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Old 09-27-2018, 10:03 PM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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Default My first international commission! Very excited for this one! Bigfoot Guitars!

2019 is a very special year for me and my family because we are expecting our daughter to be born early February. I wanted to do something very special and thought why not have a special commission for a birth year guitar? My third Kostal will be a birth year guitar for our daughter, but I also will have a special build from an International builder.

All my guitars I have commissioned have been US based and I thought its time for me to step out into the global market. So many incredible luthiers came to mind so I began sorting them out by country. If I wanted Canada, I would choose Mario Beuregard who makes some of the most impressive guitars I've played. Ted Astrand came to mind as I thought about Sweden. I remember I fell in love with one of Hiroshi Ogino's guitars from Japan. I also thought about Jeffrey Yong in Malaysia who is doing some builds with some pretty exotic woods. With so many amazing builders out there, which country would I be drawn to and which luthier do I invest my time and money with?

Thinking of other countries, I began thinking about what could be used from those countries if I chose to have a guitar built there. For example, if I wanted an African Blackwood guitar, I would find a builder like Casimi guitars in Africa. Since I have an African Blackwood Ryan Cathedral, I'm off to my next country. I thought about Honduran Mahogany and was searching for some luthiers in Honduras, but couldn't find anything that really interested me. I love guitars from the Rosewood family so why not go straight to a good rosewood source? What better source to find great Indian Rosewood than straight from India? I'm also not talking about good old Indian Rosewood as we know it. I'm talking about the good stuff right from the source in your own backyard!

This will be my first international build and I am extremely excited about this builder I have come to know. Karan Singh is an amazing luthier who is based out of New Delhi India and is founder of Bigfoot guitars. His work can be seen at www.bigfootguitars.com (his new website is coming soon!) or facebook.com/bigfootguitarsindia . Over the past two years he has participated in several international guitar shows like the Holy Grail show in Berlin, the Vancouver International Guitar show, Salon de Lutherie (France) and Music China (Shanghai). He is also the first Indian to ever be invited to showcase guitars in the West (India's west, not ours!). He has also has a passion for exotic woods and gets real creative. I was on facebook the other day and saw this Spalted Tamarind guitar that Karan will have at the UK Guitar Show in Oympia London:



Beau Hannam, who makes incredible ukes and guitars says he has a set of this wood in his stash. Karan replied that this stuff grows locally for him! This is what I'm saying about having a great source of wood in your own backyard! I absolutely love his clean lines and his attention to fine details!

This build will be truly exciting for me and I promise that there will be more details coming soon!
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Eric

Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2015 Kostal OM Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
2017 Osthoff Coco SJ

Last edited by ericcsong; 12-24-2018 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:04 PM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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picture fixed!
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Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2015 Kostal OM Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
2017 Osthoff Coco SJ

Last edited by ericcsong; 09-28-2018 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:35 AM
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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Eric, this is great news! I spoke with Karan at the show in Berlin this spring. The guitar he had on display was beautiful with a lot of personal touches that made it quite unique. He also struck me as being a real gentleman, so it looks like you’re in good hands.

All the best, and may your sleepless nights (as of February) be full of beautiful lullabies played on your lovely guitars!!
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:01 PM
Howard F. Howard F. is offline
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Congrats Eric, Karan makes some fantastic guitars, look forward to following this thread!
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:32 AM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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https://theartoflutherie.com/luthier...r-karan-singh/
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:23 AM
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Thanks for sharing the link, brother!

Karan's build philosophy is like his life philosophy, a thing of beauty.
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Che Guerilla
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2018, 02:55 PM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deft Tungsman View Post
Eric, this is great news! I spoke with Karan at the show in Berlin this spring. The guitar he had on display was beautiful with a lot of personal touches that made it quite unique. He also struck me as being a real gentleman, so it looks like you’re in good hands.

All the best, and may your sleepless nights (as of February) be full of beautiful lullabies played on your lovely guitars!!
Thanks so much! I am so thrilled for the new baby! Working on a few new pieces to play in time on my new Bigfoot Guitar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard F. View Post
Congrats Eric, Karan makes some fantastic guitars, look forward to following this thread!
Thanks Howard! Looking forward to sharing the build!

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Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Great Article! Thanks for sharing!

A little bit more about Karan Singh…..He’s always been very musical and actually a drummer before a guitarist! Many of his closest friends are guitarists and he has always had a great love for all things guitar related. Karan holds a degree in English Literature from St. Stephens College in India and after he finished up his education, he did consulting work in Team Building and Leadership Development. He loves working with people and through his work, he learned the ins and outs of business, networking, and branding.

During his time in the corporate world, he was also a gigging musician and had a bad case of GAS (accumulating many guitars). He quickly discovered that he couldn’t get his guitars properly setup and maintained by any of the locals. Within a few months of learning, he had built a workbench in his basement to do his own setups. And one thing led to another and he was the one local in his area that everyone was going to for their setups. Fast forward a few years and the idea behind Bigfoot Guitars was born!

Karan wanted Bigfoot to be a brand based in India where Indian musicians could get their hands on something very premium and custom made. He thought of the name Bigfoot because to him it signifies something that’s mysterious, wild, a social recluse, and something truly special. Little did he know, Bigfoot was called to something so much greater than staying in India. Bigfoot was getting traction (bad pun with the feet) elsewhere!

One of the Grateful Dead’s founding members who played with the Dead for 30 years knows guitars. Bob Weir fell in love with Karan’s work and had to have one. Here is a picture of him with his Bigfoot Guitar with beautiful flamed Indian white cedar top with Padauk back and sides.
FB_IMG_1539089122540.jpg

A different guitar, but same top wood. Look at this incredible flame on the top.
1539113262991.jpg

Karan says this flamed Indian cedar is very rare and only has a few more sets. It’s from a tree that was cut down in 1968 and is illegal to cut anymore. Anyone born in 68 need a birth-year top guitar!?!?

Another famous guitarist who fell in love with Karan’s work is Grammy Award winner, Amrit Sond. Sond is an amazing fingerstyle guitarist in the UK. Doing a little research on Sond online, I found him doing a concert with Michael Watts back in 2011. Hmmmmm, that Kostal sure looks familiar! Here are some pics:
3934852-orig.jpeg3948022-orig.jpeg3948027-orig.jpeg

Sond has a Bigfoot commissioned and should see it sometime next year. Here is a picture of Amrit falling in love with Bigfoot Guitars:
FB_IMG_1539090319822.jpg

With so much talent being drawn to Karan’s work, I’m just thrilled to be on his queue to receive my own Bigfoot guitar! More coming soon!
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Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2015 Kostal OM Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
2017 Osthoff Coco SJ

Last edited by ericcsong; 10-09-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:47 PM
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Are you concerned that the time difference will create a delay in the sound?
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:49 PM
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Wonderful history and pictures. I have half of that concert coming to Texas next March!!! That is so cool.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:21 PM
Ovation1 Ovation1 is offline
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Amazing talent and amazing guitars.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:45 AM
Ovation1 Ovation1 is offline
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So this guy is really playing Bigfoot guitar? That is cool!
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:31 AM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
Are you concerned that the time difference will create a delay in the sound?
Only if it was Mahogany

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
Wonderful history and pictures. I have half of that concert coming to Texas next March!!! That is so cool.
Thanks! Wish I could make it to your place, but with a newborn, it might be tough!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovation1 View Post


So this guy is really playing Bigfoot guitar? That is cool!
Yes sir! That is Bob Weir's guitar!

A quick update, Karan just got back from Music China in Shanghai, which some say is the world’s biggest musical instrument trade show (like NAMM but bigger)! He brought two guitars to the show and sold them to the top dealer in China, Guitar Square. Guitar Square typically stock Somogyis, Ryans, Buendias, Matsudas, Lowdens, Bourgeois, etc.... They have some pretty phenomenal guitars! Great to see Bigfoot guitars make its way there!
FB_IMG_1539786349022.jpg

Also at Music China, Joe Glaser, legendary restoration expert in Nashville, was able to check things out! Great to get wonderful feedback from a guy who has restored and repaired enough guitars for a few lifetimes!
FB_IMG_1539786368426.jpg

When I think of my build coming from India, my first thought is of course Indian Rosewood from its home. What do I think about a builder who lives there? I certainly don’t think of Ireland. When I think guitars and Ireland, my first thought is Lowden guitars. Avalon guitars comes to mid as well. When I think of a great luthier in Ireland, I think of Paul Doyle. Doyle is a highly respected luthier and has been handcrafting instruments for over 30 years.

Karan knew that in order to take his building to the next level, it would be wise to learn more from other builders. Karan reached out to Paul Doyle in Galway Ireland to see if he could study with him. Doyle accepted his request to apprentice so Karan packed up with his wife Hema and 3 month old son Fateh and went off to Ireland. During his apprenticeship with Doyle, there were no molds, jigs, or fixtures. Everything was done old school and by free hand. In his time there, he learned so much and was also able to make four guitars for himself.

After returning to India, Bigfoot Guitars was born. Karan was eager to set up a proper workshop and began building more guitars and taking his work to the next level. As he was growing as a builder, he learned that one of his biggest challenges in India was using familiar tonewoods in the acoustic world. India doesn’t have great wood suppliers like Luthiers Mercantile or RC Tonewoods. Even though Karan could get some nice Spruce shipped to him, shipping and customs costs in India are ridiculous. After much research, Karan found that around 300 species of hardwood grow locally in India and the rest of the world only seems to know East Indian Rosewood!

Karan heard of Jeffrey Yong in Kuala Lumpur doing some amazing work with local tonewoods. Yong was very familiar with Monkey Pod and Karan knew that Money Pod also grew in India. So already having been in Ireland to learn more about building, Karan was off next to Malaysia to learn even more. During his time with Yong, Karan learned saw how Yong worked with these different woods. This also gave him ideas how to work more efficiently, in a country without access to a lot of machines and tools available in the West.

When Karan came home, he spent the next 2 years experimenting with domestic woods (to India). He’s worked with Jack Fruit (as a top as well), Indian Toon (similar to Spanish Cedrella), Spalted Tamarind, Laurel, Bhilwara, Indian Eucalyptus, Flamed Indian Cedar, Indian Padauk, and of course Indian Rosewood. A lot of great local woods to choose from! Here are some pics!
Eucalyptus%20Parlour%20Back%20View.jpg
Eucalyptus
Monkey%20Pod%20OM%20Back%20View.jpg
Monkey Pod
Indian%20Redwood%20OM%20back%20view-1.jpg
Indian Redwood
Spalted%20Tamarind%20OMC%20Cutaway.jpg
Spalted Tamarind

I asked Karan about a pivotal moment in how he builds. His response: “A large part of my thinking and way of operating was to change, or be influenced drastically in October 2016, when I attended my first ever Guitar show. Holy Grail Guitar Show, Berlin. My wife and I had just arrived in Berlin and walked a long way with suitcases and guitars, into a budget motel situated close to the exhibition venue. In the hotel lobby, before checking in, was where I first met someone who would help change my life - Jason Kostal.”
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Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2015 Kostal OM Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
2017 Osthoff Coco SJ

Last edited by ericcsong; 10-18-2018 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:34 AM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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One of the ways I was able to find out more about Karan and Bigfoot guitars is through Facebook. Ever since my first build with Jason Kostal, I have loved his guitars so much but more importantly I have gained a friend that I respect so very much. Every now and then, I look on Jason’s facebook to see a famous artist swinging by the Kostal fun factory. I also see the collegial attitude when Jason welcomes other luthiers into his shop. I ran into one of his posts in July about Jason wanting to give back and help others when he can. He welcomed Amber, recent grad from Galloup School of Lutherie, and Karan from New Dehli to spend some time in his shop:

Amber was there for a few days but Karan as able to spend a month with Jason to observe his building process and to take in some new ideas to implement into his own guitars.

Trying to get into Jason's head....

I asked Karan to tell me more about how he and Jason met. Karan said when he met Jason in Berlin, he knew who Jason was and knew that anything he could learn would benefit him in his building (keep in mind that Karan being in India has little to compare to). He thought he could use some critique on his current work so he threw it out there and asked Jason if he could spend a few minutes to let him know what he thinks. Two and a half hours later, Karan had a bunch of notes on what Jason liked and what he thought needed work.

Fast forward 8 months later to the Vancouver show in 2017, Jason was able to check Karan’s updated work and Karan said that the notes on the critique list were much shorter! And then when they met again at the Holy Grail show in May, 2018, Jason said he was real happy to see Karan’s work. I asked Jason about it and he said that usually when someone receives a lot of critique and a long list of things to improve, people get frustrated and don’t pay attention to half the things on the list. What impressed him most with Karan is that he paid attention to every little detail and came back with a guitar that had all boxes checked from the list!

It was at the Holy Grail Show last year that Jason invited Karan to come out to Phoenix to spend some time at the shop to talk about guitars and learn more about the building process with him.
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Eric

Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2015 Kostal OM Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
2017 Osthoff Coco SJ

Last edited by ericcsong; 10-31-2018 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:41 AM
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This is one of the most enjoyable threads, love the details, and I feel like I am along with you and Karan on the journey. Thanks for sharing all of this!
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:18 AM
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I was just in Phoenix and so wanted to try and set up something with Jason, but my conference just did not allow me the time to do so. I will be seeing him again in March though and am looking very much forward to having him.

Eric, you put so much of yourself into your builds and threads, it is a pleasure to read. Thanks.
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