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  1. #1

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    For a company that has been closed since 2013, things have gotten really interesting lately.

    First, I just received this video from an old customer. He's playing a Swan (the model with the 27" scale length) tuned down as a baritone. I think this is just lovely.



    Second, a Single 15' with finger style spacing has just come on the market. I've always considered these to be our most important guitars and it's the first one I've seen in a really long time. Here's the link to the listing at Gryphon Guitars.

    2010 Soloway Guitars Guitar Gosling Single 15" FS - Guitar - Gryphon Stringed Instruments

    And finally, someone in North Carolina has been working on a prototype of a Single 14" with hopes of reviving the brand. Who knows if it will happen beyond the prototype, but it's fun to see all of this interest.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-24-2021 at 08:35 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Wonderful news, Jim! I am looking forward to see what will happen with prototype!

  4. #3

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    That Gosling is STUNNING.

  5. #4

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    Nice news. That sunburst finish has some of the finest color ever, and 15" is my fave body width.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Nice news. That sunburst finish has some of the finest color ever, and 15" is my fave body width.
    Thanks (and to all). I referred to that finish as "Loar Burst" and it was based entirely on photos of the backs of several classic Lloyd Loar mandolins. Those mandolins had very plain spruce tops but the backs were all exquisitely figured maple. The colors, the shading, the oval center to the burst were on all of those maple backs. We studied as many of those photos as I could find and then reinterpreted his style onto guitar bodies. Here's a classic Loar and the Gosling and you'll se exactly what I mean. (And it's amazing how few 15" guitar there was 12 years ago. I went looking and there wasn't much to find)

    All sorts of really cool Soloway Guitars news.-loarmandolin-jpg

    All sorts of really cool Soloway Guitars news.-single15gryphon-jpg

  7. #6

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    In all honesty Jim, if I hadn't just purchased a Gaffiero manouche guitar companion to my Bumgarner Busato, I would buy the Gosling. It's spectacular.

  8. #7

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    One of the most beautiful soloway I've seen. Love the finish on this one, but also the priciest one I saw... I'm following them on Reverb and saw them in the past for about 1K less or so...

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shay
    One of the most beautiful soloway I've seen. Love the finish on this one, but also the priciest one I saw... I'm following them on Reverb and saw them in the past for about 1K less or so...

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    It is very high. I was a little stunned by that price. On the other hand, Single 15's don't come up often any more and Single 15's with fingerstyle spacing even less often. I guess if they get that price, you may see more come out of the wood work.

  10. #9

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    I’m glad I jumped on marcwhy’s Single 15” three years ago. It’s the easiest, most comfortable guitar to play that I own. And, no, I’m not selling mine. Good work Jim!

  11. #10

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    Pardon my ignorance, but what makes the Gosling a "Single"? What would be a double, if there are any?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Pardon my ignorance, but what makes the Gosling a "Single"? What would be a double, if there are any?
    I think it's a cutaway reference.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I think it's a cutaway reference.
    It's actually the whole body style. Our nomenclature was a little odd. Because of our history with the long scale lengths, I used the model names to describe the scale length (Swan = 27", Gosling = 25.5", Loon = 24.75"). And we offered both body styles in each of the three models/scale lengths. Then, much later in the run I added a T-shaped body that was available in the Gosling and Loon only.

    The original body was this:

    All sorts of really cool Soloway Guitars news.-m363top-800-jpg

    The early ones were flat tops and they evolved to having arm cuts/contours. A few of them also had a rounded cutaway (which I liked and no one else seemed to). The Single 15 shown above came much later, I think about 2008. And the T-shape in 2011.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-24-2021 at 09:53 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Nice news. That sunburst finish has some of the finest color ever, and 15" is my fave body width.
    Maybe Jim can go to Gibson and give a lab (hands on) seminar on sunburst painting there :-)

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksaric
    Wonderful news, Jim! I am looking forward to see what will happen with prototype!

  16. #15

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    This is a wonderful thread on a wonderful topic! I'm sure you don't remember me, Jim - but I spent a fair amount of time talking to you and playing your instruments when you exhibited at the Philadelphia Guitar Show years ago. I'm the tall, thin, bearded 7 string player who played "behind" Bruce Kaminsky when he demonstrated his Kydd basses at the Guitar Villa booth. I was always very impressed with your guitars and seriously contemplated ordering a 7 string Swan and sneaking it into our house when my wife wasn't looking

    For those of you who don't know Jim's work, everything from concept and design to execution to the experience of playing a Soloway guitar is pure pleasure. I still have too many guitars, but I truly regret not ordering a 7 string Swan and selling the Carvin custom shop 7 I'd gotten only a year or two before I met Jim and the Swan at the PGS. I was truly ecstatic to find Jim active on JGO and hope the prototype effort bears fruit!

    David

  17. #16

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    The oddest thing ... after not hearing about a Single 15 for sale for a long time, a second one just came up today. I just got a message from Ed Sunsavage (a nice player from Southern Oregon) telling me that he's handling the sale of one from a friends estate sale. It's very similar to the other but a bit older, with a one piece top, standard spacing, stainless frets and two 36th Anniversary PAF's. I'm going to suggest that he list it here. The asking price is $2500.

    Here's a look from my old photos

    All sorts of really cool Soloway Guitars news.-j301top-800-jpg

    And I just found this not so great recording of it. (I guess it got hard after a while recording a new demo clip every week).

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    That Gosling is STUNNING.
    Yep - beautiful guitar!!

  19. #18

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  20. #19

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    a sunburst popped up on my FB feed this morning - out in Oregon, I believe. I pointed him this way.

  21. #20

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    Those are sure beautiful.

    I believe you've posted about this, but remind me again, why did you get out of the luthier business? You certainly do great work!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    For a company that has been closed since 2013, things have gotten really interesting lately.

    First, I just received this video from an old customer. He's playing a Swan (the model with the 27" scale length) tuned down as a baritone. I think this is just lovely.

    (snip)
    Don't understand. You mean this 27" scale length guitar was not intended as a baritone?

  23. #22

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    Thanks for the plug Jim. This guitar is from an estate collection that belonged to a friend. Helping his wife find new homes for them.
    Here's a link to my CL listing. Soloway Gosling Semi Hollowbody guitar - musical instruments - by...
    Feel free to contact me with questions. Will consider reasonable offers.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdub
    Don't understand. You mean this 27" scale length guitar was not intended as a baritone?
    Not exactly. You kind of have to understand the historical evolution of these guitars.

    This all began as an effort to build a 7-string that worked right. I knew from a lot of experimenting that a low A string really needed a longer scale length than was available on a conventional guitar and fanned frets were still an obscure concept (they may have even still been under Ralph Novack's patent protection). So I designed a 7-string guitar with a 27" scale length and there was really no thought about 6-string guitars at the beginning. The necks were reinforced with graphite rods to handle the tension level and other than the low A, they were tuned to standard pitch. What I discovered was that the standard 6 strings had a really unusual quality that was often described as very 3-dimensional and ALWAYS described as very piano-like. So once the initial batch of three 7-strings were built, I began to wonder what this design would work like as a 6-string. It was basically just the 7-string minus the low A. I wasn't thinking of them as baritones but really just guitars that had a lot of clarity. It's not really as odd as it seems now. Baritones were not very common at the time and most of what there was were much longer than these.

    It wasn't really until I switched as a player from 7-string back to 6-string that I started to seriously experiment with them in lowered tunings but there were about 130 of the 27" guitars that were sold as being played at convention pitch. Eventually we brought out a 25.5" version and then a 24.75" version and I kept the graphite rods in all of them because I became convinced that at least some of that 3D sound was coming from the graphite. We also brought out a 6-string with an optional 1 13/16" nut aimed at finger style players. And the first couple of those were with the 27" scale length and tuned to standard pitch. The fingerboards on those with both the extra length and width felt like playing on an aircraft carrier. They were amazing guitars.

    Since then, all sorts builders have brought out extended scale lengths both with and without fanned frets and metal musicians especially figured out that they worked well for lowered tunings but in 2003, none of that had really happened yet. It was an interesting time for me, promoting a design that was so contrary to what people were accustomed to. Probably not a great business plan but my marketing was also somewhat unusual and I found some ways to make it work.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-25-2021 at 03:13 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Those are sure beautiful.

    I believe you've posted about this, but remind me again, why did you get out of the luthier business? You certainly do great work!
    The complete answer is really complicated. I'm not comfortable talking about all of it so I've always given a simplified answer. I'm still not comfortable telling the whole story but the short version is that I'm a Canadian who was living in the US for 25 years (including all the years of Soloway Guitars). I had very old parents in British Columbia who were nearing the point where they were going to need a lot more help than I could give them from Oregon. My wife is American and she had always resisting moving to Canada while her parents were still alive but once they were gone she was willing to consider it. I was getting older, I had long wanted to return to Canada and I had grown tired of the guitar business so in 2013 it just seemed like the right time.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-25-2021 at 05:35 PM.

  26. #25

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    Strangely familiar! Me: born in Victoria. 20 years in the States. Almost 10 based in Oregon. American wife since '76. We both moved to BC almost 30 years ago. It had a lot to do with getting to know my folks better. But I don't have anything like a few hundred beautiful guitars to show for my efforts. Just a few crappy tape recordings, an LP, a ton of great memories, and some very good friends. Such is the life of a musician.

    We enjoyed meeting you when I bought your ol' Swopper. Still going strong.

    Hope things are going well for the two of you in Nova Scotia. It's bloody hot over here!