Almost everyone knows Tom Barnwell (tpbiii on this Forum) for his wonderful collection of Vintage Guitars as well his gracious sharing of cool videos and his knowledge.
Well I got to meet Tom last weekend! Here are the circumstances.
This is a bit long, but I hope you like the story.
Tom has earlier posted photos on this Forum of some Frankentars built by his friend John Farley, a well renown flat picker in the Atlanta area. I was so knocked out by the tones of them that I contacted Tom and asked if he wouldn’t mind contacting John to see if he had anything lying around or was working on any projects. As luck would have it, John had two finished guitars that he would be willing to sell.
Then Tom offered to do something way beyond the call of duty. He offered to pick up the guitars and make some videos at his place for me to check out to see if I was interested in them. Care was taken in doing this due to the Virus, and of course I wanted Tom to feel comfortable at all times.
Well he sent me the demo videos, I quickly called John Farley, we made a deal and plans were made for me to drive over from New Orleans to pick them up at his house a few miles north of Atlanta. This past Saturday I arrived. Tom showed up, as well a friend of theirs named Mark who also builds guitars and is a great banjo player as well. John’s lovely wife Debbie was there. We all were masked up and practiced Social Distancing.
Now the photos...
This one is a Mahogany B/S Sitka Spruce Top D. John’s recollection is that the Mahogany was from a D-18 from the 60’s. The Spruce Top, we are not sure of the origin, but it’s been roughed up a bit. John worked his magic on the insides. He had no neck, so he ended buying a ‘30’s Gibson L-30 just for the neck to use on this project! He had to use some shims because the 24.75” scale length had to be adjusted to the Martin standard of 24.9”.
https://imgur.com/AXKhnWkNext up is the Rosewood D. The Spruce Top came from a ‘67 Martin D (not sure if it was an 18 or 28, but it doesn’t matter). I believe John added the Herringbone. John then bought some East Indian Rosewood directly from Martin, he believes sometime in the 90’s. You could do that then without being a Certified Martin Repair Person. He believes the neck was from a Martin that had some Mother of Pearl that he didn’t like and he stripped it away and refinished the entire neck. Not sure of the year of the neck.
Both guitars sound fantastic, dry, resonant and very articulate. They are extremely light in weight like Vintages would be.
Here is John with the Mahogany. He only took his mask off for the photo.
Here is Tom, the man who put this all together.
Here is Mark, a great banjo picker and guitar maker.
Here is John’s wife Betty. She removed her mask for the photo.
I ended up staying nearly two hours hearing some great stories from everyone before heading back for the long, but happy drive home to New Orleans with these two guitars in tow.
What a great day to spend in the midst of all of these challenges. I met three wonderful people and acquired two great sounding unique guitars.
I never would have met these cool people if it weren’t for this Forum!
I should be able to post a demo video comparing the two by the end of the week. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!