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  #1  
Old 10-27-2021, 08:52 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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Default Taran guitar club: Lapsed member returns - Tirga Mhor.

I've been a huge fan of Stefan Sobell's guitars for many years. Indeed, it was an IRW Model 0 (made predominantly by Nigel Forster when Stefan’s apprentice) that ignited my passion for steel-strings. Sobells have incredible clarity and separation but can be somewhat "steely" and "cold" and, ultimately, this has caused me to move on, only to return a couple of years later, and so the pattern repeats: I've owned 5 over the years. I think Rory Dowling's instruments are very, very similar - I owned a Taran Mhor several years ago that was uncannily Sobellian: It looked exactly like one and also had tons of clarity and "spit", as Rory would say but, again, a bit cold.

After years of GAS I ended up with guitars by Tom Sands and Ed Claxton, and was perfectly content; great, top-class instruments. However, when I played Rory Dowling's "Mk II" Tirga Mhor in 2019, I was smitten despite not being in the market for a new guitar at all. Why? Well, because it seemed to me to combine the best of Sobell in a much warmer, richer, forgiving, and responsive package; i.e. a personal "Holy Grail". I resisted (I was perfectly happy with my two steel-strings) but, inevitably I ordered one, asking Rory to build me a clone of the guitar that had smitten me: Spruce mated with Malaysian blackwood BS and a Santos mahogany neck.

Some details of Rory's new Tirga Mhor and my thoughts on it here:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...hlight=simpson

Of course the pandemic intervened. Rory finally started my guitar but, as a health-care worker, I just haven't had the time (or inclination if I'm candid; I'm worn-out) to post a build thread. And frankly, the AGF is swarming with Taran threads currently. Cutting to the chase, the guitar arrived a couple of weeks ago and I am completely blown away. Predictably, I was nervous it might not replicate the "magic" of the previous guitar (now owned by my pal Ian), but I needn't have worried. It has great clarity, projection, and separation but is completely devoid of the rather "dry" and steely characteristics I've heard from Rory previously. I'm also surprised to find that this rich tonality steers more towards my Sands than Claxton - I would have predicted the reverse, given that Rory's Mk. II Mhor was inspired originally by a Martin 000-18.

It's obvious to me that Rory now can now swing sonically anywhere between that forceful, projection so beloved of Martin Simpson, and a richer, mellifluous and more responsive alternative, much better suited to bedroom heroes like me. Indeed, when Martin's first Mhor came up for sale (as he commissioned a second), Rory cautioned me against buying it, stating that it would have too much "spit" for my liking. He can titrate to personal taste with ease. Oh, and Rory’s woodworking is spectacular: In that regard, very few are equal and none better.

So, very, very pleased indeed. I'll stick up a couple of videos in the near future but, in the meantime, here is a pic to whet the appetites of the exponential Taran fan club around here, coupled with details of last Saturday’s activities:

Cheers, Steve

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  #2  
Old 10-27-2021, 09:39 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
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Congrats on another beautiful guitar, Steve--I look forward to seeing your videos with it.

And thanks for all your work along the health care front--much appreciated.
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Last edited by Nemoman; 10-27-2021 at 09:40 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:45 AM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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Congratulations on what I am sure is a beautiful guitar. Hope that playing it gives you some respite from the chaos of being a healthcare worker at the moment. I envy you the guitar (for two days anyway...) but not the day job.
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Old 10-27-2021, 12:41 PM
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Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
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Congratulations, Steve!!

Judging from that one picture, your new guitar looks stunning, which is my passive/agressive way of asking for more photos, haha!

More importantly, it’s great that Rory has delivered an instrument that delivers the sound and responsiveness you had in mind when you commissioned the build.

May you continue to enjoy it enough to keep on dallying in the high tension world of steel string acoustic guitars.
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Old 10-27-2021, 02:21 PM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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All good things come to those who wait Steve, Congratulations.
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Old 10-27-2021, 03:02 PM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Congrats…

As Rick Blaine said to Louis Renault “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”.
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Old 10-27-2021, 08:27 PM
Scallywag Scallywag is offline
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Very happy for you!
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Old 10-28-2021, 01:09 AM
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Lovely looking guitar Steve, I really like the orientation of the rosette rings and how this gives a very balanced look to the whole guitar.

I read your post with interest given what you had previously said about the sound characteristics of other Taran guitars you had played. Your description of this guitar is much more familiar to me, and mine is from 2017 (‘The Taran’ 100th Instrument), and therefore pre compression bracing.

Enjoy!
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Old 10-28-2021, 01:50 AM
UKPhil UKPhil is offline
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What a beautiful looking instrument that is Steve. The rosette is just stunning.

I completely understand and agree with your words on the sound of guitars and I'm so pleased this worked on well for you.
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Old 10-28-2021, 02:02 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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That's gorgeous... congratulations!
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Old 10-28-2021, 05:40 AM
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Outstanding Steve. What a great guitar. Congratulations.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2021, 10:32 AM
steveh steveh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemoman View Post
Congrats on another beautiful guitar, Steve--I look forward to seeing your videos with it.
Thanks – working on a couple of pieces and will have them up next month I hope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MThomson View Post
Congratulations on what I am sure is a beautiful guitar.
Thanks – it is; you must be close to getting yours? Well before Christmas I hope?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deft Tungsman View Post
May you continue to enjoy it enough to keep on dallying in the high tension world of steel string acoustic guitars.
Yes – it’s kept me away from its nylon brethren and has had me A-B-C ing it with my Sands and Claxton repeatedly. It is a phenomenal instrument, but quite different to the Claxton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portland Bill View Post
All good things come to those who wait Steve
Thanks Tony. I know what you are thinking but this is sooooo different to the one you played a few years back. Would be great to see what you think if we can hook up again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
As Rick Blaine said to Louis Renault “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”.
I think so also!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scallywag View Post
Very happy for you!
Thanks! How is yours bearing up? You had two honeymoons to cope with: guitar + a real one. I really do notice what you said about the sonic “swell” that follows a picked note. For me, that’s a hallmark of a really well made luthier instrument, but, even then, I’m hearing it perhaps more on this Taran than any other guitar – the notes are just so thick and meaty, and throughout the whole audible spectrum also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RodB View Post
Your description of this guitar is much more familiar to me, and mine is from 2017 (‘The Taran’ 100th Instrument), and therefore pre compression bracing.
Indeed. I’ve spoken a lot to Rory about why these sound so different to his earlier work. I know the back is now much freer to vibrate than previously, and the sides are waaaaaay stiffer, but I suspect it’s mainly because the top is far less arched than the Sobell type radius of a few years back (indeed Stefan is now building “flat-top” guitars himself).

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKPhil View Post
I'm so pleased this worked on well for you.
Thanks so much Phil!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerbie View Post
That's gorgeous... congratulations!
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haasome View Post
Outstanding Steve. What a great guitar.
And thank you!

Cheers,
Steve
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2021, 12:41 PM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveh View Post
Thanks – it is; you must be close to getting yours? Well before Christmas I hope?!
Very close - in fact, I collected it 2 hours ago!! Still getting my head around what I now have. It's rather lovely.
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Old 11-02-2021, 01:27 PM
Adamski Adamski is offline
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Nice work Steve, it looks lovely (as Rory's instruments always do)...I can't want to play it!
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  #15  
Old 11-09-2021, 05:08 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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Congratulations Steve! Wonderful looking guitar!
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