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Old 12-02-2018, 01:53 AM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Default John Walker OM

Starting a new thread for my first custom build! I have been playing guitar for about 25 years but only recently found a passion for acoustics and learning fingerstyle. About a year ago I knew I wanted to get my first “really nice” acoustic, and I was convinced it was going to be an OM. I had been playing various guitars including a seagull artist folk cedar/mahogany (which I still love) but knew it was time for an upgrade. So I set off in search of the one.

Admittedly, I went on the hunt with a preconceived notion that I would land on an OM/OOO, but I told myself to keep an open mind and play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily, living in Seattle, there are some great shops around. I went through Taylors, Goodalls, Martins, Collings, Huss and Dalton, many different Santa Cruz models (OM, OMG, H13s,....), a Tippin Crescendo, Froggy Bottom, Sergei de Jonge, Lowden, etc. Then I picked up a John Walker Lochsa and absolutely fell in love.

I didn’t want to be too impulsive, so I took a few days and went back to play the Lochsa to see if I would still feel the same, and she kept delivering in spades. Lush rich harmonics, but still great note clarity and separation, deep round base with shimmering trebles all packed into the dread body I thought I didn’t want. I did some reading up on John Walker and was really impressed with his background and loved that he had a Seattle connection, including working with Steve Andersen whose shop is just a block from my house.

Regardless of his impressive pedigree, there was no denying the quality and workmanship of the build on the Lochsa-EIR back and sides, Adirondack top, ebony fretboard and bridge, holly binding throughout, including an ebony bound fretboard with a channel routed just below for holly binding, hide glue, red spruce bracing, etc., so I took it home. The honeymoon isn’t over. I am constantly blown away by that guitar.

The thing is, I just couldn’t stop thinking. If John Walker can do this with a dread, what would his OM be like? For those who know, most of John’s guitars are appropriately Gibson inspired and an OM is not one of his current line up. But when I asked John if he would consider building an OM body style, he ultimately agreed!

After going back and forth in my mind on various wood combinations and seeing some the amazing figured mahogany and Brazilian rosewood John had in his shop, I first made the decision to go with the Brazilian and an Adirondack top. John had some beautiful highly figured flat sawn braz, but the one I selected is an awesome straight grain set that John tells me was harvested in the 60s and kept in plank form until a few years ago. Also decided on an updgeade top with some nice tight grain.

For the rest of build, it’s going to be Brazilian fretboard (no inlay), bridge, and headstock overlay with John’s signature rainbow trout inlay, curly maple binding on the body, neck, and headstock. Curly maple end graft and heel cap. No back strip so the wood can be center stage. Rosette will be OM-42 three ring style but with braz for the center ring and no abalone, just black, maple, and rosewood. Still thinking through adding some additional custom touches.

The plan is for the build to be done in May in time for the La Conner Guitar Festival when John will be close by and able to deliver. If you want to play this when it’s done, come out to La Conner and I would be happy to meet up and let you take it for spin. Thanks for reading and looking. Will update with pics as I get them.



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Old 12-02-2018, 07:22 AM
wezzywest wezzywest is offline
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Looking forward to the build mate. You have certainly done your homework, a Walker OM will be a treat to watch over the months.
Cheers.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:24 AM
Desmosedici Desmosedici is offline
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Impressive wood selection! Should look really nice, once finished.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:13 AM
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David Wren David Wren is offline
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Looking forward to watching this thread ... John Walker is a new builder to me, so it'll be interesting!
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:21 PM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Default Wow!

I had to read the thread title twice; my first thought was "huh? John doesn't build an OM."
I'm a big fan of his guitars and will be watching this with interest. I hope you'll share some sound clips when it's done.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:55 PM
llew llew is offline
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Congrats! If it's anything like John's "Gibson" style guitars it will be stellar. I have his Wise River slope dread in Adirondack/Flamed Maple. Incredible guitar!
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:28 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wren View Post
Looking forward to watching this thread ... John Walker is a new builder to me, so it'll be interesting!
Thanks David. John was new for me too when I first encountered his Lochsa. There are a few other build threads on AGF and recently a couple very nice examples of his work showed up in the classifieds. He has a great reputation and strong following, particularly by fans of vintage Gibsons. I am thankful to now be “in the know.”!
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:34 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd612 View Post
I had to read the thread title twice; my first thought was "huh? John doesn't build an OM."
I'm a big fan of his guitars and will be watching this with interest. I hope you'll share some sound clips when it's done.
Right!? I was a little sheepish about asking John to do it, but I am so glad he was willing to take it on. Not sure if the OM body will only be an “off menu” one time thing or if John will elect to make it part of his line up. I know he already has a river name for it in mind just in case
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:35 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
Impressive wood selection! Should look really nice, once finished.
Thanks! I am excited to see it come together.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:38 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Originally Posted by llew View Post
Congrats! If it's anything like John's "Gibson" style guitars it will be stellar. I have his Wise River slope dread in Adirondack/Flamed Maple. Incredible guitar!
Thanks, Jim! And congrats on your Wise River. I had the chance to play a Wise and a petty creek. Stellar guitars!
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:47 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Thought I would share pics of my Lochsa #178.



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Old 12-02-2018, 04:48 PM
Jeff Mc Jeff Mc is offline
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I hope that you will keep us posted. If it works out, I may do one too. It will be interesting to see what a Gibson guy does with an OM. I have 3 Walkers, a Ruby Elite, a Wise River and a Lochsa. The Ruby Elite is #11 and is the Ruby Elite on his website. The Wise River is the one in the canoe on his Beat This section. The Lochsa is the only custom order in the bunch and is cocobolo and Adirondack. All 3 are great guitars and John is such a nice guy and a pleasure to work with. The anticipation and watching the process are a large part of the value.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:04 AM
brijas99 brijas99 is offline
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Hey Allentown, what a small world. Great story. I ran across your thread and couldn't believe your story. It is so similar to my experience.
We are in the same John Walker class of May 2019.
I've been playing for about 15 years now, and like you, I had not heard of John Walker or his guitars. But I do love the Gibson sound. I was also toying with the idea of having a custom guitar built.
Then one day I stumbled across a listing on the forum a few months ago and saw this John Walker Ruby River Elite. His version of the Gibson J185. The woods looked awesome.
Some things are just meant to be, because it had been listed on the forum for a few months. I did a little research and knew this guitar was right for me. I love it. Still playing it every chance I get. Still a great honeymoon. I knew then that John was the right person to do a custom build for me.
I contacted John because I wanted to have another Ruby River built with an Adi top and Walnut back/sides. John is awesome to talk to, and a very patient person too, I might add.
After a month or so of discussions, I decided to have the Lochsa model built with the Adi top and Sacha back/sides. The woods he has are fantastic. I am so glad to hear that you were so impressed with the Lochsa, you decided to have him build an OM for you. Thanks for sharing your Lochsa photos !
Anyway, Congratulations on your John Walker build. Looking forward to seeing the progress photos of your OM

Last edited by brijas99; 12-09-2018 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:04 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brijas99 View Post
. . . After a month or so of discussions, I decided to have the Lochsa model built with the Adi top and Sacha back/sides. The woods he has are fantastic.
I have a Sacha guitar from John; I'd never even heard of the wood before talking to him, but I ordered it based on his description and am thrilled with how it turned out. I hope you (and the OP) are as pleased!
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:31 PM
Allentown Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Mc View Post
I hope that you will keep us posted. If it works out, I may do one too. It will be interesting to see what a Gibson guy does with an OM. I have 3 Walkers, a Ruby Elite, a Wise River and a Lochsa. The Ruby Elite is #11 and is the Ruby Elite on his website. The Wise River is the one in the canoe on his Beat This section. The Lochsa is the only custom order in the bunch and is cocobolo and Adirondack. All 3 are great guitars and John is such a nice guy and a pleasure to work with. The anticipation and watching the process are a large part of the value.
Impressive group of guitars! Would love to see some pics of your Lochsa. Happy to hear you had a good experience with the custom. John’s been great so far.
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