"Spitfire" archtop

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Murray Kuun
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"Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

My newest project is just about ready to "fly", just final electronic connection. An hommage to those wonderful WW2 flying machines and my late father-in-law who was the worlds greatest "spit" admirer. The top and back is hand-carved, top German spruce and the back cherry, the sides are bandsaw cut from solid rather than bent okoume wood. It is meant as a hybrid which can be used in acoustic mode, albeit not very loud but much louder than say a 335.
Since this photo, I have made a few subtle changes, a thinner pup ring and a smaller pick guard.
The pup is a pure jazz model by Iconix.
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spit1 copy.jpg

Jason Rodgers
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Jason Rodgers »

I'll trust your eye on the pickup ring and pick guard, but I'll take her as she is.

Have you always used the disjointed keystone headstock detail? It looks familiar to your style, but I don't remember having looked through it before.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Mark Swanson »

I think that's very good, Murray. I like it a lot. if I were to change anything, I'd change the bridge and make it a full contact. I think the acoustic tone and sustain would probably benefit if you did that.
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Murray Kuun
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

I try to change or improve my designs for each guitar, this headstock is a derivation of my "fab4" model.
I found with my previous nylon archtop that bridge design is critical, this is tge first bridge design on this guitar and will try others as we go. Never thought about full contact though, always follow my violin making instincts.

Michael Lewis
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Michael Lewis »

Murray, your headstock looks like something Michio Matsuda would come up with, except yours is symmetrical. Rather eye catching.

Murray Kuun
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

The headstock is an effort to introduce some deco detailing ....

Paco Jimenez
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Paco Jimenez »

What a beauty.

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Really beautiful. Again some experiments with bridges might be interesting - some archtops sound better with full contact bridges, others with two feet.

Gilbert Fredrickson
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Gilbert Fredrickson »

Aye, she's a regular "spitfire," Murry. Another inspiration. I forget now which guitar of yours I had planned to copy.

Mario Proulx
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Mario Proulx »

Nice!

I don't, however, understand your finger rest(pickguard). Why is it so narrow nearest the bridge, where it needs to be at its widest? I mean, it looks good, and fits the overall esthetics of the guitar, but its functionality is near zero, no?

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Mario, what is the use of a pickguard on an archtop? Holder of pickup and electrics, if freely floating. Anything else?

You might notice that i consider these pickguards mainly as decorative elements, which unfortunately might affect the sound of the guitar.

Mario Proulx
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Mario Proulx »

On a carved instrument, the "pickguard" is actually referred to as, and used as, a finger rest.

Murray Kuun
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

Ah, the pickguard. Well Mario, I have gone even sleeker, see pic :-) Nobody ever buys my guitars and so I design for my own use - and I don't use a pick guard at all.
I've noticed that some players use it as a finger rest and there is more than enough space for a finger to rest on. In this case, it is purely aesthetic (and it even looks nice without it IMO). At one stage I did consider fitting the volume control to the underside but I'm not doing that anymore either.

Thanks for the compliments, this is my penultimate guitar.
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spit 007ss.jpg

Murray Kuun
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

What does bother me on many archtop finger rests/pick guards is the apparent lack of forethought of some designers. They go to all the trouble of cutting nice f-holes and even binding them, then go and cover half of the f-hole with a huge pick guard. One of my favourite pick guards is a tiny one on one of the Monteleone archtops .... just a "point".

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Murray Kuun wrote: Nobody ever buys my guitars and so I design for my own use
That's a pity.

Murray Kuun
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Murray Kuun »

The Spitfire gets it's first real test by a good local jazz player Lance George.
Check out the informal video .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Kvm1EZ4 ... e=youtu.be

Jason Rodgers
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Nice! What did he have to say about it?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Art Davila
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Art Davila »

I really love your guitar.
I have lots of ideas I want to try (when I get better at building),
simply because I want to see the design come to life.
I remember seeing another natural toned top and walnut humbucker rings.
Your guitar is so unique, its a little to cool for standard pick up rings just my 2 cents
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

Samuel Hartpence
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Re: "Spitfire" archtop

Post by Samuel Hartpence »

Beate Ritzert wrote:
Murray Kuun wrote: Nobody ever buys my guitars and so I design for my own use
That's a pity.
Agreed, and at the risk of sounding redundant, another home-run. My skills are nowhere near yours, as well as my sense of taste and design, but each of your pieces have been absolutely refreshing, and has given me a level to aspire to. I really think these would have universal appeal, and perhaps you are in need of some sort of marketing consultant to get some more eyes on them.

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