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Old 04-26-2011, 10:54 AM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Default John Mayes new 00 model for Healdsburg build

I'm quite pleased to begin this build thread, although it's starting before I had expected! John and I have been chatting over the past couple of years about a nice mahogany, smaller guitar, and I've been lucky enough to see and play his L32 in brazilian / LS redwood, as well as some great 1930s African mahogany / Italian spruce. I had tentatively decided on an all-mahogany L32, sometime in the future.

While visiting John's shop a month or two ago, I asked him about LS redwood, and John pulled out his last LS top. It had been sized for an earlier shape that John no longer builds, but it was about the L32 shape. In order to secure the top, and to prove to John I was serious, I went ahead and commissioned the build but asked him to put me far down the list.

John, as most of you already know, has been building his new Grand Concert (http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...=198691&page=2 and http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=210495 for example). That guitar is the result of 10 years of building, testing - and destroying! - prototypes with incremental changes in design and construction, resulting in a final (17) prototype of some new bracing and some other improvements that are now going into the Healdsburg builds for introduction this year.

To shorten the story a bit, John asked me if I'd be interested in having the new features (bracing, new bridge design, etc.) on the L32, and I said "of course!". He then called me a few weeks later, and asked if it would be alright for him to build the guitar for introduction at Healdsburg - that he would be able to keep up with his other Healdsburg guitars as well as the production guitars he was making, but really wanted to have this one to show to HGF attendees as well. "Well, of course!!" said I.

The first thing John did was to try a bit of body redesign, not radically, but slightly enlarging the upper bout, changing the flattened lower bout bottom, and giving it slightly more definition to the waist.

The next thing he did was spend some hours one night putting together his first "mosaic" medallion. He ran it by me and it blew me away! This will be placed on the soundhole, like his other Healdsburg guitars. It may look simple but John has done the math to keep the same soundhole area by slightly enlarging the diameter to account for the small intrusion of the medallion.

We had already chosen a nice African Blackwood bridge in John's new design, which will also be the fretboard and headstock overlay woods. Further details are being worked out as he goes along, but this will be an exciting guitar for you to visit and try out at Healdsburg this year!

I hope you enjoy seeing this come together as much as I'll enjoy posting it.

(John Cotten, you are now formally "challenged" to begin a build thread!)

The 1930s African mahogany for the back and sides:


The LS top - but it will not end up with this exact shape:


Here's the new shape:


I'll post more pictures as we go along!

Thanks for watching.

Phil
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Rainsong S OM1100-N2
Woolson LS RW/30s African mahogany LG 12
Baranik LS RW/"tree" mahogany OO
Baranik Blue Spruce/"tree" mahogany OM
Boswell RW/koa OO
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany, high strung (Nashville)
Woolson "A" style mandolin, 30s African mahogany, Englemann spruce carved top
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Enqueue: Baranik rosewood OO

Last edited by riorider; 05-22-2011 at 07:39 PM. Reason: fixing the pics... again!
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2011, 11:44 AM
Negnewnabala Negnewnabala is offline
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Looks amazing!!! I sure wish I could come out to Cali and test this one out!!!! John never ceases to amaze!
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:45 AM
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Kent Chasson Kent Chasson is offline
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Look forward to seeing this come together. Maybe you guys will even let me give it try in August with a flat pick if I promise not to scratch it or teach it any bad habits?
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Looks amazing!!! I sure wish I could come out to Cali and test this one out!!!! John never ceases to amaze!
Neg, you just need to come half way! I'm in central Oklahoma, and John's shop is just an hour away. You should just make a road trip out of it, bring the new SD-43, and come visit for my 4th annual Central Oklahoma gathering this coming October! (details on that this summer, but suffice to say we've got some really great things planned!).

Quote:
Look forward to seeing this come together. Maybe you guys will even let me give it try in August with a flat pick if I promise not to scratch it or teach it any bad habits?
Kent, I wish I could be there but I'm afraid family commitments are going to prevent my attending Healdsburg this year. However, I would really appreciate you teaching this pup any new tricks you want! I've long admired your guitar shapes and think this is going to be along those same really excellent lines!

Phil
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:42 PM
Negnewnabala Negnewnabala is offline
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Originally Posted by riorider View Post
Neg, you just need to come half way! I'm in central Oklahoma, and John's shop is just an hour away. You should just make a road trip out of it, bring the new SD-43, and come visit for my 4th annual Central Oklahoma gathering this coming October! (details on that this summer, but suffice to say we've got some really great things planned!).

Phil
Now that sounds like a much better plan !!! Now if only I could convince the wife to go to OK for our anniversary...
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:22 PM
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Hey Phil, congratulations on the commission. I've really admired the aesthetics of John's L32 body shape, but the guitars I've played in that shape just didn't sit right for my playing style (on the left leg with neck upwards). This new OO shape looks much more ideal. What are the body dimensions?

What's the tonal goals? I assume since it's using John's new bracing, etc, it's geared for fingerstyle.

Nice wood selection!
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:42 PM
SuperB23 SuperB23 is offline
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Looks and sounds like a winnder Phil!! I look forward to watching this take shape and yet another reason for me to go to Healdsburg this year!
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ChuckS View Post
Hey Phil, congratulations on the commission. I've really admired the aesthetics of John's L32 body shape, but the guitars I've played in that shape just didn't sit right for my playing style (on the left leg with neck upwards). This new OO shape looks much more ideal. What are the body dimensions?

What's the tonal goals? I assume since it's using John's new bracing, etc, it's geared for fingerstyle.

Nice wood selection!
Now there you go asking me questions I didn't even consider (tonal goals). You'd think I would have thought of that before now! But, honestly, I play a mixture of simple picking (you can call it fingerstyle but it's not melodic (yet)) and strumming. When I thought of what I'd do with an L32, it was a smaller version of what I do with all of my guitars - so it'd be more comfortable and yet still have great projection with my normal songs. I was intrigued by the mahogany, and seduced by the LS redwood. And I think John's new bracing will help no matter what I end up "finding inside" the guitar.

I don't have the exact specs of the bouts or waist - John drew it up, thought about it for a couple of weeks, then made the forms, but I haven't asked specific measurements. But here's a shot showing a draft of the new body ("00") compared to the L32. I'm not sure this is the exact final that John ended up with - but you can see the direction he was going. The new shape is in pen (darker); the L32 in pencil.


And thanks, Bobby! I hope you make it there and are able to check out all the great guitars. I'll be quite envious!!

Phil

Last edited by riorider; 04-29-2011 at 06:00 AM. Reason: fixing the picture links
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:27 PM
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Congrats Phil and John!
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:57 PM
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Thanks Mesa!

John sent me a couple of notes on the questions raised, so for those specification nuts (like me), here's the scoop:

Lower bout: 14.875
Upper bout: 10.675
Body Length: 19.375
Depth at lower bout: 4.3
Scale length: 25.5
Frets to body: 14
Nut: 1.75"
String at saddle: 2.25"
Metallic Schertler tuners
Nut and saddle - bone
Binding: African Blackwood
Headplate, fretboard, bridge: African Blackwood
Purfling: maple for fretboard, black/maple/black for body
No cutaway, no electronics, no pickguard
Ameritage case

And - wouldn't you know it - John knew what "tonal goals" he was after. He's seen me play several times, and said he will be making it a combination great picking and light/medium strumming guitar. He'll tailor the build to that goal by adjusting the top stiffness and bracing. All that great custom work when you don't buy "off the shelf"!!

One more picture I'll share tonight - here's the ABW bridge laid on the raw LS redwood:

I think that looks downright elegant!

Thanks for watching with me!

Phil

Last edited by riorider; 04-29-2011 at 06:01 AM. Reason: fixed picture links
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:13 PM
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Phil--already looks good! I'm a fan of ABW for bridges, and predict you'll love what it contributes to the sound.

Steve
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:13 AM
Trevor M Trevor M is offline
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I am really looking forward to seeing it and meeting John at Healdsburg.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:28 AM
Comfyfoot Comfyfoot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Moyle View Post
I am really looking forward to seeing it and meeting John at Healdsburg.
Me too, John has got me excited to play the ultimate fingerstyle guitar, from every post here and elsewhere, John is a classy individual whose passion remains focused.

See you there John, and if any guitars need any help opening up, happy to help with anything, I am planning on having time (and worn out callouses) on my hands at Healdsburg
Rob
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:28 AM
JohnM JohnM is offline
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Originally Posted by Comfyfoot View Post
Me too, John has got me excited to play the ultimate fingerstyle guitar, from every post here and elsewhere, John is a classy individual whose passion remains focused.

See you there John, and if any guitars need any help opening up, happy to help with anything, I am planning on having time (and worn out callouses) on my hands at Healdsburg
Rob
Whoa now... Who ever mentioned classy?! :P

Thanks for the nice words, but I assure you I've made more mistakes than I care to admit! I do like to think I do well though on learning from my own failures, admitting when I'm wrong and correcting the issue in myself so as not to repeat them. I suppose that's the most we can ask for from each other.

As for passion and focus... I do have both in spades. That can get me in trouble too though! I'm the type of personality where if I set goals for myself there is almost nothing that will stop me from getting there. My goal is to be the best luthier that I can possibly be, and I've got another half century of building ahead of me, Lord willing, to get as close to that goal as humanly possible.

These new models and new voicing have been quite the renascentia for me. I'm excited to share that with you all. The best fingerstyle guitar of the bunch might just be the one I've not really shown much of. It's a Beam Brazilian/European GC with a cut. If my hunches are right by listening to the boxes it's going to be a treat! It will feature inlay by Jimmi Wingert.

What I find interesting is no matter what I do I still find my tonal signature coming through no matter what the bracing. The voice changes, but there is always that balance in the registers I love so much.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Moyle View Post
I am really looking forward to seeing it and meeting John at Healdsburg.
Likewise Trevor!

Last edited by JohnM; 04-27-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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  #15  
Old 04-28-2011, 02:03 PM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Some of you may wonder what the mahogany and LS redwood will look like under finish... fortunately for me I have some pictures John took of two separate L32s not very many months ago.

While purfling and binding will be different, here's what the back and top will look like under finish. Both are stunning; together I think we'll have a winner!

1930s mahogany


LS "Lucky Strike" redwood
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Paragon RW/Macassar Ebony Baritone
Rainsong S OM1100-N2
Woolson LS RW/30s African mahogany LG 12
Baranik LS RW/"tree" mahogany OO
Baranik Blue Spruce/"tree" mahogany OM
Boswell RW/koa OO
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany, high strung (Nashville)
Woolson "A" style mandolin, 30s African mahogany, Englemann spruce carved top
Baranik Retreux Parlour Adi/Pumaquiro

Enqueue: Baranik rosewood OO
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