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  #46  
Old 08-25-2019, 07:48 AM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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On the Claxton and Traugott comparisons, I have found them to have a lot of their very best qualities in common—almost as similar tonally as physically, but this is mainly with the larger Claxton EM and the Traugott R. By contrast, I have found a fairly pronounced departure between the 00-ish Claxton Malabar and Jeff Traugott’s 00. The Malabars I have played feel almost like classical guitars, extremely supple with full mids. The Traugott 00s, or at least the most recent one I recall, were a little “tighter” with perhaps more punch. This may have been attributable to differences in scale length, I don’t know, but it was exactly the kind of difference you can get by lengthening the scale and increasing string tension. I’ve never found Jeff’s guitars to be unforgiving in any way, but like all of the very best instruments they deliver exactly what you are playing without fogging it up. Both builders are at the pinnacle of modern steel-string guitar building.
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  #47  
Old 08-25-2019, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by steveh View Post
S
I was told that Claxton and Traugott worked for Santa Cruz back in the day and when they set up as sole luthiers, their workshops were very close indeed. That might suggest some common DNA.
Jeff definitely worked for Santa Cruz - he's one of the designers of the FS (which looks a lot like a Traugott). Not so sure about Ed. Ed was building long before he moved to CA, back in Austin. He was already pretty established while in Texas - Jimmy Buffet was an early Claxton owner - so maybe he did something with Santa Cruz when he moved to CA, but I haven't heard that explicitly. There's a whole community of builders in Santa Cruz and there are lots of interconnections.

Jeff and Ed do have shop locations just a few doors away from each other, tho Ed only does heavy/dirty work at that location now, and has switched to doing most of his work in a beautiful shop at his house for a while now.

There was a really nice article on Ed in the fretboard journal not too long ago (you get a few small glimpses of his "at home" workshop):

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/col...axton-guitars/
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  #48  
Old 08-26-2019, 01:17 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Back in the day when his old website was online, I seem to recall him saying in it that he worked for santa cruz guitar company for a period...I could have misremembered but that was the source for my understanding all along that claxton was an ex santa Cruz guitar company luthier.

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Jeff definitely worked for Santa Cruz - he's one of the designers of the FS (which looks a lot like a Traugott). Not so sure about Ed. Ed was building long before he moved to CA, back in Austin. He was already pretty established while in Texas - Jimmy Buffet was an early Claxton owner - so maybe he did something with Santa Cruz when he moved to CA, but I haven't heard that explicitly. There's a whole community of builders in Santa Cruz and there are lots of interconnections.

Jeff and Ed do have shop locations just a few doors away from each other, tho Ed only does heavy/dirty work at that location now, and has switched to doing most of his work in a beautiful shop at his house for a while now.

There was a really nice article on Ed in the fretboard journal not too long ago (you get a few small glimpses of his "at home" workshop):

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/col...axton-guitars/
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  #49  
Old 08-27-2019, 09:48 PM
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Back in the day when his old website was online, I seem to recall him saying in it that he worked for santa cruz guitar company for a period...I could have misremembered but that was the source for my understanding all along that claxton was an ex santa Cruz guitar company luthier.
I also recall this.
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  #50  
Old 08-28-2019, 12:41 PM
SJ VanSandt SJ VanSandt is offline
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There was a really nice article on Ed in the fretboard journal not too long ago (you get a few small glimpses of his "at home" workshop):

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/col...axton-guitars/
Thanks for the link to the article, Doug. Makes me regret I didn't come to Austin for college like so much of my family - I might have met Ed and played some of his guitars. I've never played a Claxton or a Traugott, unfortunately.
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  #51  
Old 08-31-2019, 11:57 AM
Ergoetal Ergoetal is offline
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I'm sure Traugott guitars are beautiful. I've never played one. But I do have a Claxton story.

In 1989 I was working as a writer for high tech companies and was visiting a client (I'm from Boston) when we had some time to kill in Menlo Park. We went to a guitar store and I took some time playing a few of the nice guitars they had in stock.

Then the owner said "You've got to try this one before you leave." It was a Claxton - his own personal guitar. I played it. Wow. And that was it. I left the store and went back to work at my client's company for the rest of the day.

Over the next year, I happened to introduce my client to a woman who I had also worked for, at a different company. The two of them hit it off and decided to get married. My client invited me to the upcoming wedding. Then he sent me an email asking what kind of wood I liked on a guitar. I found out that he had decided to buy me a Claxton guitar as a "wedding present."

He put me in touch with Ed, who was able to find a spot in the queue. I chose an EM with Indian rosewood and European spruce. I would have gone for Braz, but I didn't want to ask my client to pay for that. Ed said "They're basically the same sound."

I've still got that guitar. I gigged with it a bit and had electronics installed. But now I keep it at home for my own enjoyment. It's in fine shape. And it sounds great.

Last edited by Ergoetal; 08-31-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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  #52  
Old 09-01-2019, 02:19 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Now that is a heart warming story and a gift that is truly from the heart.

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Originally Posted by Ergoetal View Post
I'm sure Traugott guitars are beautiful. I've never played one. But I do have a Claxton story.

In 1989 I was working as a writer for high tech companies and was visiting a client (I'm from Boston) when we had some time to kill in Menlo Park. We went to a guitar store and I took some time playing a few of the nice guitars they had in stock.

Then the owner said "You've got to try this one before you leave." It was a Claxton - his own personal guitar. I played it. Wow. And that was it. I left the store and went back to work at my client's company for the rest of the day.

Over the next year, I happened to introduce my client to a woman who I had also worked for, at a different company. The two of them hit it off and decided to get married. My client invited me to the upcoming wedding. Then he sent me an email asking what kind of wood I liked on a guitar. I found out that he had decided to buy me a Claxton guitar as a "wedding present."

He put me in touch with Ed, who was able to find a spot in the queue. I chose an EM with Indian rosewood and European spruce. I would have gone for Braz, but I didn't want to ask my client to pay for that. Ed said "They're basically the same sound."

I've still got that guitar. I gigged with it a bit and had electronics installed. But now I keep it at home for my own enjoyment. It's in fine shape. And it sounds great.
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  #53  
Old 09-01-2019, 02:34 AM
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Great story!

I’ve always suspected that Ed’s guitars, even those built 30 years ago, all contain his “magic”. I guess my hunch is correct [emoji846]!
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  #54  
Old 09-01-2019, 03:31 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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I found out that he had decided to buy me a Claxton guitar as a "wedding present."
Wow! I could sure do with some friends like that!

Cheers,
Steve
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  #55  
Old 10-25-2019, 04:56 AM
cbjanne cbjanne is offline
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Smile The story continues

Sorry about resurrecting and older thread, but I thought it would be appropriate to share the sequel to this story here.

After my guitar adventure in London, I pondered my next move for some time. The Traugott guitar I tried really spoke to me in terms of responsivity and transparency. I felt strongly that if I was going to order a custom built guitar, I would like it to be built in the "traditional" way -- light build, no laminated sides, dovetail neck joint, etc. That, to me, seemed to contribute to the guitar being truly "alive" when played, vibrating as a whole, instead of just the top and back being the acoustic elements with the other structures kind of just supporting them. Whether or not this makes any sense in terms of physical acoustics does not really matter to me, in fact my rational mind is sure that the Somogyi-style build is a more efficient "air pump", as the man himself puts it. It is the feel that I think is more important. After all, I think music is all about feelings. But this is just my experience, and I don't think there are rights or wrongs about these kinds of questions. And as a disclaimer, I have the highest respect for Ervin and his apprentices too.

Because I live in the darkness of Northern Europe, I very seldom get the chance to try out high-quality guitars. Therefore I mostly have to rely on sound clips, pictures and people's writings on forums such as this to build perceptions of guitar makers and individual instruments. And based on this, my intuition told me to contact Ed Claxton. After a series of messages and a long phone call, I made the arrangements to travel to Santa Cruz to meet Ed in his workshop and discuss a custom build. And I'm glad I did. Ed is the greatest guy, and the guitars he had there to try out were outstanding, beautiful works of art, the best I have played. Commissioning a guitar from him was an easy decision, and that was kind of surprising, because usually I'm really slow to make these kinds of decisions.

Ed had two of his Malabar guitars to try out, both with European spruce tops, the other one with BRW back and sides, the other European maple. He also had borrowed a Euro/BRW EM model from one of his clients for me to try out. I had a hunch that the Malabar would be my preference, and this turned out to be correct. The small body, 12-fret design and luscious voicing contribute to a sweet, warm tonality that I think is apparent in the sound clips on Ed's website and in Doug Young's wonderful demo videos on Youtube.

Ed showed me some really beautiful pieces of European spruce, one of which we selected as the top wood for my guitar. It felt immensely satisfying when Ed wrote my name on the wood. As for the back and sides, I was strongly biased towards Brazilian rosewood, based on all the "holy grail" talk and a couple of great BRW guitars I have played. But when playing the two guitars, same model but different woods (I know there must be other factors, but Ed's guitars are known to be consistent), I kept reaching for the maple one. That sound seemed to speak to me. Initially I thought there must be something wrong with my ears, but after a lunch break I still felt the same, and the next day after a night's sleep the maple guitar still sounded the best to me. I loved the clarity, the tight bass response, the endless headroom, the depth, the initial bark when playing harder, the sweetness when played lightly. Ed has some really nice pieces of maple, and after a while of contemplating we chose the ones that felt right for the back, sides and neck (Ed felt that a maple neck is the way to go). We also looked at BRW veneers for the headstock, and Ed recommended a BRW bridge.

Thank you guys again for your help along the way, and letting me share my guitar journey with you. The helpful messages encouraged me a great deal to get in touch with Ed, and I could not imagine a better choice. I'll probably begin a build thread later, and in the meantime, here are some pics of the chosen woods. Embedding the images doesn't seem to work for some reason, but here are the Dropbox links. Unfortunately I forgot to take a wider shot of the spruce.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vedqkx65s1...2022.38.10.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5g7xp5dvuj...2023.31.27.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n9mesnq0ji...2019.26.36.jpg

Last edited by cbjanne; 10-25-2019 at 04:58 AM. Reason: Addition
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  #56  
Old 10-25-2019, 07:58 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Thanks for the update and the photos. Ed's guitars are stunning for sure. Congrats on what will certainly be a fabulous guitar. I look forward to the build thread.

Best,
Jayne
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  #57  
Old 10-25-2019, 12:21 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Please do not forget to post photos and information on your new build as it begins - I do not recall if I have ever seen a claxton build thread on AGF before so that would be very useful and interesting as claxton is reputed to be a top builder indeed.
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  #58  
Old 10-25-2019, 12:39 PM
Jimmy Caldwell Jimmy Caldwell is offline
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Ed's guitars are as good as it gets. You're a lucky man!
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  #59  
Old 10-25-2019, 10:05 PM
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Man, oh man, are you ever the lucky one!! Anyone with one of Ed’s guitars is fortunate, but your trip out to meet Ed, your playing some guitars again and again then finally choosing your own woods has just bumped you up to Platinum status in my humble estimation!!

Congratulations, thanks for sharing, and please get back to us with more of your fascinating journey !!
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  #60  
Old 10-26-2019, 08:08 AM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Wow, what great wood! It’s gonna be an amazing lifetime instrument.
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