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  #1  
Old 07-08-2020, 06:36 AM
TaranGuitars TaranGuitars is offline
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Default Build Thread - Taran Guitars & Martin Simpson - his next Tirga Mhor

As some of you may know Martin and I have been working together for the last 4/5 years on guitar ideas. I wrote a blog last year on this here.

His current Tirga Beag was the first guitar to have my Compression Braces and opened my eyes to the opportunities that a responsive back can create in an instrument.

At last years Simpson Guitar workshop there were three Tirga Mhors there, all had slight developments in construction and different wood combinations. Although differing in construction and wood, they all shared the same Tirga Mhor philosophy; powerful, wide dynamic range with lots of note separation. Being able to pull back or adjust the steeliness was my goal.

MartinSimpsonGuitarWorkshop.jpg
Martin Simpson Guitar Workshop

After the workshop the phone rang and there was a very excited Martin on the end, “we have to build another one!”. We discussed what was good about all three and how they differed.

Martin’s current Tirga Mhor - Tasmanian Blackwood / Swiss Bearclaw Spruce / Padauk Neck

MartinSimpsonTaranGuitarsTirgaMhor1.jpg


Pete’s Tirga Mhor - Swartzia Wamara or Guyana Rosewood / Swiss Spruce / Wenge Neck

PeteTaranGuitarsTirgaMhor.jpg


Ian’s Tirga Mhor - Malasian Blackwood / Adirondack Spruce / Cuban Mahogany Neck

IanTaranGuitarsTirgaMhor.jpg

After about an hour we settled on African Blackwood/Adirondack for the body and to this point of writing, I don’t know what neck wood I’ll choose as I want to hear the body closed first. The major reasons for these wood choices was to capture the warmth of Ian’s and the overtones of Pete’s. Martin wants as much power and spit as he can get. I don’t want it to be steely, more a rich and very full sound that I have heard in recent Tirga Mhors, hence neck choice is still in the balance.

This is one of the latest Tirga Mhors to leave the workshop, played by the incredible Stuart Ryan. This is a very similar spec that Martin and I discussed as a starting point for this build.



All in all, an incredibly exciting project that I hope you’ll enjoy seeing come together!

All the best,
Rory Dowling
Taran Guitars
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2020, 09:25 AM
Lonzo Lonzo is offline
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Default Definitely..

..follow this I will
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2020, 11:27 AM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
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Looking forward to this one, Rory!
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:51 AM
Alimak Alimak is offline
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Gonna be interesting, Rory...!

Best aye, min.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2020, 08:47 AM
TaranGuitars TaranGuitars is offline
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Default Part Two - The Wood

Once we had made the decision on wood choice and with my ABW stocks being a little low at that point, I knew exactly who I had to get in touch with…

In early 2019 I came across the brilliant Sound and Fair, a timber trading company which supplies wood exclusively from FSC-certified, community managed forests in Tanzania. They work in close partnership with the local communities who manage the forest reserves and retain 100% of the timber revenue. In 2016, Sound and Fair secured investment to build a log precessing and timber production facility in partnership with the Nanjirinji village, close to the primary FSC certified forests. Completed two years ago, it continues to provide additional local employment opportunities and enables the company to produce wholesale volumes of timber for local and international markets.

I got right on the phone to Neil Bridgeland, who manages the UK and international trading, sales and marketing elements of Sound and Fair - ‘Neil, any chance of some ABW I could buy from you to re-saw into sets?’. Two weeks later I had three incredible billets sitting in my workshop, all 100% FSC-certified. Next challenge, cutting them…

ABW1.jpg

ABW2.jpg

ABW3.jpg

As I’m sure many of you know, ABW is incredibly hard, certainly not something I would even attempt to process in my workshop! I spoke with my friend and long-term wood supplier, Steve Keys of Keystone Tonewoods, if anyone could recommend somebody to cut the wood it would be him. Steve pointed me in the direction of Hamish Low. One half of Adamson and Low Cabinet Makers, he is also a Bog Oak specialist and was Project Director on the incredible Fenland Black Oak Project, he knows everything there is to know about processing wood! Hamish kindly agreed to process the billets for me and although re-sawing the wood at the dimensions required was quite an ask, he did the most brilliant job and I can’t thank him enough!

ABW4.jpg

ABW5.jpg

ABW6.jpg

Part 3 - The Build Starts, to follow next week!
Thanks for reading, have a great weekend everyone,

All the best,
Rory

https://www.taranguitars.co.uk
https://martinsimpson.com
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2020, 09:22 AM
Alimak Alimak is offline
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Wow! That lot looks the badger's...! So glad the build's starting soon.

Good weekend yourself - and herself!!

Best aye.
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:05 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
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That looks to be some beautiful wood, Rory--I'm definitely following along!

Thanks for sharing the build...
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:22 AM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
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Really enjoying following this one, Rory. I love the story behind the wood on this one...so cool to see how it's possible to do things in a responsible way. I feel like the lutherie community is leading the way in that regard.
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Old 07-20-2020, 10:48 AM
TaranGuitars TaranGuitars is offline
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Default Part 3 - The Build Starts

Firstly thank you everyone for your comments and for following along. It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the bench but now I can report some progress…

Once the specs were decided, first thing was the prep. Here is the spec list for Martin’s Tirga Mhor:

• African Blackwood 100% FSC 2-piece Back and Sides
• Artist Grade+ Adirondack Spruce Top
• Taran Guitars Compression Braces
• Fully kerfed sides in Western Red Cedar
• Neck in Wenge
• Fretboard in African Blackwood with gold fret-markers
• Fanfret - scale 660mm - 645mm | 6th Fret perpendicular fret
• Fret wire in Evo Gold with semi-hemispherical fret-ends
• Bound Sound Port
• Bevel, Headstock and Rosette in Hot Sand Faded Scottish Burr Elm
• Gotoh 510 tuners 21:1 ratio in gold with black buttons
• Nut 46.5mm
• String spacing at saddle 61mm
• String weight 12-56


Here are some pictures of the initial stages, prepping the plates and thicknessing them.

Taran_Guitars_3.0.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.1.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.2.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.3.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.4.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.5.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.6.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.7.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.8.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.9.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.10.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.11.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.12.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.13.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.14.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.15.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.16.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.17.jpg

Once all the prep was done on the Back, Sides and Front, we were able to kerf the sides and get the back graft on ready for the compression braces to start.

Taran_Guitars_3.18.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.20.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.21.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.22.jpg

As some of you may know, I do all my side-bending on an iron. ABW is always amazing to bend, you have to be really careful that you don’t over-heat it, the problem is it requires a lot of heat to bend! Once the heat is in the side, you really need to keep the heat in the side like a hot edge moving along the side constantly. This ensures really even bends. You don’t need water to bend ABW because it is so full of resins but I have used it here to speed-up the heat transfer so I do not need to hold it on the bending iron for longer than I need to get it up to temperature.

Taran_Guitars_3.23.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.24.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.25.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.26.jpg

Once the sides were bent once, I returned to them to do any small adjustments. They are then cleaned-up and laminated to the kerfed Cedar side for the first part of the lamination. We use zpoxy which is a 30-minute cure. I’ve tried lots of different epoxy’s but really like how hard this goes after the full curing time.

Taran_Guitars_3.30.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.27.jpg

Taran_Guitars_3.28.jpg Taran_Guitars_3.29.jpg

I asked Martin what his favourite colour was, he stopped for a minute and then puzzlingly replied ‘Kingfisher Blue?’…
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Old 07-20-2020, 12:01 PM
Lonzo Lonzo is offline
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A bit unrelated... but I understand the color choice... so if I may... simply mesmerizing !
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  #11  
Old 07-22-2020, 03:31 AM
Alimak Alimak is offline
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Lovely stuff. Absolutely love a good build thread!
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  #12  
Old 07-22-2020, 09:23 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
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What a great set of ABW!

Loving this build--thanks for sharing the process!
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:48 PM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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I guess it makes sense, perfected all your work on the B'sox guitar, I suppose Martin wants in on that too!!!
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:10 PM
soma5 soma5 is offline
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I've been a fan of your work since Ian's gathering two years ago. We talked at Ian's thing last year and I played Martin's guitar last fall. I am eagerly following this thread.

It is not clear when I'll be able to get back to the UK but I'm looking forward to that day. We will talk, for sure.

Al
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2020, 04:21 PM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
I guess it makes sense, perfected all your work on the B'sox guitar, I suppose Martin wants in on that too!!!
Here was me thinking he needs another development round ahead of the build for the most important Martin next year...

Although I suspect I'm somewhat easier to please than Mr Simpson
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