Bubinga Fat Jumbo Baritone 2011

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Project by ChrisFranklin posted 05-29-2012 03:53 AM 1270 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wasn’t entirely happy with the sound of my first guitar, the 2010 koa jumbo baritone. I committed the normal beginner’s sin and built it a little too heavily. This means, for example 0.110” thick for the top instead of 0.105”. Not a huge difference, you might think, but it seemed to be enough to mute the low notes that are important to a baritone guitar, just a bit.

So I was thinking about trying again when a good friend gave me a piece of bubinga he had left over from another project. Well, naturally, the best way to express my appreciation for this lovely gift was to dive right into a build. I mean, I didn’t have a choice, now, did I? Delay would be churlish!

I had also had a chance to play some of Nick Appollonio’s wonderful instruments, and to chat with him a little. From this experience I got the idea that widening out the waist of the instrument would mean a bigger, more responsive active area of the top and might give those bass notes a chance. So I took the shape of #1, kept the upper and lower bout shapes but widened the waist and made the whole body a little deeper, and shape #2 was born.

Naturally, that meant I got the chance to make all new molds and forms, too. But most of the tooling from #1 carries over to #2, so this one only took one year to build, instead of four. At that rate the next one will take three months, and after that they’ll build themselves, right?

This one has a huge sound, even played without picks. The bass is definitely there, but I won’t know about the tone until it “plays in” in a year or so. Meanwhile, a year later, #1 is starting to get played in, and I’m getting really happy with the sound. I think I’ve just discovered a new corollary to Murphy’s Law!

-- Mud thrown is ground lost.

2 comments so far

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2637 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 02:09 PM

Very nice, I really like the grain pattern on the sides and the back. Great work!

-- Ryan

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2733 days

#2 posted 06-01-2012 02:49 AM

Chris, I don’t know a thing about building or playing guitars but I see your talent here and am glad, cause in the end I like the music.
Looks like fussy careful work that one only has to wait a year to really enjoy!
Show us your boat work too if you can.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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