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  #1  
Old 08-18-2019, 10:37 AM
cbjanne cbjanne is offline
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Smile Traugott R in German/“Kentucky” BRW

Hello all,

Next week I’m going to try out a 2012 Traugott R with German Spruce and BRW from Jeff’s “Kentucky” stash. If it feels like “the one”, I just might go for it. I’ve heard great things about Jeff’s guitars, but have never played one before.

It crossed my mind to ask whether somebody here would like to share some information that I might find interesting or useful. For example, has there been noticeable changes in Jeff’s design (voicing, bracing, etc) in the last years? Do you think there is something special in the old “Kentucky” BRW? Also, in a 2006 thread it was said that Jeff uses solely Titebond as glue, then in a later thread there was a build with all hide glue — what might the situation be these days?

All thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-18-2019, 11:05 AM
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Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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For all things Traugott, here's a bit of the proverbial horse's mouth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhsCNQemxX8
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2019, 11:22 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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I've played that guitar; it's nice.

No, I don't think "Kentucky" BRW is anything other than hype. Mr. Traugott's guitars are pretty stellar irrespective of what they're made from - I've never played a BRW guitar of his that was made from anything less than top drawer stuff. As it happens the best I've played was not Kentucky, and was highly figured (vs. dead quartersawn like this one).

I've not noticed any variation in quality over the last 15 years or so: They've all been pretty fabulous and pretty unaffordable!

Let us know what you think.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:35 AM
cbjanne cbjanne is offline
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Thank you for the helpful replies. Steve, if I may ask, what made that one guitar stand out as the best in your experience?
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:24 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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I think that whether a guitar is extraordinary as opposed to just good depends on a unique conjunction of chance where the materials all line up exactly right and the luthier being in the zone on that day. Really good old growth dense brazilian rosewood helps but happening to be in the sweet spot or the bell curve is better. So I do not think you should be fixated on the Kentucky stash or whatever as the wood by itself wont make any difference.

Also I have read that traugott has changed his building techniques and considers his more recent ones better than the older ones. I do not know where that puts your 2012.

I have only played one traugott which was a significantly more recent one than the one you are checking out so I dont have any other traugott to compare it with but it was probably the 3rd best guitar I have ever played- only eclipsed by a incredible somogyi mod d and a outrageous kim Walker jumbo that I have written about elsewhere.

Mine was also special in that it has an adirondack top which isnt the norm for traugott model r guitars that generally hve German spruce tops. However I believe there is something very special about mine compared to other traugott guitars - it had a top end that created a harmonic cloud that seemed to bloom after the initial attack. It was spectacular tonally. It also didnt wimp out under a strong hand and has a luscious fat fundamental and endless clarity.

https://youtu.be/sGZRnvTkayc

Al petteway said it was one of the nicest guitars he has played and I can only agree. I should also add that although the braz used for mine was not from amy secret stash, it was one of the finest sets I have seen and worthy to be on a 1930s martin from the golden era.

Unfortunately I no longer own it as it was just too much money in a guitar that I couldn't afford to tie up in one guitsr in the end. I do miss it but the guitar I have today is far more accessible price wise and has its own special magic of it's own that puts it at the same level, only different so I'm good.

Here is a useful video that shows five traugott guitars from different times played by the same artist featuring the same song:-

The Traugott Five
https://youtu.be/dqJXfeUHdwA?list=PL...1dwWVl4kyoE4Or
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Last edited by gitarro; 08-18-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-19-2019, 06:14 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Default Traugott 5

The 3rd one in the video sounded different all the rest sounded the same.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:05 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portland Bill View Post
The 3rd one in the video sounded different all the rest sounded the same.
It is a 12 string guitar unlike the others.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:12 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
It is a 12 string guitar unlike the others.
I think you'll find that was an example of Portland Bill's sense of dry English humour.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:22 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbjanne View Post
Steve, if I may ask, what made that one guitar stand out as the best in your experience?
Well, the bottom line is that if you play 10 Traugotts, one will be the best and one will be the worst. "Best" and "Worst" are relative, but that's the way it is. Most will be "average" for that maker. Same goes for any other maker.

That particular Traugott did what Jeff's guitars are known for just a little bit better than the rest. It was very responsive, deep, sweet and clear, with good separation. Tony McManus recorded it on "The Makers Mark", and that gives an excellent impression of what it sounded like when you had it in your hands.

The paradox when we get to Traugotts and the few other guitars in that price-bracket, is that everyone wants their guitar to be "the best" because the price of entry is so blisteringly high. That's pretty hard to square and one of the reasons why I, personally, moved towards guitars that are a little bit more affordable. Chasing a Holy Grail can wear you out.

Ultimately, there are many great luthiers out there. Jeff Traugott is undoubtedly one of them.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:05 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I have played a number of Traugotts at a variety of guitar festivals over the years and what I have noticed about his instruments is that they are pretty unforgiving. You have to be a pretty good player to bring out the best in them. I found that my touch was a little too tame to really consistently pull what was possible from them. That isn't a criticism or a complaint, just an observation about several of his guitars that I sampled.

At one festival, I was able to sit in a listening/playing room that was right near Jeff's booth and heard a number of different players play his instruments as well as guitars by Kathy Wingert, David Berkowitz, Michael Bashkin, and Gerald Sheppard. There were not as many differences between the guitars as there were differences in how they sounded in the hands of the different players. It was actually a pretty ear opening experience.

Traugott - another fine example of great luthiery.

Best,
Jayne
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  #11  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:08 PM
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Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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I’ve only had the pleasure of playing two Traugotts. Beyond the obvious, one thing I noticed was how sensitive Jeff’s guitars are to different strings. The first one I played was divine. The second, divine-in-waiting, because the strings on it were definitely the wrong gauge for me or the guitar or me on that guitar. Granted, I’d probably find the same phenomenon applies to most of these very high-end guitars if I had the chance or inclination to fart around with that kind of thing.

I will say that that first Traugott, an unassuming 00, may have been the sweetest guitar I’ve ever played.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:26 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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There is no doubt that Jeff traugott is indeed one of the world's elite luthiers. I used to think there were only less than a handful at that rarefied level but I now know that is not so, and there r less lionozed luthiers who can produce guitars that are just as good, only different in aesthetics and tonal signature. Whether they r better than the others at tht level really depends on the player's preferences.

I agree that the traugott I had was definitely unforgiving with technique and utterly transparent. Unlike the somogyi where even mistakes and flubs can sound good! But when you got the note right, man did it sound pure and clear...
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:30 PM
cbjanne cbjanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveh View Post
Well, the bottom line is that if you play 10 Traugotts, one will be the best and one will be the worst.
Yes, that’s true of course. However, the “best” and the “worst” are very subjective matters, which is why I asked for clarification. If 10 people play the same 10 Traugotts, I would doubt that their ranking would be the same. Given, of course, that other factors (i.e. strings, room acoustics etc) would be equal.

Thank you for the helpful messages. I will be trying the guitar out today.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:47 PM
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Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbjanne View Post

Thank you for the helpful messages. I will be trying the guitar out today.

It sure is a beautiful guitar. Enjoy the test drive and keep us posted!
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:05 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbjanne View Post
Yes, that’s true of course. However, the “best” and the “worst” are very subjective matters, which is why I asked for clarification. If 10 people play the same 10 Traugotts, I would doubt that their ranking would be the same. Given, of course, that other factors (i.e. strings, room acoustics etc) would be equal.

Thank you for the helpful messages. I will be trying the guitar out today.
That is the most important determinator- if that huitar rocks your world when u play it and you can afford it, it may well be the guitar for you!
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