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  1. #1

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    I've been known to take chances on guitars based upon intuition. I took a chance on this recent American made custom build. This luthier, I believe, has built some 30 or more guitars. He has standing build orders largely based upon a word of mouth reputation.

    The build quality is most impressive! In fact, if I didn't know any better I'd have thought this guitar was made in Spain. It compares very favorably to my last Spanish made guitar. Tonality, and volume, even though the guitar is basically new, is very engaging.

    I chose this guitar for its use of Hormigo, referred to as "the wood that sings", and the builders uses of Walnut throughout.
    Additionally the sound port is to die for. How did I ever live without a sound port on my classical?
    The Evo jumbo frets are a fresh experience that, like Hormigo, are new to me. How'd I ever live without jumbo frets on a classical!
    The lacquer finish was completed to perfection.

    Okay, another guitar love affair begins...


    Specifications:

    Body: Hormigo back with Walnut back strip and Hormigo sides with cedar laminate, upper bout sound port
    Top: 3A grade Cedar with Hauser design fan bracing
    Bracing: Cedar for back and Lutz Spruce for top
    Neck: Spanish cedar with walnut center inlay
    Head plates: Hormigo for top and Walnut for back
    Fingerboard: Ebony with oversize EVO gold frets
    Arm rest: Ebony
    Bindings: Black Walnut with 3 color purfling
    Nut and saddle: Bone
    Bridge: Pau Ferro, 12 hole
    Tuners: Gotoh
    Nut width: 52mm
    Scale: 650mm
    Strings: D,addario EJ-45
    Finish: Lacquer, high gloss



















    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 08-07-2019 at 04:23 PM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

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  3. #2

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    Congratulations 2b! I love the rosette, and the woods throughout look beautiful. Nice touches here and there, clearly a high-level luthier. I've yet to fall in love with those multi-holed bridges, though, I'm very much a traditionalist there, but I'd still be very happy to play such a guitar.

    Now, one question: Why do you refer to it in the thread title as a "nylon string acoustic" and not a classical guitar? What, if anything, is the difference?

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Congratulations 2b! I love the rosette, and the woods throughout look beautiful. Nice touches here and there, clearly a high-level luthier. I've yet to fall in love with those multi-holed bridges, though, I'm very much a traditionalist there, but I'd still be very happy to play such a guitar.

    Now, one question: Why do you refer to it in the thread title as a "nylon string acoustic" and not a classical guitar? What, if anything, is the difference?
    Hi Rob, thank you! Simple answer. I don't play "classical", except occasionally on piano, but I play bossa nova.

    But of course you're correct, aside from the sound port it's a traditional classical guitar. The 12 hole bridge is also new thing to me. My apologies for the crappy iPhone pics. It's hot here and I'm feeling lazy!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  5. #4

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    Ha, don't apologise for those pics, they are much better than I could do with a phone.

    Sorry for my question. It's just that "nylon string acoustic" could indicate a steel-string guitar body but designed for nylon strings. Some people use that distinction, but it's not universally acknowledged. Clearly it's a standard classical, no matter what you play on it.

    Admission of ignorance: I'd never heard of Hormigo before. I'll look it up. It looks beautiful, for sure.

  6. #5

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    Very beautiful guitar! The armrest and the soundport are modern additions, so not thát traditional! ;-)

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Admission of ignorance: I'd never heard of Hormigo before. I'll look it up. It looks beautiful, for sure.
    Neither had I heard of Hormigo, but the more I read the more curious I became. Also referred to as Granadillo. But it's not the first time I've bought blind.

    GRANADILLO - Savage Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    Very beautiful guitar! The armrest and the soundport are modern additions, so not thát traditional! ;-)
    Thank you LJ! There's an armrest?
    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 08-07-2019 at 04:42 AM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  8. #7

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    "Hormigo" also known as "Macacuba" is a wonderful, non-dalbergia (rosewood) substitute. It is relatively low is cost, available in well quartersawn sets (like your instruments!), and is not listed in a CITES appendices. It is a denser hardwood than Brazilian Rosewood, more akin to Madagascar or even Honduran Rosewood in terms of density. It is also quite stiff and glassy. Again stiffer than Brazilian Rosewood and more akin to Honduran Rosewood or Cocobolo in that regard. I am sure that when used by the right hands can make a superlative instrument.

    Congratulations!
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post

    Thank you LJ! There's an armrest?
    Didn’t know what else to call the rounded off corner for the playing arm.....

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  10. #9

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    Looks great - congrats!!

    If you're pleased, share his info with us! I'm not finding "SF Allen" guitars easily....

  11. #10

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    2B, that's gorgeous brother! Not just another pretty face, and smart too. Congratulations! I know you love the tune 'estate'. Here's some inspiration:


  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Looks great - congrats!!

    If you're pleased, share his info with us! I'm not finding "SF Allen" guitars easily....
    It’s likely any member can ask the builder direct questions soon enough.

    As a courtesy to members I’ve encouraged him to list a few guitars for sale here. He’s giving it serious consideration.

    To date I’ve viewed 4 guitars from the builder. Two had Spruce tops. But each was an affordable guitar that reflected great craftsmanship.

    Until then, I’m more than happy to share the builders email via a PM request.

    And yes, I could not be more pleased.
    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 08-07-2019 at 12:45 PM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  13. #12

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    It’s beautiful, 2B! BTW, I’m still enjoying your previous “Spanish made” guitar.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark M. View Post
    It’s beautiful, 2B! BTW, I’m still enjoying your previous “Spanish made” guitar.
    Hi Mark! I'm happy to hear that! That guitar lacks nothing. It is a keeper!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  15. #14
    I must acknowledge, it was a real trip this morning to walk down stairs and observe the reflection of gold frets staring back at me.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone View Post
    2B, that's gorgeous brother! Not just another pretty face, and smart too. Congratulations! I know you love the tune 'estate'. Here's some inspiration:

    Thank you Steve! Estate has always been one of my favorites. I first heard it performed on the Blue Note live recording of Michel Petrucciani!

    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  17. #16

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    What a gorgeous guitar! I love all of the little details, wood selection, as well as the overall execution. With nothing visible on the instrument to identify builder, it speaks to his humility. At least that is a trait I am attributing to him.

    The upper bout sound port is my favorite feature.


  18. #17

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    That is a beautiful guitar, 2b. I've been thinking of contacting Stephen Holst about making one of his double-top nylon string guitars for me.

    Each of my two classical guitars (a 2012 Daniel Bernaert, and a 2017 Cervantes) has a 12 hole bridge. I like the design, although there seems to be some debate regarding any actual benefits it provides over the more traditional 6 hole bridge (sharper break angle, easier string changes, supposedly). When I changed strings for the first time, I wasn't exactly sure how to deal with the 12 hole bridge; the attached video from luthier Erez Perelman made it easy, and I refer to virtually every time I change strings.

    watch


    Enjoy your new guitar!

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler View Post
    What a gorgeous guitar! I love all of the little details, wood selection, as well as the overall execution. With nothing visible on the instrument to identify builder, it speaks to his humility. At least that is a trait I am attributing to him.

    The upper bout sound port is my favorite feature.

    Thank you Git! I must admit, the sound port captured my attention as well. In fact it was the only one of this luthier's 4 available guitars that had a sound port. It was his most expensive guitar...and the cost was an entire $30 more! How do you say 'no brainer' in Portuguese?
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by bmw2002 View Post
    That is a beautiful guitar, 2b. I've been thinking of contacting Stephen Holst about making one of his double-top nylon string guitars for me.

    Each of my two classical guitars (a 2012 Daniel Bernaert, and a 2017 Cervantes) has a 12 hole bridge. I like the design, although there seems to be some debate regarding any actual benefits it provides over the more traditional 6 hole bridge (sharper break angle, easier string changes, supposedly). When I changed strings for the first time, I wasn't exactly sure how to deal with the 12 hole bridge; the attached video from luthier Erez Perelman made it easy, and I refer to virtually every time I change strings.

    watch


    Enjoy your new guitar!
    Hey '02! Thank you! How's Philly doing this summer - Humid? I sure miss those cheese steaks and hoagies, and jogging near the museum along the parkway man! Is Bookbinder's restaurant still in business? I was stationed there for 3 years during my early 20's.

    Stephen Holst has quite a following here on the forum. A double top nylon from him would be most impressive! And thank you for the link...I actually saw that one yesterday, as I too was curious about making string changes on a 12 hole bridge. Looks very simple. When did a 12 hole bridge come into being, and who was the builder to develop it? Anyone know?
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    "Hormigo" also known as "Macacuba" is a wonderful, non-dalbergia (rosewood) substitute. It is relatively low is cost, available in well quartersawn sets (like your instruments!), and is not listed in a CITES appendices. It is a denser hardwood than Brazilian Rosewood, more akin to Madagascar or even Honduran Rosewood in terms of density. It is also quite stiff and glassy. Again stiffer than Brazilian Rosewood and more akin to Honduran Rosewood or Cocobolo in that regard. I am sure that when used by the right hands can make a superlative instrument.

    Congratulations!
    Thank you Bob! You're a man who knows wood! And I've always envied each of your guitars. Anything new coming over the horizon?
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Hey '02! Thank you! How's Philly doing this summer - Humid? I sure miss those cheese steaks and hoagies, and jogging near the museum along the parkway man! Is Bookbinder's restaurant still in business? I was stationed there for 3 years during my early 20's.

    Stephen Holst has quite a following here on the forum. A double top nylon from him would be most impressive! And thank you for the link...I actually saw that one yesterday, as I too was curious about making string changes on a 12 hole bridge. Looks very simple. When did a 12 hole bridge come into being, and who was the builder to develop it? Anyone know?
    Philly is disgustingly humid this summer ... I just walked from from Rittenhouse Square to our apartment near the art museum and I'm totally schvitzed! (We live on the Parkway just east of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

    The original Bookbinders appears to have gone out of business (looks like in the early 2000's), but one of the 'celebrity chefs' here in town recently re-opened it as "The Olde Bar" in the original location ... haven't been yet but looks good. Will definitely give it a try.

  23. #22

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    Congrats 2B!

    Buying from an up and coming luthier can be wise. In 1986 I bought a Michael Thames Classical (that I just had re-French polished by master luthier Eric Reid). for $600 used (the original owner had paid $800 in 1982). Today a guitar like mine made by Michael would set you back $7000 plus as Michael is now a world famous luthier (and he has become a good friend of mine as well.)

    Playing jazz on a classical is a different thing than doing so on an archtop or solid body, but it has a vibe that is well worth exploring. Good luck with your nylon string journey!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  24. #23

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    Congrats 2b,
    A beautiful instrument with an interesting choice of woods. The fit and finish appear excellent. I particularly like the arm rest - it’s incorporation is well executed. The bridge is also kind of interesting. I don’t think you took much of a chance here - it looks like a fine instrument.
    As for the side port, I agree with you - it’s fantastic and I would not order a new build without one. After playing so many guitars at John Monteleone ‘s with the port- I find it makes a profound difference in the player experience - without sacrificing any projection.
    As Stringswinger noted about Michael Thames - it may turn out to be a wise purchase .

    Wishing you many hours of enjoyment !

  25. #24

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    Thanks, 2B...The horizon is about a year. I do have a custom archtop commission in the queue for delivery next summer (2020). Speaking of wood...



    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Thank you Bob! You're a man who knows wood! And I've always envied each of your guitars. Anything new coming over the horizon?
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman View Post
    As for the side port, I agree with you - it’s fantastic and I would not order a new build without one. After playing so many guitars at John Monteleone ‘s with the port- I find it makes a profound difference in the player experience - without sacrificing any projection.
    Side ports.......sometimes there’s one...



    Sometimes there are two...

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  27. #26

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    The 12-hole bridge design is being adopted by more and more luthiers throughout the world (just like the addition of a sound-port in the rim). The idea behind it is this : by threading the string through the hole closest (behind the bridge-insert) to the top it breaks over the insert at a steeper angle, therefor exerting a little more pressure on the top, transporting a little more energy. It's a small thing but to many it seems to work fine. As a side effect it makes fastening the wound strings much easier, no need for tying a knot !

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Congrats 2B!

    Buying from an up and coming luthier can be wise. In 1986 I bought a Michael Thames Classical (that I just had re-French polished by master luthier Eric Reid). for $600 used (the original owner had paid $800 in 1982). Today a guitar like mine made by Michael would set you back $7000 plus as Michael is now a world famous luthier (and he has become a good friend of mine as well.)

    Playing jazz on a classical is a different thing than doing so on an archtop or solid body, but it has a vibe that is well worth exploring. Good luck with your nylon string journey!
    Thank you SS! And if only I had the vision to buy L5's and Super 400's during the 70's! I envy your guitar ownership history.

    Quote Originally Posted by QAman View Post
    Congrats 2b,
    A beautiful instrument with an interesting choice of woods. The fit and finish appear excellent. I particularly like the arm rest - it’s incorporation is well executed. The bridge is also kind of interesting. I don’t think you took much of a chance here - it looks like a fine instrument.
    As for the side port, I agree with you - it’s fantastic and I would not order a new build without one. After playing so many guitars at John Monteleone ‘s with the port- I find it makes a profound difference in the player experience - without sacrificing any projection.
    As Stringswinger noted about Michael Thames - it may turn out to be a wise purchase .

    Wishing you many hours of enjoyment !
    Thank you QA! The builders wood choice did impact my purchase decision. But judging by his inventory he's utilized unique types of wood in most of his builds.

    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    Thanks, 2B...The horizon is about a year. I do have a custom archtop commission in the queue for delivery next summer (2020). Speaking of wood...

    That's some gorgeous wood their Bob! I can't wait to see that guitar completed! Congratulations!

    Quote Originally Posted by gitman View Post
    The 12-hole bridge design is being adopted by more and more luthiers throughout the world (just like the addition of a sound-port in the rim). The idea behind it is this : by threading the string through the hole closest (behind the bridge-insert) to the top it breaks over the insert at a steeper angle, therefor exerting a little more pressure on the top, transporting a little more energy. It's a small thing but to many it seems to work fine. As a side effect it makes fastening the wound strings much easier, no need for tying a knot !
    Thanks for the information gitman! I agree, and I've seen this bridge on several recent new builds and wondered what the heck it was.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  29. #28

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    Nice Bop. I really like the modern features.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    Nice Bop. I really like the modern features.
    Thank you Jim!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet