Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by BIGGERSTAFF, May 21, 2005.
Terrycaster and Gemini porn.
Nice. McInturffs are the best.
excellent! I agree, McInturff are the best
I love my McInturff FLE 2 goldtop.
Two of the better ones made.
Next to my TerryCaster of course.
Thanks to Roger for linking to these pics. Roger's pics show a couple of different versions of the TCM Gemini and the TCM TerryCaster "chassis" that are available.
There are many similiarities between these two chassis, as can be seen by even a casual glance. In fact, these two PARTICULAR guitars show a great deal of shared design features ( I say these two "particular" guitars due to the fact that there is a very wide range of design flexibility in the Gemini model, moreso than on the TerryCaster model).
I have not been posting on the 'net very often in the past year. I am afraid that my "chops" are not current in this regard. I am wary of posting "spam", but I must admit that I am not aware of what type of information that I post will be considered "spam" and what will not be. Please inform!
I shall therefor post what is to follow....but...any feedback regarding any percieved "spam" in this post will be appreciated! If what I write comes across as "spam" please let me know via this thread. I will NOT be insulted, rather, I will be reminded of what constitutes a legitimate post.
I will attempt to remain true to the facts, and will abstain from any conjecture.
Please direct any comments regarding this post to me, personally, to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am going to be very active on the 'net again, and I need some feedback regarding my posting style so, thanks to all in advance. On to the (hopefully spamless) post.....
These two guitars, that Roger had so kindly mentioned, represent what is presently my newest TCM double-cutaway design, in two of it's many available forms.
Some of you may be familiar with my "original" double-cutaway design in it's basics, ala the TCM Glory, the TCM Empress, the TCM Royal, the TCM Zodiac, etc. The basic chassis for these guitars was designed and prototyped (ad nauseum) by me back in 1983 or so.
I stand firmly behind those models, as they really do represent my thinking as a guitar designer/builder/musician at the time. These TCM models, altho sharing many basic design features, really are separate and distinct from one another, so, one could own a Royal and an Empress and have no overlap of tonalities.
And, to this day, I hear that they are doing a pretty good job. I am so grateful for that. But my best work is now.
An employee of mine recently asked "how does it feel to have sold 2 or 3 thousand guitars?". My answer was "I am very flattered and blown away by that. It is a really small number, relatively speaking. But by the time that you reach that number....never, ever wanting to be a huge production shop...you will find yourself being "known" by certain guitars that you have nowadays bested, big-time".
"You will be wanting to let people know about your growth as a builder. You want things like the various Gemini's, the newest Taurus', the xxxxxx that we are prototyping, and the TerryCaster to be what you are judged by. But it takes time to get enough of the newest stuff into the market, and so to build upon the state-of-your-art and hense, your reputation. In my case, that means that I am known largely by guitars that I designed in the early 1980's, and which were moderately updated in the 1990's when I launched TCM.".
One lasting TCM design that was developed back in those times, circa 1983...and which I do not intend to change, significantly, for the remainder of my career...is the overall TCM neck design/build process.
May I brag (as if I were not being too "forward" already!)?
As of this writing, there are aprox 3800 TCM guitars out there in the world that sport the same neck design that I finalised back in 1983 or so. To date, I have not had one guitar returned due to neck twisting, warping, or "straight with a loose truss rod".
To brag even further (is my bragging getting tiresome yet? I suspect so!) the TCM neck has no "magic" truss rod or somesuch. It has no "special" multi-laminate design. It DOES have a proprietary (developed by TCM in the early 1980's) use of graphite composite reinforcement rails. These do not run the length of the neck...as doing so introduces complications aplenty.
One of these many complications is the fact that too much graphite in the neck raises the predominant resonant frequency of the neck (which is a a MAJOR tone producer, IMO) too high for my taste. There are other challenges involved with reinforcing the neck with graphite, tonal and structural.
Graphite neck reinforcements are not to be taken lightly. To me, the main aim is to minimise the effect of the material upon the neck's tone. I have found that the use of this material can be very useful...but only as a part of a complete "neck recipe". Graphite rails can make a neck sound awful, FAST. I have learned that there is a very narrow "window" within which to work with this material, tonally.
When it used a certain way...it is fabulous.
My particular use of this material is one of the things that I view as being a "TCM thing". Anyway....
Gollee, this is reading like pure "salesmanship" now.....this is the type of posting that I want feedback about regarding "spam"...am I crossing the line? I want to know!!
So, I designed a neck that has been proven in terms of it's reliability. The TCM neck also has a "sound". What does the TCM neck "sound" like? It varies in relation to the materials used in the neck...but there are basic commonalities, even between a solid IRW TCM neck and a Hondouras Mahogany TCM neck with a Gaboon Ebony fretboard.
The neck of any guitar is a big tonal contributor IMO and, as a guitar designer/builder of 26 year's experience, I have to take that into consideration, big-time.
The TCM neck design, overall, imparts an articulate aspect to what will come out of the speakers.
The TCM neck "feeds" the body of the guitar with an accurate reproduction of what the artist is doing as regards minute finger pressure, left hand minutae, right hand minutae, and if you change guitar pick thickness' and makeup, you will hear it thru the speakers.
The TCM neck is stiff, stable, but tonally reactive to the materials that are used to make it. But, overall, it contributes a sense of "immediacy" to the playing experience...regardless of the various scale lengths and wood choices that I now offer. The individual characteristics of the materials/scale length used will shine thru, and will be noticable under the hand, as well as thru the speakers.
You may ask "why has Terry made such a big deal about his neck design? And what does this have to do with Roger's post? Ok, the TCM neck is so 'stable' and stuff, but the neck is only just a part of the total guitar..and thus, only a part of what I feel under my hand, and feel/hear thru the amp".
Answer.....maybe I am trying to clue you readers into my mindset, as regards the inner workings of a guitar designer with my level of experience (can I say that without sounding concieted? We are talking about 26 years, full-time luthierie experience, experience involving well over 30,000 stringed instruments. How do I present that without sounding headstrong, a liar, or like a salesman? Email me. I want to know!).
I think that:
1) A guitar is a TOOL for making music, first and foremost. It should be, merely, a means by which people can express themselves, and this self expression is all important...and the various features of the "tool" (guitar) pale in importance by comparison.
2) Ask ANYONE that has ever mounted a tour as a guitarist, and they will tell you...the main thing of importance to the working guy/gal is that the guitar is "stable"...it is not fussy, and does not require much "babying". It sounds appropriate, but they would rather have a reliable tool, if it came down to tone vs reliability.
That "stability" is ALL about the neck in the case of a solid or semi-hollow electric guitar. Personally, I TOTALLY get into the minutae of tones, even if I know that some of that stuff is not as important to the "pros" as it is to me.
2) Since I have always viewed the guitar as being, basically, a tool... back in "the day" I made a goal of designing a "woody sounding"...yet repeatably STABLE neck.
My goal was to find just the right design and build methodology that would yield a REALLY stable neck that would NOT sound like solid granite. It would sound like the materials that it was made of, but which would be stable and predictably reactive to the various environs to which it was exposed.
3) Having achieved THAT, we can FINALLY get to the part that pertains, specifically, to Roger's two particular guitars.
MAJOR insight to the design recipe that I have been following for many years. I'd like to share some of what I have learned. Interested?
Major HINT to my fellow guitar designers...arrive at an unbeatably reliable...and infinitely repeatable... neck design/build process....then, when satisfied via a few hundred necks, consider those results to be a constant...know, in your head/heart what that neck design contributes to the overall "picture"...and proceed to design the rest of any guitar assuming that now, the contribution of the neck (stability/toolwise and tonewise) is well known to you.
This is a MAJOR thing for a guitar maker, to get the neck design perfected and in-place. That is crossing a Rubicon.
4) Now comes the design of the body, and all of the important things that go with this....
Is anybody interested in hearing some of my own guidelines as they apply to this? Let me know.
This is where everything comes together, as regards Roger's newest TCM guitars.
We have arrived at a very predictable neck in terms of it's stability when exposed to changing environs....as well as what this neck can be predicted to contribute to the guitar, tonally.
I am afraid that I have hijacked this thread, and have turned it into an in-depth look at how electric guitars work, as viewed by Terry McInturff.
I do not know if there is any REAL interest in reading my views upon the topic.
I may be committing an "internet chat room no-no" by doing so, but I do not know how to gauge this.
Let me know if I have crossed the line of good Internet taste in this post. I love to share knowledge, and may have, indeed, come across as more of a "business booster" than I had intended to do.
I will watch this thread upon occassion and, if there seems to be a sufficient level of interest why, I will continue to write about the electric guitar...as a whole...as I see it.
When I can.
But, I am counting upon all of you to let me know what I can..and what I should not...post on the 'net in general. All serious comments will be greatly apppreciated.
Great to see a post from you. And wow - that is one helluva post!
In general on the Gear Page, as long as you are posting in response to a question or adding facts to correct something within a thread, it is fine to add all the context you need. Even pricing.
SPAM occurs when you post things without any provocation or request. For example, if you had started the thread and posting the pics.
None of this applies to the "Dealer Emporium" we have here; spam the heck out of that section; it is needed, wanted and we love it there.
Hey Terry, make sure to come see us at HC, too. ;^)
Wow, thanks Terry for chiming in! I definitely concur with regards to the necks on your guitars, as they kick booty. I got to give the Gemini a workout tonight at the local jam, to much aplomb.
Gemini and TerryCaster look nice.
I like that whole new fangled Tele take pretty cool plus a rosewood neck on top of that, should make for interesting tone.
the Gemini looks to be Korina wood? Nice choice.
Besides that thanks Terry for chiming in, but .. shorter chunks next time!
Besides that your Empress guitars are just the best bang for the buck, awesome and versatile!
The body on the Gemini is black limba, so I guess that's close enough to korina.
"I do not know if there is any REAL interest in reading my views upon the topic."
There is a ton of interest in hearing you views on guitars. Don't just limit yourself to this thread though. I bought my Chapin in large part because Bill was very invloved in answering all types of questions about scale length, wood choices, pickups, bridge types.... and how the effect guitar as a whole. So don't hold back when someone asks the question, "What are tonal differences between these two scale lengths?" or "Do you think this wood combination would sound good?", or whatever else. It is great to have you on board (no pun intended).
AND, Terry does the best nitro finish in the world.
I'd love to hear more info/opinions from Terry!
I am honored to be welcomed so. Many thanks. I'd be delighted to chat guitars with you.
Anyone that has a question, feel free to post it either on this thread or a new one. I will do my best to answer in short order as time permits.
Terry's a great guy, and builds one hell of an instrument. My first foray into TCM's were with the Taurus Standard. What an incredible instrument. I cannot say enough good things about it without sounding like a blind loyalist.
I now play a FLE, which is based on the Taurus chassis, but features a 1 piece ash body, maple top, and a mahogany neck w/ rosewood board. You would not expect the tones you can get out of this instrument with the ash body. Terry took us to school over at the TCM forum when he explained that there are a number of tonal properties a builder can choose to emphasize when selecting/working with tone woods. The FLE is a guitar that puts out a tone that's about 3 feet thick, yet retains all of the articulation and clarity that I have come to expect from a TCM.
That Gemini is a serious instrument as well. I'll let Roger tell you about it's mojo. It's a 25th Anniversary model that I hope will see regular production in some form, because it really is its own thing, and it brings a lot to the table that would otherwise be out of reach for many players.
I am currently torn between purchasing another FLE from a TCM forum member, or going with a DRP. The DRP is Terry's "Designer's Reserve Program". Starting with a number of design features that Terry offers, I put together an instrument in my mind that I believe would be my "ideal" McInturff. If the FLE falls through, I will be moving forward with the DRP.
There's only 30 FLE's out there. Mine is currently on tour with some friends. With TCM's, I don't have "need" for a backup, but the only guitar that can successfully backup a FLE, is another FLE...and it's my sound...so I can't stray too far from that.
For anyone whose interested in TCM's, my advice is to go for it. The Gemini's, Taurus Standards, and no doubt the Terrycaster's are amazing instruments. I don't have much experience with Terry's other models, but if the Taurus and Gemini are the "future" for Terry and his work, the future is looking bright
I've got the Taurus, Gemini, and Terrycaster bases covered and I'm excited about the upcoming projects. The Gemini is monstrous as Rob pointed out, in that it's got a huge girth to it's tone yet the typical McInturff articulation. It's got a Gibson scale, so even though it's got 11s on it, the strings feel like 10s in terms of bends which with my style is pretty important. Warren Haynes would definitely dig it, though it would be suitable for so much more than just that style.
Hi, Terry. Very nice to hear from you again, thanks for sharing all the info. on your guitars! In general, if your originating your own thread on a new product, it probably belongs in the Dealers Emporium but, as Scott's noted, when responding to someone else's post about your products with specific explanatory info., if you check other similar posts on the forum for amps, guitars, effects, and more, many builders do that. It's one of the reasons we're all here.