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  #61  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:15 AM
jmagill jmagill is offline
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I mentioned that, at my request, Tom was doing something special with the finish on the neck.

I’ve found that when I play a guitar with a neck that has a glossy finish, it tends to grip my hand slightly when I change chord positions, producing faint but audible squeaks. In the mandolin world we eliminate this by what are called “speed necks”, similar to the barely-there finishes on violin necks. Many mandolin builders will provide speed necks on their instruments on request, and it’s also a fairly common after-market modification. Basically, the finish & stain are removed from the neck down to the bare wood and it’s then given a very light sealer. The procedure works well and feels silky smooth, but it does look a bit strange on an instrument that has a stain and glossy finish everywhere else. Here’s a pic of the speed neck on my Michael Heiden mandolin done by the builder himself.




I asked Tom for something that felt similar, but integrated better visually with the rest of the guitar, so when the body was sent off to California to have the French polish finish applied, Tom kept the neck to apply the finish himself. The headplate, backplate and heel cap will get a glossy French polish finish, while the back of the neck will have a satin finish.

Here you can see that the neck has had a black pore fill applied that really makes the mahogany’s grain pop with dimension and contrast. I’ve seen a few guitars that have had a similar treatment and I really like the look. More to come...



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'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-16-2019 at 04:03 PM.
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  #62  
Old 06-27-2019, 12:01 PM
lizzard lizzard is offline
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Nice touch, Jim.

My McCarty has a raw (or close to) BRW neck. It feels so nice and like you say; silent and precise.

Tom, sign me up!

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Originally Posted by jmagill View Post
I mentioned previously that, at my request, Tom was doing something special with the finish on the neck.

I’ve found that when I play a guitar with a neck that has a glossy finish, it tends to grip my hand slightly when I change chord positions, producing faint but audible squeaks. In the mandolin world we eliminate this by what are called “speed necks”, similar to the barely-there finishes on violin necks. Many mandolin builders will provide speed necks on their instruments by request, and it’s also a fairly common after-market modification. Basically, the finish & stain are removed from the neck down to the bare wood and it’s then given a very light sealer. The procedure works well and feels silky smooth, but it does look a bit strange on an instrument that has a stain and glossy finish everywhere else. Here’s a pic of the speed neck on my Michael Heiden mandolin done by the builder himself.




I asked Tom for something that felt similar, but integrated better visually with the rest of the guitar, so when the body was sent off to California to have the French polish finish applied, Tom kept the neck to apply the finish himself. The headplate, backplate and heel cap will get a glossy French polish finish, while the back of the neck will have a satin finish.

Here you can see that the neck has had a black pore fill applied that really makes the mahogany’s grain pop with dimension and contrast. I’ve seen a few guitars that have had a similar treatment and I really like the look. More to come...



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  #63  
Old 06-28-2019, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzard View Post
Nice touch, Jim.

My McCarty has a raw (or close to) BRW neck. It feels so nice and like you say; silent and precise.
A Braz. neck? Hmmm... With just about everything else on this guitar being Brazilian rosewood, I may have missed an opportunity here...
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Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)
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  #64  
Old 06-30-2019, 05:00 AM
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Here, Tom’s holding a ‘fad’, made of absorbent cotton or wool cloth wadding inside of a piece of soft fabric (usually cotton) and used for applying the French polish finish.




The backplate, before & after the French polish is applied…






…and the headplate. These two 'after' shots give the first indication of what this particular set of Brazilian rosewood will look like under finish.



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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-20-2019 at 07:22 AM.
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  #65  
Old 06-30-2019, 01:08 PM
lizzard lizzard is offline
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Elegant and functional: love it!
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  #66  
Old 07-03-2019, 11:28 AM
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First looks at the neck’s satin finish. Hope it plays as good as it looks. The French polished body should be heading back to Tom next week. Next up: bridge & fretwork.



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Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)
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  #67  
Old 07-06-2019, 05:25 AM
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Since someone asked in a PM, this guitar will also have a passive Schatten HFN pickup installed internally on the bridgeplate.
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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-20-2019 at 07:23 AM.
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  #68  
Old 07-11-2019, 05:34 PM
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The body is back from California with a beautiful, shiny new French polish finish.




Gotta love the colors in this set of Brazilian rosewood. Tom tells me it was probably harvested in the 1920's, nearly 100 years ago. Well quarter-sawn wood with that much age on it makes it a bit more fragile, but with sustain and overtones superior to any other wood in his stash.




Very pleased with the rosette's rich colors under finish...

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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-17-2019 at 05:11 AM.
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  #69  
Old 07-13-2019, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmagill View Post
...Gotta love the colors in this set of Brazilian rosewood. Tom tells me it was probably harvested in the 1920's, nearly 100 years ago. Perfectly quarter-sawn wood with that much age on it makes it a bit more fragile, but with sustain and overtones superior to any other wood in his stash.
These recent comments from luthier Mark Hatcher give a little more insight on working with 100-year old wood:

...The wood rings better and ... coloring becomes much richer. Also, the internal stresses relax out (sometimes by cracking) but whatever it wanted do it pretty much has done leaving a much more stable board. There are other aspects to this too. Heat and humidity make wood expand and shrink. This reaction is reduced with repeated cycles. As wood matures it gains a more musical and complex sound quality and the sustain increases.
...
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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-16-2019 at 06:57 AM.
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  #70  
Old 07-13-2019, 06:01 AM
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Won't be long now! You've got to be pretty excited!
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  #71  
Old 07-13-2019, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
Won't be long now! You've got to be pretty excited!
Ahem. Understatement.
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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)
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  #72  
Old 07-13-2019, 10:28 AM
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Smile Anticipation....

I bet this knocks your socks off!

Have FUN

Paul
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  #73  
Old 07-13-2019, 11:29 AM
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One of the most beautiful sets of Braz I"ve ever seen!! The word, Masterpiece, is not an over statement for this instrument!
Just amazing, Jim!
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  #74  
Old 07-14-2019, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by islandguitar View Post
One of the most beautiful sets of Braz I"ve ever seen!! The word, Masterpiece, is not an overstatement for this instrument!
I told Tom to select the wood based on its tonal potential, and if he thought a certain back & sides set was best to meet our sonic goal, whatever it looked like would be fine with me. But having said that, I’m very pleased that the best-sounding set also looked this beautiful.

Nowadays, with so much of the Brazilian rosewood we see from builders being stump wood, wood with a lot of dramatic figuring, or wood repurposed from furniture, old house beams, etc. due to its scarcity, I’m still pleasantly surprised that some builders still have old-growth Braz. sets this well-quartered, this old, and this straight-grained for use in new instruments. The straight-grained Brazilian we see in vintage Martins, what many call 'the good stuff', is darker and fairly uniform in grain and color, without a lot of visual interest, so I think the little imperfections in the grain and variations in the colors of this set were just a bonus that add character to the wood. Here’s another shot of the back without quite so much reflection obscuring the grain. Click on it to see a closeup.

Can’t wait to see it in person.

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Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-20-2019 at 07:26 AM.
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  #75  
Old 07-16-2019, 05:11 AM
jmagill jmagill is offline
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Tom has finished the bridge. Like so many other elements of this guitar, it's 'rosewood-bound-in-ebony', made from the same plank of Brazilian.

In a previous build, Leo Buendia convinced me that his teacher, Ervin Somogyi, was onto something by specifying rosewood for bridges instead of ebony, due to rosewood's reduced damping and higher 'Q' factor. The bridge is a critical component in the direct transfer of energy from the strings to the top, and by following his advice, Leo made me a pretty spectacular guitar, so, yeah, I'm now a rosewood bridge convert.

The ebony binding diminishes that Q factor some, and it was the only instance during this build where I chose to accept less than the maximum tone possible for the sake of aesthetics. I went back & forth on this for quite a while, but ultimately decided that, if the other structural choices we made in pursuit of our sonic goal were successful, the damping effect of a little binding would be minimized, and outweighed by the beauty of the bound bridge and its visual harmony with the other elements of the design. I considered it to be a concession, but a relatively small one.

I told Tom I can't wait to see how this bridge complements the Braz.-bound-in-ebony fretboard and the ebony bridge pins inlaid with rosewood dots. It's really coming together as beautifully as I had hoped...






It's a little hard to see in the photos, but this bridge is stepped, meaning that the center section is raised, with the wings not quite as thick.

Here's a photo of one of Tom's earlier bridge designs that shows it better.




Tom expects to have strings on this baby by the end of the week. Getting close...
...
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Jim Magill
Director, The Swannanoa Gathering

'07 Circa OM, '09 Bashkin 00-12 fret, '10 Circa 00-12 fret, '17 Buendia Jumbo, '17 Robbins R.1, '09 Heiden Heritage F5 mandolin, '85 Sobell cittern,
'08 Poe F5 mandolin, '80 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin, '83 Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin (oval hole)

Last edited by jmagill; 07-20-2019 at 07:29 AM.
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