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jalalkun

Posts: 87
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.

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.



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

 

Posts: 580
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: 580
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: 87
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

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

 

Posts: 69
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: 87
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



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

Posts: 87
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*

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

Posts: 87
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



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

Posts: 87
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.



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

Posts: 205
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: 69
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: 87
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

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

 

Posts: 69
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: 87
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

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

Posts: 2527
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: 87
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

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

Posts: 6331
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.

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Ramzi

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