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Valued Contributor
Freeman Keller
Posts: 11,257
Registered: ‎09-15-2003

Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

For several years now I have been wanting a small bodied all mahogany guitar and I’m getting close to ready to start building it.    There are several options and I would appreciate input on good (or bad) points on any of them.   I have plans for both a 1940 Gibson L-00 and a generic 00, as well as the 000 that is my daily player.   I don’t necessarily want to build a clone of any particular guitar, but the small bodied Martins and Gibsons of the ‘30’s would be my guide.   I have played several prewar 0 and 00-17’s, one small Gibson from that period (think it was  a Nick Lucas), current 00 and 000-15’s, and a new SGCG “00-1929” (which was a stunning guitar, by the way).   I am prepared to change some design parameters (scale length, frets clear, neck profile) if there is a good reason – I’m certainly not locked into following the plans to the letter.  I also know that over the years these guitars (particularly the L-00) changed dramatically – I’ve seen them in 12, 13 and 14 fret, for example.

OK, here are the major options

1 – Long scale 000 like my spruce/rosewood guitar.   Twelve frets, basically an 000-28 but long scale.   I love this guitar and think it would be very interesting in all mahogany, but would there be enough difference?   One big advantage is that I have both the mold and bending form for my Fox bender.    One advantage for the forum is that I could post clips and you could hear the difference that only tone woods make (same bracing, size, scale, etc)

 

000-28fk

 

2 – Gibosn L-00 in all mahogany.   The Gibbie is short scale, my plans are for a 14 fretter (but that could be changed).   It has 1/4 inch non scalloped braces.  The body is a hair deeper than (3) and Nick Lucas models were even deeper.   Advantage – these are the iconic blues boxes from the 30’s, disadvantage – I don’t personally have much experience with them.

 

L-00

 

3 – Martin 00 in all mahogany (that would be -17 or -15).   My plans for this one are also short scale, 14 frets clear.   Unlike the Gibson, it is 5/16 scalloped braces.  Here is the SCGC

 

SCGC1929

 

4 – I could do a ladder braced one like my Stella 12 string clone, but I think if I ever do that it will be spruce on top.

Options – Both the L-00 and 00-17 are paddle heads, but I’m partial to slots.   Building a slothead is a lot more work but adds some mojo.    Second option is scale length – by going to a longer scale the bridge is moved down into the lower bout (SCGC built a 13 fret long scale and says it’s a great guitar).   I tune down a lot and like a longer scale – obviously I would have to move braces around a bit.

There are some cosmetic things – I would probably use a rope rosette like my Stella and Weissies, a pyramid bridge, maybe a sunburst or shade top.

So, if you’ve played one or own one or lusted after one – tell me about it.   I don’t think any of the above would be a bad guitar – but I need to choose something.

 

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Valued Contributor
Pine Apple Slim
Posts: 9,161
Registered: ‎01-07-2008

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

I vote #1.
Slot head.
Tried and true.
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Super Contributor
EdBega
Posts: 2,591
Registered: ‎01-31-2009

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

My choice # 1 but not slotted, with a nice fat neck ...

 

If you don't like it let me know ...

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Regular Contributor
The EAKLE
Posts: 173
Registered: ‎01-20-2013

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

First off, small body mahogany is an excellent choice. I like your taste.

I'm gonna say the Martin style. I played an older one (i was told it was probably a 000-18), and absolutely loved it. It inspired me to get a mahogany guitar. I went with a Taylor GS Mini because of the cost, but it's a brilliant guitar. 

But yeah, those style Martins are insanley good, IMO.

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Super Contributor
Posts: 3,243
Registered: ‎10-28-2009

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

First: I only have big Hoggies, like a Guild GAD 25 and a (albeit Koa, but soundwise it's close) Jumbo. So a small Hog guitar would be of interest to me, too.
I don't like guitars w/o a binding, so -15 would be out.
I actually like the sound of the old Gibson guitars, better than the newer ones, and Jackson Browne plays some absolutely finesounding ones. So, for me it would be option 2 in 14 frets and with a deeeep body.
Martin: D40, D35, Backpacker
Mr.Binh:"SKT" spruce/maple dread, spruce/rosewood mod. OM-45, all koa jumbo, mod. 814ce and 814ceN
Tanglewood:TW-145/12 SC
Sigma: DRC-28E
Ovation:Elite TX Baritone, CC24-FKOA
Gretsch:G3713
Guild:GAD-25
Washburn: D46SP
Fender:CD140/12
Yamaha:FG730S-NT - for sale! FJX730SC
Xaviere: XV580SS, XV200S
12-String Ovation Copy, M.Rodriguez C10, Tenayo Silent Guitar


-HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #006.
-Too many guitars, too little talent Club Member #002
-Founder of HCAG GAS Anonymus
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Super Contributor
knockwood
Posts: 7,859
Registered: ‎01-16-2005

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

I love the idea of option #2, but on a small-bodied, short-scale guitar I would definitely want to go with a scalloped X bracing pattern. I just think non-scalloped bracing plus a short scale is a dead combo - why I never cared for the standard 000-18. And I'm not crazy about ladder bracing, generally. I love the Gibby L-00 shape, though, and think it could be awesome in all-hog with the FK wizardry.
I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn't. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.





I.K.F.C.

E.S.C.

Potato Society

SAWG
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Super Contributor
tbry
Posts: 1,909
Registered: ‎09-12-2008

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

#2...

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Super Contributor
kiowa1
Posts: 843
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

Ditto #2

Jack



1969 Martin D12-20 12-string

1984 Martin HD-28
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Super Contributor
Posts: 6,793
Registered: ‎09-07-2007

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

Try looking at these....makes your mouth water.....

http://artisanguitars.com/category/products/all-things-mahogany/
Steve Goodman Fan/Eddie Wright Fan/Damon Fowler Fan

2012 Gibson J45 Standard Spruce/mahogany

1969 Framus 12 String Spruce/Mahogany
1990's Larrivee D2 (Spruce/Mahogany)
2007-8 Guild C0-2C (Spruce/Mahogany)
2009 Recording King RO-26 (Spruce/Mahogany)
1962-3 Gibson LG2 (Spruce/Mahogany)


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Super Contributor
Posts: 2,356
Registered: ‎05-03-2008

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

Here's another vote for the Gibson 00 shape. I'd love to play some bluesy tunes on one.

apathy error, don't bother pressing a key

Ukulele Player Magazine
http://www.tricornpublications.com/uke_player.htm
HCAG Civil Posters Society - 015


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Super Contributor
kwakatak
Posts: 12,981
Registered: ‎10-14-2003

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

I say go with the first one, but that's just me. I'm not a fan of smaller bodies. They tend to sound "boxy" to my ear.

BTW, I'm curious: are mahogany tops quartersawn? If not do they need to be pore filled? From working with mahogany on my first build I find that it can be quite light in comparison to walnut, maple or rosewood but then again coat it with Z-poxy to fill the pores and I wonder what it would do to the resonant qualities?

2013 Official Luthier's Forum Medium Jumbo (my first homemade guitar using western red cedar/mahogany)
2009 Martin D-16GT (40th birthday present from my wife)
2006 Larrivee OM-03R (a generous gift from the IKFC and my go-to guitar)
1998 American Standard Series Stratocaster with an ash body in natural finish and rosewood fingerboard. (wedding present from my wife but currently a case queen)
1989 Kramer Striker (foolish youthful purchase)
1973 Takamine F360 (college beater that is currently down with a busted bridge and cracked brace)
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Super Contributor
koiwoi
Posts: 4,888
Registered: ‎11-28-2002

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

Pick a solid hog guitar that's blown you away and do a variation of that. Tried and true. :smileyvery-happy:
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Valued Contributor
Freeman Keller
Posts: 11,257
Registered: ‎09-15-2003

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar


kwakatak wrote:

BTW, I'm curious: are mahogany tops quartersawn? If not do they need to be pore filled? From working with mahogany on my first build I find that it can be quite light in comparison to walnut, maple or rosewood but then again coat it with Z-poxy to fill the pores and I wonder what it would do to the resonant qualities?


My experience with mahogany is that it does need to be pore filed.   I've mostly used StewMac's paste filler - I've only used Zpoxy on koa.   Haven't thought that far ahead - there are a lot of option for finish.

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Super Contributor
koiwoi
Posts: 4,888
Registered: ‎11-28-2002

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

I like the idea of a pore-filled high gloss finish, but that's just me. I don't like the noise that satin finishes make when you brush against them.
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Super Contributor
kwakatak
Posts: 12,981
Registered: ‎10-14-2003

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar

Have you come to a decision yet? I still stand by #1. I'd like to see how it compares against its EIR/sitka "twin."

2013 Official Luthier's Forum Medium Jumbo (my first homemade guitar using western red cedar/mahogany)
2009 Martin D-16GT (40th birthday present from my wife)
2006 Larrivee OM-03R (a generous gift from the IKFC and my go-to guitar)
1998 American Standard Series Stratocaster with an ash body in natural finish and rosewood fingerboard. (wedding present from my wife but currently a case queen)
1989 Kramer Striker (foolish youthful purchase)
1973 Takamine F360 (college beater that is currently down with a busted bridge and cracked brace)
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Valued Contributor
Freeman Keller
Posts: 11,257
Registered: ‎09-15-2003

Re: Mahogany players - help me design my next guitar


kwakatak wrote:

Have you come to a decision yet? I still stand by #1. I'd like to see how it compares against its EIR/sitka "twin."


I appreciate all the good suggestions - both at this forum and others (I posted this four different places - here, MV, a blues forum and a lutherie forum).    I'm pretty sure it will be based on the L-00 plans, but 12 fret slot head for sure.    Got some good advice on bracing and top thickness for mahogany at OLF - the L-00 is a pretty popular design over there.

I won't be starting it for a while, but I might go ahead and make the mold and bending jig.    I'm going on a fairly long trip in april and think I'll wait until I get back before making any sawdust.

There'll be a build thread, don't worry.

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