looks awesome. Depending on where you ship to there might be issues even with the small amount of rosewood on that. Have heard some proper horror stories of recently shipped items being destroyed by ebay if they haven't got all the CITES stuff.
Destroyed by eBay? You mean by customs? Not really an issue for an 1890 CITES exempt guitar.
Ideal for a Parlour/Classical guitar - a mint, unused Hiscox Artis case - the posh ones they do. I bought this case a couple of years ago for a feller who ordered a Parlour guitar. I ended up canceling his order but I'd already bought the case. It's never been used and is brand new, still with the tags.
It's up on eBay for £260 including postage. If you'd like it, either send me an email or buy it through eBay.
I absolutely love the herringbone rosette and purfling.
Great sounding guitar.
That purfling is more or less what we used to do on Sobell guitars in the 80s. It was only seeing that first guitar I'd made (my old pal Paul owns it now) that I remembered how nice it is. So for the SKadv range, that's what I use - herringbone.
I can't stop listening to these. To me this is what a Celtic mandolin should sound like. Somehow it sounds bigger, like an octave mandolin, and I'm guessing this is the bigger body at work.
Ps. I LOVE the shirt 😉
That's the thing...these days there is no shortage of makers out there, there is so much choice for players, too much perhaps?
Some of you might remember that article I published on my blog - "What is a Celtic mandolin?" It put a few noses out of joint at the time, but the main motivation behind the piece was my frustration at how poor most Celtic mandolins were. I understand why - the Celtic mandolin market simply isn't worth much. The "top of the tree" is still Stefan, and I've no idea how much his mandolins are these days, but I doubt they are $24K like a Gilchrist. So there is little financial motivation for makers to really work on the design.
There is a "race to the bottom" just now amongst builders which is great news for players - makers are competing with each other to see who can do the most work for the least money. Such is the nature of competition in a saturated market. But competing on those terms just doesn't interest me. I don't make many mandolins, but when I do, these days, I think you get something pretty special. I've been making "Celtic" mandolins for nearly 30 years now. I'm not a beginner! To some extent, my older "Celtic" mandolin design was nice, but it was pretty much a Sobell "tribute act." It was only by going to meet, interview and spending time with other mandolin makers - like Steve Gilchrist and Rosta Capek that I could really see the limitations of the "Celtic" design. It was only then I could work out how to make these things perform better, whilst keeping the outward appearance in line with people's expectations.
I'm very happy with this design. I don't expect to make many though, as I realise there aren't that many folk in the "Celtic" world out there who are willing to pay a reasonable amount for what is just as much work as a guitar.
Nigel, I really liked the sound of the guitar on the video and I am sure that your playing helped bring out the inherent properties of the instrument. If you can make it to Halifax this year and the guitar hasn't been sold please bring it along.
It was made to order I'm afraid. Glad you like it.
That's gorgeous Nigel, is that one of your instruments? I have a Joe Foley mandolin made for me in 1992, if I was doing it again I would definitely have a wider fingerboard. I don't know if you remember but we met at the Holy Grail show last year and I invited you to Ireland. The invitation still stands.
Yes Malcolm, ofcourse I remember, we had a right old laugh. Ta for the invite. You going back to Berlin this year?
Sorry Nigel - I don't know why I typed "reduced thickness" as I put those words right after mentioning standard thickness being used.
What I had been trying to say was the standard thickness manufacturing route might also benefit from the virtues you were outlining. But I really shouldn't post on the forum that early in the morning especially after several nights of hardly any sleep in this hot house heat!
So I had thought the benefit the big manufacturer could get from less stiff and more responsive wood is that those accidentally good soundboards produced where standard measurements match the optimum will produce a better sounding guitar than now, and maybe some that would have sounded only pretty good will be improved enough to now be classed good. But having thought that through more I've realised if the raw material is more brittle as a result of the process and they keep their thickness measurements the same they will also likely get more warranty returns. So they would need to increase standard thickness a bit to balance it which would mean they won't get a higher % of good guitars. Just that those few that are good will be better than they once were.
There is no way they can match the skills used by the likes of yourself - in no way can a product made in a mass manufactured operation be made effectively on the basis of standard measurements where the raw materials are so hugely variable in their physical characteristics. In most manufacturing business sectors that particular manufacturing methodology used by guitar manufacturers would be an utter disaster!
I've seen videos of the sort of mass manufacturing process for acoustic guitars and it's not impressive. One in particular at PRS had laugh out loud moments especially when it came to how they tested the responsiveness of the guitar - a real joke. Especially after the seeing the routines proper builders go through to get the right soundboard.
Anyway - apologies for my failure to express myself properly.
Yeah, you may well me right. Some small shops like Borgeois use torrefied spruce, and their work is somewhere between solo and factory work, and I bet their torrefied top guitars are great. I think Alister Atkin is using it too. He makes a great guitar anyway, so with torrefied spruce, they may be even better.
I've only made this one so far, and I have one in the spray booth. But yes, I'm very impressed. It suits my SKadv guitars for sure, and it would also suit the Sobell style guitars I do. It's too brittle for a cylinder top though. I wouldn't even bother to try.
Very interesting video Nigel and I'd rather take your ideas about what this process is doing than what the marketing me are trying to get us to believe.
If I've picked you up right to me what you are saying suggests that those that manufacture in bulk using standard thickness's may be benefiting from the reduced thickness, extra fragility, and presumably increased responsiveness of the soundboard when torrefied. With the overriding problem always being there that a standard thickness will still only produce a relatively limited number of really good soundboards. But I guess they wouldn't want to market it that way as it suggests their existing guitars are not made as well as they should be.
I had found myself a bit detached from this question as I've found except on very rare occasions that I'm not that keen on the sound of sitka guitars, even if they've matured. Oh the heresy! I think I don't play in a way that suits stiffer wood, but on the basis of what you are thinking maybe this new breed will open up the possibilities of sitka spruce tops guitars being suitable for me .... if I can ever afford / justify another guitar.
But it's good to have your views on the subject. Up till now I'd regarded the glorification of the torrefication process with scepticism, like my view of how having "solid" wood bodies like swiss cheese on electric guitars like Gibson Les Pauls that suddenly became the "in thing" was more to do with scarce supply of lighter woods and cost cutting than it was to do with the sudden discovery of great improvements in sound put about by the makers.
Mark I'm struggling to understand the conclusions you've come to based on what I've said in the video. Torrification does not reduce a soundboards thickness. It reduces the mass and the strength and increases the hygroscopic stability yet also the brittleness. What thickness a soundboard is, is always down to the maker, whether the maker is an individual like me who thicknesses each top by flex and feel, or a machinist who puts them through the machine according to the instructions they have been given.
This is the thing - the awareness needed to gauge how thick, heavy and strong a soundboard needs to be is a tricky thing. For some it's a science, for some it's an art for some, it's both, for others, neither. Using torrefied wood doesn't solve this problem, the problem remains the same. So no less skill is needed. As I do say in the video - using torrefied wood is not a "cure-all." It's just another option. But' it's a good one, and not as hollow as many of the "fashionable" ideas which come and go.
I have had three very good guitars from new — a Martin J40, an Santa Cruz OM and an Adrian Lucas Pavillion. I think they all have sitka tops!
One of the joys of getting to know each of these guitars was the playing in period. I've really enjoyed hearing the sound develop and I think it helps getting to know the guitar better and what it can do.
I guess these terrified tops won't develop with age in the same way?
Who knows? They might, they might not. Only time will tell. What I do know is this one is superb right now. And that's not a bad thing.
Most guitars should get better with age and with playing, but not all do. Some get worse. Some stay the same. Some are crap from day one. Some get better and better.
I get many inquiries from chaps (and it is mainly chaps) who, shall we say are at the "cutting edge" of the baby boomer generation and quite simply feel they don't have years to wait for a guitar to open up. In the past, I'd have suggested cedar, and still will. But this is a great option too. And it looks lovely - this guitar got a wash coat with some nice handmade Indian dark shellac prior to spraying so it really looks lovely.
ocarolan: FLEET FOXES live from Sydney Opera House - NOW - https://www.facebook.com/FleetFoxes/videos/vb.24709128407/10155409621683408/?type=3&theater
May 29, 2017 10:12:46 GMT
ocarolan: Fleet Foxes finished now - almost 2hours continuous. Nice.
May 29, 2017 12:05:33 GMT
Martin: Did they still have your old guitar?
May 30, 2017 8:47:35 GMT
ocarolan: Sadly, Robin sold "my" Oberon after using for some time at home and to use for writing etc. When Fleet Foxes went out of sight he went back to Uni for a while - sold off a lot of gear via a Seattle music shop - I spotted an ad they had for the guitar -
May 30, 2017 17:45:41 GMT
ocarolan: -and let them know more about it, for which they were thankful. No idea where it is now!
May 30, 2017 17:46:11 GMT
Martin: It would be cool to be able to trace it - I wonder if it's ended up somewhere else famous....
Jun 1, 2017 8:24:27 GMT
Martin: Only 16 weeks now until Halifax - it comes around more quickly the older I get
Jun 1, 2017 8:25:08 GMT
ocarolan: ...once you're over the hill, you're bound to go faster, it's downhill all the way...
Jun 1, 2017 21:57:38 GMT
Martin: It seems so....just wish I had brakes sometimes
Jun 2, 2017 15:15:15 GMT
ocarolan: Am I going to be able to watch the QT special tonight with Jezza and Tezza without bursting a blood vessel? Perhaps I should do some guitar noodling whilst it's on to keep me calm(er).....
Jun 2, 2017 19:25:55 GMT
Akquarius: RIP Heiner Dreizehnter. only 57 years old. I guess I'll play my Akquarius a lot this weekend
Jun 3, 2017 16:34:07 GMT
Martin: So young too....very sad
Jun 4, 2017 20:05:48 GMT
walkingdecay: I did my last gig last Friday. Got sick of being booked to play keyboards only.
Jun 6, 2017 13:51:53 GMT
ocarolan: ...at least you did get booked though, Pete!
Jun 6, 2017 21:49:22 GMT
walkingdecay: True, but on some gigs I felt as much programmer as musician, and wishing physical harm would befall the guitarist so I could take over was probably not a healthy state of mind. (I didn't really. Well, not entirely seriously.)
Jun 7, 2017 9:31:48 GMT
ocarolan: Hm, yes. Understand! Just think of the free evenings you'll have!
Jun 7, 2017 11:52:58 GMT
walkingdecay: The Arena:American Epic series is worth catching on iPlayer at the moment. Nice mini-portraits of the likes of The Carter Family and Mississippi John Hurt, though the "origins of steel guitar" story should be taken with a pinch of salt the size of Hawaii.
Jun 7, 2017 14:19:41 GMT