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Old 09-08-2023, 08:59 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Default Marc Beneteau: ‘M’ Model (Birdseye Maple/Sitka)

As a bit of background, I have been in search of a custom Maple guitar/build for some time. Back when I first started looking at custom guitars in 2010, I played a new Northwood Flamed Maple OM. Unfortunately, I let this get away, thinking I would find something better (it also seemed expensive at the time, yet in reality, John’s guitars are very reasonably priced). I have played a few Maple guitars since (and purchased a Guild D30), yet have not gotten any further with a custom Maple purchase until now.

Over the years, I have perused many sites, and in this time came to familiarized myself with the different Maples varieties available. I have also taken an interest in what top woods luthiers were pairing with Maple guitars and followed maple builds on the AGF with interest. There was this set of Flamed/Spalted Maple I came across, but it sold quickly before I could make up my mind -



Not sure if this would have filled the bill, but it got me thinking about something more interesting visually, when looking at a custom Maple build.

Surprisingly, Birdseye Maple hadn’t been on my radar until more recently, yet a couple builds came up that I found very attractive. In 2019/2020, having more time on my hands due to Covid, by happenstance, this set came up in a search one day -



The company was American Specialty Hardwoods in Michigan. Even though the picture was fairly low res, it peeked my curiosity enough that I enquired about better pics. As the price was reasonable, in the fall of 2020, I purchased this set for a possible future build along with some other pieces that could be used for extra sides and possibly a neck. Here are the pics I was sent -





After a time, I decided I would use a builder for this set from my neck of the woods (Ontario, Canada), so that I could have a more personalized build experience. Also, there are a lot of fine luthiers in this part of the world. This is when Marc Beneteau came across my radar again (thanks to Dustin Furlow’s excellent build threads).

I had been aware of Marc’s work for a long time having almost purchasing a used guitar of his in 2011. Researching his work again, I found he had built with Maple before and his models and features checked every box for me. Marc, having almost 50 years of building experience, really felt like a good fit for building with this Maple set. Sent an email and a visit later (being able to play his personal BRW/Sitka ‘M’ Model), sealed the deal for me. I started this commission in Oct 2021.

The build has started and here are some of the spec’s -

Back & Sides: Birdseye Maple
Soundboard: Alaskan Sitka Spruce
Frets to the body: 14
Scale Length: 25”
String Spacing: 1 11/16”
Upper Bout: 11 5/8”
Waist: 9 11/16”
Lower Bout: 16”
Depth at Tail: 4 3/8”
Cutaway: Venetian
Bevels: Arm bevel
Binding: Macassar Ebony
Headplate Front: Black Walnut Burl
Rosette: Black Walnut Burl
Tuners: Chrome Gotoh 510 w/ Black buttons

Here the back and top are glued up with bracing …



… and, the sides glued up in the mould.

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Old 09-10-2023, 09:16 AM
Deliberate1 Deliberate1 is offline
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Congrats on your build.
That is some beautiful maple stock. I can see why you were attracted to it. I assume that is a North American variety of maple. Max Spohn, a German luthier, is currently building me an OM out of European Maple with a pronounced "curly" pattern, with a European spruce. I have not owned a maple guitar yet and am looking forward to it. Best of luck with your build. I will keep an eye peeled for more images from you.
David
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File Type: jpg Finished box2.jpg (25.6 KB, 326 views)
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2023, 10:29 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile Yummy Maple

Congratulations on what will no doubt be a special instrument!

I have had a couple Beneteau guitars and they were VERY NICE indeed.

I am super happy with my John Kinnaird Custom Maple/WRC

This will be fun to follow

Enjoy it!

Paul
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Old 09-10-2023, 11:46 AM
Kenny B Kenny B is offline
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My maple Beneteau has been a special guitar to me for many years. Hope yours ends up as nice and mine.
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Old 09-10-2023, 10:02 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deliberate1 View Post
Congrats on your build.
That is some beautiful maple stock. I can see why you were attracted to it. I assume that is a North American variety of maple. Max Spohn, a German luthier, is currently building me an OM out of European Maple with a pronounced "curly" pattern, with a European spruce. I have not owned a maple guitar yet and am looking forward to it. Best of luck with your build. I will keep an eye peeled for more images from you.
David
David, thanks for posting, I am well aware of your Maple build. I find Max’s modern aesthetic is pleasing to the eye, and his build quality/cleanness is impressive (also like the sound clips I’ve heard). Not sure the exact Maple species, but this set was harvested/processed locally.

While I think Maple is a great material, it is not the one I have found most people gravitate to for their first build. What brought you to this choice, as you did not mention this in your build thread (… just curious)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
Congratulations on what will no doubt be a special instrument!

I have had a couple Beneteau guitars and they were VERY NICE indeed.

I am super happy with my John Kinnaird Custom Maple/WRC

This will be fun to follow

Enjoy it!

Paul
Paul, I remember this J Kinnaird build, went back to re-read the post and look at the pics. Your visit with Beth, sounded like it was a blast! I remember that David Webber in Vancouver really liked building with Maple/Cedar.
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2010 Eastman E20OM
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2023, 10:17 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Originally Posted by Kenny B View Post
My maple Beneteau has been a special guitar to me for many years. Hope yours ends up as nice and mine.
Your for sale post helped me feel more comfortable with going with Marc. The sound of your guitar, is just what I’m looking for.
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2010 Eastman E20OM
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Old 09-11-2023, 09:22 AM
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I haven't seen Marc in many years (it might have been last at the Montreal show) but he is a great guy and I have always been a big fan. Congrats on the build, it will be a beauty for sure.
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Old 09-11-2023, 05:50 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Originally Posted by John Osthoff View Post
I haven't seen Marc in many years (it might have been last at the Montreal show) but he is a great guy and I have always been a big fan. Congrats on the build, it will be a beauty for sure.
John, thanks for your kind comments. Love your Woodstock tree build.
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Old 09-13-2023, 10:59 AM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Default Boxed

Marc has glued the body up, starting to get some more detailed pics. Went with his earlier Rosette design using a Black Walnut burl as the centre ring. The prominent Sitka medullar rays on the top are quite pleasing to my eye.



The back is looking quite fine as well. Next up will be trimming the top & back to the sides and starting the Centre Strip and Binding process

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2018 Michaud OO-R
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2010 Eastman E20OM
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Old 09-15-2023, 08:41 AM
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Default Centre Strip

Marc has now routed the body for the binding but first starts with the installation of the back Centre Strip, he is now doing mainly his segmented style. Here the fence is set up for the cuts -




The grooves/channels are cut (three sections) -




Then the ends are squared off with a chisel. This shot is nice as we’re able to see the curl/wave pattern in the grain in more detail -




And, here is the final result -




And a bonus shot of the End Graft installed -

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Old 09-15-2023, 09:54 AM
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Really like that Birdseye maple [emoji260]
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Old 09-15-2023, 12:02 PM
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Wow, that’s really pretty. We’re huge fans of Birdseye maple. Looking forward to your sonic descriptions once you’ve had it for a while.

Steve
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Old 09-15-2023, 07:14 PM
Deliberate1 Deliberate1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IBKuz View Post
David, thanks for posting, I am well aware of your Maple build. I find Max’s modern aesthetic is pleasing to the eye, and his build quality/cleanness is impressive (also like the sound clips I’ve heard). Not sure the exact Maple species, but this set was harvested/processed locally.

While I think Maple is a great material, it is not the one I have found most people gravitate to for their first build. What brought you to this choice, as you did not mention this in your build thread (… just curious)?



Paul, I remember this J Kinnaird build, went back to re-read the post and look at the pics. Your visit with Beth, sounded like it was a blast! I remember that David Webber in Vancouver really liked building with Maple/Cedar.

Ian, thanks for your question. I have been chewing on the answer to the maple question. Ummm... perhaps my pathological attraction to shiny objects?

Truth be told, I came to with Max with a maple agenda. I have guitars in mahogany, koa, EIR, and Madagascar RW. While my Merrill OM 18 and Froggy Bottom are both made with mahogany, they could not sound more different. So I came to accept that what you end up with is really in the builder's hands. That realization gave me the confidence
to indulge my desire to have a guitar in maple. There is also this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=358C...l=MichaelWatts. I also listened to many vids of maple guitars built by notable luthiers. Naturally, they all sounded different, but all had common tonal elements that I was looking for.

Ultimately, Max and I discussed what I was looking for in a fingerstyle OM. A voice that is precise, fundamental, balanced, with some sustain but limited or no harmonic color. Max said that his combination of Euro Moon Spruce and Euro Maple would give me that, given the way he builds. And, perhaps the clincher. Max was excited to build another maple guitar. Enthusiasm is always a magic ingredient.

But there is this as well. Max has emphasized from the start that, with respect to a guitar's voice attributable to woods used, 80% is from the top, and 20% from the b/s. I have been living with his OM in Madagascar RW, and it sounds nothing like my Huss and Dalton in RW. So, if 80% (my number) of the way a guitar sounds is determined by the builder's hands, then 20% is attributed to the wood stock. If I am even close, then 20% of 20% is from the b/s. Or 4%. If that analysis smacks of self-reinforcement, remember my attraction to shiny objects.

When he showed me the maple stock, I was lost. That is my maple story. I cannot wait to see how it ends - or starts. Next month.

By the way, the first maple guitar I ever heard was that Webber Cedar over maple that you mentioned. This one:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVFR...BluedogGuitars. I looked for over a year for one, and got close twice. But not close enough, so I bought the Webber 00 in koa. It is just a wonderful guitar. But, I sound nothing like Mr. Bibb (dang).

Ian, looking forward to seeing your build continue to take form. Looks absolutely amazing so far.
Best regards.

David
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Old 09-16-2023, 09:04 AM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuck7 View Post
Really like that Birdseye maple [emoji260]
I’m really looking forward to seeing this under finish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kinnaird View Post
Wow, that’s really pretty. We’re huge fans of Birdseye maple. Looking forward to your sonic descriptions once you’ve had it for a while.

Steve
I can see why you’re a fan, looking at your 000-12 in the “In-Stock” thread. Your guitar is an extremely beautiful guitar to my eye, and it sounds great. I have confidence Marc will get the sound right, as he is doing a good job on the visuals so far.
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2018 Michaud OO-R
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2010 Eastman E20OM
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Old 09-16-2023, 08:08 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deliberate1 View Post
Ian, thanks for your question. I have been chewing on the answer to the maple question. Ummm... perhaps my pathological attraction to shiny objects?

Truth be told, I came to with Max with a maple agenda. I have guitars in mahogany, koa, EIR, and Madagascar RW. While my Merrill OM 18 and Froggy Bottom are both made with mahogany, they could not sound more different. So I came to accept that what you end up with is really in the builder's hands. That realization gave me the confidence
to indulge my desire to have a guitar in maple. There is also this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=358C...l=MichaelWatts. I also listened to many vids of maple guitars built by notable luthiers. Naturally, they all sounded different, but all had common tonal elements that I was looking for.

Ultimately, Max and I discussed what I was looking for in a fingerstyle OM. A voice that is precise, fundamental, balanced, with some sustain but limited or no harmonic color. Max said that his combination of Euro Moon Spruce and Euro Maple would give me that, given the way he builds. And, perhaps the clincher. Max was excited to build another maple guitar. Enthusiasm is always a magic ingredient.

But there is this as well. Max has emphasized from the start that, with respect to a guitar's voice attributable to woods used, 80% is from the top, and 20% from the b/s. I have been living with his OM in Madagascar RW, and it sounds nothing like my Huss and Dalton in RW. So, if 80% (my number) of the way a guitar sounds is determined by the builder's hands, then 20% is attributed to the wood stock. If I am even close, then 20% of 20% is from the b/s. Or 4%. If that analysis smacks of self-reinforcement, remember my attraction to shiny objects.

When he showed me the maple stock, I was lost. That is my maple story. I cannot wait to see how it ends - or starts. Next month.

By the way, the first maple guitar I ever heard was that Webber Cedar over maple that you mentioned. This one:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVFR...BluedogGuitars. I looked for over a year for one, and got close twice. But not close enough, so I bought the Webber 00 in koa. It is just a wonderful guitar. But, I sound nothing like Mr. Bibb (dang).

Ian, looking forward to seeing your build continue to take form. Looks absolutely amazing so far.
Best regards.

David
Interesting thoughts in your Maple story, I would say we are on a similar path/trajectory with our Maple ideas and build philosophy. Only time will tell how our stories will end, I suspect we will have a nice pair of guitars to play. There’s also nothing wrong with shiny items … especially, if they make beautiful music.

I have seen a couple Maple/Cedar Webbers come up for sale on the AGF, they seem to sell quick. Too bad David is still not actively building, his pricing was very good, and he had very nice flamed Maple and Cedar stock. Of all the guitars he build, Maple/Cedar seemed to be his bread & butter, but I think he did a lot of Koa as well. You are lucky to have one of his guitars …
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2018 Michaud OO-R
2012 Webber Dreadnaught *SOLD*
2010 Eastman E20OM
1994 Guild D30
1979 Yamaha FG375S (retired)
1974 Norman B30 (retired)
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