The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Custom Shop

Thread Tools
Old 10-08-2020, 03:08 AM
RosieTGC RosieTGC is offline
AGF Sponsor
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 15
Default A Swiss Moon/Brazilian Mahogany Turnstone TM model for Martin Simpson

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well. You may have seen some posts about my work (Turnstone Guitars) in the past but I am very happy and excited to attempt my own build thread on the AGF for the first time! I’m really excited about this project and thought you might be interested in joining me on the journey…..

The projects on my bench always excite me for different reasons; perhaps because I’m working with a new timber or colour scheme, or perhaps because it is to test a new sonic direction. With one of the TM’s residing on my bench at the moment, the excitement comes from the guitar’s end destination; into the hands of the legendary Martin Simpson.

I first met Martin in 2017 when Martin’s tour manager and mutual friend, Terry, was visiting the workshop to spec out his own Turnstone. Terry brought Martin along to the workshop with him, and he tried a Turnstone for himself…

Martin has always been interested in lutherie as a craft, wanting to drive the industry forward with his support and constructive criticism, and so I was delighted when Martin offered to give me feedback on Turnstone guitars. I took him up on this offer earlier this year, and I sent him a TM in old growth Brazilian Mahogany, twinned with an Alpine spruce top. I asked that his appraisal be honest and, if necessary, as brutal as possible. However, what he returned back with was enough to make any luthier blush, as he seemed to have fallen in love with the instrument that I’d spent the last few months crafting. He mentioned that the guitar had allowed him to do things he had never done before, that he was enamoured with the Brazilian mahogany from the moment he set eyes on it, and that he very much wanted a Turnstone of his own. Here is a video of Martin playing this very guitar...

On top of this madness, this guitar was suddenly on the cover of his new upcoming album (juxtaposed with Martin himself, as well as a surprised cat – a fabulous image)...

I knew we had to recreate the guitar if it had been good enough to go on his album cover, and to have earned the wonderful things he said about it when given a free pass for unabashed criticism. I couldn’t give him the guitar itself as it was destined for another wonderful client of mine, but after all, this meant I could get creative when getting to know Martin and changing certain aspects in accordance with his needs. Primarily, we are looking to recreate the excitement Martin felt when his hands first graced the fretboard.

When it came to specifying woods for Martin’s TM, we decided upon the same old growth Brazillian Mahogany twinned with some gorgeous Alpine ‘Moon’ Spruce that I had tucked away for something special. We kept the neck wood the same too, some flamed sycamore to tie the colour scheme together nicely.

Aside from his musical prowess of course, one thing about Martin that I really couldn’t ignore was his obvious love for the natural world. I thought this perhaps could be one of the things I could incorporate aesthetically into this project to make it unique and special for him. I settled upon a spalted beech motif, as I feel that spalted woods reflect the rich tapestry of pattern, texture and variation that mother nature can exhibit; as you can see from the rosette...

During a recent phone conversation with Martin, he also divulged that he loved English oak; another opportunity for me to incorporate personalised touches into his new guitar. Subsequently I will use a subtle strip of English oak within my binding scheme, which I think will be a nice way to acknowledge Martin’s aesthetic input and make the build as collaborative as possible.

At this moment in time, I am shaping the braces on the top. I will post another update as soon as the guitar starts taking more of a stride towards completion; but meanwhile I will crack on and leave this here for you all to give your thoughts on. Thank you all!

Last edited by RosieTGC; 12-13-2020 at 04:14 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 06:09 AM
Nahil.R Nahil.R is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 184

Congrats! Beautiful work!
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 08:51 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: North of the Golden Gate, South of the Redwoods, East of the Pacific and West of the Sierras
Posts: 7,786

What fabulous news! Martin is one of my favorite players. I am so glad that you decided to do a build thread here and share the wonderful clips and the process of the beautiful work that you do. Yay!!

Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 10:10 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: N. California
Posts: 2,502

Congrats--it really looks wonderful so far!

Thanks for sharing--an exciting first build thread for sure!
Brazzie (Rio Lava)--2015 Stehr Auditorium (Adirondack/BRW)
Tigger--2013 Stehr Auditorium (Carpathian/Myrtlewood)
Melee--Razo 19 OM (German/Malaysian)
BevelBelle--Wilborn Ellie Belle (Old Stika/EIR)
Dana--1999 Bourgeois OM (Sitka/EIR)
Tres M--Malachite Machinga Meridian--2020 Baranik Meridian (Machinga/ Colorado Blue Spruce)
Ariel--2020 Wilborn Arum (Cocobolo/Tunnel 14)
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 10:35 AM
Edbuff Edbuff is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 390

I have one of Rosie’s guitars and I can attest that she does a wonderful job. A true artist.
2017 Martin Custom OM-28, Adi/Cocobolo
2018 ARK New Era L-00, All Hog
2004 Martin Custom 0028-VS, Adi/EIR
2009 SCGC 1929 00-17, Hog/Hog
2006 Andrew White F Model, cedar/maple
2008 Andrew White E Model, Cedar/Zir
2013 Martin Ambertone 000-18GE
2011 Brentrup GC6, Adi/Oak
2012 Huss and Dalton OM, Sitka/Chechen
2013 Martin custom 0028, Adi/MR
2015 ARK New ERA, OM Adi.MR
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 12:29 PM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,376

Rosie, what a great story! Thanks for sharing the story and the build process with us!

Larrivée OM-03
Eastman E8OM-TC
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 03:05 PM
dennisczech dennisczech is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 203

Gotta say the sound of that instrument that he's noodling on is really really good. I'm not surprised he fell in of the most pleasing tones I've heard in a while, a great combination of sweetness, clarity and body. Well done for a seductive creation!
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 03:09 PM
SprintBob's Avatar
SprintBob SprintBob is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 4,470

This will be an interesting and inspirational journey to follow!
Doerr Trinity 00 (Lutz/Maple)
Edwinson Zephyr 13 Fret 00 (Adi/Coco)
Emerald X-20 (all carbon fiber)
Eastman 810CE (Spruce/Maple archtop)
Froggy Bottom H-12 (Adi/EIR)
Rainsong APSE (all carbon fiber)
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 03:10 PM
mikealpine's Avatar
mikealpine mikealpine is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 5,302

I love learning hearing the back stories. This is delightful and I am looking forward to seeing the guitar take shape. At the end, I hope we get to hear about his reaction to this guitar. Thanks for taking us on the journey!

2013 Joel Stehr Dreadnought - Carpathian/Malaysian BW
2014 RainSong H-OM1000N2
2017 Rainsong BI-WS1000N2
2013 Chris Ensor Concert - Port Orford Cedar/Wenge
1980ish Takamine EF363 complete with irreplaceable memories
A bunch of electrics (too many!!)
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 05:26 PM
TomB'sox's Avatar
TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Upstate Ny via Minnesota, soon heading to Texas
Posts: 9,296

Rosie, I have heard nothing but great things about your guitars especially from MW! Congrats on this really great build. Martin has great taste from what I can tell lol!
PS. I love guitars!
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 09:08 PM
islandguitar's Avatar
islandguitar islandguitar is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 3,618

Awesome, awesome story! Love it! Will follow you and this build as you move creatively forward with this heirloom instrument. Thanks!
1993 Bourgeois JOM
1967 Martin D12-20
2007 Vines Artisan
2014 Doerr Legacy
2013 Bamburg FSC-
2002 Flammang 000 12 fret
2000 McCollum Grand Auditorium

Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2020, 02:09 AM
Cams Cams is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Scotland
Posts: 209

I’m looking forward to following this build Rosie. Thanks for sharing it on your socials. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise!
My Guitars
Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2020, 04:23 AM
colins's Avatar
colins colins is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 2,459

Lovely to see a guitar coming together with such a great story attached. And that rosette is fabulous!

Thanks so much for posting, Rosie.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2020, 05:07 AM
cigarfan's Avatar
cigarfan cigarfan is offline
Music soothes the soul!
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Within the blast radius of Washington D.C.
Posts: 4,671

A back story, fantastic woods, superb builder and incredible destination. What's not to love. Really appreciate you taking on a thread. I'm excited to follow along.
Life is like a box of chocolates ....
Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2020, 05:49 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 25,170

Great story and pics, Rosie. Beautiful rosette. Thanks for sharing with us and I look forward to watching the progress.
Reply With Quote

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Custom Shop

mahogany, martin simpson, moon spruce, turnstone guitars, uk luthier

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=