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  #61  
Old 07-14-2022, 10:19 PM
mb propsom mb propsom is offline
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Just frigging glorious as always, Steve!
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  #62  
Old 07-15-2022, 03:49 AM
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Magnificent specimen!
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  #63  
Old 07-15-2022, 12:55 PM
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Thatís a very handsome guitar. I especially like how you put together the rosette together
and made it seem like itís all one piece. I donít see any of the seams. Well done.
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  #64  
Old 07-19-2022, 05:59 PM
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Just frigging glorious as always, Steve!
Michael! Thanks! How are you doing, man? I hope you're well and prosperous these days. What are you working on? I've been a fan of your work ever since Healdsburg 2011. It was a great weekend, wasn't it? I really miss that show.

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Magnificent specimen!
Thank you, Dennis. I got the Falcon strung up two days ago, and it is definitely the best sounding Falcon I have made so far. The Falcon has evolved quite a bit over the years.

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Thatís a very handsome guitar. I especially like how you put together the rosette together
and made it seem like itís all one piece. I donít see any of the seams. Well done.
Thanks for your kind comments. That rosette was fun to make, and I think it's the beginning of a new series of rosettes. On this one, I was able to work in the initials of the person I made this Falcon for. It's very subtle, and my client wishes to remain anonymous so I'm not giving out any clues.
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  #65  
Old 08-21-2022, 05:02 PM
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Time for the big reveal... It's been a very busy summer around here, lots of guitar work getting done, and a whole passel of new instruments are done and strung up. I am very happy with the way they all turned out. I've never been content to just stick with the old tried 'n true formula, preferring to push the envelope whenever I can, and experiment with new design and engineering ideas, in the never ending pursuit of that Holy Grail tone... And when I have the luxury of building show guitars on my dime, that's when I am free to chase down any intriguing new ideas. This job never gets boring.

The first finished guitar I want to show you is a commissioned build-- the Falcon guitar pictured earlier, "in the white". This colorful little guitar was finished with satin lacquer, at my client's request- and I love the elegance of it. I will definitely be doing more satin finishes...

The Falcon model is somewhere between the size of a Parlor guitar and a Single-0. It's little, but powerful. This one is probably the best sounding Falcon I've made yet; it has a big, open, airy tone, with fat bass, rollicking mids, and crystalline trebles. It sounds more like a double-0 or even triple-0 guitar. I used a new top bracing pattern on it, for lack of a better name, the "wide-truss/fan" bracing. It works exceedingly well, and I am totally stoked!



By the way, that's Tunnel 14 bracing on a Tunnel 14 top. Some people here on the Forum have remarked about the unconventional use of Redwood for braces, but I think it's a no-brainer. I think our friend, Ben Wilborn, agrees- he's doing it too, and you know, if you've ever played Ben's guitars, you know that they are absolutely legendary in their tone and response. This T-14 wood has all the top properties for bracewood, and I've used it on all the guitars in the current production. I need to lay in a large stock of T-14 brace wood while I still can!
Here are some photos of the finished Falcon:



I fell in love with the Indonesian Palisander Rosewood used on this guitar. It is magical stuff. Back in 2015, during the very brief time this spectacular wood was available, direct from the source in Indonesia, I bought ten back and side sets of it. This is the fourth one I've used. The rest of my stash is precious; I don't know if this wood will ever be available again. There is a huge variety of color and figure in this species; and I've found that tonally, it compares favorably with Cocobolo and Honduran Rosewood. Perfect back and side wood, to pair with a Mastergrade Tunnel 14 top. Man, this was a fun guitar to build!



Other woods used on this guitar: The neck is American Black Walnut, sourced locally here in South Alabama, harvested in the 1910's on a Farm near where I live, from old growth trees that were cleared for cow pastures. I bought this wood from the fourth-generation owner of the farm. He has a large stash of it in one of his barns, where it's sat for about a century. The barn itself is framed with this same Walnut, if you can believe that!
The fingerboard and bridge are Gabon Ebony; the bindings are Ziricote, with flamed Pyinma purflings, and the quilted back strip is also Pyinma.
The bridge is a one-off design, inspired by a bridge design by the great Canadian luthier, Sergei DeJonge.





Thanks for looking! I'll be posting the studio photos of my B.I.G. show guitars next. Time sure has flown by in a mad blurr... Joel and I are loading up the car in just a few days, and heading west to New Braunfels. I hope to see a lot of you folks there. I hope the show is well attended, and I know it's going to be the center of the acoustic guitar universe for the first weekend in September. If you've been on the fence, undecided about attending, my advice is, get off the fence, contact Tom Bowersox, make your arrangements, and SHOW UP! It'll be the best time you've had in years!
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  #66  
Old 08-21-2022, 07:12 PM
RussellHawaii RussellHawaii is offline
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Wow! Stephen, as far as I can tell, every one of your guitars is more beautiful than the last one! Just gorgeous!
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  #67  
Old 08-21-2022, 07:39 PM
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Next up is the Ziricote/ Tunnel 14 Performance EPC-F. Made of my most favorite woods. The Performance is my largest guitar, equating to a 0000 or Grand Auditorium size. This is my oldest all-original guitar design, with V. 1 showing up for the first time in 2002. This particular Performance guitar is Version Four (unless I misplaced a version or two). This is, by the nature of its size, a guitar with a wide range of performance capability, hence the name.

Just an aside- I've always found naming my guitar models to be vexing, and I've never come up with a sequential nomenclature. It's hard to know what to call them, except when one of them has an unmistakable visual character that makes a name kind of obvious.
For lack of a more creative name, I'm calling this guitar "Red Ziri" or just "Ziri.
This guitar, made with Ziricote and the recurring theme Tunnel 14 top, has some great profundity in the tone. Very expressive, focused, and overtone-y, I've had it tuned to C-minor (CGCGCEb) since I strung it up about a month ago. I love the depth and mystery in it. It sounds grand.
This guitar is also braced with the Wide-truss/fan pattern, same as the Falcon. It works on a big guitar too.

I just saw John Kinnaird's post on his Bubinga/T-14 Graybeard- what a great looking guitar that is! And it occurred to me that John and I have a similar aesthetic in our guitars. He's probably better at this style than me, but I'm a close second. I look at John's work, and think, Yeah, I could totally see building that exact guitar! Look at John's thread, and then tell me, does this Performance almost look like a sibling to John's Graybeard?
Great minds think alike, right, John?





The bindings and bevels are Ebony, with 1/16" wide flamed Maple purflings, bordered with blue veneer lines. The hybrid bevels are sort of a cross between Ryan and Laskin styles, and I like both, so why not do a mashup on the same guitar? I'm making bevels pretty small these days, to preserve as much vibrating plate real estate as possible, while still making the guitars fully couch-worthy.
The segmented back strip and the Rosette feature some very nice flamed, spalted Maple, which I love, because it looks like some kind of inscrutable ancient alien calligraphy. It probably spells out some arcane alchemical formula that only a wizard can read.
The neck was made from my very last billet from a 12 foot x 8/4 plank of fantastic, old, perfectly cut, curly/quilt Honduran Mahogany. The neck is laminated with flamed Maple bordered by blue veneer lines. That big chunk of premium Mahogany was a masterpiece before anything was ever built with it. Beautiful piece of wood, even when still rough-sawn...I will always fondly remember that plank. I know that sounds a little woo-woo, but us luthiers do form emotional attachments to pieces of wood.

More pics coming up...
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Old 08-21-2022, 08:20 PM
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...A few more shots of Ziri...





Whoops! A couple bridge pins are popping up. Need to correct that before the show...

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  #69  
Old 08-21-2022, 08:26 PM
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Excellent, we are sure going to have some fantastic guitars to show folks!
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  #70  
Old 08-21-2022, 08:33 PM
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Steve, that Ziri is going to get some major attention. Itís gorgeous!
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  #71  
Old 08-22-2022, 07:32 AM
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Beautiful work as always Steve! I'm curious as to what differences you see in the performance model with this headstock vs your omega headstock.

I love the astherics here on the back of the headstock with those open gear tuners.
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  #72  
Old 08-22-2022, 08:57 AM
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Beautiful work as always Steve! I'm curious as to what differences you see in the performance model with this headstock vs your omega headstock.

I love the astherics here on the back of the headstock with those open gear tuners.
Thank you Ron! I don't know if there's really any way to discern a tonal difference between the Delta (solid) headstock and the Omega (open) headstock, especially given that there are so many other factors in play. That said, I designed all the different headstocks I make to have a fifteen degree down- angle of the string trajectory from the nut to the tuner posts. That spec is crucial. That assures that there will be sufficient down-pressure of the strings at the nut to avoid buzzing, sitar-ing, and other extraneous string noise.
All my headstocks also taper narrower toward the crest, rather than wider, as with a paddle-style; that gives the headstocks a straighter string pull from the nut to the posts, which I like to think contributes to accurate and stable tuning; and if you re-tune a lot, it probably extends string life somewhat, by not forcing the strings to bend a kink at that break-angle at the nut.

Really, for me, I like to make solid headstocks from time to time, because there's more real estate there to do some inlay art with.
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  #73  
Old 08-22-2022, 09:00 AM
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Steve, that Ziri is going to get some major attention. Itís gorgeous!
Thank you, Mike! Really looking forward to seeing you at B.I.G. I hope you spend some quality time with each of the guitars I'm bringing- I'd love to hear your opinions on them.
Travel safe. and see you soon!
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  #74  
Old 08-22-2022, 09:11 AM
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Wow, Steve--both of these guitars are totally stunning!
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  #75  
Old 08-22-2022, 09:24 AM
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Smile No kidding, Tom!!!

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Excellent, we are sure going to have some fantastic guitars to show folks!
These are just brilliant. Kudos to Steve!

Have a blast at B.I.G.

Wish we could come, but duty calls at home this year.

Paul (and Cindy)
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