The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 03-21-2019, 06:53 PM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default NGD - Claxton OM, Chapter and Verse

Chapter 1

Öor how a song was born




In the summer of 2014, this OM-inspired ďTraditionalĒ left Ed Claxtonís workbench in Santa Cruz, California and headed for the UK to join TAMCOís enviable selection of luthier-built guitars. It remained in Brighton until the final leg of its journey brought it to my house in January this year. This is my fourth purchase from Trevor, whose service record with me over the past ten years has been nothing less than sterling.



As the pictures show, itís a lovely piece of craftsmanship built with top-drawer tonewoods. The silky Italian Spruce top comes from a hoard Ed acquired long ago and has used on many builds over the years to great effect. According to Edís supplier, the Claro Walnut back and sides come from a log that lay submerged in a small lake in Sonoma County for 50-plus years. The hues and figure of this flitch-matched set flow together as one, and as it shimmers in shifting orientation to light, the box looks like itís made of the skin of a large prehistoric reptile or perhaps the pelt of an impala. The train-spotters among you will have noticed Edís signature touches like the mosaic rosette and use of pernambuco, white holly and ebony for purflings and binding.



On my guitar the holly stripe that underpins the ebony veneer at the headstock extends down the neck all the way to the edge of the soundhole. Instead of a coach-lined frame on top of the fingerboard, this elegant detail is for the playerís eyes only. Me likey.



A real featherweight, this OM weighs noticeably less than my similar-sized Baraniks, themselves already quite light. In fact, itís on a par with the much smaller Retreux Parlor. Ed says that by using Claro Walnut he saved a few ounces compared to the same model in rosewood. The end result is that this guitar simply vanishes in your lap. With a profile that suits my hand perfectly, it takes but a moment for the neck to disappear as well. Iíve never owned a guitar that plays so effortlessly. Coming from a guy with three ultra-ergonomic Baraniks, thatís saying a lot, believe me.

The good news doesnít stop there. Iíve read many comments about how expressive Edís guitars are, and my impressions of what this OM has on offer match the general consensus. You can tap into its transparent, balanced voice at will, on every string, at every fret. There are no great splashes of upper-order harmonics to cloud your judgment, no great bear hugs of cavernous bass to hog your attention. Rather, you create color, weight and texture by naturally coaxing music from balanced, sustaining fundamentals, their rise and fall, their stop and start. All that magic, floating on a hair trigger, no less. So delicate, so brave of heart, this Claxton stands in a league of its own.



In the end itís all about the music, so Iíll cut right to the chase, folks. After less than a week in the house, this guitar jolted me out of an abiding, often agonizing, decade-long writerís block. No tribute to the qualities of my new OM could be more moving.

One day many years ago, as stirring music came together and tumbled out of my guitar, I felt in my soul that this new piece would someday become something grand. All I had to do was wait for a story to tell, to find the words that would lay the soil for this precious seed to sprout. But time went by and nothing happened, no storms a-flashing, the wetlands gone dry.

The drought was so great, so parching, that soon all my other musical ideas would wind up stunted in the bud, never to bloom into proper songs. With time, fallow turned to barren. Repeated attempts to crack the nut saw nary a glimmer of germination, despite the wonderful guitars I acquired along the way. Itís not their fault, of course, theyíre only tools for the tillerman, the music box, not the music maker. It was I who was washed out, forsaken by earth and sky and the song of the rainmaker.

Anyhoo, after few days of groping the new girlfriend from California, I momentarily interrupted my scheduled program of random noodling and dusted off the jar of formaldehyde where the haunting embryo of that song resides in permanent stasis (that is, I switched to the offbeat altered tuning Iíd made up years ago to serve the piece). I began playing and gradually heard, then heard and felt, a gush of musicality surging out of the box as if it had a will of its own, suggesting the way forward, pulling like a riptide with me in its wake, sweeping me away and letting me let go. A timeless afternoon later found me with a song, that song, springing to life. Relief had come at last.

Thank you, Mr. Claxton.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:10 PM
Diamondave's Avatar
Diamondave Diamondave is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Venice CA
Posts: 2,431
Default

Ed's a favorite of mine, I've loved every guitar of his I've played... Nice score, congrats...!
__________________
onedayatatime
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:10 PM
El Conquistador's Avatar
El Conquistador El Conquistador is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Central California
Posts: 4,007
Default

A very special guitar indeed! Congratulations!

Steve
__________________
Still crazy after all these years.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:38 PM
Haasome's Avatar
Haasome Haasome is offline
Charter Picker
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9,434
Default

Lucky you, that’s a beautiful guitar!
__________________
Paul
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-21-2019, 08:41 PM
justonwo's Avatar
justonwo justonwo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 6,332
Default

So it, like, sounds good, Wordsworth?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-21-2019, 09:01 PM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 4,409
Default

congrats! I love all the Calxtons I've played. Sounds like this one inspires the soul
__________________
Eric

Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2019 Kostal MDW Brazilian/German
Build thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-22-2019, 02:57 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: 4,591
Default

Very nice! Congrats!
__________________
Life is like a box of chocolates ....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-22-2019, 03:06 AM
colins's Avatar
colins colins is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 2,375
Default

New sounds and new directions. Great that you have such a fine guitar, and that it complements the Baraniks so well.

And walnut is such a nice tonewood (says the guy with a walnut Baranik!)

Enjoy....
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-22-2019, 03:31 AM
steveh steveh is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,504
Default

I've said it before on here and I'll say it again: No-one betters Ed Claxton when it comes to building a great guitar. No-one.

Again, TAMCO is responsible for that opinion. I was down at Trevor's 6 years ago and had played half of the guitars in the shop when I picked up a very light and unassuming Claxton OM with Cuban back and sides. That guitar blew me away. It was tremendously refined.

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=307434

I remember me + Trevor having a long chat about the fact that it probably required a lot of prior experience with fine instruments to truly appreciate what it did because it didn't shout it's brilliance at you: No thunderous basses, no ultra-sparkling treble, not super loud, just everthing absolutely as it should be. Like I say above, "refined". I remember thinking, "this is a Traugott for half the price". Alas, half the price of a Traugott is still a huge amount so I had to let that guitar go - it was new and I couldn't afford it (it did come back to me many years later but that's another story...). It was one of the best guitars I ever played at TAMCO and I said so on here.

I played all of the Claxtons that Trevor had subsequently and this walnut guitar was one of them. It's lovely. Every single one of Ed's guitars were mind-blowingly fabulous. I think he's the most consistently brilliant builder out there. A pal of mine had a BRW Malabar that had - easily - the best midrange and trebles of any guitar I've ever played.

Deft has played a load of great guitars, so listen to what he's saying here!

Cheers,
Steve
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-22-2019, 05:25 AM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamondave View Post
Ed's a favorite of mine, I've loved every guitar of his I've played... Nice score, congrats...!
Lucky you to have played so many! (Lucky me to have played any at all!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Conquistador View Post
A very special guitar indeed! Congratulations!

Steve
Truly special, Conquistador, thanks. Its easy playability and immediate, ringing trebles remind me of the Baranik Parlor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haasome View Post
Lucky you, thatís a beautiful guitar!
Thanks! It's a feast for the senses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericcsong View Post
congrats! I love all the Calxtons I've played. Sounds like this one inspires the soul
Thanks! It's a Claxton, so I was expecting excitement. The soul-shaking inspiration is icing on the cake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
Very nice! Congrats!
Thanks! (Actually, it's very, very, VERY nice.)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-22-2019, 05:26 AM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
So it, like, sounds good, Wordsworth?
You just got an A on your book report.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-22-2019, 05:38 AM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by colins View Post
New sounds and new directions. Great that you have such a fine guitar, and that it complements the Baraniks so well.

And walnut is such a nice tonewood (says the guy with a walnut Baranik!)

Enjoy....
Yes, Colin, this OM is a great addition to the family. Each of my Baraniks has its relative strengths and weaknesses, and I'm sure to discover the Claxton's as time goes by. No guitar can do it all, which is why I have more than one. Lucky are we who have multiple squeezes!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-22-2019, 05:51 AM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveh View Post
I've said it before on here and I'll say it again: No-one betters Ed Claxton when it comes to building a great guitar. No-one.
Hi Steve. Your input was instrumental and spot on, my friend. I owe you one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveh View Post

Deft has played a load of great guitars, so listen to what he's saying here!

Cheers,
Steve
You overstate my case, sorry to say. I'm more like a fortunate bungler than a true connoisseur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveh View Post
...I was down at Trevor's 6 years ago and had played half of the guitars in the shop when I picked up a very light and unassuming Claxton OM with Cuban back and sides. That guitar blew me away. It was tremendously refined... Alas, it was new and I couldn't afford it (it did come back to me many years later but that's another story...)It was one of the best guitars I ever played at TAMCO and I said so on here.
One favor, if you please, mister Steve. I don't think I've ever heard the story of how you wound up with your OM. Care to elaborate?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-22-2019, 07:50 AM
bmh1 bmh1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Southern CAlifornia
Posts: 401
Default

Congratulations! What a beautiful guitar and what a gift to find an instrument that fits you so well in so many ways. Now I'm intrigued to hear a sound clip of this altered made up tuning song on the wonderful Claxton

beth
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-22-2019, 09:03 AM
Deft Tungsman's Avatar
Deft Tungsman Deft Tungsman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 630
Default

You're so right, beth. This guitar is an unexpected gift.

I'm working on the final touches of the song I mentioned. I hope to post something acceptable to the perfectionist in me soon.
Reply With Quote
Reply

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

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=