A video by Kris Pawlowski showing the construction and handover of a long scale 12 string for John Fowler. John is quite the deftest 12 string player I’ve ever heard as you can see in the second half of the video. Then at the end he checks out the pickup before plugging into his looper and having a bit of fun – a wonderfully satisfying moment.
There’s a slightly embarrassing moment – for me, the maker, that is – half way through when I’m trying to explain that a long scale 12 string with medium gauge strings is the kind of thing that can make a luthier nervous! I make light highly responsive guitars, it took a lot of care and attention to get just the right compromise between my usual instruments and the massive tension on an instrument like this
It all turned out well – that high tension produces massive power. This is without doubt the loudest instrument I’ve ever made. And it’s gone to a great player. Kris’s video is just the icing on the cake – a very satisfying project.
I’ve long been an admirer of Nick Benjamin’s Scoop semi cutaway. When I was asked if I could make one I went and discussed it with Nick who not only was happy for me to copy his idea but gave me a lot of help with how best to implement it.
This guitar is in Ziricote and spruce with, as usual, a mahogany neck. Ziricote is a Central American timber that looks stunning – look at those ribs where they meet the tail graft – and sounds pretty good too with the bright richness of high end rosewood. The offcuts from the back make a very distinctive head veneer. I was pretty sad to see this one go!
Some years ago when the Ditchling Session was held in The Bull a local artist would come along and sketch the musicians. Her name is Belinda Channer and I use one of her sketches on my instrument label.
The player she drew is actually left handed so for my regular label I flipped the image. However when I made a mandolin for that player I flipped the label back so he has a left handed mandolin with a left handed label!
Recently completed, my 50th instrument, an archtop guitar for Di Plumer. I’ve made a few carved top and back mandolins now so I was somewhat prepared for the journey. Very different to making a flattop.
Although this instrument will mostly be used electric I’d still like to play with different bridges and tailpieces before I see it on its way. Set up as shown in the photos the acoustic sound is loud and bright, lots of middle for that punchy archtop sound and with more sustain than I was expecting.
This one really started with a pickup, a nice old – 60’s – DeArmond pickup for sound hole fixing. Will ended up commissioning a slim line flat top guitar to go with it. The result is a sweet sounding guitar that is amazingly comfortable to play.
Hear it on YouTube (Will calls it The “Verithin” which actually was a Hofner 60’s model, something like a Gibson 335.)
That old pickup has a lovely vintage jazz or blues sound. The rest of the guitar’s not bad either!