February, 2010


Just completed this new maple body custom. It's got a few innovations and changes that I'll incorporate into future instruments.


The back bracing scheme is a little more guitar-like. I wanted to see what carving down the braces would do to the sound. And the answer is....this instrument has a nice bright tone and plenty of volume, but whether it's the bracing or the mojo is anybody's guess.

IMG_1871This tiger maple back and side set set is the big leaf variety from the west coast. It works easily (for maple) and finishes beautifully.


The latest also has the standard three-piece laminated neck, Honduras mahogany with a maple center section. I elected to eliminate the carbon fibre truss rods I've used in the past. The maple lamination provides plenty of added strength against string tension and the mahogany is very stable.

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Check out the photos below. The dark tobacco sunburst is offset by grainy ivoroid binding and polished chrome on the hardware. The headstock has the owners initials in pearl and my trademark logo on the tongue. My wife says this is a "manly" looking reso.
Here's another new feature; check out the natural ebony arm rest on the left lower bout. That's where the finish is usually worn off by the player's right arm abrading it all the time. Not now! No more arm sock in the summertime either. If the arm rest gets dirty and worn-looking, a quick once over with alcohol and fine emory paper will shine it up good as new.

This one's bound for Nashville. The next one's already a-buildin', and it's a maple body too, for a local picker. After that comes an experiment with an old stamped cone and a retro reproduction of a thirties- era Dobro model 37. I'll be trying to replicate that old-timey sound you heard from Brother Ozwald and Deacon Brumfield and them. Stay tuned!


Another Happy Customer
That's Perley Curtis, a popular Nashville session musician and performer getting his first look at his new Maple Standard last April. It was neat seeing him playing it on the Nashville Palace stage later that evening.

SOUND CLIP & SLIDE SHOW of Perley playing his original tune, "Waiting For Sunny Days" on his custom Burke dobro is here:

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Lupines 001

Early spring was a busy time in the shop with two new instruments delivered and a few more started.
Here are some photos;


"I just want to say how much I love my new Burke Resophonic guitar. This thing has so much tone it's scary! I could play it all day…."
Richard Bernier,
Backwoods Road

The above is Maine sugar maple with a standard mahogany/maple neck, ebony fretboard and
ivoroid binding. The gloss on this one came out extra special...that's our old hen house reflected in the back. The peghead overlay, as usual, is from the piece left over after cutting out the top to accomodate the cone.


That's me with Richard and his new Maple Standard at Guthrie's in Lewiston, Maine.

Below is a slightly different example built for a local violin maker. He wanted a slotted peghead and a varnish finish, like he does his fiddles. The peghead overlay on this one is ebony as is the fretboard and fretboard binding. The body is bound with tortise shell colored synthetic and darkened in an ozone chamber rather than stained, giving the wood a natural aged patina. Neat fiddle maker's trick! Then, spar varnish, applied with a brush, wet sanded and buffed to a high gloss. The 3-on-a-plate tuning machines are by Waverly, very nice units.

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This fall will see the completion of the 30's retro project which is now spoken for! Two more commissions, a few repairs and another 'experiment' are in the works for this season as well. I have a very nice American Cherry set that is aching to become a reso, and an Adirondack Spruce top that'll be looking for a rosewood back and side set to get acquainted with. I might even try a drednaught body shape for one of 'em if the mood strikes.
The humidity's soon to be leaving us for the winter, festival season's winding down...I can hear the shop callin'.

Fall & Winter, 2010-2011

Here are some shots of the pre-war replica project, finally finished, with a slotted headstock. The top design has that high-foreheaded, cross-eyed look of the older Regals. The tiger maple body is thin, 3 1/4", the neck is shaped square and plain and bound with ebony, with the fingerboard tongue squared off, a departure from my usual design, and it has some nice replica tuning machines that look very much like the old style. It sounds like you'd expect with the antique has a pre-war stamped lug cone. Very old-timey sound.






And here are some shots of the latest; Indian Rosewood back and sides, Adirondack Red Spruce top, mahogany neck with a maple center, ebony fingerboard and headstock veneer, herringbone purfling on the top and back stripe with ivoriod binding, bound ebony fingerboard and headstock, Waverly tuning machines with ebony buttons, nickel frets, Scheerhorn cone, Beard hardware, open body with posts and a parabolic baffle/deflector, hi-gloss KTM-9 finish.

This one went to the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival this past weekend. Lots of folks played it, all journeyman pickers, and the consensus is that it's my best so far in tone, volume, sustain and clarity.

"Great sounding guitar for sure. I picked it quite a bit.
Beautiful cosmetic work and awesome tone. This guitar is SLICK!!!!!"

Phil Leadbetter