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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7
    Now you can see just how spectacular this set of Sycamore Maple is (the Hard Maple neck ain’t too shabby either ).

    Attachment 74462
    Exquisite choices as usual - a work of art !


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  3. #52

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    John has completed the assembly of my Monarch and took some time to photograph it yesterday. The guitar looks stunning...

    Most of these shots were taken in a light diffuser box under 5000k fluorescent source. This photographic approach manages reflection and shows detail well, but color and depth of figure can be underrepresented. The one shot that shared yesterday was under direct strobe outside the diffuser box. This shot shows the depth of the figure well, but shifts the hue a bit to the dark side. The point is it is difficult to accurately capture a sunburst. John will hang on to the guitar for a while and while “dial it in” as it settles in and perhaps have his friend, ace guitarist/studio wizard Luis Diaz make a video with it. If he does, I will share it.

    As a reminder (this thread started in January) this is 16” version of John’s “Monarch” model. The top is Carpathian Spruce, the back and sides are European Sycamore Maple and the neck is three-piece Hard Maple.

    It has a 25” scale length, 1-3/4” nut width, 2-3/16” string spacing and Gotoh 510 tuners . The body has tapered depth rims from 3” to 3-1/2”, a Venetian cutaway and a sound port. It has a custom Kent Armstrong low wind floating humbucker with hidden tone and volume pots under the finger rest. The finish is nitrocellulose lacquer.

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-8440037d-2dd5-485f-8fbb-d6f784884fbe-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-6f20ba10-c58a-4d0f-bd67-289a09080b8b-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-092222b2-105c-4c17-a252-f4b68ffdf655-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-226bc4e6-a6c3-4653-a438-4e2d381985ea-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-21cd9fbd-ac15-4fbb-9642-c3a401b52b40-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-08daba57-0bd4-4e5a-b83e-5da6e7ae30b7-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-04e6c32a-c6ab-4c9e-b7b5-67003a7abd5e-jpg

    JOHN BUSCARINO: 16” Tapered Rim Monarch Archtop (Build Thread)-bba83f16-fb57-4154-bf25-2718b0685eca-jpg

    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 07-29-2020 at 05:11 PM.

  4. #53

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    That is a work of art. Gobsmacked.

  5. #54

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    Bob, Beautiful guitar. Thank you for keeping us informed during the construction process.

  6. #55

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    Here is a front view shot of the entire guitar so you can see the proportions. It is a 16" body. The string spacing was made a bit wider than a standard archtop (standard is 2-1/16" or 52.4 mm) at 2-3/16" or 58.7 mm. I find the wider string spacing easier when playing with a pick and my fingers.

    A bit closer view shows the dark lines in the split bock inlays are Green Abalone and not the Ebony fretboard. You can also see the figure in the Birdseye Hard Maple binding throughout. The Carpathian Spruce top shows a bit of winter grain very much like it's US cousin Red Spruce does.

    The subtle burst is designed to add contrast near the rims to set off the Birdseye Hard Maple binding and purflings and not obscure the beautiful fiddleback figure of the European Sycamore Maple.

    Archtops typically have constant depth rims between 2-3/4' to 3-3/8" (69.9 - 85.7 mm). For this guitar John used tapered rims that start a 3" (76.2 mm) at the neck block and deepen at the end block to 3-1/2" (88.9 mm). He has found that this enhances the acoustic sound of a smaller 16" the archtop but retains comfort while playing.

  7. #56

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    A spectacular guitar. When is it arriving?

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  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    A spectacular guitar. When is it arriving?

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    Not for a while actually. We are about to spend some time up at our beach cottage and there is no point having it come now (no wood guitar can survive there..). My best guess is some time in September. In the meantime John can dial it in (and play it!). I think he may make a video of his friend Luis Diaz playing it (TBD).

  9. #58

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    Completely stunning. Wow. What a work of art

  10. #59

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    John has had the completed Monarch for a few weeks now. He just happened to complete it coincident with the start of our summer vacation in Rhode Island. The conditions there by the ocean can be absolutely brutal on an instrument (temperature & humidity), so I told him to hang on to it until I return in late September. John told me that he lent the guitar to his friend/recording engineer/guitarist Luis Diaz to record a demo for his website. He thought he might have a video of Luis playing the guitar on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    I will share it when I get it.

  11. #60

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    I do t th ink it can get much better than that, at a y price!

  12. #61

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    Wow, I’m speechless for there are no words to describe how beautiful your guitar is! You should feel very privileged to acquire such an instrument especially during these times. Congratulations and enjoy!

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7
    Now you can see just how spectacular this set of Sycamore Maple is (the Hard Maple neck ain’t too shabby either ).

    Attachment 74462
    Absolutely stunning.

  14. #63

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    Once upon a time I owned a 16" x 3" Buscarino Monarch with a mounted KA smoothtop HB. It was a great guitar. I sold it around 10 years ago after I developed a bunch of RSI issues and had to quit playing for about a year (at the time I didn't know what my guitar playing future would hold). In hindsight, selling was the right move for me because 3" is too deep given my preference for practicing while standing (and this preference is more acute now that I'm 10 years older), but I do miss the instrument. I'm sure you'll love yours.

  15. #64

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    The Fedex man delivered a guitar early this morning and it is BEAUTIFUL and plays like a DREAM. I have not had a chance to do much more than to take a few shots for insurance, tune it up to pitch and play one tune before having to go to work today.

    Builder: John Buscarino
    Model: Monarch
    Size: 16” Lower Bout with Tapered Rims 2.75” to 3.5”
    Scale Length: 25.0”
    Nut Width: 1.75”
    String Spacing: 2.31”
    Top Wood: Carpathian Spruce
    Back & Sides: Fiddleback Austrian Sycamore Maple
    Neck: 3-Piece Figured Sugar Maple
    Fretboard, Pickguard, Bridge & Tailpiece: Gaboon Ebony
    Headstock Veneers: Macassar Ebony & Burled Walnut
    Binding: Birdseye Sugar Maple
    Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
    Pickup: Custom Buscarino KA Low-Wind Humbucker
    Controls: Hidden Pickguard Mounted Volume & Tone
    Frets: Jescar EVO .047” x .095”
    Tuners: 21:1 Gotoh 510 with Ebony Buttons
    Weight: 5.76 lb.

    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 10-01-2020 at 09:08 AM.

  16. #65

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    That's just about perfect! Such a beauty! Enjoy!

  17. #66

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    Congratulations! How’s that custom Buscarino KA sound?

  18. #67

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    I will let you know this weekend....

    The guitar arrived and my next three days work wise are totally nuts. This is a blade pole piece pickup which allows John to vary string spacing from the standard 2-1/16” spacing at the pickups. John built this instrument with a touch wider string spacing at 2-3/16” which is easier for my right hand when I play with a pick and fingers. John has Kent wind a higher output version as well, but we chose the lower wind version for this guitar.

  19. #68

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    S-o-o-o-o nice! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  20. #69

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    Gorgeous Bob - a very tasteful burst which compliments the flame back perfectly. I also like the nice long string clearance cuts on the tailpiece - real classy looking guitar. Let us know your impression after you’ve been through your work re- entry. I know how tough that can be - especially as we get older.

  21. #70

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    Again beautiful instrument! Play the heck out of it!

  22. #71

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    The color here is a lot different from the previous pics - and in a great way. Awesome!

  23. #72

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    I finally got to spend a few hours auditioning John’s Monarch archtop last night and some this morning and I am happy to report that it is a magnificent guitar. I was able to A/B it against my two archtops by Bill Comins and Bryant Trenier. Because string differences, it was difficult to make objective comparisons at this point.

    The guitar arrived with a hybrid set of strings comprised of Elixir Electric Nickel Nanoweb .012”-.052” but he swapped out the high E and the B with TI BeBop .013” and .017”. I usually play with TI Bebop .013s or when strung with acoustic strings PB, 80/20 or Monel strings depending on the instrument. I will need to experiment with strings over the next month or so. This instrument has a 25.0” (635 mm) scale length, 1.75” (44.5 mm) nut width and wider 2.31” (58.7 mm) string spacing to make playing with my fingers a bit easier.


    As a home hobbyist player, I play 80% of the time unplugged and 20% amplified. John designed this instrument for this purpose. The tapered 2.75” (69.9 mm) to 3.5” (88.9 mm) deep rims were used to increase the body volume of a ergonomically comfortable 16” (406 mm) body. This results in the body volume of a constant rimmed 3-1/8” (79.4 mm) deep guitar. My initial impression is that the guitar is responsive to touch; meaning it retains its voice with a light touch and as it gives more volume delivering the same timbre. It is balanced across the strings, great string to string separation and has a strong voice in all registers. For an archtop it has some nice sustain and additive overtones to add some warmth and complexity to its voice. The overall timbre is wonderful as a solo acoustic instrument that has clarity, warmth with trebles with weight and authority. I need to still try it with acoustic strings, but I am impressed!


    The guitar has a low-wind floating humbucker made for him by Kent Armstrong. This pickup has twin blade pole pieces instead of individual pole pieces. This allows one to vary the string spacing when making a guitar. John placed hidden volume and tone pots under the finger rest. What he did that I like is he positioned the volume pot towards the bridge and the tone pot towards the neck. I like this because I adjust volume many times more than I adjust tone. Another nice detail is John does not route his pickup/pot wiring through the f-hole but has a discrete hole located near the finger rest mount.

    As for electric tone, I plugged the guitar in to my Acoustic Image Clarus 2R Series III head with my Buscarino Chameleon 8” speaker set on electric mode (high frequency driver off). Plugged in the guitars voice is clear and warm. I would place it in between the KA 6-pole piece single coil and the KA 12-pole piece humbucker. Unlike the KA single coil, it is dead quiet (it’s a HB after all). It has less midrange forwardness than the KA 12-pole piece HB. So it has a slightly warm, yet clear tone. Perfect for solo jazz guitar. I still need to try it with my Evans RE200 combo and Redplate RP40 combo to see how it performs.

  24. #73

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    Thanks for the detailed ( as usual) assessment Bob. It sounds like a fabuluos instrument precisely suited to your intended playing objectives.

    Wishing you many hours of enjoyment, and I look forward to your next commissioned build.

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