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  #1  
Old 01-01-2010, 08:57 AM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Default "Volcano" Baranik Meridian Concert

First off - this is an already built guitar, not a build thread. Most of the pictures have already been posted by justonwo in his build thread and Healdsburg report. But, as the new owner, and soon to be guitar-in-hand owner (!!) I decided to start a review thread with a few extra pictures. I'll add to it over the next few weeks, with hopefully some helpful reviews and A/B contrasts with the Baranik CX Brazilian/German Spruce I have now.

Many of you already know this guitar, and I've mentioned on other threads that I was the lucky one to "make the final bid". This is the first production Meridian Concert. It was shown and played at Montreal and Healdsburg this year.

Mike's comments to me:
Quote:
It is a newly designed body shape that features a radically asymmetrical 15.5" lower bout with a super tight waist and narrow upper bout. Also it has double sides with a oval side port and the probably the coolest feature is the adjustable neck for on the fly action adjustments. It also features my new matching headstock and rosette design. It got rave reviews from both pro players and builders alike at the [Montreal] show. It has the most unusual Cocobolo, it's jet black in color and has a Colorado Blue Spruce top.
Mike's shapes are all asymmetric, placing the guitar more comfortably on your lap or in your arm while standing. I've had a CX for almost 2 years and it is so comfortable it was hard for me to believe Mike could improve - but the Meridian is a step further.

Now, to this guitar specifically. The back and sides are cocobolo negro - almost jet black cocobolo. The top is Colorado Blue Spruce - rare in that billets of a size and quality for guitar tops are simply not logged these days. The top is creamy and almost white, like englemann, but (my imagination?) almost with a hint of glacier-blue. Bindings are spalted maple, and the rosette, heel cap, volute, headstock overlay, and end wedge feature a particularly spectacular example of flamey cocobolo. That "hot" red coloring and flame led Mike to call this the "lava" guitar, and if you look at the heel cap you'll see what he means!

Fretboard and bridge are ebony, bone saddle and nut (I believe) and the fretting has Mike's perfect intonation all the way up (not a surprise, but a treat nonetheless!). Purflings are African Satinwood - slightly more yellow than maple or koa.

I am having a Highlander IP-1 (special) pickup installed by Mike. He has Ron Saul (uke maker, former Ernie Ball engineer) mill the slot for the Highlander, and that's the picture below. If anyone is interested in a top-grade handbuilt uke, you really need to talk to Ron, and/or visit his shop in San Luis Obispo. Amazing woods. He's designed a "plucker" (my term) that strums the uke 1MM times before it goes out... talk about playing it in and opening it up! Here's a link to a video article on Ron that is quite enjoyable, by the way: Ron Saul

The other mod Mike is making for me is just for fun. You will know, if you've read the "Wanderer" build thread, that sailing ships and boats have had a big influence on me at various times in my life - whether my real experiences or vicariously through books (Graham's "Dove", Hayden's "Wanderer", Shackleton's voyage, etc.). My most recent real sailing had been crewing on a J30, both racing and cruising, that belonged to a good friend. His boat's name was "Volcano". The clear connection with the "lava" guitar led me to name this guitar "Volcano". What Mike did was have a laser-wood-engraving made of a picture of (the real) Volcano (with my daughter sitting on the windward rail) and that will be placed in the guitar as a neck block plate. You can see both the original picture and the laser plate below.

Now to the pictures! Rather than re-post them all, here are the ones Mike had taken professionally: http://baranikguitars.com/0709.htm#

I will post this one of the heel cap which shows the "lava" color and grained cocobolo:


Here's Volcano set up for the milling of the slot for the Highlander pickup:


And here's Ron Saul making some adjustments:


The original photo of Volcano:


And the laser-engraved wood plate for the neck block:

Last edited by riorider; 01-01-2010 at 12:35 PM. Reason: slight wording
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:15 AM
Taylorplayer Taylorplayer is offline
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Quite a stunning looking guitar! Very nice. Thanks for sharing the story and the pics with us...

Taylorplayer
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:47 AM
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Beautiful details!
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:10 AM
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I still get the same reaction now as when I first saw/read about this guitar...simply breathtaking. You are one of the lucky ones..yes indeed!
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:24 AM
RogerC RogerC is offline
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Phil, I can't decide whether to DIScourage this kind of thing or to ENcourage it. I mean if I discourage it, then I don't have to look at all the awesome pics of guitars that I'll never own. However, if I encourage it, then we're close enough that I'll at least get to play a bunch of really cool guitars. Man, what do I do?! LOL!!

Dude, you have great taste in gutars.
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerC View Post
Phil, I can't decide whether to DIScourage this kind of thing or to ENcourage it. I mean if I discourage it, then I don't have to look at all the awesome pics of guitars that I'll never own. However, if I encourage it, then we're close enough that I'll at least get to play a bunch of really cool guitars. Man, what do I do?! LOL!!

Dude, you have great taste in gutars.
Thanks Rog! My taste is just awe at what these luthiers do with wood, glue, and a touch of steel!

And we need to have a get together soon - we need to share some stories and songs and play a few tunes!

Phil
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:54 AM
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And thanks Hen, tpp, and taylorplayer. If I couldn't share this with fellow "appreciators" it would be significantly less fun!

Phil
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:10 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Absolutely stunning...awesomely kewl...perfect...congratulations!
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:50 PM
jennconducts jennconducts is offline
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For my ears and hands, this is the best guitar that I've ever experienced.

I hope that mine turns out as well!

Jenn
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:48 PM
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Really sweet, Phil !
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  #11  
Old 01-02-2010, 02:33 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Default Meridian

Hi Phil,
Congratulations on aquiring that beauty,is it a double top?

Regards Tony
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:43 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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I had a cheeky squezze of that guitar in Montreal last summer. Very lovely indeed, like all Mike's work!
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:08 AM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Thanks BillyBoy, Jenn, Steve, Tony, and Michael!

No Tony, it's not a double top, but is one of the last of the Colorado Blue Spruce tops that Mike had. I think your Black and Blue has one as well - correct? Justonwo has spoken for the last set. It would be nice to find another source - the trees aren't particularly rare, they're just not being logged currently I understand.

I am gratified that many of you were able to play this guitar - for me that adds to the provenance and value, and is yet one more thing we can "share"!

Thanks again!

Phil
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  #14  
Old 01-02-2010, 11:57 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Default Meridian

Hi Phil,
Where did i get the double top thing from?
Having played a few Classical guitars with them i was not that impressed apart from a bit more volume,i am really pleased for you it looks super and of course you have the other to look forward to,i will keep looking with great interest.

Best Regards Tony
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  #15  
Old 01-02-2010, 11:59 AM
Portland Bill Portland Bill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Watts View Post
I had a cheeky squezze of that guitar in Montreal last summer. Very lovely indeed, like all Mike's work!
Hi Michael,
I believe you have one coming,what are the specs on it?


Best Regards Tony
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