Entries in sunburst (4)


Cavins tenor guitar - Part 6: The shaded finish

This is Part 6 of my series chronicling design, construction, and eventual delivery of a tenor guitar built by David Cavins. See Parts 1234, and 5 of this series.

David just posted pictures of the sunburst finish he applied to the tenor guitar; check them out on his blog here. Whoa nelly, that's a fine looking guitar!

Although it's not shown in the pictures below, the bridge has been glued down, and next it will be time for the hardware and set up. It's getting close!


Grinnell Guitars, by Gibson

"GGG"...and not in the way that Dan Savage means.

This post pays tribute to a wonderful combination of two things I love: vintage guitars and Grinnell (College...although in reality, this doesn't have anything to do with the college). Grinnell Brothers was a music retailer in Michigan in the '30s, and much like the Kalamazoo, Recording King, Cromwell, Martelle, etc. brands, these guitars were made by Gibson. Although the general body shapes are similar to Gibson models, there are typically some structural differences like ladder (rather than X) bracing and a lack of truss rods.

Here's a 1940 Grinnell Spanish Special (images from TR Crandall Guitars in NYC; please buy this guitar from them so that it doesn't keep tempting me):


This one is a 1945 694-F from Southworth Guitars:


Update: Martin made some guitars for Grinnell Bros. too...


Martin 00-DB: Overcoming preconceptions

A couple of weeks ago I commented on the conservative nature of guitar players and their preferences in materials and construction techniques. Exotic tonewoods. Ebony appointments. Dovetail neck joints. Traditionally X-braced tops. And I started thinking about the use of sustainable materials in lutherie. What guitars out there have been designed and constructed with environmental concerns in mind? I started digging around and ran across a guitar that I had vaguely been aware of previously, but hadn't thought about at the time: Martin's 00-DB Jeff Tweedy signature model. I'm typically not a fan of artist-sponsored models, but this one has an understated elegance to it, and is FSC certified, fully using sustainable materials. Plus, it's got some other attributes that make it an interesting guitar...Mahogany top, sizes, and back, 00-size, deep body, 1.75" nut with a V-shaped profile. And Wilco is one of my favorite bands.

It does buck some traditional construction choices, at least by Martin standards. In particular, it doesn't use Martin's standard dovetailed neck joint; it's built with Martin's "hybrid X-bracing" rather than the bracing design that has been used by the company for a hundred years; it sports a synthetic fretbroad and bridge made of Richlite rather than ebony or rosewood.

I've been interested in a small-bodied guitar with a mahogany top for a while, so I issued a challenge to myself (as if a guitar purchase can be considered a challenge!): could I get over my preconceptions about guitars and be open to these non-traditional features? I like the idea of supporting environmental causes with my wallet; that's not a particularly difficult challenge. But I found myself slipping back into old ways as I did my internet research...What about moving up to a Santa Cruz 00 1929, a modern guitar with its fair share of vintage features? Maybe small-bodied Collings with a mahogany top? A custom mahogany-topped Martin? After a couple of weeks of cognitively chasing these options (and mentally doubling the cost of an eventual purchase), it dawned on me that I had lost the point of this guitar: The 00-DB is cool guitar that makes use of modern design and construction choices and is a statement about environmental sustainability. So here it comes...I'm looking forward to it arriving.* Here are the specs (PDF) and an article about it in Martin's The Sounding Board newsletter (PDF; #33, July 2012).

*I did play a 00-DB Jeffy Tweedy for a few minutes at a local "big-box" store where I refuse to spend money. It seems to me that this guitar is exactly opposite to the big-box store mentality. I don't understand why people shop at places like this; the prices are higher than what you can find at good independent shops and they aren't cool places to hang out. I can't comment on the sound of this guitar yet, although I enjoyed the one I played.

image source: http://thedailywilco.tumblr.com/post/20658381160/jeff-tweedy-playing-his-new-signature-series


The Collings sunburst...drool

It's no secret that I love Collings guitars...especially the sunburst variety. I've loved sunbursts ever since my first "good" guitar, a 1976 Guild D-40SB that I bought at the little music store in Grinnell, Iowa, my senior year in college. That Guild has since moved on, but I still dig a good sunburst. And no one does 'em like Collings.