Up for sale, a 1983 National Music Co. classical acoustic guitar in excellent condition and perfect working order. Handcrafted by renowned luthier Bob Gleason, the quality and tone of this instrument is superb! A peek at the label visible in the soundhole tells us this particular guitar was built in Marblemount, WA in 1983, shortly before Bob made the move to Hawaii where he currently resides and runs the Pegasus Custom Guitars and Ukuleles company. The handwritten "C33" designation also on the label also likely denotes the instrument's sequence within Gleason's builds (C for classical, 33rd instrument built) What sets this classical guitar apart from the pack is that in addition to the usual solid spruce top, the back and sides are solid Hawaiian Koa, prized for having the crispness and clarity of rosewood, but with all the warmth, thick tone, and airiness of mahogany, and this example is no exception. The body has a resonance that you feel against your body, and notes have an immediacy and sustain that make melody lines jump out.
Bob Gleason's work has often been reliant on the tonal qualities of Koa and how to maximize this wood to optimal sonic resonance, and his current website even has an entire section dedicated to the proper growing, planting, and milling of this prized tone wood. Suffice it to say that with over forty years of handcrafting incredible instruments, Bob has dedicated his life to creating unique and soulful guitars out of Hawaiian Koa, and this classical, under the National Music Co. banner, is an exceptional example from early in his career. In the 1990s, Gleason was also honored by American Woodworker with an award for excellence in their professional division, an accolade that refers to the pure artistry of the woods used in an instrument, in addition to their tonal properties.
The dimensions of the body are traditional and familiar, with a 14 3/4" lower bout, 11" upper bout and 4 1/4" body depth, and a 25 1/12" scale length with a 2" nut width should feel right at home to most players. The neck profile is a medium C, with well rounded shoulders and a flatter portion in the center of the profile for the thumb to rest. The ebony fretboard boasts a scalloped bone nut (perhaps just for decorative reasons but also arguably to encourage greater string-to-string clarity and note separation) and the original frets which are in fantastic shape, showing virtually no wear, as the nylon strings have been very kind to the frets over the decades. The headstock sports a rosewood overlay, and a set of three-on-a-plate slotted headstock open gear tuning machines that turn smoothly and hold pitch well.
The body boasts rosewood binding and bridge, and an ornate soundhole rosette. The two-piece bookmatched koa back is particularly stunning with flame figuring in the wood, and the prominent, stripey grain patterns indicative of koa. Cosmetically, this guitar has been very well cared for, with only a couple extremely faint nicks on the top and edges of the body binding. The nitro lacquer finish is thin and resonant, with a uniform gloss sheen that highlights the figuring in the back and sides. Overall, this is a great playing and sounding hidden treasure in the classical guitar world, and would be a great option for anyone looking for a high quality unique piece!
According to the latest news from Bob's current company, Pegasus Custom Guitars, he no longer takes specific instrument orders, and the price of one of Bob's modern classical guitar creations (if available) will run from $4000-8500. This National Music Co. classical is attractively priced for the serious player and collector, and a prime example of the tonal possibilities of Hawaiian Koa!
A hardshell case is included.