SN: 51. Reposting to show off some new pictures and a new price. John Arnold’s guitars are as rare as hen’s teeth and this one is particularly special. Built for a family friend, “# ‘51” has a very select top cut from a hand harvested 407-ring Smokies Red Spruce log downed by hurricane Opal. The back and sides are selected from Mr. Arnold’s extensive inventory of old stock AAA grade Brazilian boards. The model is “D-29 Brazil Special” and was built between August 1999 and May 2000. The design is based on a 1937 Martin D-28 and is faithful in most every way with the herringbone trim, black and white rosette, center back strip, and snowflake inlays. The neck profile, ebony bridge, and pickguard are dead to the nuts accurate (as my luthier would say). The tone is absolutely otherworldly as you might expect. There are many videos on youtube.com about Mr. Arnold. One is specifically about #51. But below I have included a link to an excellent UMGF thread that chronicles the return of Red Spruce and another to a discussion about what makes it so special. From this link I leave you with a quote from Mr. Arnold’s contribution to the thread:
“It was October 1995 when Hurricane Opal wreaked havoc on the Smokies. Over a foot of rain fell in less than a day, and the high winds came from an unusual direction.
There were four trees that Ted Davis and I got. All had excellent wood, but two yielded the bulk of the tops we cut. The largest log (34 1/2") was a bit wider-grained (relatively) and it had quite a bit of bearclaw, curl, and ribbon figure. I did not count the growth rings, but estimated that it was around 400 years old. In general, the tops from that tree can be identified by a couple of narrow bands of wider grain. The second largest log (28") was the one that produced the legend. It was extremely tight-grained throughout. I have a cutoff from the small end of the log, where I counted 407 rings. That means that the tree was already at least 14 feet tall in the year 1588.
“I now realize just how rare that tree was, because I have seen many, many windfall Smokies red spruce trees over the years (all protected by NPS), and they almost never have that type of grain. It is unusual, even in the old forest. That is because trees fall all the time due to storms or natural succession, and the resulting opening of the canopy will cause a growth spurt in the nearby remaining trees.
The Smokies spruce from this event is not the stiffest, but it is relatively lightweight. Since 'stiff and light' is generally the aim when building guitars, it tends to make guitars that have it all...volume, tone, response. I must say that some of my best red spruce guitars have Smokies tops, and they seem to break in very quickly.”
This is a consignment guitar so no trades please. Shipment to the contiguous 48 only. Comes with a Martin Geib-style case.
Payment is by personal check or money order. Payment in full, including shipping and insurance, is required before shipment. Personal checks must clear your bank. Please specify preferred shipping method when you order the instrument and we will calculate the exact price for you.
We represent the instruments as accurately as we can. All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.
All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.