New Guitar Build - McInturff Carolina To My Specs (PICS ADDED)

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Teleplayer, Feb 13, 2018.


  1. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    I recently closed a good business deal and decided to treat myself with something to create a nice memory.

    I have known Terry for 20 years via various online forums, phone conversations, emails, etc. I also owned a 1-off Zodiac Terry built for me in 1998, and have followed his career closely over the years.

    IMHO Terry is one of the finest builders on the planet. Impeccable experience and bona fides. Uber-deep knowledge of all things guitar-related. And, maybe most importantly, a gentleman to boot.

    While I am wholly into Fender scale guitars and love my Lentzes (currently have a Lentz '56 White Guard T in-process), I have been looking at Gibson scale guitars for quite some time now. I've owned a few over the years, including a killer '57 LP Junior that I recently sold to a dear friend, but have shied away from Gibsons for many reasons that aren't worth getting into here.

    That said, I wanted a true Gibson scale "Burst-Type" guitar, but with some of my/Terry's own twists. So we decided on his Carolina chassis, with a look that will be like this;

    [​IMG]

    The guitar will have all old growth H. Mahog. The carved top will be Eastern Red Maple. Neck - old growth H.M. chosen for proper resonance to match the body. Fingerboard will be 5A dark IRW. Terry's circle (bound) white MOP inlays like the picture, and a white MOP block inlay at the 12th fret. Throbak SLE-101 humbucker pickups custom wound (I'm not a big P90 fan), with a bit of anti-feedback thrown into the covers so the coils are not affected. Black gloss finished body, satin/matte black finished neck. 17 degree headstock pitch, 1 11/16" nut width, 12" radius, carved to my specs, soft/rolled shoulders. Terry's necks are crazy-great and incredibly stable. total weight will be under 9 pounds. And because it will be a color finish, he can focus all of his attention on mating the most toneful top to the body, without having to worry about unnecessary (to me) stuff like whether it has a nice flame or not.

    I just sent the downpayment and look forward to this instrument. Terry has mad skills and mad knowledge when it comes to building guitars. He has worked on many, many real 'Bursts and other 50s Les Pauls from various years, and knows the guitars inside/out/sideways/etc. He's been the chosen curator, etc. for various large collections, et al.

    Nobody I'd rather have build this guitar. And maybe one of the coolest things .... the neck blank he will be using was cut from the same group of old grown H.M that the neck on my 1998 Zodiac was made from. That blank alone has been in his possession air drying for 20+ years - on top of the fact that it was old growth to begin with.

    The wait begins. Gladly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  2. garyrogue

    garyrogue Gold Supporting Member

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    Congratulations on the build. I have 2 Carolinas, a custom and a standard. They are my fav LP/gib style builds. Not only the fingerboards "soft/rolled shoulders", but the top, I guess you'd say is rolled, just fits the body and forearm so well. Terry is awesome as you mentioned. I look forward to the build.
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    My ultimate Les Paul.... someday....
     
  4. j.s.tonehound

    j.s.tonehound Member

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    What does "anti feedback thrown into the covers" mean? Never seen that description before.
     
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  5. Jim Fairbairn

    Jim Fairbairn Member

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    Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful instrument.
     
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  6. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks Jim. If my memory serves me correctly, you're an old-time TCM guy too, aren't you?
     
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  7. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Terry spoke with Jon, as well as a couple other pickup makers.

    Terry and I are going for utter definition in the lower register, where you can actually hear the wood and wound strings (i.e., literally hear the winds on the string when you hit a G major or F major barre chord). No muddiness, no farting out on frets 1-4 when you hit single notes on the wound strings, open chords or barre chords. To that end, Terry believes Jon and Throbak is the way to go.

    Terry asked Jon about making a pickup with that type of clarity, that won't feedback uncontrollably or squeal when "standing in front of a 50w metal panel into a 4x12 cranked up" (as Terry defined it). So the covers will be treated, allowing utter clarity in the pickup without unwanted feedback and/or squeal. I believe he (Jon) does this for the pickups he provides to Collings.

    The "muddiness/farting out/deadness factor" in the lower register is one of my pet peeves with so many Les Pauls (though I estimate I've only had my hands on 75-100 of them over the years, so my sample size is somewhat small compared to others here), amongst many other issues. That's why I've always gravitated toward Fender scale guitars (especially Lentz, most recently) in my 43 years of playing - which includes gigging some pretty significant stages back home in Chicago, as well as recording.

    Clarity, clarity, clarity plus a pristine build process, extremely stable neck/tuning/intonation, and apex quality (from a guy that understands how to truly mate a combination of woods to get me the sound/tone/resonance I am seeking) ... all in a Gibson '59 Burst scale-type guitar, but looking like the black one the pic above. Oh yeah, and under 9 pounds.

    I hope all of that makes sense.
     
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  8. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Thank you Gary. Terry is such a gem to work with, such a standup and nice cat. It's so interesting to hear him fret/sweat the small details. You can literally hear his mind spinning as he plays out how he is already matching (in his mind) various body blanks with certain Eastern Maple in his wood stash, in order to get peak frequency resonance amongst the body, top and neck, etc. I am not certain who is more excited - me or Terry as he walks himself (and me) through the build process.

    He discussed his deep experience working on vintage Gibsons, current Gibsons, etc. over the 4+ decades he's been a luthier. He discussed the first time he worked on a real '59 Burst - and discussed the real scale length of the neck. I never realized the little known fact that Gibson made at least three different neck scales for Les Pauls, but how '59s were pretty much all a certain scale, etc. Fascinating speaking to a guy with that level of knowledge, that has had his hands on so many vintage pieces.

    Interestingly, I knew of Terry's uncanny experience because I've been talking with him for 20+ years now. But it's a bit different when you are really drilling down into that knowledge relative to your own build. Gives me a ton of additional comfort that I am having THE right guy build me guitar, and not just a guy that has been doing this for 10-15 years.
     
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  9. Jim Fairbairn

    Jim Fairbairn Member

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    You are correct. I still have Taurus #14 and the the Forum guitar. I also attended both fish n jams. I really admire and respect Terry as a builder as well as a human being. Now you have something to look forward to. Should sound great through those Top Hats.
     
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  10. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree. My TCM build is based on me most likely playing it through this A/B TopHat rig (two Emplexador Juniors - the High Gain proto and the first "Classic/Vintage" in a 1x12 V-logo cab; both 50w with the full-on 50w Emplexador Heyboer transformer set in each amp). Crazy-cool tones/sounds/vibe on a big stage:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. NeuroLogic

    NeuroLogic Supporting Member

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    I own 6 of Terry's guitars & have owned around 20. It's all true, they're all great as Terry is!
     
  12. j.s.tonehound

    j.s.tonehound Member

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    That's interesting. I wonder what the treatment is (though I would imagine that's a trade secret!).
     
  13. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    Nice build, congrats!
     
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  14. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Thank you.
     
  15. 56Tweed

    56Tweed Sub-Octave Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Looking forward to following the progress here. I still haven't had the chance to play a Carolina, but have only heard great things.

    Also, nice to see some of my old TCM friends come back out of the woodwork. I really miss the old TCM Forum days!
     
  16. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    That looks like a gorgeous guitar.

    I’m kicking around the notion of a Carolina Pro to replace my DGT (neck’s too skinny). I’ve heard nothing but good things about McInturff.
     
  17. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like paraffin wax....
     
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  18. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Terry's a gem; no doubt about that. I emailed/texted with him briefly today. I think he was more excited than me about the build. He was totally stoked as he was going through his wood stash.

    His skills and knowledge are sooooo deep. It's highly interesting to get into a discussion with him. I've had some really cool conversations with him so far about the neck carve, the shoulders, the Mild V-to-C carve and how much spine the neck will have in the area of the first 5-6 frets, etc.

    The story of the first 'Burst he worked on was really cool. Educational as heck, too.
     
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  19. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Rod, not sure if it's wax or not.
     
  20. guitararmy

    guitararmy Member

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    That's a beauty! I would have to get nicer clothes to play that, like a black tux.
    I've got two Mc's, a Monarch and a Taurus...
     
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