PBs, and while the tailpiece is amazing, he has a great idea to refine it (I won't disclose anything - i think he'll have great pics when its all together).

I'm pretty happy I'm close enough to be able to play these first hand - anyone considering a great archtop should definitely consider this one -
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:10 PM
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Thanks, Tad, I should have known better, but was absolutely amazed at how great the guitar sounded from in front compared to the driver's seat. The thing about archtops tops is SUPPOSED to be projection, which I somehow forgot to consider. Today I will play it ensemble for the first time, which will be interesting.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:20 AM
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Its been a couple weeks - any new pics or audio?
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:30 AM
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I have made a second tailpiece for the guitar as well as taking quite a bit of mass out of the bridge. The first tailpiece was quick and dirty, mostly to see if the structural/artistic concept would work, which it does. Aside from being more delicate and better crafted, the new effort also serves to mount the output for a Schertler Stat-V pick up system I adapted to the guitar. I am at breakfast right now, but will likely manage pictures eventually.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
I have made a second tailpiece for the guitar as well as taking quite a bit of mass out of the bridge. The first tailpiece was quick and dirty, mostly to see if the structural/artistic concept would work, which it does. Aside from being more delicate and better crafted, the new effort also serves to mount the output for a Schertler Stat-V pick up system I adapted to the guitar. I am at breakfast right now, but will likely manage pictures eventually.
Eat quickly maestro, we would love to see it...
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:24 PM
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I have remade the experimental tailpiece on the archtop as well as finessing the bridge. The new tailpiece also facilitates a Schertler Stat-V PU. That's V as in violin, but I am quite happy with the result on this guitar. The PU is tiny, and it it inconceivable to me that it has a measurable effect on on acoustic performance, which seems greatly enhanced by the rethink of the various part, by the way. If it does seem to have an effect, no matter, as it removes completely in a few seconds, though it is a hair trickier getting it back in position.

There are a series of holes in the ebony end block which allow the height of the cable pivot to be changed (w/o tools) and thereby changing the down force on the top. I tried the highest setting first, and while the guitar was extremely responsive, comparatively (roughly like a flat top), it lost some to punch I demand from an arch top. The lowest setting provides huge punch, but isn't particularly fun to play on, and the middle setting (where it is here) makes me giddy I like so well!

Schertler Stat-V:


With and w/o the PU:






The bridge:
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:26 PM
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Beautiful guitar Bruce. You do very nice work.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:28 AM
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I have started another JZ-16 much is the spirit of the previous, but not quite the same. This one will target a more open sound, and be a bit more lightly carved wth a little less arch. Aesthetically it will be similar, but will have a cherry back and sides rather than big leaf maple.

Here are a couple of pictures:


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Old 01-23-2016, 01:14 PM
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No CNC here! Gouges, planes, scrapers, and a bit of sanding:


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