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Old 11-23-2017, 06:04 AM
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invguy921 invguy921 is offline
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Default Wilborn Guitars: A Brazilian build from a "not so new" builder...

Q: How do you introduce a builder who seems new to the AGF community but who really isn't new at all??

A: Have him build a guitar!

Ben Wilborn has been an AGF sponsor since October of 2015. This build will be #137 for Ben...number 137 you say??? How does a guy who has built so many fly so far under our radar here at AGF?? In fact, I don't recall seeing any of his guitars for sale in the classified section of AGF...and you can trust that if they were there I wouldn't have missed them. some may remember that two of his builds for TAMCO were featured here in the custom area several years back. Recently Ben donated one of his builds at the Woodstock Guitar Festival to raise money for some needy causes. Ben is a great guy and lots of fun as well!!

One thing that makes Ben somewhat different than many builders is his musical background and skills on a guitar. He's a talented builder who is also a talented player. Go out and do a YouTube search and you'll find him playing his own guitars. Take a listen and his skills will remind you that he studied music at Berklee College of Music.

Here is something I clipped from his website that I think will give you all a feel for who he is and what he does when he builds:

"I have spent my whole life listening closely to wood and strings, always searching for that special quality that makes an instrument demand to be played. I have studied these amazing creations, listening to the way they respond to my fingertips, their weight and balance, the way they reflect sounds in a room.

I am a lifelong musician. I graduated from The Berklee College of Music, where I studied ear-training, composition and performance. I bring to the shop not only decades of study of musical tone, texture and knowledge of the requirements a player demands from his or her instrument, but also a complete dedication to the art of building. I love all musical instruments, but nothing moves me like the guitar, with its full, complex sound, and its capacity to function like a whole orchestra. It is a truly complete instrument.

My guitars are lightly built, because I treasure responsiveness and tone above all else, but I also work on the leading edge of modern building technique so that my work will last a lifetime. It is my passion as a builder to create instruments that can respond intimately to a playerís intention, and become as much an extension of the body as a beautiful tool for the creation of music."

So, I guess you could call it my privilege to "reintroduce" Ben to the AGF Custom area. I'm gonna do it with this build he is starting for me in a matter of days. I was fortunate a while back to find a spot in his calendar and I was able to find some AMAZING woods in his stash. Below you'll see pictures of the woods. The build will be his EllieBelle (with a cutaway) which is a smaller body guitar with a 15" lower bout and waist forward design. The top will be Sinker Redwood, and the back and sides some very cool Brazilian showing a little petticoat (aka: sapwood) ha!. One picture here shows some very cool Pau Ferro that may show up in the binding scheme.

It's almost showtime so let me introduce the "Cast and Crew"...
First up...some very cool Brazilian:

Next, some really pure Sinker Redwood with some nice silking:

with a little "juice" added to the woods (sinker on right) with the Pau Ferro in the middle, you get a better feel for the color:

All of these guys/woods below will play a part in my guitar. Imagine, as you have on manyoccasions, a few hunks of wood that in the next few months will be a stunning instrument...I'm always amazed at the process.

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

Woody (aka: Mike)
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Old 11-23-2017, 08:36 AM
Cocobolo Kid Cocobolo Kid is offline
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Smile Wilborn Guitars

Very nice introduction. I can't wait to see this build progress. I have a feeling it will be special.
Tucson, AZ

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Old 11-23-2017, 09:09 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Great intro... and spectacular woods!!
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:25 AM
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Godfather Godfather is offline
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Beautiful wood set(s) and a fun way to introduce the build. This will be a great thread to follow.
"...the longest of journeys starts with a single step"
It's never too late to start

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Old 11-23-2017, 09:53 AM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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I think your Pau Ferro is Snakewood. Ben definitely is a guy with a lot of "story".
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:54 PM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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Well excellent choices on both builder and woods Mike! That is a really nice looking set of BRW for sure. With the sinker Redwood top and Ben's expertise, that is going to be amazing. I am growing very fond of my Wilborn!!!

Ben is a great fiddle player as well having backed up some pretty big stars in his day including Willie I am pretty sure!

Will be looking forward to this build with great anticipation!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving

PS. I love guitars!
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:05 PM
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WilbornGuitars WilbornGuitars is offline
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Thanks Mike! Yep, this is going to be fun. Although right now I am barbecuing a turkey. And, Bruce , you are right. That's a stick of snakewood. I think we are going to proceed with the PauFerro as the binding wood- that snakewood was from a different combo when we were deciding on what woods to incorporate into the build. When Mike picked the unusual BRW set, I decided it would not be complimented as well by the reddish colored snakewood, so enter the PauFerro.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Ben Wilborn
Wilborn Guitars
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:18 PM
Scallywag Scallywag is offline
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Hey Ben! Met you at woodstock this year, played one of your guitars for a while. Really very nice! Wasn't aware that you went to Berklee, I did as well!

Also, hey Mike! Excited to watch this one come together.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Old 11-23-2017, 06:34 PM
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Larry Pattis Larry Pattis is offline
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I really like Ben and his builds...this one should be a grand success!

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Old 11-24-2017, 12:49 AM
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Ken Franklin Ken Franklin is offline
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I had a table next to Ben's at the SBAIC before last. What a great variety of guitars. Very clean work. You probably don't hear enough about Ben because he doesn't need the publicity. And his chops as a player are outstanding.
Ken Franklin
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:40 AM
lowrider lowrider is offline
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I was lucky enough to see Ben's set with his guitars on Friday. I hope he got to play again on Saturday or Sunday because it was just great. And his guitars sound and look beautiful.

His choice of John Prine's ''Unwed Fathers'' was touching. Thank's Ben, I never really listened to the song before.
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:27 AM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Every guitar of Benís that I auditioned at both the 2015 and 2017 WILS have been consistently good instruments. Ben also happens to be an excellent musician (both a primo violinist and guitar player) and has a sharp wit to boot...
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:30 AM
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cigarfan cigarfan is offline
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Looks like another phenomenal build Mike. Should be fun watching it come together.
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Old 11-24-2017, 09:26 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile This will be big fun!

Nice going Mike!

May your herds continue to increase... these woods are beautiful!

Have fun

Go, Ben, go!



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Old 11-25-2017, 07:03 PM
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invguy921 invguy921 is offline
Lovin' nice guitars...
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Thanks to all of you who have made such nice and encouraging comments. I'm glad to see so many people interested in Ben and his work. Yes Ben does have a very fun sense of humor and wit...

Here's a little work being done and a nice little stroll around Ben's workshop.

He sent these pics to me with the words..."Bending the sides, cutaway and bindings in my crazed looking mad max Fox style side bending apparatus" :

And...Curly Koa is the winner for the binding and back strip.

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

Woody (aka: Mike)
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