The Serah model is an original design I have been developing and evolving for at least a decade with the support and collaboration of my friend Paul Schmidt, author of Art That Sings and Acquired of the Angels. The design is decidedly influenced by the artistry of one of my lutherie heroes, Steve Klein. Along with it’s visual statement, the long lower bout and high waist help maximize bass response in a relatively small bodied guitar. The shape of the body also facilitates my concept in arching and plate shaping for carved top guitars which is based on my years building mandolins as much as studying the work of D’Aquisto. Part of the conception of the Serah was to create a strong design versatile enough to translate into flat top, arched top, and electric guitars. She’s a unique and comfortably ergonomic 15”wide guitar.
Below is a slide show showing a Serah build in process.
If you are interested in learning more about the work of Steve Klein or a little more about Paul Schmidt's and my collaboration on Klein style guitars, I encourage you to visit the Klein Community website. Paul sent me an old rosewood neck blank from Klein's closed acoustic shop, a completed top by Steve Kaufman, the carved ivory moon from Ron Fromkin, a Klein bridge, and a rare set of pink ivory back and sides. We sourced additional salvaged estate ivory from David Warther that I used to craft tuner buttons, binding, and the individual Klein saddle pieces. I had the pleasure of building what was needed and turning all these components into a guitar. It was an amazing project that I am honored to have been a part of.
Below is Al Petteway of Dream Guitars playing the Pink Ivory Moon.
The Bluesette model came about as the result of a couple conversations with friends. We noted how much we loved the look of the old “Robert Johnson guitar” or L-1 but that they didn’t sound as good as the later upsized L series guitars. Which led to talk about how the deeper bodied Nick Lucas model was even better sounding and underwent the same change from the smaller rounder L-1 to the squarer larger L-0 along with changes in neck to body joint. We thought it would be awesome to make a guitar with the larger 14 ¾” L-0 body with the older rounded L-1 type shape and the Nick Lucas model’s 4 ½” depth. That was the genesis of the Bluesette model. It’s a classy old time Kalamazoo inspired small body with a lot of depth and versatility. Thanks Andy Disney and Sean Geil.
The video below is Sean Geil and Mike Oberst of The Tillers playing one of Mike's tunes honoring Woody Gutherie.
The Orenda model is my most unique offering. It boasts a bass side upper bout sound hole and side sound port, as well as, a lower bout access panel on the back of the instrument to facilitate repairs and electronics installation. From the sculpted bridge, to the inlays, to the sound holes, the design elements represent forms in nature that echo and harmonize with each other. It features my own radial bracing that is inspired by the concepts of Dr. Michael Kasha. The Orenda's sound is concise, loud, and punchy with a good balance. The tone and volume are even across the guitar's entire range. It can be driven hard with a loud percussive strum but also responds articulately with fingerstyle play. Standard features include a red spruce top and a walnut neck with a katalox fingerboard.
Below is one of my first regular repair customers Jeremy Francis demoing a redwood topped Orenda.