This guitar was made as part of Denis Merrill’s “Sonic Sitka” sound quality experiment. Denis obtained a large billet of exceptional Sitka Spruce, cut it into quarter-sawn book-matched soundboard blanks, and gave sets to 86 luthiers to use in acoustic guitars built with their individual designs. These guitars will be played by disinterested professional guitarists at guitar festivals over several years in an attempt to identify the role of the soundboard wood – as distinct from the instrument design – in guitar tone.
The soundboard was made from a really superb set of Sitka Spruce provided by Denis, and uses RainSong’s patented Projection Tuned™ BRACELESS “double soundboard” design licensed from them. The back-and-sides are Ziricote. The 660mm-scale-length fretboard is Ebony and the bindings are Ziricote, as is the bridge. The neck, heel & head block are Spanish Cedar, which is traditional for Spanish classical guitars. The peghead faceplate is African Blackwood, and is inlaid by Craig Lavin Custom Inlays with my trademark “Split-Skirt Sexy Modern Maui Girl” design.
The guitar is fitted with Waverly 2-tone gold tuning machines with Snakewood buttons. The peghead uses my proprietary Rear String Slot design and the heel has my signature Abalone heelcap. The inside of the soundboard is signed, dated and numbered (#18) by me.
The guitar has a very strong and full tone, with exceptionally powerful bass, and is set up with a low action for traditional Spanish classical playing.
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