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Thread: LEFTY Smeck stage deluxe build

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    Sam said "Haha, I say before the war because some new guitar company trademarked the more commonly used term for their guitar brand" to which I reply "I've played one of those! (And George has had one)"

    George stated "There certainly are MANY ways to debate aspects of luthiery. Personally, I like old things, I romanticize old things, I like the way those specs (vintage pre-war) sound to MY ears, and I like hanging out with folks who like to recreate them. It's a lot of fun, and more times than not, it's the dedication to those old specs that is the common bond among them.

    There are obviously many luthiers who are innovative, and who claim to have made progress in certain designs. I guess that "progress" is in the eye of the beholder, and that's totally cool - I completely respect that, it's just not really my bag. (While my new Chevy truck is much better in every practical way than my old 1979 Chevy truck, I'd take the '79 in a heartbeat if I had to pick one)"

    My response to that is "Hear, hear!!!!" I've mentioned my love of old things here before. There's something about an old tool that's been doing its' job since before I was around, and I think, when it all comes right down to it, a guitar is a tool in its' own right. That is/was one of the things I've enjoyed in private conversations we've had, and why I so enjoyed hanging out with you and Ken those times. My truck is a 68, but it's a blue oval, drinks gas like a wino does wine, wallows all over the road on the old kingpin I-Beam front suspension, and has a heater that just barely qualifies as that. Nobody is going to get it, either, and I think I'd rather drive it than anything else I've got. I met a guy who did repair and restoration work in Nashville. He actually took a guitar with him late one night to one of the local ER's and got a friend of his to scan it. Some people might think that's just downright crazy, but I find it fascinating. The same goes for Chladni patterns, tap tuning, hide glue, etc. You've just got to love the things to get it. Otherwise, I don't think there's any way to justify them as anything more than a means to an end, and we would all be playing Eastmans or Blueridges, or something similar, because, if we weren't fascinated by them and didn't geek out over the nth details of the originals there's no way I could rationally think an old guitar should be worth more than the car I drove to go get it!!!

    Oh, and the Sam said/George said thing is just a way to circumvent the issue with quotes we have currently.

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    Oh, and in my previous post I meant no disrespect to either of those brands. It amazes me that they can build the product they do, and at a price point that is lower than what it would cost me to buy the materials

  3. #23
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    Mark my brudda glad you're in on this too. Missed you around here. And I'm loving this! It's making me think in a way I like, offering me a chance to refine my philosophies etc... I'm asking myself why I'd choose to follow some traditions and not others and yet be generally loyal to tradition and the pursuit of authentic capture of something already done.

    Case in point: Lots of luthiers here in bend but i didn't stop at Breedlove, for example,
    to talk guitars with them because I cannot stand their guitars, especially aesthetically but also tonally. But when I discovered Preston was nearby I immediately went to talk with him.....one of the better decisions I've made in my life btw.

    Stacey and I are definitely shooting for the most authentic smeck tone. Aesthetics, not as much. And yet I've bucked tradition in a few key tonal areas. And furthermore, I knock today's Gibson recreations because they make a smeck and it apparently sounds unlike a smeck and is built different than the original (scalloped bracing - basically they just put a modern 12 fret j45 inside it, which is efficient from a biz perspective of course). So what's the difference there?

    I think with the peone, I'm a believer in those little spruce blocks allowing top to resonate like the spruce that it is, so I always think I'm shooting for making a vintage guitar, but if it can be juiced up a bit more. I look at that technique as abandoned simply because it takes more time, not because it isn't "better" tonally. For the top up build, I like the freedom of formless building because then I don't have to have a form jig for every body style, on top of a bending jig. So what's the ultimate difference between this and gibsons choices to go scalloped bracing etc on guitars that were originally tapered? They might say that the scalloping makes for a juiced up smeck that's "better", for example.

    To my thinking, I'm either adding to the hope for the best tonal dynamic range by adding time intensive techniques that influence tone and then also being more efficient and space saving by not building jigs that aren't thought to directly affect tone in any quantitative way. Could the dimensions of a tongue brace + building in a form with more stressed glue joints + continuous mahogany or Spanish cedar kerfing instead of individual spruce blocks to join top to sides have enough effect on tone that not doing so makes for a guitar that is missing some tonal authenticity? Possibly. But I guess I'm testing that out. If this guitar blows doors off a smeck from a consensus view, I'd probably feel vindicated. If it doesn't then maybe I re-evaluate my approach if I do indeed have the most respect for the old ways and things as you guys?

    As another thought, this puts onus on those who play my guitars to give HONEST feedback. That's not easy either.


    Sam
    Last edited by Sam Van; 11-13-2017 at 09:11 PM.

  4. #24
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    Getting a feel for the fretboard et al colors


    Making neck. I do the birds beak joint inspired by John Greven (before I ever saw Sexauer do it). This is how Martins pre-1900 (or something like that) did their neck and headstocks, using spanish cedar I believe. This joint is absolutely bomber. It doesn't even need to be glued. Martin stopped doing it for economical reasons and not tonal reasons. And yet everyone still makes the volute to fake us out that its a birds beak joint. Just pure OG here haha.



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    Sam,

    I'm still around regularly. I just haven't had much to say since the song game faded away I've followed all your builds here, as I am this one. I read this in your post

    >>To my thinking, I'm either adding to the hope for the best tonal dynamic range by adding time intensive techniques that influence tone and then also being more efficient and space saving by not building jigs that aren't thought to directly affect tone in any quantitative way. Could the dimensions of a tongue brace + building in a form with more stressed glue joints + continuous mahogany or Spanish cedar kerfing instead of individual spruce blocks to join top to sides have enough effect on tone that not doing so makes for a guitar that is missing some tonal authenticity? Possibly. But I guess I'm testing that out. If this guitar blows doors off a smeck from a consensus view, I'd probably feel vindicated. If it doesn't then maybe I re-evaluate my approach if I do indeed have the most respect for the old ways and things as you guys? >>

    and it makes me think that what we are talking about is respect for the old ways plus our own experience. You have built several guitars now, and are starting to form your own ideas about what works well and what you don't think really adds. Every builder I've ever talked to has specific ideas on the subject, and they have good reasons for it, based on their own prior builds, and the results it produced. In more simple terms, 'it's magic!!"

  6. #26
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    Good stuff, Mark!

    OK, doing my first slotted headstock. I was offered a jig but I decided to do most by hand. My dad, the salty ol boat builder did give me a hole drilling jig that works great for side mounted tuning peg holes. So, I did take advantage of that.






  7. #27

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    Looks awesome!

  8. #28
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  9. #29

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    Aw man, that neck joint is killer. In my ignorance I always thought the volute was just for decoration. Just imagine the amount of mahogany that could be saved if every neck blank was done that way.

  10. #30
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    I'm with you gonzo! It's a cool joint and I too had no idea that was what the volute represented. And it does save tons o wood. I can get some darn good neck blanks, without stacking the heel, for significantly better prices per board foot. But not always.....

    Sam

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