Foro Flamenco
Posts Since Last Visit | Advanced Search | Home | Register | Login

Today's Posts | Inbox | Profile | Our Rules | Contact Admin | Log Out



This site is dedicated to the memory of Paco de Lucía, Ron Mitchell, Guy Williams, Linda Elvira and Philip John Lee who went ahead of us too soon.
We receive 12,200 visitors a month from 200 countries and 1.7 million page impressions a year. To advertise on this site please contact us.







New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote   You are logged in as Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >>Discussions >>Product Reviews >> Page: [1]
Login
Message<< Newer Topic  Older Topic >>
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote 

Yo guys, what's up?

I happened to stumble upon a luthier here in Cologne that builds flamenco guitars by the name of Merlin Grote. He "modified" my classical guitar and lowered its action as far as it can go. While I was in his workshop I got the urge to ask him a lot of stuff about guitar building and wood types and bracings and all this sorta stuff. He's very young, just a couple years older than me, but he knows a lot about his craft so it seems. I played some of his guitars and they sound and play great, and they look fantastic. He is a very precise craftsman. Beside that, he builds a slightly bigger plantilla which fits me well, because I have long arms and big hands, it's quite a difference switching from a small bodied classical guitar to a flamenca with a big butt. That's basically what got me interested in asking him to have him make a guitar for me.

So I decided to make my dream come true: I'll get a custom handmade guitar! I went for the following: Alpine spruce top, walnut back and sides, 660mm scale length, 52,5mm nut width, pegheds tuning pegs.
He uses Cedrela for the neck on his flamenco model, which is fine with me. We worked together on the design of the rosette, which was kinda new to me. I didn't know what to do when he asked me if I had any kind of mosaic in mind, so I went with the simple rope pattern, but I think it turned out beautiful. I wanted to incorporate my own design of a headstock I made years ago and asked him if it would be possible. He tweaked the design here and there and I think it has become really beautiful. I'll see if I can add it to this post afterwards, because I can upload one picture only

What do y'all think? The walnut looks beautiful and it's THE wood when building ouds, I kinda like this idea. Though I don't know how it's gonna sound as I have no idea how such a piece is gonna resonate once put together. Merlin says it's gonna sound very flamenco-like and loud because he wants a lightweight build.
I'd upload more pictures as the building process goes on and plan on doing a litttle review at the end.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2017 14:36:32
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 587
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Hi Jalal

Walnut is not so common for flamenco guitars but I have heard that it works quite well. I looked up your luthier and found that he studied at the School of Musical Instrument Crafts at Newark College in the UK. The college attracts students from all over Europe. I know of a young French guy who studied Woodwind repair and making there. He made a fine bass clarinet while he was there.

It is exciting to be able to check out your guitar as it progresses. Keep us posted.

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2017 21:17:02
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 587
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Here is a walnut Conde -played by RIchard Brune

https://www.flamenco-guitar.net/museum/hermanos-conde/hermanos-conde-1985-guitar-2/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2017 21:31:23
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to RobJe

Hi Rob, yes Merlin has a Diploma with distinction. I'm really excited about the final outcome, definitely gonna keep you posted.

I've seen this walnut conde, it does sound and look really nice. Let's see what mine is gonna do

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 19 2017 9:10:35
 
benros

 

Posts: 75
Joined: Aug. 27 2016
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

hey jajal, i would really like to see the headstock design. could you post a picture?
greetings,
ben
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 19 2017 14:27:50
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to benros

quote:

ORIGINAL: benros

hey jajal, i would really like to see the headstock design. could you post a picture?
greetings,
ben


Hey ben, have a look at it. Since I can't post more than one picture, I made a collage for you to see. I've gone through a lot of sketches for about two years. The one you see in the upper picture on the right is my final sketch. Merlin thought the outer edges were too pointy and might be prone to breaking, so he made the 'devil horns' shorter, as he likes to call them his own sketch is on the left next to mine. Now it looks like one of my very first design sketches. on the last picture you can see the current results. It's not ready yet, but it looks absolutely stunning in my opinion. He'll add some more finer hallmarks into the lowered bit. Now it has a really arabic flair, mine looks a little more floral. But if I were to build my own guitar, I'd try out my own design



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 21 2017 17:11:42
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Update: I visited him last week and he braced the top, bent the sides and connected the neck with the top. He made a '51 Marcelo Barbero bracing system with a parabolic brace profile and an asymmetric lower harmonic bar. I totally forgot to shoot some pictures, but I'll do when I visit him again

Yeah I know, these details might be a little geeky for an amateur like me, but I like this stuff *shrugs*

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2017 11:13:51
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

i looked at my baby yesterday, the sides are joined and today he's gonna close the box. i'm very excited about the outcome



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 18 2017 11:13:59
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

the walnut has a very deep and warm chocolate brown color, it looks beautiful.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 18 2017 11:17:23
 
pundi64

Posts: 210
Joined: Jul. 29 2016
From: Thailand

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Jalal all looks very good, anticipating more updates.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 18 2017 21:05:45
 
benros

 

Posts: 75
Joined: Aug. 27 2016
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

heyho jalal,
i was at merlins workshop yesterday and have seen your guitar. very promising, seems to become a bomb! but i would suggest two things:
1. dont go with the kingwood bridge you chose. its much too heavy for a flamenca (probably even for a classical).
2. dont take an ebony fingerboard. your guitar weighs only 1050 gram sofar and if you take an ebonyfingerboard you add some 250 gr on the neckside which will not give a balanced ratio. merlin has a goldregen fingerboard at his shop which would fit aesthically perfect to your design and is much lighter.
anyway, i think it will be a great instrument.
greetings
ben
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2017 15:57:53
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to benros

hey ben,
wow didn't think you'd visit him! are you by chance from germany (cologne?!) or did you just occasionally visit cologne? and thanks for your thoughts about my guitar-to-be, hearing that from another guitarmaker really does mean a lot I'm very excited !!
thanks for your suggestions, I'd like to ask you questions about them:
1. does the weight of the raw bridge blank matter since you shape it down to its final shape and weight? I thought the sonic features of the kingwood blank I chose were quite good (I tapped and weighed them and took the lightest of the best sounding).
2. if the guitar really is this light, I'd go for another fingerboard. to me it's important to have this guitar as balanced as possible and I also asked merlin what he thinks of rosewood fingerboards. my curent guitar has what seems to be a rosewood fingerboard and I haven't had any problems in over 4 1/2 years. I'll hit him up and have a look at the goldregen fingerboard, might be something to think about!

much love
Jalal

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 13 2017 20:24:19
 
benros

 

Posts: 75
Joined: Aug. 27 2016
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

hihi, yes, im from cologne too (aka kölsche jung). actually im building a guitar at merlins workshop.
if the bridge plank is so heavy, the bridge will not be light enough. even if you make it really thin, i would be surprised, if it comes out under 20 gr.
the goldregen would be a great choice, if you like it colourwise. its very light but hard enough to make a good fingerboard and its a very rare wood (merlin has only one piece of it, which he saved for the right guitar).
greetings
ben

ps: here you can find some info about goldregen:
http://www.wood-database.com/laburnum/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 21:13:43
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to benros

ooooh a fellow kölsche jung, sehr schön!

yeah I do look up a lot of stuff about woods in the wood-database to get a general idea of the feats of the various wood types (one should keep in mind that the numbers in the wood-database are estimates and averages, so it might not be too reliable, but still a good estimate for a general idea and for comparisons), and I looked it up just when I read your post about the goldregen. I've read that laburnum darkens with time, which means its golden color would go to a lush golden brown. unfortunately, the goldregen merlin has has some sort of fungus in it so he won't use it :( I hope he can find another piece of laburnum, it would be quite special. as of the bridge, I'll probably go with something lighter, I'll visit him next week some day and have a little chit-chat with him

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 19 2017 16:10:18
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2538
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Looks great so far, congrats on the new build.

I used Walnut for the first time recently on a classical commission. You can see pictures in the imgur link below.
My house is actually surrounded by huge Black Walnut trees, probably 8-10 on the property. The squirrels love it.

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, guitar maker
Website: http://www.andyculpepper.com
YT channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/deteresaFlamenco
More photos of my work: https://luthier86.imgur.com/all/#1/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 21 2017 1:04:11
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Thank you very much Andy
I somehow can't have a good look at your imgur at work and the app isn't very good either, there's only one picture to see. I'll try looking at them when I'm home.

That sounds beautiful, actually I was thinking of planting a lot of walnut trees when I have my own property one day. Don't forget to plant some hazel trees for the squirrels, they'll love you even more

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 22 2017 8:46:58
 
rombsix

Posts: 6342
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to Andy Culpepper

quote:

The squirrels love it.


That's what she said.

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2017 0:28:22
 
bananaboxing15

 

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug. 28 2017
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

look very good
i love it

_____________________________


คอร์เพลงง่ายๆ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2017 9:16:54
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to bananaboxing15

thank you very much BTW Andy I can't access your imgur, seems like it's reserved for the US only to have a look at your image gallery. I can look at your albums though. would you mind putting your new ones in an album? :x

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2017 21:34:39
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2538
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

Huh, that's strange... let me know if this works: https://imgur.com/a/QXiCB

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, guitar maker
Website: http://www.andyculpepper.com
YT channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/deteresaFlamenco
More photos of my work: https://luthier86.imgur.com/all/#1/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2017 0:43:26
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to Andy Culpepper

yes, that worked! thank you.

that's an interesting design, especially the "cutaway" and the rosette going into the fretboard. was it your idea?
do you think that wood types determine the way a guitar would end up sounding like or is it rather the way the wood is worked? if your answer is the former, would you say that walnut is suitable for a flamenco guitar/would you consider building a flamenco guitar with walnut back and sides?

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2017 12:48:49
 
orsonw

Posts: 1337
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

quote:

would you say that walnut is suitable for a flamenco guitar


I know this question is not directed at me and I can't personally answer it- but this walnut Conde has had lots of praise from people who know:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=296078&p=1&tmode=1&smode=1

EDIT: sorry I see it's already been referred to in this thread.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2017 13:05:47
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to orsonw

it's okay, if you have an answer go ahead and say it. I don't mind more than one opinion at all i've seen this one and it's really highly praised, but I would need a much better recording to have a good subjective reference.

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2017 15:36:31
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 2422
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

quote:

would you say that walnut is suitable for a flamenco guitar?


LONG ANSWER: Some time ago (just realised nearly 20 years) I was asked to do some teaching at a "Spanish Guitar Centre" as I apparently knew more flamenco than their "flamenco" teacher who was a "jack-of-all-styles" who taught classical, blues/rock and "a bit of flamenco I sight read out of the Wayne Martin book".

I used to teach in the back of the shop and there were several guitars around for teachers (mostly classical) to use. There was an old Sanchis blanca from the seventies but the action was so high, I think someone must have taken it camping in Wales and it warped as the strings were nearly an inch off the soundboard! (I think I might be exaggerating a bit, but not much). I preferred to use a walnut back and sides Harald Petersen classical. Nice guitar, neck and action much easier to play, and they put a golpeador on it for me.

Eventually I started to get good enough to realise how bad I was and quit the teaching. I got offered a job that paid me enough money to take lessons instead of giving them.

SHORT ANSWER: Yes.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2017 16:23:10
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to mark indigo

if walnut is such a good wood for guitars (because i've only heard GREAT stuff about it so far) why is it such an underdog? why don't people use it more often?

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 4 2017 1:00:26
 
Echi

 

Posts: 335
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

In my experience Walnut sounds quite similar to maple.
The main factor to consider is the level of dampening of your board as there is quite a variability. I found Mediterranean walnut a good option.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2017 22:02:09
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to Echi

merlin used a piece of european walnut that grew here in Germany. he says that it sounds very brilliant, so I suppose the dampening wouldn't be too much of a problem?

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2017 15:21:45
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 2422
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

quote:

if walnut is such a good wood for guitars (because i've only heard GREAT stuff about it so far) why is it such an underdog? why don't people use it more often?


I only suggest it is potentially suitable. The guitar I played was a classical, but serviceable for flamenco. Not ideal, but not bad.

Dunno why it's not used more - hard to work? inconsistent? too expensive? unfashionable? Maybe not so good for flamenco as cypress but not so good for classical as rosewood? I'm guessing...

EDIT: sorry, what am i talking about, walnut will be great for your guitar, it will have all the best qualities from all the other types of wood combined.

Luthiers please put down your tools and answer the question before I talk any more rubbish.... why don't you make guitars from walnut.

ok, i will just shut up now....

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2017 16:24:44
 
Perrate

 

Posts: 26
Joined: Jul. 23 2015
 

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to mark indigo

hey great. I´m happy for you.
it`s very nice for you to go with the guitar throw the workingprocess.

Don`t worry because of the wood....you made a good choice.
Cypress ist a very common wood for flamenco guitar. The wood was always cheap and flamenco guitars used to be cheap working guitars...in the early ages.
So cypress is responsible for the characteristic flamenco sound wich we like ...

But the sound and the way of playing changed a lot in the last years.
You can use nearly every wood. The way the guitar is build and used by the player makes the big deal.

Be happy to have wood on your guitar wich is grown a few kilometers of your home.

I use swiss maple, cherry and spruce....for me it is a nice aspect in guitar building.
Material patriot ;-)
Have fun
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2017 19:38:17
 
jalalkun

Posts: 106
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: New Flamenco Guitar by Merlin Grote (in reply to jalalkun

first of all, I asked this question out of pure curiosity and because I wanted to hear about your opinions and experiences on that topic, and not because I'm unsure about my decision of anything like that. I'm very content with the walnut and I'm super excited about my baby

@mark:
don't worry man, I'm sure I'll love my guitar just the way it will be I'd rather think it's just not very trendy to have a guitar made of "just plain walnut that grew in your garden". most people probably want others to open up their eyes when you tell them "oi I have 40 years aged brazilian rosewood back and sides on my guitar", because at some point in time I wanted to be this kind of guy as well but what really matters are sonic features, aesthetics would even be the least I'd worry about.

@perrate:
thank you for your kind words, I hope that I've made a good choice. but I'll leave that for you to decide when I decide to make a video I really like the idea of a guitar made of walnut, it reminds me of ouds which are made of walnut as well. AND I'll be supporting the local woods, which is also a good idea cherry guitars are beautiful man, they have a growl to them, it's unbelievable...

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2017 23:44:22
Page:   [1]
All Forums >>Discussions >>Product Reviews >> Page: [1]
Jump to:

New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software powered by ASP Playground Advanced Edition 2.0.5
Copyright © 2000 - 2003 ASPPlayground.NET

0.109375 secs.