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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Do violins or mandolins typically have center seams?
    I haven't had much exposure to violins or mandolins, but those I've seen didn't have center seam reinforcement - I'd guess the much smaller scale of these instruments makes for less stress on the center seam joint making reinforcement less of a necessity.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    I haven't had much exposure to violins or mandolins, but those I've seen didn't have center seam reinforcement - I'd guess the much smaller scale of these instruments makes for less stress on the center seam joint making reinforcement less of a necessity.
    Makes sense. I guess their smaller surface area also means less up and down movement margin of the top (ie less bass response). That probably reduces the stress between the plates as well.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    On the back, the location that I see the separation starting is usually at the extreme edges of the seam (bottom where the strap pin is and the top where the neck joint is. I wonder why the reinforcement strip doesnt go all the way to the edge?

    Joe D
    In theory, the center seam reinforcement doesn't need to extend all the way to the top and bottom edges of the plates because the tail block and neck block each support the seam in those areas - still, I too have seen separation in those areas, where it should have the least chance of occurring - then again, if wood REALLY wants to move, glue joints aren't going to stop it.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post

    Mark from my perspective, one thing that sets you apart is your workmanship. The cleanliness of your shop translates to the meticulous nature of your builds. Every thing about a Campellone is neat, tidy and perfect. Nothing rushed, nothing halfway. And you don't have Stevie Wonder scraping your bindings.. Yet you still meet your deadlines. I know most of us give DA and DAQ the top spots in the pantheon of great builders, but we have some really great ones active today and Mark, you are very much among them. I hope you are still able to do this at a high level for many more years to come.

    It is so great having you here.

    Joe D
    There's a saying I've heard among guitar builders - "you don't have to be crazy to build guitars, but it helps" -
    speaking for myself, it seems obsessiveness and perfectionism kinda go hand in hand. The quality bar is constantly being raised, and there are a lot of builders out there nowadays doing really fine work.

  6. #55
    I told Mark being anal was my kind of guy. Everyone here knows how picky I am. When he was building mine he would send me progress pics. His shop always looked like a surgery room in a hospital.

    One a a side note Steve sent me a YouTube video of Mark playing. He has monster chord melody chops too.
    IMO being a great player makes you a even greater builder. His next batch starts in Sept. fellas.
    Hop on the Campy Train.

  7. #56

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    I like seeing also how he does the binding around the cutaway. The little slivers of wood look like a way to address that.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  8. #57

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    When I talk with Roger Borys about other guitar makers, he'll just look at me and shake his head, and won't say a word. Mark is the only one I've ever heard him compliment!

  9. #58

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    Hi Mark- appreciate your presence and contribution to the banter. I guess I’ve got a little bit of the crazy, as I started my first build (complete amateur) and log a docudrama of sorts on here. What is the strategy for the most ideal placement of the f-holes (distances from centerline, proximity to recurve, etc.)?

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline View Post
    Hi Mark- appreciate your presence and contribution to the banter. I guess I’ve got a little bit of the crazy, as I started my first build (complete amateur) and log a docudrama of sorts on here. What is the strategy for the most ideal placement of the f-holes (distances from centerline, proximity to recurve, etc.)?
    I'm afraid I can't offer much on this topic since I've never experimented with variations in size, shape or location of the f-holes - always stuck with the traditional Gibson style design and placement, which seems to work just fine in creating the type of sound that I like. One thing I did discover though, in the course of building some oval hole models, is that the size of the opening can noticeably affect the voice of the instrument. I assume the same thing can happen with f-holes, assuming you were to do something radically different from the standard style.

    Assuming that you do use standard style f-holes, though, I don't think the placement makes all that much difference.
    Last edited by MCampellone; 06-01-2019 at 08:47 AM.

  11. #60
    Can the Gibson L5 design be improved ? I don’t think so. It has been the benchmark design that has been copied since John D’Angelico to present. Yes a private luthier can build a better version but not a better basic design IMO.
    The Gibson L5 is the gold standard design of archtop guitars. Even though the Super 400 is bigger and more costly the L5 in design is still King. Campellone’s sell because they are like a really good 1960 L5.
    If a jazz player doesn’t own a L5 type guitar they certainly dream of having one.

  12. #61

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    Just when I thought, with the acquisition of an L5ces, my GAS was cured. But I'll have to sell off a pile of guitars to pick up a Campellone. Likely never for me, but I love hearing folks talk about them. So many great builders are out there these days, it's a pleasure to see.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  13. #62
    Lawson you already own a King. Even Mark C. owns a L5. He is probably a bigger fan than we are. How nice it must be for him when he gets a GAS attack he just goes into his shop and makes what he wants. Like he said he drank the KoolAid also.

  14. #63

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    Mark, you said your designs are based on 50's and 60's Gibson models, does that mean Campellone guitars are lighter built then modern electric Gibson archtop models? You mention specifically 50's and 60's models as your inspiration, how do you think the more modern models differ from these "golden" years?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-31-2019 at 08:00 AM.

  15. #64
    Mine is much lighter than my Wesmo’s and I told Mark I wanted a thick top like a modern Gibson. Present day L5’s are pretty heavy. Even ones made in the 90’s are lighter.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Mark, you said your designs are based on 50's and 60's Gibson models, does that mean Campellone guitars are lighter built then modern electric Gibson archtop models? You mention specifically 50's and 60's models as your inspiration, how do you think the more modern models differ from these "golden" years?
    Gibson has made the modern L-5CES and L-5WES models considerably heavier than they used to be. This makes sense from a warranty POV, and the guitars sound great when played electrically, but they have tiny acoustic voices as a result. The older models have considerably more acoustic response. I have found the related 17" Campellone archtops much more similar to the Gibson L-5C and L-5CES style instruments from the '50s than to the more recent instruments. The '60s Gibson L-5CES instruments were quite different, in that new designs were introduced, then phased out before the end of that decade, generally with very thin necks, laminated backs and florentine cutaways.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 05-31-2019 at 01:38 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  17. #66

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    I really only played very modern or very old (pre-war) L5's. Pre-war ones were completely different animals. Fully acoustic, no cutaway and cheap (relatively).
    The modern one I played was a double pickup model (not Wes-Mo). It had a wonderful, creamy and warm electric sound. Not very inspiring acoustically but still good for quiet practice. People say Wes-Mo models are more resonant due no bridge pickup but electrically brighter. I'm guessing Campellone's are also more resonant acoustically, does that mean their electric sound is also brighter then the modern L5's?

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Can the Gibson L5 design be improved ? I don’t think so. It has been the benchmark design that has been copied since John D’Angelico to present. Yes a private luthier can build a better version but not a better basic design IMO.
    The Gibson L5 is the gold standard design of archtop guitars. Even though the Super 400 is bigger and more costly the L5 in design is still King. Campellone’s sell because they are like a really good 1960 L5.
    If a jazz player doesn’t own a L5 type guitar they certainly dream of having one.
    No Doubt, the L-5, particularly in it's 17 inch version is the King, IMO, the Super 400 and ES-175 are somewhat equal contenders (the three models are for me the holy trinity of archtop guitars).

    Not all players want an "acoustic" archtop guitar or even an electric archtop guitar with a strong acoustic voice. There are tonal and feel differences between the different sizes and build characteristics. For some, the heavier, modern Gibson build with it's feedback fighting abilities is just the ticket. For some a laminated guitar with it's weather resistant abilities is the right choice. And some players just like the feel of an 18 inch guitar.

    Private luthier vs. Gibson? I would say that every guitar is different. I have played archtop guitars built by the masters that were not as good as some Gibson archtops that I have played. Mark Campellone is one of my favorite of the modern archtop builders because he builds in the Gibson tradition (as did John D'Angelico), and I like that. Others want a more modern take. None are necessarily better, they are different.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  19. #68

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    I would love to hear Mark's comments on top thickness - it seems like a thick top can drastically reduce the acoustic properties of an archtop but at the same time it improves the amplified sound.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984 View Post
    I would love to hear Mark's comments on top thickness - it seems like a thick top can drastically reduce the acoustic properties of an archtop but at the same time it improves the amplified sound.
    That's basically what I was asking above as well. I referred to it as "heavy build" vs "light build" because top thickness is one of the parameters. The other one is bracing. I think the final "heaviness" is a product of the combination of the two.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    That's basically what I was asking above as well. I referred to it as "heavy build" vs "light build" because I top thickness is one of the parameters. The other one is bracing. I think the final "heaviness" is a product of the combination of the two.
    You're right, forgot about that!

  22. #71
    For me top thickness is super important. I like thicker tops and a darker sound. That is why I could never bound with Heritage guitars though I wanted to. I owned 4 and they all had potato chip tops. They sounded thin and bright to my ears. Everybody has their sound preference. I don’t think I ever heard a bad sounding L5 regardless of the era. I like the sound of plywood too.....175, TF.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Mark, you said your designs are based on 50's and 60's Gibson models, does that mean Campellone guitars are lighter built then modern electric Gibson archtop models? You mention specifically 50's and 60's models as your inspiration, how do you think the more modern models differ from these "golden" years?
    To be a little more specific, I've owned (and studied) Gibson archtops dating from late 30's to early 60's - mostly L7's and a few L5's - all acoustic models - and they all influenced my thinking on what a good acoustic archtop should be. Those models from that era were all built relatively light but still had plenty of power. I've worked on a number of L5CES models from the early 60's, and they were built quite differently from the acoustic models - heavier tops, more bracing - really a different animal altogether - and it was obvious that Gibson was purposely doing something different with these guitars than they did with the acoustic models. I've only played a few modern Gibson acoustic models, which is a pretty small sample size, but they did have pretty thin tops and backs - however, they did have the modern Gibson neck block which is quite a bit larger than that of the older models.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984 View Post
    I would love to hear Mark's comments on top thickness - it seems like a thick top can drastically reduce the acoustic properties of an archtop but at the same time it improves the amplified sound.
    Right - and bear in mind that if we're talking about a guitar with built-in PU and top mounted controls, then that hardware is going to impede the top, too.

    When I do a built-in PU model, I typically leave the top thicker and beef up the bracing. While this may (and I emphasize may) minimize feedback problems, the main goal is to get more even response for playing amplified - in other words, making the guitar less dynamically responsive so that you get more consistent tone and sustain throughout its entire range.
    Last edited by MCampellone; 06-01-2019 at 08:50 AM.

  25. #74

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    A few Gibson carved tops from the 1950s and 1960s:
    Johnny Smith | L-7/L-5
    Byrdland/L-5CES | L-4/L-50
    Super 400
    Attached Images Attached Images Mark Campellone Guitars-gib-carved-tops-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-01-2019 at 12:20 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    Right - and bear in mind that if we're talking about a guitar with built-in PU and top mounted controls, then that hardware is going to impede the top, too.

    When I do a built-in PU model, I typically leave the top thicker and beef up the bracing. While this may (and I emphasize may) minimize feedback problems, the main goal is to get more even response for playing amplified - in other words, making the guitar less responsive so that you get more consistent tone and sustain throughout its entire range.
    Excellent, many thanks, Mark!

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    Right - and bear in mind that if we're talking about a guitar with built-in PU and top mounted controls, then that hardware is going to impede the top, too.
    When I do a built-in PU model, I typically leave the top thicker and beef up the bracing. While this may (and I emphasize may) minimize feedback problems, the main goal is to get more even response for playing amplified - in other words, making the guitar less dynamically responsive so that you get more consistent tone and sustain throughout its entire range.
    Having recently had the opportunity to directly compare two related 16" Campellone archtops, I experienced the effectiveness of this approach - these guitars may look similar but they respond quite differently - one being built to be very acoustic, one being built to be very electric. These particular instruments are from 2003 and 2001.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-03-2019 at 05:00 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  28. #77

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    Which even if it is supposed to be obvious it may not.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    Having recently had the opportunity to directly compare two related 16" Campellone archtops, I experienced the effectiveness of this approach - these guitars may look similar but they respond quite differently - one being very acoustic, one being very electric.
    Can you comment on the f holes of these guitars being of different size ? How do you pick one versus the other for a particular guitar ? (question directed to Mark or the other luthiers watching this thread)
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues View Post
    Can you comment on the f holes of these guitars being of different size ? How do you pick one versus the other for a particular guitar ? (question directed to Mark or the other luthiers watching this thread)
    The guitar on the right has my standard size f-holes for 16" guitar - the smaller f-holes on the other guitar were simply done at the request of the customer, who wanted to duplicate the old pre-war 16" L5 which had rather small f-holes. I assume he thought this would affect the sound of the guitar, but how much it would have done so is hard to say -

  31. #80

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    Noting the more interesting bursts you do vs. the ham-fisted bursts of some larger factory operations - do you mix your own tints?

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptchristopher3 View Post
    Noting the more interesting bursts you do vs. the ham-fisted bursts of some larger factory operations - do you mix your own tints?
    Yes, I do mix my own colors - I use transparent liquid stains that are mixed with lacquer (as opposed to applying stains directly to raw wood) - aside from the 'blu-burst finish, the only colors I use are yellow, red, brown and black, mixing selected colors in various proportions to get the desired effect.

  33. #82
    Mark do you use some type of sealer too ? The spruce on my Campellone didn’t suck in the lacquer like my Gibson’s.
    It is still like glass. Those 2 16’s above, is that your chestnut sunburst ?

  34. #83

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    Thanks a lot Mark for taking time to answer questions. I got one more question and I'll stop
    Do you tune the top of your archtops? Do you believe that top tuning really improves the sound or is it meaningless as the wood will settle, move, compress, age etc in unpredictable ways over the years anyway? If you do top tuning, what do you aim for?

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Mark do you use some type of sealer too ? The spruce on my Campellone didn’t suck in the lacquer like my Gibson’s.
    It is still like glass. Those 2 16’s above, is that your chestnut sunburst ?
    Vinny - no, I don't use any sealer. Your Special is still relatively new - it will probably start to show signs of lacquer shrink-back down the road as the finish continues to out-gas. Sometimes a finish can start to show shrink-back prematurely depending on how long you let the lacquer cure before doing the final sand and buff.

    And yes, the two 16's above are finished in chestnut SB -

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Thanks a lot Mark for taking time to answer questions. I got one more question and I'll stop
    Do you tune the top of your archtops? Do you believe that top tuning really improves the sound or is it meaningless as the wood will settle, move, compress, age etc in unpredictable ways over the years anyway? If you do top tuning, what do you aim for?
    I'm going to answer this question assuming that it pertains to the guitar's acoustic sound - so no, I don't "tune" top and back plates to a particular pitch. For me (and this is mostly with respect to the top plate), the final carving is all about removing enough wood so that the plate gets to the point of having optimal response to stimulation. I do, however, tap the plate as one way to gauge it's stiffness. After rough machine carving, my plates are all pretty much the same thickness, yet I'll usually find that they don't all produce the same pitch when tapped - if, for instance, a particular plate produces a relatively high pitch, I'll judge that wood to be relatively stiff, and I will most likely have to remove more wood to get the desired response. It also indicates that I can safely remove more wood without losing structural integrity. You can also judge the plate's stiffness by physically flexing it.

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    I'm going to answer this question assuming that it pertains to the guitar's acoustic sound - so no, I don't "tune" top and back plates to a particular pitch. For me (and this is mostly with respect to the top plate), the final carving is all about removing enough wood so that the plate gets to the point of having optimal response to stimulation. I do, however, tap the plate as one way to gauge it's stiffness. After rough machine carving, my plates are all pretty much the same thickness, yet I'll usually find that they don't all produce the same pitch when tapped - if, for instance, a particular plate produces a relatively high pitch, I'll judge that wood to be relatively stiff, and I will most likely have to remove more wood to get the desired response. It also indicates that I can safely remove more wood without losing structural integrity. You can also judge the plate's stiffness by physically flexing it.
    This was Bill Hollenbeck's exact philosophy on carving, He actual avoided tuning to any particular note as that usually could become a wolf-tone or a cancelling-tone when you played the note in particular on the guitar. The basic idea is to removed would to get the desired response from the top. I see why I like Mark's guitar so well and they respond very even and with a rounded out tone.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  38. #87
    Personally I always found tap tuning to be something I really didn't believe in. I had Heritage build me a Golden Eagle around 12 years ago. I paid extra for "tap tuned top". It had a horrible tone both unplugged and amplified. I am a firm believer that the top thickness and the stoutness of the bracing is the most important tone factor. Also the spruce itself. Very tight grain spruce sounds darker where a wide grain is more airey sounding. Me I love a thick top. That equates to huge bass. You carve them too thin they will be loud but thin sounding, almost flat top sounding.....at least to my dog ears. For me great mids and lows is what a great archtop is all about.
    It is just a personal preference. Some love bright. That is what is great about having a private luthier build you a guitar instead of factory production. Mark carved my top exactly how I wanted it.
    I have heard some plywood 175's that sounded better than a so called tap tuned guitar.

  39. #88

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    Bro, I wholeheartedly agree.
    For all their recent bouts of stupidity, Gibson had it right. Balance is the key. And balance is what you won’t get from a thin top. Thin tops project mids and high well. But not bass. Unless the body is extremely deep and your bass strings are extremely fat.
    JD
    Last edited by Max405; 06-04-2019 at 09:04 PM.

  40. #89

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    Hi, Mark
    Cool to see you on this board. You built me a nice blonde, 18" non-cut back in '12 with a one-piece neck.
    Still have it and still enjoy it.
    Keep well,
    Chris

  41. #90
    Gorgeous blonde Campy Special in the For Sale section right now.....hey Mikey

  42. #91

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    Lovely guitar - I already have a Special and Standard

    ?at that price it won’t take long, good luck to the seller.



    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Gorgeous blonde Campy Special in the For Sale section right now.....hey Mikey

  43. #92

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    For anyone who might be interested, I just updated the "building process" gallery on my website - lots of pics showing various stages of construction, hopefully satisfying your curiosity if you've ever wondered how certain operations are performed : )

  44. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    For anyone who might be interested, I just updated the "building process" gallery on my website - lots of pics showing various stages of construction, hopefully satisfying your curiosity if you've ever wondered how certain operations are performed : )
    Sweet Mark !

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    For anyone who might be interested, I just updated the "building process" gallery on my website : )
    Thanks for sharing Mark. Super jiggy! As a career woodworker I'm always interested in how the other guy gets his stuff done. Seeing the jigs is like seeing problem-solving and strategery made manifest. The plate-hogger and rim-bender are particularly impressive. During my 40 years in the trade I've seen a lot of jigging and yours are certainly among the finest.

    Oh... and I love the product as well. Some day my prince will come.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCampellone View Post
    For anyone who might be interested, I just updated the "building process" gallery on my website - lots of pics showing various stages of construction, hopefully satisfying your curiosity if you've ever wondered how certain operations are performed : )
    Mark,
    Fabulous pics of the process. Your set ups are so clean and precise - the culmination of which creates your flawless workmanship.

    Really enjoying my Campellone Special and I know Vinny is as well.

    Thanks for the updates Mark.

  47. #96

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    A few new guitars awaiting final assembly/set-up at Mark's shop - 16" Standard, 17" Deluxe, 17" Special and 17" Standard:
    Attached Images Attached Images Mark Campellone Guitars-img_6580-jpg 
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  48. #97

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    Mark with Campellone archtop #1 - a fully-carved 16" full-depth acoustic archtop - a great looking/playing/sounding guitar. Like hitting a home run your first time at bat.
    Attached Images Attached Images Mark Campellone Guitars-img_6572-jpg 
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  49. #98

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    Mark with his personal electric bass from way-back when:
    Attached Images Attached Images Mark Campellone Guitars-img_6566-jpg 
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  50. #99
    I had surgery last year. The hospital surgery room wasn’t as clean as Mark’s shop.

    P.S. Mark you stud muffin you

    P.S.S. I will be in the next batch again

    What is is better than a Campellone guitar ? .......2

  51. #100

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    Mark Campellone Guitars-img_8457_1-jpg

    #3 should be taking a nice trip cross-country soon. can't wait