Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Raw Power

I first met James Williamson after he contacted me about an old Spanish neck Weissenborn he had acquired. It turned out his Style A was really rare and in fantastic condition. You can read more about that wonderful guitar in James' article in the Winter '08 issue of the Fretboard Journal.

One thing lead to another and somehow I ended up making James a guitar. I had been sitting on this one special set of Koa for years, and when James expressed an interest, I knew I had found its owner. Patterned after my favorite late 1920s Style 4, this guitar has killer pillow figured Koa wood, Rope marquetry in Holly and Cocobola, flame Maple bridge and hide glue construction throughout. It is also the first guitar to feature the full line of my 1920s spec custom hardware.

James was really interested in learning about how this style of instrument was made, and so it was a great privilege to take him through some of the details over the course of its construction. He posted about it over at the Steelguitarforum, where you can check it out:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Making this guitar for James was a real privilege and honor. James is a man of real talent, humility and great Mana. He is also one of the kindest persons you could hope to meet.

I hope at some stage (after the Stooges tour) to persuade James to make an audio clip of this guitar. I will keep you posted!

Number One - Intro

Kia ora.

My name is Tony Francis. In 2005 I began my tenure as a guitar maker and vintage guitar repairman, specializing in Weissenborn Hawaiian slide guitars from the 1920s and 1930s. H.Weissenborn brought a level of craftsmanship to his instruments that is unsurpassed today. In a sea of disposable instruments, both now and then, the curious Weissenborn remains a much misunderstood masterpiece of acoustic purity and fine detail.

From my shop deep in the pacific, I hope I can take you into Weissenborns work through a unique luthiers perspective, and see what lays behind the curtain. Through my vintage work, I want to produce the finest Hawaiian slide guitars on the market - Period.