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  #31  
Old 11-02-2020, 07:32 PM
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Thanks Professor I-IV-V...
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  #32  
Old 11-03-2020, 03:52 PM
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Default Selecting a Top

Mark selected some European and Italian Alpine Spruce tops that he thought would work well for my Bristlecone. He joined them and cut them to his Sequoia shape (his largest 16” model).



The photos show the results of his test process and the Chladni numbers for frequencies that he associates with long-grain and short-grain stiffness for each top set. The Sequoia numbers marked with a star are bogus because the top didn’t quite fill the pattern in the lower bout, so the cross-grain numbers are artificially biased higher than they should be.



After recording all the Sequoia numbers, Mark cut all the tops down to his Tamarack size (15-5/8”, slightly larger than the Bristlecone at 15-1/4” across the lower bout) and recorded the Chladni numbers again. All of these tops now appear workable for a Tamarack, so he doesn’t want to cut them all to Bristlecone size. The Bristlecone numbers are predictable at this point given the 3/8” difference in lower bout width.



Out of these five potential top sets, four where appropriate for a Bristlecone (one was too stiff cross grain). Mark and I ended up choosing Set #2 which is an Italian Alpine Spruce set that he purchased from violin luthier David Morse (Soquel, CA) nearly two decades ago (so it is well seasoned at this point). David Morse would visit the famed Val di Fiemme in the Alto Adige region of in Italy to select individual trees for harvest, split, re-saw and ship the processed wood back to the US. This is a well quartered set displaying medullary rays that is likely a AA aesthetic grade top BUT it has the right properties for the guitar being built. It does have a slight a color streak on the treble side upper bout, some of which will obscured by the rosette, covered by the polyester pick-guard and some will be removed by the cutaway.

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  #33  
Old 11-09-2020, 03:37 PM
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Default Headstock Veneer

Mark likes to aesthetically match the hardwoods that he uses for his headstock veneers with his rosettes. In the case of my Bristlecone, we had decided to use Brazilian RW, so he wanted me to select a veneer for the peghead first. Here are eight different veneers I chose from.



I chose this veneer because it is from the same piece of Brazilian RW that he used in my Pinyon 5+ years ago (right).

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  #34  
Old 11-09-2020, 07:32 PM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Love Mark’s book-matched headstock! That finished one looks like a pheasant’s tail feathers.
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  #35  
Old 11-09-2020, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Mott View Post
Love Mark’s book-matched headstock! That finished one looks like a pheasant’s tail feathers.
Richard, thanks....

Here is what my Pinyon veneers and rosette looked like 6 years ago. You can see why Mark selects headstock veneers so early in his build process. He needs to cut a sound hole and install a rosette in the top next. He carefully wants the rosette woods to match the headstock veneer. The 10 trapezoidal pieces get assembled into a rosette so the wood grain is radially aligned.

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  #36  
Old 11-10-2020, 09:52 AM
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Wow- the artistry is so amazing here. I love the headstock of your Pinyon and this one seems like it will be equally stunning! And matching the rosette with the headstock veneer... whoa... This just made my morning!

Thanks for sharing this special build!

beth
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  #37  
Old 11-10-2020, 04:52 PM
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Mark focuses a lot on the quality of the woods that he uses, elegant design forms adorned by a simple decorative aesthetic. Small details like these don’t jump out at first, but they are there for those you take the time to look...

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Originally Posted by bmh1 View Post
Wow- the artistry is so amazing here. I love the headstock of your Pinyon and this one seems like it will be equally stunning! And matching the rosette with the headstock veneer... whoa... This just made my morning!

Thanks for sharing this special build!

beth
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Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 11-10-2020 at 08:03 PM.
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  #38  
Old 11-11-2020, 06:27 AM
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Nice choice Bob. Love the feather look and the rosette is gonna be special. Wow!
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  #39  
Old 11-11-2020, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
Nice choice Bob. Love the feather look and the rosette is gonna be special. Wow!
Thanks Dennis.... It will be nice to have two guitars from Mark with headstock veneers made from sequential cuts from the same piece of wood. For the rosette, we are doing something a bit different from Mark's standard rosette (my Pinyon is shown below as an example).



It will contain radial oriented Brazilian RW, but be of a different design as will the fretboard terminus.
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  #40  
Old 11-12-2020, 06:31 PM
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Mark proposed and I agreed on a simple Brazilian Rosewood and curly Koa rosette and purfling scheme for the guitar today.... Once installed, Marks top voicing process will begin in earnest.
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  #41  
Old 11-14-2020, 07:03 PM
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Today, Mark glued up the Brazilian Rosewood back set (almost doesn’t look like Brazilian but EIR!)...

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Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 11-15-2020 at 08:34 AM.
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  #42  
Old 11-15-2020, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
Today, Mark glued up the Brazilian Rosewood back set (almost doesn’t look like Brazilian but EIR!)...

Wow, that's pretty!

SK
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  #43  
Old 11-16-2020, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Kinnaird View Post
Wow, that's pretty!

SK
Thanks Steve.... The set is sedate in terms of it's figure that so many players value, but it quartersawn, seasoned and stable which is frequently what luthiers value more.
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  #44  
Old 11-17-2020, 06:45 PM
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Like a number of luthiers, Mark makes all of his own purflings and bindings. He spent the day sanding down some curly Koa strips into various thickness for purflings and the rosette. Here’s a shot of Mark’s thickness sander (it’s a beast, I’ve seen it!).





Mark is creating a different rosette from his signature one on this guitar. He needed to make a new UHMW PE mold to form the rosette in.



Lastly, Mark cleaned up the joined Brazilian Rosewood back set and drew the Bristlecone pattern on it. Nice looking stuff...

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  #45  
Old 11-17-2020, 07:11 PM
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Schweeet--beautiful BRW!

It's amazing all that Mark goes through with the building of your (and others) guitar--thanks for the detailed sharing of the process.

Should be wonderful--looking forward to watching this and hearing it!
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