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  #1  
Old 06-10-2007, 08:10 AM
theotigno theotigno is offline
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Default Never thought I'd have a custom build, but...

... I'm on the road to having a custom guitar built for me.

Builder: Don Sharp
Wood selection: Engelmann Spruce / Claro Walnut
Guitar shape: Grand Auditorium

I have to say this about the "custom guitar" journey: it's humbling. It's humbling if you let the builder do their job in making the decisions so they can spec out the best guitar for you. It's humbling to have an artistan listen to you and then create something that will allow you to be better at your craft. I haven't even gotten the guitar yet, and I already feel humbled simply by the experience.

On my first phone call, I told him my guitar playing history, what I had in mind and then sought his input. I originally had "sitka / koa small jumbo" in mind, but I told him I wanted him to decide what's best. After the initial phone call, he thought a sitka / ziricote grand auditorium would be the ticket.

A few hours later, as I was eating at a Chinese restaurant by a charter school I "volunteer-teach" at (yes, it's not just for Esteban contests anymore), I checked my email on my phone. After he did some research through some of my recordings and finding a song I wrote where I was playing my good ole' Goodall AKGC (now gone... a casualty of a downturn in business), the results were in and a claro walnut replaced ziricote in the line-up.

Fast forward: a few weeks later, I was playing an old engelmann-topped guitar I used to own (now in the posession of a friend of mine in Ohio). I knew I loved the sound of engelmann, but I also loved the sound of sitka. I called Don and asked his opinion of changing the top to sitka. He was all for it, saying that it would pair up well with walnut and that it was his favorite tonewood.

And... So, you you get what we have here this week... which is the way he wants it, so, he gets it. (although this guitar is anything but a failure to communicate)

Okay, when it came to the guitar, I did have one must have option: I didn't want any bling. 98% wood ensuring that no sea creatures will be hurt in the production of this guitar. Again, he was cool with that.

Here are some pics, along with the email quotes:

Quote:
Theo, attached are the photos I promised. the walnut is much nicer in person. There's a lot of figure that doesn't show up in the photos. The set is wiped with mineral spirits to give you an idea of the figure. the finished instrument will be slightly lighter.


Quote:
Attached are two photos of the joined and sanded top (engelmann) and back. I've got the sides sanded and bent and will send a photo of the assembled rim.




Quote:
Attached in a photo of the claro walnut burl I am planning to do your rosette from.


Quote:
Attahced are photos of your side being bent in one of my Fox-Style Benders and a close up of the side wetted to show the figure on the new sides. The entire lenght of the sides has this degree of figure or better.




And so, I'm on this pilgrimage many have walked before me. Thank you to all of you for the "build posts", advise on letting the builder do what they do best, and for fostering the extremely unhealthy behavioral pattern G.A.S.

Peace, theo
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2007, 08:25 AM
Poetmonk Poetmonk is offline
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SWEET! Have fun in the processes even tho GAS hurts.
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Taylor "06" 914CE fall limited Coco/Engel.
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Collings "01" D3 EIR/Sitka
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2007, 08:37 AM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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Nice killer looking walnut...congrats..its gonna be a great guitar
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:43 AM
ikan_kunning ikan_kunning is offline
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Looks like we're going to have another great build thread!!

Congratulations to you and Don.
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:49 AM
Back Pocket Back Pocket is offline
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Some very beautiful woods there - Congrats.
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:56 AM
Fliss Fliss is offline
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Wow, that looks great. I like your thinking - no bling and let the beauty of the wood shine through. And that wood is stunning. I look forward to seeing your progress reports

Fliss
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Old 06-10-2007, 10:48 AM
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Great stuff! Congrats!
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  #8  
Old 06-11-2007, 08:50 AM
sharp_custom
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This is certainly going to be a fun build. Theo has been great to work with and has chosen some great tonewoods. The combination of materials chosen along with a little help from the builder will produce a really nice guitar.

Don Sharp
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:55 AM
woodruff woodruff is offline
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that's some gorgeous walnut theo. you are gonna love walnut. it is by far my new favorite tonewood! such clarity and depth!
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2007, 03:42 PM
theotigno theotigno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodruff View Post
that's some gorgeous walnut theo. you are gonna love walnut. it is by far my new favorite tonewood! such clarity and depth!
Seeing that you're in Tucson, when I get the guitar, I can bring the guitar by. I live in Phoenix, but I visit Tucson pretty frequently as I have a few friends who live there.

Thanks everyone for your kind responses! This is really a blessed opportunity for me and Don has been awesome to work with!

Peace, theo
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:06 PM
theotigno theotigno is offline
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Hey all! More pictures in yesterday!

Quote:
This one is of the sides fresh from the benders.


Quote:
Here's one of your back with reinforcement cut to receive braces.


Quote:
This one is of the me using a caul to obtain the final shape of the cutaway.


Quote:
Here's one of your back with braces ready to be glued.

(the braces have been glued but the color of the walnut in this one looked incredible!)

The last picture just made me pause for a while. That is a thing of beauty!

Ah yes... patience is a virtue because IT'S SO HARD TO WAIT!
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  #12  
Old 06-11-2007, 04:20 PM
banpreso banpreso is offline
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i'm always jealous of how extraordinary custom builts look! from the wood set down to the details. this is looks really fun!

i've never had a chance to play a walnut guitar... always wanted to.
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  #13  
Old 06-11-2007, 04:33 PM
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Markkunkel Markkunkel is offline
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Congratulations, Theo. What a beautiful looking set of back and sides, and that rosette should be something else indeed!

And "humbling" it is... enjoy!

MK

(I'm going to have to go see Don Sharp...he's only 100 miles away and well worth the drive, I think!)
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  #14  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:04 AM
sharp_custom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markkunkel View Post
(I'm going to have to go see Don Sharp...he's only 100 miles away and well worth the drive, I think!)
We'll keep the light on for you, Mark!!
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  #15  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:47 AM
theotigno theotigno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banpreso View Post
i've never had a chance to play a walnut guitar... always wanted to.
Well, if you want to try it, I make quite a few trips to CA. I don't know how far south in OC you are, but I have two clients in Costa Mesa and my brother and his family live in Corona.

Of course, I have to remember to bring a "beater guitar" (my Terada) for my 2 year old nephew who loves to play my guitar (well, more like pulling on the strings and banging on the top). He's not the most gentle with guitars, but I love watching him play it. I may have to wait until he's older before I let him play this guitar (when he's clearly out of his teens).
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