1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

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Chris Sobel
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1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Chris Sobel » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:00 am

I had the chance to admire and play this nice guitar a few weeks ago and I thought I would share some pics for everyone's enjoyment. This particular guitar has some interesting history behind it. It was built for Ralph Towner by Jeff and Cyndy, and is one of just a few guitars that they built together in collaboration. As the story goes, Jeff and Cyndy had booths next to each other at an instrument show and Ralph Towner came up to the guitar Cyndy was exhibiting; lightly strumming the strings. He then walked over to Jeff's booth and proceeded to do the same... after some quiet thought he looked up and said "I'd like you to build me a guitar... I want her basses but your trebles." The project soon came about with some unique features. It would be the first guitar where they broke with traditional classical guitar aesthetics, using a piece of desert ironwood in place of the usual mosaic rosette. Jeff tells me that it was a pretty risky move in the ultra conservative market back then. The guitar was also the first guitar to be built with African Blackwood for the back and sides, and featured a slightly larger plantilla of just a couple mm's in all directions. Towner loved the guitar and went on to record most of his albums on it.

The first thing I noticed about the guitar was how easy it was to play, and had I not known it was a 660 scalelength I wouldn't have guessed. It had one of the best low E strings I've played on a guitar... the sound was cathedral like yet focused and one couldn't help but go back to the bass from time to time just to hear the pleasing rumble. The trebles were beautiful as well, and the tone color range from dolce to tasto was huge--better than a lot of spruce guitars. Overall one of my favorite Elliott's that I've played.

Enjoy!
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petermc61
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby petermc61 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:30 am

Thanks for posting that Chris. Nice.

I also enjoyed the Towner story.

Cheers
Peter

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rojarosguitar
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby rojarosguitar » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:01 am

Gorgeous guitar. Thanks for posting the story behind it, too!
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senunkan
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby senunkan » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:43 am

Beautiful guitar!
The African blackwood looks really good.
Is the bracing the usual Elliot bracing: 7 fan struts, no closing brace and with open traverse braces?
Thanks for sharing Chris!
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Chris Sobel
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Chris Sobel » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:50 am

Sen,

The Elliott bracing that most are familiar with was designed and implemented in 1990, so this bracing is an earlier version of the 1943 Hauser that he measured. I believe he had already started implementing some changes at the time of this guitars construction, but it's essentially a classic Hauser bracing pattern.

Chris
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senunkan
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby senunkan » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:23 pm

Chris Sobel wrote:Sen,

The Elliott bracing that most are familiar with was designed and implemented in 1990, so this bracing is an earlier version of the 1943 Hauser that he measured. I believe he had already started implementing some changes at the time of this guitars construction, but it's essentially a classic Hauser bracing pattern.

Chris


Thanks for the info, Chris.
Sen CL Goh
2013 Sen Goh (S - IR)
2010 Sen Goh (S - IR)
1996 Ross Gutmeier (C - IR)
Alhambra 4P
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Jack Douglas
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Jack Douglas » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:46 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the very interesting post and the pictures. It's a beautiful guitar with an even prettier story.

Jack
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Carlos
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Carlos » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:49 pm

beautiful guitar! Thank you for the pictures!

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bacsidoan
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby bacsidoan » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:35 pm

Thank you Chris for posting. The Burton-Elliott combo is truly second to none.

khayes
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby khayes » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:12 pm

Beautiful. Is the string spacing a bit closer than we usually see?
Ken

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Brian McCombs
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Brian McCombs » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:48 pm

I LOVE that endgraft. Sap-wood on the endgraft - very cool I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen one accomplished that way. NICE

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bacsidoan
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby bacsidoan » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:01 pm

Brian McCombs wrote:I LOVE that endgraft. Sap-wood on the endgraft - very cool I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen one accomplished that way. NICE


It's pretty much Elliott's signature on African blackwood guitar. Here's another example:

Elliott.jpg
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Chris Sobel
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Chris Sobel » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:12 pm

khayes wrote:Beautiful. Is the string spacing a bit closer than we usually see?


I would have to ask--I assumed it was normal, at least it felt that way.

Chris
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khayes
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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby khayes » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:18 pm

Chris Sobel wrote:
khayes wrote:Beautiful. Is the string spacing a bit closer than we usually see?


I would have to ask--I assumed it was normal, at least it felt that way.

Chris
Not a big deal - it just looked that way in one of the photos.
Ken

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Re: 1983 J. Elliott Cedar/Blackwood

Postby Kenbobpdx » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:34 pm

I remember when this was being built. I spent a lot of time with Jeff and Cyndy in their old house when Cyndy was building my guitar in 1982 and I got to see quite a few instruments that they built subsequent to that. This was one of them. I absolutely love the sapwood accent down the back.

Thanks for sharing the pics.

Chris - I see you are in Vancouver, WA. Will you be at the Handmade Instrument Show later this month?
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