Matt Danser of Austin, Texas, anoints us with a follow-up to that beautiful Parlor guitar on our high-end room wall – you know - the one crafted with its quilted Bubinga hanging out for all to see on our website (just enter 39-1119 in the search tool) with this visually and sonically shocking double O in a type of Brazilian rosewood that dermatologists call “old growth.” The Double O dimensions of this guitar makes it small enough to play in an armchair (so as to continuously amuse one’s self) but large enough to easily mount a Grand Concert for a roomful of folks.
There are two primary legal sources of this good old growth stuff, namely stumps and barns. When these trees were sawn down many years ago, it was often executed by two guys holding long crosscut saws at about chest level where they could get the most efficient arm movement, so the stumps are about four feet tall, leaving quite a bit of nicely grained wood above ground. Also, there are many buildings in rural Brazil that, naturally, were fashioned out of local trees, and therefore have Brazilian rosewood beams! So now, enterprising tone wood suppliers are traveling to these hard-to-reach locales and asking, as Charlie Poole did in 1925 (except now they ask in Portuguese), “Can I sleep in your barn tonight, Mister?” They update the second verse to, “Would you mind if I took that beam with me?” Well, we’re glad the permission was granted because this is a guitar whose back and sides are made from one of those beams. You can turn the instrument over between songs, happily grain gaze, and lose yourself in startled wonderment. And then, if you turn it over again, the exceedingly elegant Englemann top captures light in so many diverse ways that it can mesmerize. (Mommy, why is that person holding up that guitar and moving it around so strangely in front of the window?) As if that weren’t enough, the generous soundhole rosette and the slotted peghead veneer are also of the same Brazilian and the binding (outside of the herringbone), the heel cap, and the butt wedge are all of curly maple.
The neck is quarter sawn, homogenously grain structured, Honduran mahogany. The fingerboard and twin pyramid (Cheops and Khafre, we believe) bridge are ebony, matched by the black button Waverly tuners. Said fingerboard is left blank and deeply black, adding to the tasteful good looks and requiring attention paid to the side dots. A woodie’s dream, this is. The nut is 1 ¾” and both it and the saddle are bone. The old D. Nigra back and sides combined with the Englemann top, braced with loving craftsmanship to respectfully imitate the Martins of the 30’s, and finished with a thin layer of nitro-cellulose lacquer, produces superb sonic clarity from bottom through midrange to top creating a magical voicing balance between all the strings.
Chords loosed with a plectrum celebrate six totally tonally separate notes against a background of overtones dancing in and out of earshot like aural meteorites (or an especially energetic paintball fight). Finger-plucked melodies evoke a riveting story as you play them while your supporting thumb notes chime in as if Luther Vandross was singing bass backup. Then there’s the promise of the future. A guitar made of these materials and crafted with this level of skill and taste according to these time-honored methodologies will only improve with the passage of time.
This particular iteration of Mr. Danser’s art has already been sold to a vintage fretted instrument collector who, before experiencing this instrument, had not bought a NEW guitar in 40 years. If this special and beautiful cornucopia derived from the brilliant bloom of nature’s bounty sounds like something you’d like to add to your own future, please call us and we’ll ask Mr. D to build you one just like it.