Two guitar tops for size comparison
The J45 (underneath) is the largest guitar I’ve ever built. The soundboard on top is for a grand concert, which is not exactly a small guitar.

I’m currently building a pair of commissioned guitars and having a great time because the two instruments have such different goals.

The first is a jazz machine: I’m shooting for the strong, independent voicings and fat, certain trebles I’ve seen in several of my previous builds. This one is a Grand Concert size 12-fret with a red spruce top over a double-wall sugar maple rim and back, one of my all-time favorite combinations.

The other is a street fighter, with plenty of confidence and swagger, lots of low-end thump and a devil-may-care attitude about clean trebles. It is inspired by the best J45 I have ever played, a maple-or-maybe-birch-backed “Banner era” belonging to one of the best old-time guitarists around. My build is a red spruce top over a red maple rim and back.

Serial Number 26, a grand concert in sugar maple

Serial Number 27, a J45-style guitar in red maple

 

I’ve recently started a new build, an adirondack and sugar maple 12-fret grand concert guitar that will be clean and contemporary-looking, with a sound port and paddle headstock featuring really sharp-looking Gotoh “X-finish” tuners. Notably, this guitar will be my first production guitar to use double sides and solid lining, which I’m pretty excited about. The goals for this guitar’s sound are a focused bass with good carrying power and trebles that are thick, musical and committed.

 

See the next installment of this guitar’s build gallery.