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Old 01-08-2019, 06:39 PM
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Default BRYANT TRENIER: 17” “Aritifex” Archtop (Bosnian Maple/Italian Alpine Spruce)

Most luthiers or clients who post “build threads” here in the AGF Custom Shop feature steel string flat top guitars with the occasional nylon string, gypsy or archtop guitars also appearing from time to time. This thread will be one of those occasional threads for those of you who are interested in seeing an archtop guitar crafted to follow along.

Bryant Trenier is an archtop luthier who has his workshop in Uzes, in the south of France near Avignon. Bryant built his first guitar 20-years ago in 1998. He has had a workshops in the United States in the past; first in metro Seattle and Later in the metro New York area. In 2016, he made the jump across the pond moving his workshop to France.

http://www.trenierguitars.com

Bryant, like many builders’ journey into lutherie had its origins in first being a guitar player and a decade as a finish carpenter to develop woodworking skills. He later ventured into guitar restoration work where he was fortunate to work on vintage guitars by archtop masters such as John D’Angelico, Jimmy D’Aquisto and Gibson Kalamazoo workshop. Bryant also spent for two-years (2002-2004) assisting luthier Ondra Holoubek in his workshop in the Czech Republic.

Bryant hand builds about 10 instruments a year, one at a time. He has now built about 150 archtop guitars at this point in his career. The inspiration of his work seems most influenced by the late great luthier Jimmy D’Aquisto. Here is a short interview with Bryant conducted in his New York shop a few years back that will give you a sense of his approach.



I have auditioned Bryant’s guitars at both the 2014 and 2017 Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcases. It was at the later show where I placed my order. Now, after a 15-month wait, he is ready to begin building my instrument. He is hoping to deliver it to me at the Artisan Guitar Show in mid-April 2019.

I spoke with Bryant this morning and is beginning my commission. Here are the preliminary specifications for the guitar:
Lower Bout: 17”
Rim Depth: 3-1/8”
Scale Length: 25-1/4”
Nut Width: 1-3/4”
String Spacing: 2-1/8”
FB Radius: 12”
Top Bracing: X-Brace
Top Wood: Italian Alpine Spruce
Back & Side Wood: Fiddleback, Bosnian Maple
Neck: One-Piece, Fiddleback Hard Maple
Fretboard: Gaboon Ebony
Finger Rest: Gaboon Ebony
Bridge/Saddle: Gaboon Ebony
Tailpiece: Gaboon Ebony
Binding: Curly Bosnian Maple
Pickup: Kent Armstrong - Single Coil Floating
Controls: Schatten Thumb Wheel - Volume & Tone
Tuning Machines: Schaller M6 w/ Ebony Buttons
Fretwire: Jescar EVO 47095
Finish: Nitrocellulose, Light Fade Burst
Case BAM Hightech
Bryant presented me with a number of maple back sets to select from. All three sets are Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplantanus...a.k.a European Spruce) sourced from Gleissner Tonewood in Germany some years back. While the supplier is in Germany, these maple billets are from the mountains in Northeast Bosnia-Herzegovenia where much of the maple used by Cremonese violin luthiers sourced their wood. The Bosnian Spruce billets had differing levels figure; ranging from wild curl to a wider, more diffuse curl to a tight fiddleback curl.



I ended up choosing the tighter fiddleback set shown below, primarily on aesthetic preference but also because it presented uniform grain count across the set, and the fiddleback figure extended fully to the rims to show through the darker sections of the sunburst on the finished instrument.



More when I get it...
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Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 02-17-2019 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:36 AM
DamianL DamianL is offline
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Looooooovely...that’s the set I would have gone for too. Love that tight flame.

D
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:28 AM
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While it is somewhat difficult to see in the table shot in my initial posting, the set at the back of the table was lovely as well...



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Originally Posted by DamianL View Post
Looooooovely...that’s the set I would have gone for too. Love that tight flame.

D
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:20 AM
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That set is the literal definition of chatoyance!
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:49 AM
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Likely so Tom, but......We wont know for sure until it is carved (fiber direction might change), under finish (glossy and sunburst translucency) and rolled under lighting to see the 3D effect.

Archtop billets are frequently about 1-1/4" thick near the center seam and as thin as 3/8" thick near the outer edges (raw flat top guitar sets are typically about 1/8" as a comparison). When it is carved, the surfaces exposed within the set can have fibers that orient in different directions than those on the surface. Typically, plates may be carved down to 3/16" to 1/4" in the center seam and 1/8" to 3/16" in the re-curve near the rims depending on the goals of the instrument and the properties of the set. Additionally, as a burst dyes are applied to the guitar the translucency of its application can also impact the 3D chatoyant nature of how the guitar looks.

That said, I do have high hopes...

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Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
That set is the literal definition of chatoyance!
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Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 01-09-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:05 PM
Martin Keith Martin Keith is offline
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I'm a big fan of Bryant, both personally and professionally.
In fact, I had the good fortune to visit him in Uzes last April and see the new shop.

Congratulations in advance on what is sure to be a brilliant guitar!
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:13 AM
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Thanks Martin.... Sounds like a fun trip to the south of France. Much nicer than a drive to Suffern!

For those of you who don't know about Martin Keith, he is a very talented luthier in upstate NY (https://www.martinkeithguitars.com/) who builds beautiful acoustic guitars and electric bass guitars. Glad to see that he frequents this forum...

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Originally Posted by Martin Keith View Post
I'm a big fan of Bryant, both personally and professionally.
In fact, I had the good fortune to visit him in Uzes last April and see the new shop.

Congratulations in advance on what is sure to be a brilliant guitar!
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Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 01-10-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:05 PM
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As always, thanks for sharing this build. Awesome beginning. I’m looking forward to seeing this master at work.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:57 PM
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That makes two of us Dennis...

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Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
As always, thanks for sharing this build. Awesome beginning. I’m looking forward to seeing this master at work.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:28 PM
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You like those flamey guitars! Me too!!!
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:46 AM
GeoffStGermaine GeoffStGermaine is offline
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Looking forward to watching this build - archtop guitars are my favourite!
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
You like those flamey guitars! Me too!!!
The type of burst Bryant will execute is quite light in its hues, reflecting the colors of nature near his shop in the south of France. The reason I selected the choice of sets with the strongest Fiddleback figure was to ensure that it was seen through the burst where it is darkest near the rims. Also, if you look closely at the earlier photos and look past the “flames”, this set had the most consistent, albeit slightly wider grain count. While inconsistencies in wood can be compensated for in the carving of the back, I thought consitency in grain count a desirable starting state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffStGermaine View Post
Looking forward to watching this build - archtop guitars are my favourite!
Good to hear that there are a few of us here.... Archtop guitars can be sort of foreign instruments to many flat top players.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:45 PM
FormerFoodie FormerFoodie is offline
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Dude. YOU. ARE. MY. HERO. First the Cuban Hog Franklin now a crazy flamey maple boutique archtop? NICE!!!!

I love the maple you selected. I can't wait to see what this looks like under finish and with burst. There's nothing like great maple and yours is GREAT.

Keep the pics coming!
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:59 PM
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Thanks for your kind comments. I will post them as I receive them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerFoodie View Post
Dude. YOU. ARE. MY. HERO. First the Cuban lHog Franklin now a crazy flamey maple boutique archtop? NICE!!!!

I love the maple you selected. I can't wait to see what this looks like under finish and with burst. There's nothing like great maple and yours is GREAT.

Keep the pics coming!
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:53 PM
Jamiejoon Jamiejoon is offline
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Such a cool video, Bryant seems like quite a character...and quite an artist. You are a lucky man! Thank you for treating us to another wonderful project.
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