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  #1  
Old 08-27-2010, 08:17 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Default Looking Forward to Healdsburg 2011 -- McKnight Guitar Build

Hello, AGF!!! Last year was the first time I went to the Healdsburg Guitar Festival. What a great time! During the 2 1/2 days I met and talked to many, many wonderful luthiers, played some of the finest guitars on the planet, heard a plethora of wonderful concerts, went to some wonderful workshops, and just generally enjoyed the heck out of all the folks I met.

I was fortunate to find my way to Tim & Mary McKnight's booth and see one of the prettiest guitars I'd ever seen on display. And, as luck would have it, it was available for playing. As you might imagine, knowing Tim's wonderful guitars, it had an amazing sound. I must admit that it was a big surprise to me because of the quilted birds eye maple back and sides. I've always loved the look of maple, but, to be honest, it has never delivered the sound I'm looking for. I just couldn't get over how nice and full it sounded. Then, Tim told me the secret...his hollow back design. Yep, it made sense...rosewood for the inner back and sides.

Wow! I could get a guitar with a fabulous set of quilted birds-eye maple and still get that rosewood sound that I like so much. We are so very fortunate to live in a golden age of guitar lutherie. Each of us has different tastes, likes, dislikes, desires, etc., and with all of the wonderful luthiers we can each find a guitar that is just what we want.

I had been looking for a guitar for my girlfriend (now my fiance and soon to be my wife -- Sept 12th), and she loved the size of Tim's Mini-Mac SJ. She's a petite young and beautiful woman, and the size fit her and came close to her beauty.

Well, I couldn't get that guitar out of my mind. Many of you have seen pictures of it. It is the McKnight guitar that is used in many of the ToneRite ads.

So, we decided that it was the right time for Tim to make a similar guitar, and we'll be picking it up at Healdsburg 2011!!!

The specs:

>>Model -- McKnight Mini Mac
>>Back and sides -- Birds-eye quilted maple
>>Hollow back design -- Interior back and sides of madagascar rosewood
>>Top -- Vintage 50s redwood (don't tell anyone, but Tim just acquired some outstanding redwood that has been in store since the 50s in the Pacific NW. I was born and have lived in Portland, OR most of my life, so it is a perfect fit!)
>>Neck -- Mahogany
>>Fingerboard -- African Blackwood
>>Headstock -- African Blackwood; Knight logo
>>Bridge -- Brazilian Rosewood
>>Body, fingerboard and headstock binding; end wedge; heel cap -- Flamey koa
>>Body, fingerboard, headstock and end wedge purfling -- Red fiber
>>Back center seam strip -- None
>>Full body and back of neck sunburst -- Noted as "minimal" sunburst on the McKnight guitar website
>>Tuners -- Gotoh 510s; cosmo black w/ebony contour buttons
>>Cutaway -- Venetian
>>Nut and saddle -- Ivory
>>Bridge pins -- Mottled FWI
>>Nut and bridge spacing -- 1 13/16"; 2 5/16" (2 1/4" at 12th fret)
>>Fingerboard inlay -- Dragonfly; 12th-14th frets; no other fingerboard markers except for blue paua spots on top side of fretboard
>>Rosette -- Browntone spalted maple; convergent grain; center blue paua diamonds in ebony
>>Pickguard -- Clear
>>Electronics -- Highlander iP-1 w/"ebony toned" strap nut
>>Case -- Hoffee carbon fiber; burgundy exterior w/dusty rose interior

Here's a few pictures that Mary sent to me as Tim has just begun working on this guitar:

Tim planing one side of the vintage 50s redwood top:



Tim inspecting the freshly cut sides of the redwood top:



Tim placing redwood top sides in the jig to be clamped together:



The vintage 50s redwood top clamped in the jig -- sweet:



A HUGE thanks to Tim and Mary for helping me design what will be an amazing guitar!
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Last edited by Billy Boy; 01-05-2011 at 09:59 AM. Reason: minor change in guitar design
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2010, 08:44 PM
cpabolting cpabolting is offline
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Tim and I have talked at great lengths about ath hollowback design. Very innovative and makes a lot of sense to me. My same issues... love the look of some of these tonewoods but hate the sound (Koa). Lets you have the look you want plus the sound you want.

Look forward to watching it go down. Tim/Mary....take lots of pictures...
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:33 AM
Kurt Kurt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpabolting View Post
Tim and I have talked at great lengths about ath hollowback design. Very innovative and makes a lot of sense to me. My same issues... love the look of some of these tonewoods but hate the sound (Koa). Lets you have the look you want plus the sound you want.
My sentiments exactly. On top of this, it allows the guitarist's body to nestle against the back of the guitar without damping the sound. Can't imagine ordering a guitar from Tim without this option; it's one innovation among many by Tim that keeps me returning to his shop for a build. It's why I have one McKnight in the house now, one soon to be built, and specs for a third in the back of my mind (and under contract with Mary, kinda... ).
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:00 AM
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Tim McKnight Tim McKnight is offline
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Hi All,
Just to be fair, the picture of me is pretty ugly peering through my bi-focals at the center seam joint prior to hide glue up. I felt the need to point out that this top certainly does not exhibit run-out as the picture indicates. One of the top halves was exposed to the elements and is certainly darker but after the tops are sanded both halves will be the same hue.

As BillyBoy eluded to this is some of the finest Redwood I have ever had the privilege to hold. We still have a few LS Redwood tops and this vintage redwood is right on par with the best of the best LS I have worked with. I was also blessed to be able to buy the remainder of the estate wood. It has quite a history but more on that to follow

We are looking forward to a fun and exciting journey together with this project. Keith, there will certainly be more pictures to follow as we get more into this.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:35 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Just a few more pictures. The birds-eye quilted maple Tim & Mary have available is absolutely gorgeous. Mary sent me a few pictures of Tim working on the maple, and I thought you might like to see them.

Tim planing one of the maple sides:



And, here's a close-up so you can see the figure in the maple:



Here's a picture of Tim checking the fit of the planed maple:



Another big THANK YOU to Tim and Mary!
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:08 PM
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It's fun to see these pictures from another perspective. Thanks, Billy Boy. I probably should have organized and cleaned the shop before taking pictures.

And, by the way, Kurt.... It's a legal binding signed contract. Well, kind of, sort of... maybe.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:14 PM
hreboredo hreboredo is offline
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You all are killing me. Was going to take next summer off but now I'm trying to figure out how to get the family out to CA.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:24 PM
Markart Markart is offline
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Are the tonal qualities of birds-eye maple the same as a regular quilted maple? I can't recall seeing a guitar with birds-eye b/s. Its a beautiful wood than I've seen on various wooden decorative pieces but never for a guitar.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:29 PM
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riorider riorider is offline
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Looking very nice, and that cements my intentions to make 2011 HGF!! Got to see this wonder before you get to take it home!!

Thanks for posting..

rr
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:48 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Thanks for the comments on the build so far. Tim would need to answer about the tonal qualities. However, what we'll hear coming from this guitar is a rosewood/redwood sound since we're using Tim's hollow back design with madagascar rosewood as the interior of the back and sides and using the lucious redwood Tim recently acquired from an estate. I just couldn't get over the looks of the birds-eye quilted maple on the 2009 Healdsburg guitar he had built, similar to this, and the rosewood sound coming from it that I look for in a guitar. It's really too early for much in the way of planning at Healdsburg 2011, but a Healdsburg McJam has come up a time or two as the topic of conversation...
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:51 PM
jennconducts jennconducts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riorider View Post
Looking very nice, and that cements my intentions to make 2011 HGF!! Got to see this wonder before you get to take it home!!

Thanks for posting..

rr
See you there!
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:21 PM
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Tim McKnight Tim McKnight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markart View Post
Are the tonal qualities of birds-eye maple the same as a regular quilted maple? I can't recall seeing a guitar with birds-eye b/s. Its a beautiful wood than I've seen on various wooden decorative pieces but never for a guitar.
This is north eastern quilted/birdseye/Beeswing figured [hard] Maple. The tone is a bit brighter with more sustain than the atypical north western big leaf [soft] maple. The sawyer that cut this log has been in the maple biz for 30+ years and he said that this is the only log that he has ever seen with all three of these unique figures in it at the same time. Its pretty spectacular looking stuff to say the least.

Here is a peek of a sister set that BillyBoy saw at last year's HB show, which BTW is the same guitar pictured in the full page ToneRite magazine print ads

Sorry but my measly point and shoot camera really doesn't do this wood justice.







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Last edited by Tim McKnight; 08-30-2010 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:53 AM
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K III K III is offline
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Great build, BillyBoy, but it is almost a waste not to show the beauty of the Maddie, if its hidden by some maple. But you do get at least the sound and the smell...
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:43 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Originally Posted by K III View Post
Great build, BillyBoy, but it is almost a waste not to show the beauty of the Maddie, if its hidden by some maple. But you do get at least the sound and the smell...
We'll just have to look through the sound hole...I'm sure it will be amazing...
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:10 PM
Kurt Kurt is offline
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I've seen firsthand the original bird's-eye maple guitar pictured, and I've seen the related bird's-eye maple pieces you're using for your guitar, Billy Boy. Yes, Madi is a pretty wood, but it wouldn't hold a candle to that particular maple (not that you'd want to hold a candle to a guitar, anyway, but I digress...). It will make a spectacular body and side for the guitar!

Still, the rosewood inside ought to be a marvelous complement to the redwood. Most excellent choices!

Btw, Tim, that "pretty ugly face" you're making in the one picture reminds me a lot of your expression after you jacked your tee shot into the fescue rough on the third hole a few weeks back...

(then again, I spent a good share of my time in the rough, too!)
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