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Old 06-19-2014, 06:53 PM
pjroberts pjroberts is online now
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Default Halcyon #69 Lutz/Primavera OM

Hi Everyone

First time build here (for me) with a new Halcyon from Ed Bond up in Vancouver, which has gotten a fair amount of air time here. Building on Ed’s “Recession Friendly” guitar puts such a thing within my grasp, especially since I’ve reached a point where I know (mostly) what I want. Here, my first OM starts to take form back in late May:

The back of #69, Ed’s first Primavera OM:


Together with the front and sides:
Front:


Back:



Though Ed uses fairly standard models, he had a few unusual tone woods that are in his standard off-the-shelf options, in addition to a fantastic price point, a flexible set of options. Here is what I chose, and what Ed began back in late May:

Halcyon #69

Instrument Style: OM
Woods:
  • Back & Sides: Primavera: Aka Tabebuia donnell-simthii,* Spring or Paradise Wood, maybe a little unusual outside of classical, but seems to be popular on Halcyons ... Read about Primavera here.
  • Top: Lutz Spruce, not that uncommon, but more here.
  • Fingerboard/bridge: Ebony ~ Black, but figured streaky (hopefully)
  • Rosette & Binding: Zebrawood, Something else Halcyon is doing a lot of ... more details here.
  • Saddle/Nut: Standard is usually tusq. Though I thought I liked bone better, based on Ed’s recommendation I’m starting here.
  • Nut width:1 3/4
  • Scale Length: 25" - kind of short:-)

Nothing that unique here, though I’m not sure if scale length is completely a “standard” length ... it may be more common from Larivee.. I think Ed has inherited tooling that makes this standard for his line. He has a second brand/line of guitars, which is totally custom — Tinker. Halcyon is his lower priced option, which is partly achieved through some limited choices in some areas, though most of the hand made specialness remains. If you’ve been reading this Custom section though, you no doubt are familiar with Halcyon. Here is the last update (the front most box, hopefully Ed will pop in with some updates;-):



This build is not that unusual for Ed’s shop, though I have seen very few guitars with Primavera outside of Halcyon. Within the Halcyon customers, this wood combo seems to be fairly popular ... in fact, PsychoJohn recently took delivery on a very similar spec’d 12-fret 000 — besides those two differences, also has a wider 1 13/16 nut. AND, the most amazing figured Primavera I’ve seen yet. Take a look at this beauty:




Primavera tone is similar to mahogany, but the wood’s appearance is much lighter, giving these guitars a completely different aesthetic compared to most darker stained guitars. As you can see in early pictures, mine will have some lighter figuring, which should add some character. Hope is that this will be mirrored a little bit in the striped or figured (not sure what the right term is) ebony fingerboard. Maybe not popular today, but I have a feeling this will be more common in a few years with a certain manufacturer putting this standard into a slightly popular model. You saw it here first! Here is a piece from an earlier build that has been seen here a few times on AGF:

Figured (Streaky) Ebony fretboard:



So, this is starting point for Halcyon #69. I will keep the thread updated as much as possible. One of my favorite features of the Halcyon build is the live coverage on Facebook where we saw Psychojohn’s OOO go evolve to a fantastic delivered instrument. Check out the action yourself on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Halcy...02308099905683.

More Halcyon info:
More to come as it comes. As others have noted, it is unfortunately challenging to post photos here on the fly ... strange in the age of FB.

pjr
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:33 PM
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Halcyon/Tinker Halcyon/Tinker is offline
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Hi PJ,

I inherited the 25" scale jig from a little Californian company called Luthiers Mercantile International...
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:27 PM
D to the W D to the W is offline
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Martin made its OOOs with a scale length of 24.9", and PRS guitars are 25". I remember Ed saying that I should try some of those to see how it suited me, which is good because I opted for something else (not that I didn't like it, just that it wasn't what I was after). I think it's kind of a best-of-both-worlds between Gibson-scale and Fender-scale, and I remember I was surprised that it was more reminiscent of long-scale (25.5", Fender length) than short-scale.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:12 AM
Coffeeaddict Coffeeaddict is offline
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Looking great! You must be happy that it is near to being in your hands!
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:18 PM
pjroberts pjroberts is online now
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Yes! Happy indeed — think I made the right choices.

The scale seems closer to short scale than "long" scale, or maybe hybrid. I mostly interested in tonal properties of shorter scales, but I think we're achieving tonal preferences in various ways (not just this). OK, questions now will be, "what is that?" Let's just keep our fingers crossed:-) Main thing I'm looking for is balance across tonal scale (highs/mids/lows) with a nice solid (thumpy) bass. Qualities Ed considers standard I think (and apologize Ed if I'm putting words in your mouth ... you have a more specific stance for Halcyon per early email discussion).
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halcyon/Tinker View Post
Hi PJ,

I inherited the 25" scale jig from a little Californian company called Luthiers Mercantile International...
Ha!


I like the 25" scale. My Keb Mo model has a 25" scale....with a 1 13/16" nut.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:57 PM
pjroberts pjroberts is online now
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Default July 7 Updates: Photos, Pickup & Fretboard Decisions

Recent Halcyon Line Up: Suspect is Lutz/Primavera second from left:



Lots of updates this week, with photos from Ed's shop over last couple of weeks:-) Last week, made the decision on whether to electrify (yes) and saw the Zebra Wood bound body completed the week before, as well as the fretboard and neck selected.

First, "the box" with Zebra binding now, looking great from front and back:
Front

Back


Fretboard
Against better advice (Ed's), I decided to go without fret markers on fretboard top, with only side markers. Decision was two-fold; First, it is fairly under-stated guitar with it's almost white wash natural finish, the wood figuring being the only real color, so I thought with the streaked ebony, this effect would be brought out even more. Number 2 reason was more practical — the basic Halcyon fret markers are rather small, and my other fretboard with a slightly figured ebony loses the differentiation on the markers, so I have on occassion thought i might be better without them. Reason #3, unlisted:-) I sometimes will get in bad habit of shifting guitar to see fret markers when playing something new and I need to force a break in this habit. I think Ed thought it would be better with the standard markers, so maybe a little risk —*I think with the actual frets there will be plenty going on here.

Here is the fretboard pre-fretting, on top of the soundboard:


Any thoughts on the marker-less fretboard? I personally like guitars I've seen, though to be honest, never lived with one. I have had not so great experience with distracting inlays, which is actually why I decided to go completely without (see the Taylor GS Mini Holden Village inlay — nice visual, but sad in playability).

Neck
Last week Ed sent the picture below of the proposed raw neck, because it melds with the rest of the "them" of letting the wood to the visual talking. I agreed, not much unusual here.

And neck it is in its raw glory:


Pickup
First decision was whether to even have a pickup installed—because as a former electric only player, I partly started playing acoustic to simplify...so this is sort of regressing. And I rarely need a pickup, but when I do, I just want something to work without any "fuss" (as Ed puts it). So, that meant onboard pre-amp. Though most of my player friends (and many here) are recommending K&K, I decided against this based on equal amount of concerns — including Ed's. I actually lose all sense once an acoustic guitar is plugged in and can't really tell what is guitar and what is amplification, so I kind of followed advice here being totally green when it comes to acoustic amplification.
So, I decided on the Schatten HFN Active pickup, which was also recommended by Ed (and others I know).

Only decisions left (I think) is the case. Hopefully more updates soon.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:35 PM
Coffeeaddict Coffeeaddict is offline
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Very nice, gotta say I really love the how the zebra wood compliments the primavera. Makes a really cool rosette too.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:28 PM
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So beautiful. I personally don't care for fret boards without markers. Visually they are fine but because I am a terrible player I need the crutch.

That streaked ebony is awesome. I think that guitar is going to look great when finished. The visual with no markers and understated color is going to be really nice.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:19 PM
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I happen to like a fretboard with some markers, although of far greater importance to me are side markers. When I had Joel create mine, we went with a pretty highly decorated frretboard, and I asked for larger-than-usual makers. He made them about 1/4", square, and a very light wood to contrast the dark fretboard binding. They are very easy to see, On the Ensor I have for sale, I asked for even larger markers because we used spalted maple which, due to the streaking, didn't contrast as much and I wanted them to really stand out for me. I went with very subtle fretboard markers, and from a distance, almost looks like there are no inlays. If I build another, larger side markers are a must.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:58 PM
pjroberts pjroberts is online now
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Guys - I am no magician when it comes to finding my way around the fret board, so we shall see. I know I can do it with just side markers due to an old strat I had without, and this GS Mini has made me work any time I play higher up the neck due to its over-zealous inlay on top of the 12th fret marker. Also, have a feeling once I get accustomed to the neck the natural streaks will fill in where the markers aren't:-)

I wonder if I just convinced myself?
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:00 AM
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Given your knowledge of my build, you already know my bias, but it's looking awesome. That zebra binding really pops and love the figuring on the primavera. looks like you're getting close !

John
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:27 PM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjroberts View Post
I decided to go without fret markers on fretboard top, with only side markers.
I made the same decision for mine. I just like the nice clean look of no markers on the board. As a player if you need some reference there are the marker on the side which ought to be easier too see than the fretboard anyway.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:16 PM
D to the W D to the W is offline
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I'd be afraid of going without the markers -- heck sometimes I even get confused when a guitar has block markers instead of dots -- but then again I guess nylon strings usually don't have markers. So long as you've got 'em on the side that's probably good enough. And yeah why not keep that beautiful ebony unadorned!

See that "B" written on it in white pencil? That was my "B" piece when I went to choose a slab of ebony for my fingerboard, so I'm glad it's finding a good home with someone who will appreciate it
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:01 AM
pjroberts pjroberts is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D to the W View Post
See that "B" written on it in white pencil? That was my "B" piece when I went to choose a slab of ebony for my fingerboard, so I'm glad it's finding a good home with someone who will appreciate it
What did your C look like? There was a problem with that piece, so Ed sent me a photo of my Plan B fretboard to OK, and it is equally figured, so I wasn't too concerned .... will try to transfer that here to keep the record up to date. Posting pix here borders on painful;-)
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