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Old 11-28-2012, 08:19 PM
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Default McKnight build for Healdsburg delivery - 'tree' mahogany & adi

My love of mahogany led me to become aware of the storied "tree" from the Honduras, and I've learned a lot from Jay (BBWW) and my luthier friends - and those of you who have watched the builds over the past year or so have seen some builds using this beautiful quilted mahogany.

If not, you are in for a visual treat!

My "collection" definition has been maturing over the past 6 years as I've moved through some very nice guitars, along the way acquiring and then selling some very nice Taylors. At this point, other than my very well loved Rainsong, all of my guitars are single luthier builds, and all but one were made for me. That's a special place for a collector - even a modest collector - and even more special that I play them all out albeit with due care.

The final number of the collection will be seven, for various reasons, the primary one being that's what I flippantly answered my wife one day when she asked me how many was enough. So - I'll live with that number! I haven't figured out how to "not count" the Rainsong...

Within the collection will be two overlapping "sets" of three - three by Mike Baranik (cocobolo/blue spruce, 'tree' mahogany/cedar, and an OOm details still pending); and three with 'tree' back and sides - the Baranik with sinker cedar; a Mayes with LS redwood; and this build - a McKnight with adirondack spruce. All of the three 'tree' guitars are basically grand concert sized - Baranik Meridian; the Mayes will be his Eureka GC; and the McKnight will be Tim's SDG.

That's just some of the thinking behind some of the wood choices I've made with the luthiers - it fits the visual collection, and the array of top choices will give me a range from warm and intimate to bright and immediate.

Tim and I (and great road trip companion John - AGFs Thin Crust) spent a lot of time at the 2012 McJam in June working through Tim's array of spruce tops. I was pretty sure that I wanted the "McPhil" to be a spruce top, and Tim has LOTS of top quality tops to choose from. I looked at '59 Sitka and Engleman and German and adirondack... I played several different tops on various McKnight guitars, and Tim watched and listened as I tried to play the wide range of styles I attempt - from soft fingerpicking to moderately aggressive strumming. And we talked quite a bit about what this new guitar tonally would be. We settled on a very nice set of Adi. It was unusual in that the grain structure is not as broad nor as defined as most adirondack spruce - but it tapped very lively and was rated very high by Tim. I liked that it was a very traditional combination (adirondack / mahogany) - with "extras" like the close grained adi and the quilted back and sides.

So - where are the pictures you say? They are definitely coming. I wanted to start the build thread a bit early just to walk through some of the thinking that went into the choices. For those of you who are still "in queue" for your first luthier build, I can tell you it's a great roller coaster ride. Tim and Mary are very detailed in the questions up front, and it's been great to work through all the ideas they've raised, integrating them with all the thoughts I spewed at them over the past couple of years after getting on the build list. Now seeing the plans begin to come to fruition is a real joy.

So, I will end with two pictures, but ones which only hint at the pre-work. First is Tim and I in the "wood room" looking at tops and the set of mahogany to see what further color choices will be like (having already settled on the tonal choices in the wood, the shape, basics like cutaway / wedge etc. (none), fretboard, etc.). (You can see just a bit of the 'tree' set on the bench in front of Tim.)

Second is of us in the main shop area, me with the multi-page spec sheet still grasped firmly in hand, discussing some other details which I have now forgotten!

Thanks,
Phil


Last edited by riorider; 11-28-2012 at 09:01 PM. Reason: rewording
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:41 PM
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That will be something to see!!
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:23 PM
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Looking greatly forward to this build Phil!

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Old 11-28-2012, 10:31 PM
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This thread will drive me nuts...well, more so anyhow. Can wait for photos.
....I'm hoping Tim falls in love with "The Tree" as well.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:33 PM
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Smile Phil's Build

I can't wait to see this build unfold Phil.

I was luck enough to play Phil's two Baranik Meridians last year. "The Tree" Meridian is so stunning visually it belongs in a museum.

I'm sure this McKnight guitar will be equally as beautiful and special to you.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:53 AM
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Hey Phil, your smile in photo 2 says it all

This is going to be a great build, thanks for sharing it with us.

Oh, and in terms of "redefining" the number seven - wasn’t it implicit that your seven guitars was for wooden ones only? The Rainsong does not count on that basis. If that doesn’t work tell your wife that you had inadvertently included my JX in your calculations and now that has moved to Australia!

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colins View Post
Oh, and in terms of "redefining" the number seven - wasn’t it implicit that your seven guitars was for wooden ones only? The Rainsong does not count on that basis. If that doesn’t work tell your wife that you had inadvertently included my JX in your calculations and now that has moved to Australia!

Col
Col - no other way to say it. That's brilliant!!

Wooden ones only... I just have to remember that...!!!

Thanks all ... there's much more to share but I'll let it unfold as the build progresses.

Tim's first steps on this are to lay up some purfling examples and we'll select from those. We're walking a thin edge between "elegant simplicity" and enough "wood bling" to present the theme (which I haven't told you about yet) without detracting from the main attraction - the quilted tree and the bright adi top.

I also realized that I didn't explain "roller coaster ride" to those who have not (yet) had a guitar built for them. There's a very slow "clank clank clank" wait as the choice of luthier, deposit, and then wait time for the build to be next in line - just like that first big hill climb on a great roller coaster. Then the weightless exhilaration of that first big drop as the first elements come together and it's hard to comprehend the speed of the box being put together. Then more wait times as glue dries and the intracacies of the structure and woodwork progresses, and then more drops and exhilaration as each new view unfolds (how the purfling adds to the box; that first brush stroke of finish; etc.). So - I think the analogy holds fairly true.

Thanks for taking the ride with me!

Phil
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:11 AM
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Awesome, Phil! Congrats! The McKnights are not only an amazing guitar building team, they're amazing people. You're in for a treat.

I'm looking forward to watching this thread.

Kindly,
Danny
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:39 AM
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That sounds awesome Phil! I can't wait to play...er ah, I mean see your McKnight when it is finished.

HOWEVER, I am highly disappointed that we don't get to see a single picture of this mystical Adi top! What a tease.

I look forward to watching this come together. Congratulations!
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by IPlay2 View Post
That sounds awesome Phil! I can't wait to play...er ah, I mean see your McKnight when it is finished.

HOWEVER, I am highly disappointed that we don't get to see a single picture of this mystical Adi top! What a tease.

I look forward to watching this come together. Congratulations!
Yeah - I'll tell you a secret on myself... I found that I didn't take ANY pictures of either set of wood while I was there... I combed my camera and phone SD cards without success. I can't believe it myself... So I'm just going on memory here.. Fortunately, Mary takes lots of pictures and I'm sure we'll see them as the build progresses!

And thanks Danny - you're right, they're great folks!

Phil
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:55 AM
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Awesome Phil - I am looking forward to watching this guitar come together. I remember and certainly enjoyed our interaction (and with Tim ) during the SDG design phase. Tim had a way of making one feel that one was actually contributing something to the design process when I am quite sure I was not, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Congrats on the start of yet another awsome addition to your collection.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:24 AM
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Sounds exciting Phil, you have great taste in guitars and builders!!
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:54 PM
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Congratulations, Phil! This will be a fun ride
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:35 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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This is going to be one amazing build thread! You must be so excited Phil!
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:51 PM
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That will be quite the collection of The Tree. If I were a rare tree and had to be turned into product for human consumption, it would definitely be a guitar.

I'm not that familiar with McKnight guitars. How do you think this one will differ from your Baranik?
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