|What is the best way to purchase one of your guitars?|
I think the best method of acquiring one of my guitars is to play an existing guitar in a showroom, compare as many guitars as possible and make a decision based on what you hear and feel. If that is geographically difficult some of my dealers will ship on approval. If you have a specific guitar in mind I may know where it is in stock and will pass the information on. If you would like a guitar built to your specifications contact your favorite dealer and between the three parties we can work out the details. A significant proportion of my work is semi-custom and most requests can be met. The building process takes at least 3 months, so some patience is required .
Why are your mahogany guitars the same price as rosewood guitars?
Many manufacturers build a lower priced mahogany guitar to use materials that would otherwise be wasted. By using the less desirable woods and eliminating any extra details the final cost is kept down. Unfortunately this results in mahogany guitars looking like the poor cousins while often out performing the more ornate rosewood models. Time taken to build an instrument is the most important factor, the material costs are less so. I think mahogany guitars deserve better and build them to the same standards as my other guitars often with abalone trim and other refinements not found on lower priced instruments
What effect does a cutaway have on the sound?
I have never noticed any dramatic difference between a cutaway or non cutaway version of otherwise similar guitars. A cutaway guitar should be chosen because you need it, want it, or the guitar you like has one. Otherwise its neither detrimental or advantageous.
Why do you not install strap buttons?
Many players never play standing up and don't require buttons. A strap button can complicate the installation of a pickup jack and if the guitar is dropped it may split the tail block. The neck button can be installed either vertically through the heel cap or on the treble side of the neck heel. Both methods have their advantages. My default is therefore to leave the buttons off. I will be happy to supply any owner with the required parts and any of my dealers can arrange to have them installed.
What are the nut and saddle made of?
Both the nut and saddle are made of bleached cow bone. Fossilized ivory is available for an extra charge. I find all the plastics too soft for the purpose and I do not use elephant ivory as it looks best on the elephant. As the nut is fitted into a slot between the head plate and the fingerboard I do not glue it in place. String pressure is sufficient to hold the nut in place and adjustment or replacement is easier.
What top materials do you use?
Sitka spruce, Englemann spruce, and Western red cedar.
Which do you prefer?
I think they all have advantages. From a builders point of view Sitka spruce is the toughest of all, I use it for all of my top bracing and prefer to use it on the larger guitars. Englemann spruce is somewhat softer, often lighter and carves beautifully. It works well on back braces, as back joint reinforcement and for all guitar sizes. It is easily driven and is my favorite spruce for nylon stringed instruments. As both of the spruces vary widely in stiffness, colour, and density no absolute rules apply. Western red cedar is the softest and lightest of the tone woods I use. It "warms up" the tone of a guitar and works particularly well with my maple guitars. Because of its softness cedar topped guitars are somewhat fragile in comparison to spruce. Nylon strung guitars respond well to a cedar top and sound good even when first strung up. No waiting. I match each set of backs and sides with an appropriate top at the beginning of the building process and adjust the proportions of the bracing according to the tops properties.
What string gauges do you recommend?
I string the guitars with medium gauge strings unless requested to do otherwise. I suspect that most people actually play with light gauge but I feel the initial set up should be for medium gauge. I build the guitars to handle any reasonable string gauge; however, a light and responsive guitar shouldn't need bridge cables to sound nice .
What is the finish on your guitars?
The guitars are finished with a high gloss polyester finish on the body and a satin finished neck shaft with a gloss head plate. I have in the past used nitrocellulose lacquer, pre catalyzed lacquer,various water based products ,ultraviolet cured products and continue to test anything I can. The finish I continue to use is in my opinion superior to all of the others. Polyester finishes are the factory builders best friend and can be quickly applied to great thickness and shipped on friday. Alternativly they can be applied thinly, dried for at least 30 days, sanded with 2000 grit sand paper and buffed to a swirl free gloss finish, the same material but different results. I have found this finish to be very tough and acoustically transparent it does not cold check and ambers gracefully over time.The neck shafts are finished with a semi gloss version of the same product and feel less sticky than a gloss neck (available for no extra charge).Over time a semi gloss neck shaft becomes polished however it remains relatively frictionless and fast.
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Guitars, Unit # 7, 262 East Esplanade, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V7L 1A3