©Terry Docherty Guitars 2013
This copy of a pre-1930's Martin 000 was made for John Yeaman of Beverley, to his specifications. The last of the great "12 fretters" before 14 fret neck/body joints became the norm, they've gone a bit out of fashion but they are a purists box and are absolute classics. I love them because they are as close to perfection as the steel string ever gets, aesthetically. Beautifully proportioned because the 12 fret joint naturally pushes everything lower on the diaphragm, including the waist and soundhole and so they very much echo the classical guitar, this one even more so because I built it to the Spanish "slipper heel" mode of construction in an "open" mould, with the neck and heel block as one unit and the sides slotted into it. It is also made of very old Brazilian Rosewood from a "scantling" set which means narrower pieces and 3, 4 or even 5 piece backs. This one has 3. The top was a beautiful AAA grade piece of European spruce with that much sought-after "bearclaw" figure in the grain and the whole thing set off with an abalone rosette which I made myself. The slotted and bound headstock with individual gold Schallers, finishes off the piece and it remains an instrument that I'm very proud to have made.
I know that John loves it and he could have made a handsome profit on it had he been willing to accept one of the many offers he's had for it over the years. One wag even tried to persuade his wife to promise to sell it to him if John popped his clogs prematurely. Thats friends for you! Personally I hope John gets another 50 years pleasure from it and anyway, if anything were to happen to him - IT'S MINE!
Some years ago, my son Michael decided he wanted to build an electric guitar but at 12 years of age, he did require rather a lot of help. It is the only solid electric guitar I've ever built and I enjoyed it in a way I never thought I would. With any new project, information is power and good planning is essential which is why it is built to the "Rod Cleasby" drawings of the the Gibson Les Paul to ensure exact proportions and measurements as well as construction technique, which first of all requires the making of several jigs and templates before you can begin in earnest. I would therefore recommend to any aspiring "solid" builder, that they read, think and learn as much as possible before embarking on a new project. By doing so you'll avoid the mistakes and pitfalls which derive from ignorance and the end product will be all the better for it and while I have no plans to build others, one should never say "never". I've only included here because it's part of a wider "portfolio" of work and in it's way, its every bit as important as any instrument I've ever made and unique in the sense of who it was made for, as a gift.
It's also worth saying that I didn't use any of the pre-cut kit parts that are widely available for the construction of solid electric guitars -where would the fun be in that? There's been more than enough "dumbing down" of the makers art over the years by commercial interests and If you don't believe me, read the "Stewmac" catalogue.
Les Paul Style
"I would go to Terry Docherty. He made me a Brazilian (rosewood) 000 11 years ago. I've never wanted another guitar since I received it"
A Special pre-1930s 000 with slotted headstock and ebony fingerboard bound in rosewood with white/black/white purfling, same as the soundbox binding. It has a bearclaw sitka spruce top with NZ Paua shell rosette and chrome Schaller tuners with pearloid buttons and a two-way adjustable truss rod. What makes it special is the fact that the back and sides are of Brazilian Rosewood and guitar afficionado's will know exactly what that means. Even as a brand new instrument, it is beginning to produce a sweet and rare tone so here is a high spec finger-stylists guitar and one for the purists amongst you with a price tag of £4,500 (and very good value at that!)
Martin 000 copy
“I thought that you’d like to know that I took the guitar out to play the other night at a local pub where there is an acoustic session. The guitar was much admired and remarks were made about the sound. Although I’ll admit to bias, the guitar did sound so much better than anything else there and that included a couple of Gibsons and a Martin D28. I continue to be very pleased. I like look at the wood and I like sounding the strings with the guitar on the stand and then crossing the room to listen o the sustain. I think that you’ll understand that.”
“I am honored to have such a wondrous-sounding guitar. It is a beautiful example of the luthier's art, and you should be justly proud. I promise to take good care of it, play it and love it, until the time comes for me to hand it on to another musician. One never really owns something so lovely and timeless, but is rather a custodian.”