If Frank says it's ok to post pretty pictures, I would love to see on-going and latest finished instruments here.

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Hi, guys. Here's a few of my latest. It's a classical after a '95 Antonio Marin, done in East Asian rosewood (Dalbergia bariensis), Italian spruce, boxwood purflings, and Brazilian rosewood bridge and a spit-shined French polish finish. It's now hanging on a wall at Rosewood Guitar in Seattle waiting to trap the right person.


honduran mahogany in progress

OK>>>here's my first 2 Mandolas.........
Hello. I just joined, after reading every word in the main luthier section. I am just a hobby player who stumbled into doing some refinishing a few years ago and ended up doing minor restoration to a number of electric guitars. I never expected to actually build anything, but my father-in-law has a great shop and has offered to help. I have hundreds of sketches I may try to turn into something.

You guys do incredible work. Some of the wood choices alone, and the details are remarkable. I don't think I will have anything to teach anyone, but I have worked on a few archtop electrics and am in the process of repairing an old Gibson that someone cut a hole out of.
I found this silverware box at a second-hand store and I thought it would be a lot of fun to turn it into a guitar. There were a lot of steps here which were loads of fun and I am really amazed at how nice it sounds. It is very resonant and quite loud. Plus I am really proud of all of the MOP inlay work I did, I think it was a total of 85 pieces I had to cut and inlay.

This looks like a place to show off "new" instruments.  This is not a build from wood stock but a conversion.  This instrument started life in 1951 as a New York Epiphone Zenith arch top guitar.  (I say New York because at that time Epiphone was still and independent American company competing with Gibson et al.). 

Briefly, I removed the guitar tuners, filled the holes with mahogany pegs, and re-finished.  I made a K-5 style tailpiece and fitted a new bridge and then had Big Joe's Guitarworks in Goodlettesville, TN install the Grover mini-tuners and do the initial set up.  I was concerned about the additional tension from the mandocello strings and wanted a bona fide expert evaluate it after the first stringing and tune-up.  Attached are a link to a YouTube video of the instrument -- please ignore my statement about "carved sides -- I realize it when I said it but did not want to interrupt the video.

Here  was a quick attempt to play it (Glasgow Reel) the day I got it back.  I've improved a lot on the mandocello since that day -- still trying to decide between mandolin and guitar fretting.   This mandocello is still a "handful" to play with the wide (1 11/16" nut) guitar neck.  Gibson had the mandocello neck right with the 1 1/2" nut, flowing to 2" at fret# 21.

Couple of pics also...the "new" mandocello and how it compares in size with the Gibson K-1


Here's a 12-fret L-00 in Tasmanian Blackwood/King Billy pine I finished for an Australian customer this summer.

I love the 14-fret L-00, but the 12-fret turns out to be a vast improvement; a much richer sound!

That's very nice. I have a soft spot for 12th fret guitars. I remember a thread a year or two ago where we talked about the 13 fret Nick Lucas. I've wondered a lot about this configuration but, in the mean time, the 12 fret configuration is a treat to me. Beautiful guitar, Dave.

Thanks Ned. I remember that thread; in fact, that's what inspired me to build it, and very rewarding it was. I managed to produce a guitar with that early Dylan sound but also with a very rich range of overtones.. I think I really found the sweet spot for the bridge. Also loved the King Billy pine for the s/b..... it has characteristics I haven't encountered in other top material. I'm also trying out Aussie celery top pine which looks promising. Tried Huon but found it too dense although it would probably make good back/sides for flamenco.

Beautiful guitar!. If the back and sides are the blackwood --it does not look very "black" but it is a lovely wood nonetheless.

Or do you mean the fingerboard/headstock is Tasmanian black wood?  I assumed the real black colored wood is the native ebony that grows down there? 

Thanks Bernie. The  back and sides are Tasmanian Blackwood (acacia melanoxylon)and yes, I can't see the reason for the name. It's a native to Tasmania and unfortunately has been extensively over-logged...there are still people in Tasmania who use it for firewood! Much of the timber is being reclaimed from stumps and as sinker wood. What doesn't show up on the photo is the beautiful flame this wood has. The characteristics are somewhere between mahogany and koa and it tends to have a wild grain which can be difficult to plane.

Other woods: neck's Honduras mahogany, f/b ebony and bandings, facings,rosette and bridge are made of Madagascar rosewood....I was given a beautiful piece, so dark it looks like ebony!


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