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Old 01-13-2022, 10:15 AM
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IndianHillMike IndianHillMike is offline
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Default Michael Kennedy Guitars -- Plum Pudding Mahogany Grand Concert

Happy New Year everyone! I had a nice present waiting for me when I got back into the shop after the holidays and got to unbox this MK Grand Concert fresh from Vancouver Guitar Finishers. This one is being built for the Victoria Guitar Show (in BC, Canada) and La Conner but if it catches your eye, feel free to get in touch ahead of time to snatch it up! I don't have too many process shots of this build so I'll catch you all up in just a couple of posts but first, here are the basic details...

MK Grand Concert
Plum pudding Mahogany back/sides
Sitka Spruce top
Toog binding
Spalted maple rosette, end-graft, and flush truss rod cover
14-fret
25.4" (645mm) scale


When I bought this set of mahogany it was listed as cathedral figure, but I'm fairly confident that's incorrect. The most common consensus on instagram and facebook was plum pudding mahogany -- if anyone out there has a better guess, I'd love to hear it! Whatever you want to call it, I think it's pretty darn cool...





For the first real pics I took of this build I was already onto bracing the top! I decided to pull down a beautiful old sitka top I had joined years ago but never had the opportunity to follow through with. As you can see there's a tornavoz around the soundhole and the bracing pattern is a little bit different but one I've been having great success with recently...





One thing you might note above is the breather mesh (white honeycomb) underneath my top. I started doing this a couple of years ago and really like it. First, it makes it less likely that bit of something is going to get crunched between my top and the dish I'm bracing in, potentially damaging the top. More important, it allows air and moisture to still get to both sides of the top which is especially nice if I want to leave it clamped up for the night.

Skipping ahead again to prepping the miters for binding. The binding wood I'm using is Toog (Philippine rosewood) which was a random find at a local fancy wood store. It can be pretty fun wandering through the aisles and spotting something totally new to me that's straight, hard, quartered, and a nice color!





Getting the spalted maple end-graft positioned...





Installed and looking good!








I hope your New Years are all off to a good start and I'll post more soon!
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Old 01-13-2022, 10:17 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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this will surely be awesome.

the grain in the wood on the sides and back is exquisite.

and I love that spalted maple inlay. A total touch of class.
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Old 01-13-2022, 10:29 AM
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Smile Lovely

Never heard of Toog, but I sure like the name.

The end graft is cute indeed! Looking forward to more spalted maple….

Bet this sells before you can show it.

Stay well and have FUN

Paul
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Old 01-13-2022, 11:08 AM
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Had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple years back at Woodstock. Nice guy and his guitars are REALLY good....
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:32 PM
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Looks fantastic as do all your guitars. Anxious to see the end result!
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:31 PM
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Awesome end graft, Mike. Love the Toog as well!
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:41 PM
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Mike, is that a tornavoz I see.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:13 AM
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Excellent work. Your miters are other worldly!
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:41 AM
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Cool pattern Mike. I like the idea of loosening the bass x joint though I’ve never done it myself. The tornavoz and “finger” braces look neat too.

That type of mahogany was being sold for a while as jaguar mahogany too but it was just someone else’s sales pitch.
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Old 01-14-2022, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp View Post
this will surely be awesome.

the grain in the wood on the sides and back is exquisite.

and I love that spalted maple inlay. A total touch of class.

Thanks! I find it to be such a unique figure in the mahogany and I'm really loving how it's turning out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
Never heard of Toog, but I sure like the name.

The end graft is cute indeed! Looking forward to more spalted mapleÂ….

Bet this sells before you can show it.

Thanks and there are definitely a few more bits of spalted maple that are going to make an appearance!



Quote:
Originally Posted by roberts View Post
Had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple years back at Woodstock. Nice guy and his guitars are REALLY good....

Thanks for the kind words -- I was lined up to show at Woodstock in 2020 and really hope it happens again before too long.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
Looks fantastic as do all your guitars. Anxious to see the end result!

Thanks as always Tom!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemoman View Post
Awesome end graft, Mike. Love the Toog as well!

I think it sits really nicely next to the mahogany -- a little bit darker to not steal the show but not too dark that you don't get some nice colors in it as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
Mike, is that a tornavoz I see.

Indeed it is! I've been using them in almost all of my builds the past couple of years. I'm a huge fan of sound ports but they have the drawback of raising the pitch of the cavity. The idea is that a tornavoz, which drops the pitch, can help balance things out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
Excellent work. Your miters are other worldly!

Cheers, thanks! Somedays I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this.



Quote:
Originally Posted by nacluth View Post
Cool pattern Mike. I like the idea of loosening the bass x joint though I’ve never done it myself. The tornavoz and “finger” braces look neat too.

That type of mahogany was being sold for a while as jaguar mahogany too but it was just someone elseÂ’s sales pitch.

Ooh, good to know. So if I sell it to someone in the UK it's officially Plum Pudding Mahogany, and if heads to South America it's Jaguar!
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Old 01-15-2022, 06:56 PM
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Time to finish catching you all up on this build!


Fully bound and hanging out...






Getting the neck nicely lined up...






This one will have a magnetic flush truss rod cover which requires binding a little recessed area. Some brace stock off-cuts and a little wedge work great for applying clamping pressure...






All cleaned up...





And now with the spalted maple cover...






As I mentioned at the start of this thread, I just got this back from Vancouver Guitar Finishing and they once again did an amazing job!









This ones also got a really beautiful sitka top...





And that's where we're at!
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:18 AM
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Those woods are sublime! A truly beautiful instrument.
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Old 01-17-2022, 05:08 AM
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That is really an inspiring example of excellent workmanship. Beautifully done

Do you finish that magnetic truss rod cover? If so what do you do about making it function? I can see how finish on the edges would cause it to stick so i am assuming you finish it separately from the peghead. Or have it finished separately and that you must try to keep finish out of the edges of the opening.

I think its really a clever. Looks like you just press down on the lower end of the cover and the upper end pops up. Really clever.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:16 AM
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IndianHillMike IndianHillMike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colins View Post
Those woods are sublime! A truly beautiful instrument.

Thanks! It sure seems to be coming together nicely.



Quote:
Originally Posted by j. Kinnaird View Post
That is really an inspiring example of excellent workmanship. Beautifully done

Do you finish that magnetic truss rod cover? If so what do you do about making it function? I can see how finish on the edges would cause it to stick so i am assuming you finish it separately from the peghead. Or have it finished separately and that you must try to keep finish out of the edges of the opening.

I think its really a clever. Looks like you just press down on the lower end of the cover and the upper end pops up. Really clever.

Thanks John! I've mostly done oil finishes on my headstocks with this design and haven't run into any issues with clearance. So long as there's no finish on the edges of either the cover or the recess, it seems like even a hairline gap between the two is enough and I also ever so slightly bevel back the edges that have to swing past each other. I did a similar design on the lower bout to cover up a pickup jack and that required a bit more finessing after finishing (UV Polyester) but was still mostly just scraping finish off the sides.

And you got it for how it works -- it's just held by a small magnet (not shown in the pictures above) so you press down and up it pops!


Here's one from a couple of years ago in action...





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Old 01-17-2022, 02:32 PM
EverettWilliams EverettWilliams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianHillMike View Post
Thanks! It sure seems to be coming together nicely.






Thanks John! I've mostly done oil finishes on my headstocks with this design and haven't run into any issues with clearance. So long as there's no finish on the edges of either the cover or the recess, it seems like even a hairline gap between the two is enough and I also ever so slightly bevel back the edges that have to swing past each other. I did a similar design on the lower bout to cover up a pickup jack and that required a bit more finessing after finishing (UV Polyester) but was still mostly just scraping finish off the sides.

And you got it for how it works -- it's just held by a small magnet (not shown in the pictures above) so you press down and up it pops!


Here's one from a couple of years ago in action...





I have it on really good authority that the pictured truss rod cover works exactly as advertised (magic!) and that the only thing better than it is how great the rest of the guitar turned out…. Mike’s the real deal, folks. I thank my friend Joel Michaud for pointing me his way. No doubt this will be a fantastic instrument!
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