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Danny Ross

The guitar, right, is another manifestation of my "steel string concert classical", this time in Sitka spruce and bloodwood (brosimum rubescens) .  Unlike the blackwood guitar above, this one has mass loaded sides which contribute to its depth of tone and its penetrating projection, making the guitar sound as if it has its own built in reverb.

You can hear this guitar by clicking on this link to "Affirmation", written by Jose Feliciano (2.5Mb of MP3).  

The amazing playing is by Matt Semmens.  Matt is from Newcastle, NSW, a couple of hours north of Sydney where he is involved in everything to do with guitars.  Matt was classically trained, but plays a wide variety of musical styles.  Matt recorded the guitar using a pair of large diaphragm condenser mics, one placed about two feet from the lower bout, the other up by the neck.  There are no effects (definitely no reverb!) and no equalisation.  The string were D'Addario phosphor bronze 12-53.

 When I renovated my old cottage ("The Shed") about 12 years ago, I set myself the challenge of one day making a guitar using only timber salvaged from the renovations.  Being able to get the most out of non-traditional timbers has been elevated in importance as both the sourcing of traditional timbers and the difficulty in ascertaining their provenance is becoming more complex daily.  Hence “The Shed” guitar, with a radiata pine five piece top made from some old bunk beds, four piece meranti back and sides made from shelves from a kitchen cupboard, Oregon pine bracing from the old dunny door and a meranti neck from another kitchen shelf. 

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Medium sized steel string - sound samples

The guitar, left, has an Engelmann spruce top, figured Australian blackwood back and sides, bloodwood binding, mahogany neck and a Madagascar rosewood fretboard. It is a fairly typical version of my "steel string concert classical" medium sized guitar.

The guy who you can hear playing it happens to live just up the road and is the prodigiously talented Danny Ross.   

Here he can be heard performing his arrangement of British folk/blues legend Davey Graham's composition "Buffalo" (2.4Mb of MP3), and, for a tune with a different feel "Jasmine" (2.7Mb of MP3) 

Danny plays with his fingertips (no nails) and recorded these tracks using an orthogonal stereo pair of mics on the treble side of the 15th fret.  There are no effects and there is no equalisation.

The strings were Martin SP+ 12-54.

Sitka Back
Sika bridge

The "Shed" Guitar

The trim, such as it is, is very simple: the rosette was split from a piece of firewood that had some figure in it, with black cardboard forming the dark lines; the bindings and back stripe are some figured jarrah from an old fence paling and the headstock facing is Huon pine from the ends of a broken spice rack.  The fretboard is brush box from the bottom plate of a stud wall that I removed.  The fretboard edge markers are from a pair of 3mm aluminium knitting needles found in the bottom of a wardrobe, which then lived in the cutlery drawer for 12 years. The bridge is more of the meranti. The sound board is finished with high gloss French polish and the back and sides are finished with nitrocellulose lacquer.  I used my usual falcate bracing pattern.

So, how does it sound? Well, I'm not going to tell you that it sounds just as good as my usual guitars. These pieces of radiata pine had a density 30% greater than Engelmann spruce (for example) and it's only ~65% as stiff, so that straight away limits the monopole mobility. Having said that, it will still blow most things you can buy in a shop off the shelves. So it definitely has the Gore family sound, but just not quite as much of it.   

Here’s 19 year old Tom Langford, who was kind enough to record a couple of demos for me, playing “The Shed” guitar, so you can judge for yourself.  As usual, no effects or EQ were applied.

Tom: Day Tripper (1.4Mb of mp3)

Tom: Never Going Back (1.7Mb of mp3)