Friday, November 7, 2014

A blast from the past.

One of my first steel string guitars has resurfaced and I'm pleased to offer it for sale.  It sports serial number 005, and it was made in 2003.  It was my third steel string instrument and it has some interesting features.
It's an amalgam of  Dreadnought and J-Series design features.
The scale length is 25", the body is 15-3/4" wide.
The nut width is 1-3/4".
The soundboard is Engelmann Spruce.
The back and sides are East Indian Rosewood, as is the fretboard.
The finish is French Polished shellac over polyurethane.
The most unique thing about this guitar is that the neck joins the body at the 13th Fret.  Gibson used this most notably on the Nick Lucas Special model, and also some Roy Smeck guitars. When designing this instrument with a "short" 25 inch scale I reasoned that moving the body joint up a fret would keep the bridge back towards the center of the soundboard.  
Just as an aside, I'm a big fan of short-scale steel strings. The trend has moved toward 25-1/2"+ lengths in the last decade or so in most of the Asian imports. To my ear they produce a strong fundamental note but it's a little inert. The shorter scale seems to bring out more high partials and. chords sound more interesting. They also have a different feel to them.
The binding is cherry and there's a thin and simple purfling of maple and walnut. There are some wear marks and bruises in the finish, and two cracks (in the finish only), one below the bridge, the other along the bass side of the fretboard.  I repaired these eight years ago after the guitar spent some time next to a heating register during the winter months... (Keep your custom guitar in its case and use a soundhole humidifier!!!  Grumble.)  I think the checks were in the polyurethane I used for the sunburst and it was a little mystifying, because the soundboard itself was undamaged. I put some cleats under the area just to be on the safe side.
 The neck is a robust 1950's style C-profile, and the nut is a generous width.  The neck was made from very pretty African mahogany.  (Wistful sigh. That was a good board... I wish I had more of that mahogany...)  The tuners are decent. I can't remember what they were. The neck is attached with a bolt-on arrangement, but also glued in place. 

I used hide glue to put the body components together.  I'm tempted to reach in there are scrape away the little squeeze-out line next to the back graft.  I'm also tempted to start making doodles on my labels again.
The soundhole rings are strips of maple and walnut veneer. The bridge is just a little wider than standard, and the saddle is very tall.

How does it sound?  My camera isn't excellent, but I made a little video.  I think it's held up well. It's fun to play.