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Agape guitar on order, though without any rush...

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by mikealpine, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    Happy to share this, though it really is a bit of a teaser in that I don't expect to see much of anything on this guitar for a couple of months at my request. I don't know how many of you have had the chance to interact with Rich Chaffins/Agape Guitars, he is a pleasure, great sense of humor along with a thorough understanding of guitars. I had the chance to meet Rich at a guitar show on Long Island. He brought along a few guitars, three of which were stellar in their own way. Two were his "Eve" (T-style) model, one was more of an "S" style. One of the Eve guitars had the most comfortable neck I've played, silly smooth, fantastic profile...whatever it was, my hand just floated over it. The other was already sold and being shipped out to Arizona, but was my choice for best tone of all the guitars I played that day, and I loved the look. A few people remarked about the "S" guitar as being more "S" than the original, and it sounded amazing.

    Since meeting Rich, we've kept in contact via Facebook and here on TGP. I don't know of anyone who responds faster to a message, whether guitars, food, life...whatever. Just a really terrific guy. The decision to have Rich build a guitar was about as easy as it gets.

    After some discussion, we're going with:

    - Eve (again, a T-style)
    - Semi-hollow, no F-holes
    - Carved for comfort, arm and tummy, which Rich does specifically for each guitarist. If I were local, he'd actually measure and fit me to the guitar, but we'll do it via pictures. He's got the process down. He'll round out all the edges.
    - Mahogany body, mahogany top
    - Bird's Eye Maple fretboard on a maple neck, 10" radius, 1 5/8" nut width, in a "D-ish" profile. He'll use the Eve from the show (sold to someone local to him, thankfully, so he can measure it again) as the template for mine
    - Offset dots, larger side fret markers
    - McNelly pickups, type to be determined, but likely a Cornucopia Bridge and Stagger Swagger neck
    - Knob and switch layout to be totally out of the way of the strumming/picking area
    - Going for a "rustic" look, but not a relic, really just letting the wood be wood and look like wood, in some kind of stained rusty brown

    I play classic rock, modern country and blues. I want something with clarity and power, I gave Rich examples of what I play and sounds I want to hear and he is confident that we'll get there. I'm not going for crazy switching, trying to get less complicated as I play.

    As far as look, I'm giving Rich a lot of creative leeway. He knows I really liked that guitar headed to Arizona, I'm pretty sure we'll head in that direction, though that one had a Koa top. Colorwise, that would be a good starting point.

    So, it's in the works, probably a late October or early November delivery.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  2. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    You are right about Rich being a good dude.

    I've had a few interactions with him. Always a positive attitude and seems to really love what he does, and what he does is pretty danged cool.

    Good luck with the build and the wait.
     
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  3. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks! He does love it and seems excited that he's got some freedom with decisions. While I'm looking forward to it, I'm also good with it being a relaxed schedule. I could have it quicker, but no need. And I can try to sell a few that just sit in their cases now that I have a much clearer idea of which guitars really suit me.
     
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  4. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    And our top has been selected, unexpectedly quickly, though Rich said when he saw it, he knew it was the one he wanted for my build. Even though we've got a heavily chambered/semi-hollow with no holes, this top has holes. Rich said he'll deal with those later. I'm good with that.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. FreeBlues

    FreeBlues Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, what a top! Leave the holes by all means.
     
  6. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks! Really don't want holes, just a lot of chambering. Maybe he can fill them with something clear, not sure what that would do to the sound, if anything. Or this could be a thin overlay on top of another piece of mahogany. I have no idea what his plan will be. He said I have veto power, but I really want to let him make the creative decisions, so we'll see what he comes up with. Should be a fun journey.
     
  7. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Wow, that's quite a top.

    What kind of wood is it?
     
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  8. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    I didn't ask! I sent a message to Rich, waiting for him to jump in with an answer. It looks like Katalox, I think, but I could be way off base and will feel silly for throwing out a guess if I am really, really wrong.
     
  9. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey, Derek! Appreciate the kind words, buddy.
    It's a piece of maple with a lot of adjectives: spalted, ambrosia, a bit of flame, and a ton of holes. Or, in other words: AWESOME.
    I flippped when I saw it last night, and snagged it immediately because it HAD TO GO ON THIS GUITAR. (Providing no client veto from Mike, of course) He's been a pleasure to deal with and get to know since the NY show.
     
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  10. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Hey Rich.

    I wondered if it was maple, but yes, awesome is right. Never seen a piece of maple quite like this before. Serious score. Looking forward to the build progress.
     
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  11. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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    I hadn't, either. And that's the kind of wood that really speaks to me, the more rough, raw, unique stuff.
     
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  12. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    See, I knew I'd regret answering the question...where'd I get Katalox from? Rich definitely translated his happiness with this top, so no veto from me! I have no idea what pickguard he has in mind, hardware color...who knows? We've spent more time chatting about non-guitar things than guitars, nice way to build a friendship as well as an instrument.
     
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  13. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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    Here are the other ingredients as they are today.
    Sapele body (waiting on some pics from Mike before I start chambering):

    [​IMG]

    The torrefied maple neck:

    [​IMG]

    And the birdseye fretboard:

    [​IMG]

    Hard to see the grain on the fretboard in this pic, but it kills.
     
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  14. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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    Update on this gentleman's Eve! The body about half chambered (need those pics, cough cough):

    [​IMG]

    The headstock, matching both body woods. Hard to see without finish, but there's mahogany and roasted maple underneath the spalt cap:

    [​IMG]


    Whole enchilada as of this morning:

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    The wood is just so interesting!! I asked Rich if he's going to go darker, like the other Eve I wrote about in the initial post. He might, but it depends on how the guitar looks as it gets closer to finish. It would be my preference, because I think the contrast would look great against, and really show off, the birds eye maple neck. However, the idea is to let the wood do its thing, not force it, so we'll see where it ends up.

    Rich referenced pictures, and I have been remiss. He custom carves the belly and arm contours, so he wants to see pictures from the front and side, with the hand in picking position, so he can get an idea of how to match the contours to the player. I sent those pictures this evening, and expect the process to move a little faster. To be very clear, I have been the bottleneck, Rich has been spot on in terms of timing. Thanks for looking!
     
  16. shadpeters

    shadpeters Member

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    I've been following this build on instagram its looking pretty sweet. I actually cut the tree that that this top came from. I used to see it occasionally on my way to a buddies fabrication shop, it was a gnarly old maple snag that had been dead for a long time. I could see the curl and figure in the wood from the road so I worked it out with the property owner to take it down and milled it up. Glad to see it going to good use.
     
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  17. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    That's a great story! Do you have any pictures of the tree prior to cutting it down, or even afterward? It would nice to add that to the photo history of the guitar. I'm not at all sure how Rich is going to deal with the holes in the wood. As you probably guessed, I'm confident in his creativity and craftsmanship, so I'm sure it'll look great when done. Thanks for sharing some of the background.

    By the way, looked at your gallery and it looks like you build beautiful instruments.
     
  18. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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  19. mikealpine

    mikealpine Gold Supporting Member

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    This is looking really cool, Rich, thank you!! Love the little bit of that rusty color toward the bottom, and especially love how the knobs are well out of the way of the strumming area. Should be a pleasure to play!
     
  20. rich_chaffins

    rich_chaffins Silver Supporting Member

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    State of the guitar, as of right now:

    Frets and the clear pickguard here, with the McNelly Stagger Swagger neck pickup:

    [​IMG]

    Holes for controls:

    [​IMG]

    Neck joint made comfy:

    [​IMG]
     
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