Luthier Jim Olson of Olson Guitars

jim-olson

James A. Olson is a legend in the world of acoustic guitar making. The Minnesota-based luthier is a cult favorite among guitar collectors around the world thanks to the instruments he’s built for James Taylor (Taylor’s Olson was once immortalized in cartoon form on a Simpson’s episode), Phil Keaggy and Leo Kottke. Due to their high demand, Olson’s new creations start at $15,000, a price that even he is a little embarrassed by. “I’m the Forrest Gump of guitar making,” he sheepishly explains. “I fell into here. I don’t think these things are any more special than anything else.”

During this candid talk, Olson tells us about the first guitar he built (with help from the classic Irving Sloane book), how Keaggy ordered the first cedar guitar and how an early (and failed) distribution deal for his dreadnoughts in the late ‘70s resulted in his fanatical appreciation for tooling and build efficiency. “I’m sometimes more interested in making a new piece of tooling than a guitar,” he admits.

We also talk CNC machines (Olson talks about which components he uses his Fadal CNC for), the origin of the Small Jumbo body size, tone woods and hear about his fateful meeting with James Taylor. Plus a lot more.

Source

Between the Strings

between the strings

In 2004 Jim was asked to contribute an article for a book being written by John Schroeter called Between the Strings. It contains behind the scenes stories from guitar makers and musicians as varied as BB King to ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Below is Jim’s contribution.

It was the last straw, the one that broke the camel’s back. I won’t say it precipitated a nervous breakdown, but I was probably just this side of it as I stood in the shower and cried. Only moments before, I had finished a guitar for a customer in England. A high-end guitar with a few custom touches that made it really special. I noticed a tiny spot on the top near the bridge that I’d missed when buffing. It was no big deal, but being a perfectionist, I took it back to the buffing wheel one more time.

The buffer spins at a high rate of speed, and for dust collection and safety’s sake, the wheel is partially covered by a shroud. So with the guitar in one hand, I grabbed a lemon-sized piece of buffing compound with the other, and touched it against the buffing wheel. Inexplicably, it tore out of my hand and shot around that shroud like a baseball thrown from a pitching machine, smashing the face of the guitar. The top was shattered into splinters before I could react.

It was late at night, I was tired, and I was completely overwhelmed by a backlog of 160 guitars. I was already working seventy hours or more a week as it was. How was I going to find time to start another guitar to replace
this one? How was I going to explain to the customer that the guitar he had been waiting on for over two years would not be shipping tomorrow as promised? Overwhelmed, I made my way to the shower.

I had always been a player, but by the mid seventies, I decided I wanted to build a guitar. I was a fairly accomplished woodworker, and so, despite the dearth of instructional materials of any kind, I thought I might be able to do it. The one resource I was eventually able to get my hands on was the now classic book on guitar construction by Irving Sloan. Building those first few instruments was such a wonderful experience that by 1977, I made the decision to quit my day job and go full time into making guitars. The only problem was that I couldn’t sell
them. I could barely give them away! Those first few guitars ended up going to friends for two hundred bucks or so.

I thought my prospects brightened when I was approached by a distributor who promised to buy everything I could make. So I worked very hard over the next two and a half years building 78 guitars under the arrangement we made. At a list price of $895, I would get half of that. The stores and distributor would split the other half. They didn’t sell well at all, and ended up being closed out at cost or below. After expenses the entire venture barely netted me a profit. People just weren’t interested in guitars without any name recognition.

Fortunately, at that my wife was working full time as a schoolteacher, and she basically supported me as I tried to build a business. Nearly every penny I made, got plowed back into the shop as I bought more wood and tools. On the bright side, I did gain a lot of experience, I was doing what I wanted to do which was make guitars, but by the end of this period, I was broke.

I had been sharing a building with a harpsichord maker who also made dulcimers and ran a small music store. But unable to afford the rent, I moved into a building purchased by an inner city church my wife and I attended. They had just acquired a large property. A once glorious, but now old, mostly gutted, dilapidated brick building. The previous tenant had wooden beds of dirt inside and had actually been raising worms to sell. In exchange for rent, my job was to help rehabilitate the building. When the rehab was complete, my position changed to full time janitor and
building maintenance. In other words, I cleaned toilets, set up tables and scrubbed floors. That was the downside. On the upside, there was plenty of room there for my shop. In my off hours I managed to do guitar repairs for local shops and make about a dozen or so guitars a year.

Coincidentally, though, it was also the dawn of the disco era, and with its rise, came the fall of everything acoustic. Once again, I could hardly give a guitar away. I sold most of what I made to church members and friends just to buy more wood. I was addicted and giving up never crossed my mind.

In 1983 I had the good fortune to meet Phil Keaggy. I was blown away when I first heard him. Amazingly, he liked my guitars, bought one and started playing them. The first guitar I built for him was a spruce top, but eventually he
requested a cedar top version to replace the Mark Whitebook he had been playing. It was the first cedar top guitar I ever made. Over the course of the next few years, as Phil began touring with that guitar, I began to get
noticed. More orders began to follow, and things started to pick up. So much so, that I now had to juggle my guitar building with my janitorial duties. It was a real struggle to find the time to complete the orders and still see my family.

In 1989, my business would receive a huge boost when James Taylor bought three guitars from me. It was an unbelievable turn of events! The orders began to accumulate and with them came deposits. It was great! It enabled
my wife, Susan, to quit work and to stay at home to raise our three young sons. Before I knew it, I found myself with a backlog of 160 guitar orders. With that deposit money in the bank, I finally felt secure in my chosen vocation. I moved out of the church and bought a ten-acre property with a large shop building close to the house. It was just a tin “pole” building that needed the interior to be finished. That meant sheet rock, heating, electrical, etc., but it was mine! The house needed some work also, but things were looking pretty good. With some hard work
and help from church friends, before long I was set and ready to go.

Managing the backlog, though, was more difficult than I had anticipated. It seemed that everyone with a guitar on order would call to “chat” or check on its progress. Spending an hour with each of the 160 customers was equal to a month worth of forty-hour weeks! That, along with visitors and prospective customers, left me with less time for
production. Even with my wife answering the phone, people still wanted to talk to me. I thought an apprentice might help matters. I’ve had several over the years, but I usually found that I ended up spending so much time teaching them and repairing mistakes that I preferred working alone.

Also at that time, I was switching over to a new finishing process. Although eventually it would be beneficial, the initial changeover was wrought with problems. I was also trying to get up to speed on a Fadal CNC machining center I had acquired. Someone jokingly told Steve McCreary at Collings Guitars that I had gotten a Fadal, and that last year
without it, I had made sixty guitars. The person said, “How many do you suppose he will make this year?” Steve answered, “About twenty.” And that was the truth! You don’t just throw wood into these things and have them spit out parts. Creating the computer drawings and setting up the fixtures for that machine was no small task. I spent many hours learning how to get it up and running. In the meantime, the work was piling up, and my first real wake up call was just around the corner.

I was pushing some stock through a 14″ table saw, cutting a neck blank. The blade caught the tail end of the “fall off” piece and kicked it back with such force that it embedded it into the 18′ foot-high ceiling, but not before it blew past my head on its way up. I realized in that moment that had it hit my head, I would be dead or at best a vegetable, leaving my wife Sue to either learn how to make guitars really fast, or skip the country. All of a sudden, I realized that maybe I wasn’t doing so great after all. With all those orders booked and deposits in, the fact was, I had a huge debt and a tremendous liability on my hands.

And then I smashed that guitar at the buffing wheel.

This wasn’t the first time I’d lost a guitar buffing. I’ve had a whole guitar ripped from my hands as it caught the edge of the spinning wheel and bounce across the floor and come to rest demolished! Almost every seasoned guitar maker has witnessed that nightmare scenario. But this was something new. Something I hadn’t ever anticipated. A perfect guitar set to go, destroyed in a second by what appeared to be a cannon ball shot from the mouth of “Beelzebub,” my buffing machine!

In no time, what seemed a great blessing was morphing into a nightmare. Working as a one-man shop, I was overwhelmed and exhausted and staring at years of grossly over committed work before me, The only certainty I knew at that point was that I wouldn’t be taking any new orders for a while.

Over the next year I made some headway and managed to work through a good bit of the backlog. In the meantime, though, demand for my guitars continued to rise. The market for them was incredibly strong and used ones were selling for considerably more than the prices at which I had originally booked them. I’d deliver a guitar to a customer only to see it show up on eBay for twice the price I had just delivered it at. But that’s the American system. I was happy when I took their orders, but it still stung when things like that happened. I was determined to deliver everything that I promised and at the price it was promised, and I’m proud of that. But once I got through that backlog, I was able to make some adjustments.

It can be difficult to maintain perspective at times, even when you have success. Sometimes people look at what I have, and seeing the pictures on my wall say, “You must be so happy.” I am very blessed to have enjoyed success as a guitar maker and I am relatively happy. Yet whether it was in the early days of my building or now, my happiness has
remained fairly constant and at times seemed elusive. But I never want to go backward. Happiness seems dependent upon going forward. It’s those day to day triumphs. Those are the moments that make us happy. There is no plateau where suddenly everything has accumulated and you’ve “arrived”, and happiness remains forever. You can never stop going forward. There is always a new challenge, a new idea, a new jig to make, a new song, always something new to conquer.

I am as thrilled as ever to be making guitars. There are more possibilities and the bar has been raised incredibly high. There are many great builders doing astonishingly beautiful work today. I’m always amazed at what I see at the guitar shows! The guitars look great, and there’s no doubt they sound great too. The guitar buying public is going to have a hard time choosing an instrument. There are so many good choices. But it’s also going to be hard for the newer makers to distinguish themselves. That’s just the nature of life and business. It takes effort to excel. It’s no different than becoming a guitar player. You get into making music or playing an instrument because want to and you can’t stop. You’ve just got to do it. You have got to learn the new chord, the next song. Even if you can’t seem to make a living at it. You do it because it’s something you just feel you have to do. That’s how it is with guitar makers also. You start on a guitar, and before you’re finished, you have to start another one because you have learned so much and have new ideas. You don’t care that it’s difficult. In fact, perhaps it is the difficulty that drives you!

There isn’t a musician or guitar maker or dreamer on the planet that hasn’t gone through hardships and heartbreak. My story is certainly not unique. But when I am working on a guitar, I feel like I am doing what I was created to do. Like it was chosen for me. It feels good. It is exciting to see your ideas come to fruition. Its exciting to see how efficiently and perfectly you can get things done. It is fulfilling when you see music being created on something you made. Despite the difficulty, for me, there’s just nothing that drives me more.

There were many divine interventions that I believe contributed to my success. Hard work was essential, but I believe faith and prayer created the intangible differences. It sustained me through the hard times and kept me level headed through the good times. Life is a blessing and a gift! As my good friend Michael Card once said.

“The Joy is in the Journey”.

James Taylor presents Jim Olson with a “One Man Band” RIAA Plaque

Jim was recently honored when he was presented with an RIIA plaque from James Taylor. The award was to commemorate RIAA Certified Gold record sales for the Hear Music compact disc “One Man Band. It was so unexpected and probably undeserved… but so greatly appreciated. Thank you James! It will be proudly displayed at Olson guitars!

A Tribute to Black Sky

These build photos are of a guitar that Jim made for Doug Shane, who at the time, was Burt Rutan’s right hand man and the lead test pilot for Scaled Composites.
Doug has since moved on from Scaled Composites and is now the President of Richard Branson’s Space Ship Company.

This guitar was inspired by Scaled Composites successful space flights and win of the Ansari X prize.
The guitar woods are Brazilian Rosewood back & sides with a Cedar top. The inlays were designed and executed by Larry Robinson.

Crafted in Minnesota, Strummed Worldwide

Jim Olson is a woodworker, a visual artist, a machinist and an inventor who creates guitars of extraordinary quality in his Circle Pines workshop.

By Jon Bream
Star Tribune Staff Writer


Introduction

crbkThe Stradivari of acoustic guitars works and lives in Circle Pines.

Think that’s just hometown hyperbole? Then take it from James Taylor, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who made handmade Olson guitars famous.

“I played it, and I haven’t looked back since,” said Taylor. “I love those Olson guitars.

Jim Olson, who’s as modest as one of Taylor’s blue work shirts, smiled when told of the singer’s comments. “James said that? Well, good,” he said with satisfaction.

Like Sweet baby James, Olson is a bald, plain-spoken and ordinary dressed guy who’s a master at his craft. His guitars- priced from $5,000 to $25,000- are far from ordinary, however.

“You can get all kinds of colors you can’t get with other guitars,” said acoustic ace Leo Kottke, who so cherishes his Olson that he won’t risk taking it on the road. “It’s really a rare guitar.”

Known for their stylish contours Olson guitars are made with rare woods such as Brazilian rosewood and choice mahogany, and are filigreed with mother of pearl and abalone. Their design enables players with a light touch to get extraordinary sounds.

Sting and Lou reed phoned Olson’s shop in Anoka County to buy guitars. Demand is so intense sometimes, when an instrument is delivered, the purchaser puts it up on ebay for a quick, and sizable, profit. Olson decided to make five 25th Anniversary guitars next year at an intentionally steep price of $25,000. Four of them have already sold.

His signature is a luminous “O,” inlaid with mother of pearl in the guitar’s peghead. You can see it in “Simpsons” reruns, in an episode featuring a cartoon Taylor guest star.

A one-man factory

Easygoing on the outside, Olson, 52, actually is an obsessive perfectionist. While he looks like a church janitor- which he once was- he is a maniacal combination of woodworker, visual artist, machinist and inventor.

Minneapolis guitarmaker Charlie Hoffman has traded tips with him since the early ’70’s. He said of Olson: “He is always thinking: How do I do it better?’ or ‘how do I do it right?’ He has a great passion for the process– the tools, the jigs, the equipment.”

Most of Olson’s competitors toil in tiny workshops, crafting a few guitars a year. Olson Guitars is a two-story garage in the northern suburbs that has been converted into a one-man factory with one of a kind machines, designed by Olson to make his craft easier and more consistent. Since 1977, he has produced 1,050 instruments.

On the first floor, glued necks are drying in one room, guitar bodies in another. Upstairs, there’s a computer to design parts, a custom made device for gluing the body and a wall of photos of stars- from Paul McCartney to Kathy Mattea playing Olson guitars.

When it comes to his shop, he drops his humble facade: “The product is subjective. What I will brag about is there isn’t a guitarmaker that’s got a shop like mine.”

Taylor visited the shop last year. It was an eye-opener, he said.

“It’s amazing to see what he’s invented,” said Taylor, who will perform Saturday at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis. “He has vacuum templates to hold onto pieces of wood so he can hold it a certain way. He has laser engravers. And he’s invented this stuff. He’s simply a really remarkable guitarmaker.”

One machine was fashioned from part of a bicycle frame. Another is so special that Hoffman drives out to Circle Pines to use it.

“His wide belt sander is more accurate than the ones by the company that makes them,” Hoffman said. “The tolerance is a couple thousandths of an inch, max. He is a very, very careful workman.”

A true do-it-yourselfer

Since he was a kid in Hudson,Wis., Olson has been obsessed with woodworking. At age 9, he swiped the shelves from his mom’s fruit cellar to build his version of a go-kart. In ninth grade– the only year he took shop class- he won a “Future American Craftsman” award.

Olson is self-taught, though he has taken a vo-tech class here and there.

“He’ll find a project and work it until it’s exhausted.” said Sue Olson, his wife of 30 years. “He’s always been a fighter. When he was 18 months old, he had polio in his right arm, and when he was going through treatment, the nurses said what a fighter he is.”

He’s made furniture, built a house and repaired guitars. He worked as a janitor in a St. Paul church in exchange for basement workspace. He made his first guitar in 1975 but he didn’t expect to make a living at it. In 1987, for example he earned only $12,000 as a guitarmaker.

Two years later, however, his fortunes changed forever. Through the friend of a friend, he managed to deliver a guitar to Taylor’s hotel room during a Twin Cities appearance.

“I didn’t want to meet him,” said Olson, who simply left a note on the guitar with his phone number. “The whole weekend went by and I didn’t hear a word. On Monday morning, I went to work doing my janitor duties– I was cleaning the toilets– and my portable phone rang.

” ‘This is James Taylor calling.’

“I said, “Seriously?’ And he said, ‘We played your guitar all weekend and were very taken by it.'”

Olson won’t go into details about how much his business has grown. Put it this way: three years ago, when he stopped taking orders for new instruments because he couldn’t keep up, his base price was $4,795 for one guitar. He’s made as many as 60 guitars a year.

On a typical day, he spends 10 to 12 hours in his shop, with breaks for lunch (often spent checking e-mails) and dinner (more computer time). And he works on weekends. Sometimes he’ll go an entire week without driving the family car.

His wife, a former math teacher, does the books and paperwork, but he long ago gave up on having workers because they slowed him down and affected quality control.

Behind the shop is a putting green– another sign of his obsessive nature. He took up golf a few years ago, partly to spend more time with his dad and partly to get a break from work. On a recent day, the green was blanketed with golf balls. The hacker had just bought 1,500 golf balls online from a fellow in Georgia.

He doesn’t play guitar much anymore, though he occasionally accompanies his wife’s singing at church. All three of their sons- ages 14,16, and 25 play music. The oldest is studying saxophone at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

Olson doesn’t cater only to be famous. On a recent chilly day, one of his customers, Barry Lee, drove up from Pensacola, Fla., to check on the progress of a $15,000 guitar he’d ordered three years ago. An amateur guitarist, he already owns two Olsons and plans to give all three as keepsakes to his children.

Shooting video footage of Olson and the workshop, Lee appeared more enthralled than impatient. And he cheerfully departed without a delivery date for his six-string Stradivarius.

After Lee left, Olson said, “I’m not sure when I’ll have his guitar done. It’s not one I normally make anymore. But I’d better get back to work.”

– Jon Bream


Olson sets guitar gold standard

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You can’t buy a new Olson Guitar in a store. And there’s been a three-year wait to order new ones. But you can purchase used ones in guitar shops or via the internet.

Two Olson Guitars were sold on Ebay last week. Guitar Gallery (http://www.guitargal.com), a retailer in Nashville, has one new Olson ($21,000), plus a used one ($7,000) for sale.

“He is the standard all the other [guitar] builders go by,” said guitargal.com’s Robin Weber.

They sell fast, said Jeff Molde of Podium Premium Guitars in Minneapolis, because they have “snob appeal,” and the demand is greater than the supply.

Olson has about 500 inquiries on file about buying a new guitar. He stopped taking orders three years ago so he could catch up with a backlog of 160.

Prices vary from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the design, materials and filigree. What makes them so valuable? It’s a combination of Olson’s artistry and the instrument’s sound and durability.

“They have a beautiful voice,” Molde says.

Said James Taylor: “They haven’t self-destructed on the road in the couple of decades that I’ve been giving them hell.”

Olson has access to top-of-the-line supplies such as rare Brazilian rosewood. And he’s known for his integrity. Although he charges a down payment, he doesn’t ask for final payment until the owner has played and approved the guitar. And if it takes Olson three years to fill an order, he still charges the original price quoted.

Olson is accepting orders for his new James Taylor Signature Model and the limited-edition 25th-anniversary guitar. But he says he has enough orders to keep him busy all next year.

Even with their Mercedes-like price, the guitars will appreciate in value, said Weber.

“It’s a great investment — much better than the stock market.”

– Jon Bream

Review: Jim Olson SJ “James Taylor”

The very model played by James Taylor finds its way into the grasp of our own Sweet Baby.
By Neville Marten

From Guitarist Magazine (UK)
August 1998, pages 112-113


rv_SJIntroduction

We’ve been incredibly lucky of late, to have some marvelous acoustic guitars pass through our hands. Names such as Collings and Santa Cruz may be newer to some players than Taylor and Martin, but I think we’ve shown that these makers have some amazing talent. If you’re a James Taylor fan, you’ll probably recognise this guitar as the model James is seen with these days. It’s a smallbodied jumbo made by another James: one Jim Olson, from Circle Pines, Minnesota. I asked Jim how the JT connection came about…

“Around ten years ago, James was in my area for a concert I left a guitar in his room and didn’t even meet him that day. This was the Friday, but he called me on the Monday morning and told me he was taken. That was a cutaway version, but he said he wasn’t interested in a cutaway and asked if I couid make him a non-cutaway model. I said, ‘Pay the full price for that one, I’ll make you a non-cutaway guitar and we’ll exchange them when the new one’s ready.’ When it came to it, James wouldn’t let me have the other one back, so he bought the second one, too.”

Build Quality

At this price you expect perfection, and the Olson is certainly made with incredible attention to detail.

The body uses some very walnut-coloured pieces of rosewood for the back and sides, capped with a top of cedar, while the neck is a five-piece laminate of maple and mahogany with a centre strip of what looks like rosewood. Bridge and fingerboard are both ebony and inlays come courtesy of abalone body edging and soundhole purfling, and mother of pearl ‘flying doves’ along the fingerboard. The neck and headstock are bound in black plastic, while the body is trimmed in attractive mock tortoiseshell. You might imagine that this cacophany of colour would make for a rather gaudy overall package, but the Olson looks surprisingly cohesive in appearance.

Jim Olson has no pretences or secrets regarding construction, or the use of particular timbers. “The bracing pattern is a bit unique,” he modestly states “I’ve experimented over the years with placement and found a position that suits my tastes. But I think the five-piece neck adds a lot to the tone: it’s stronger and it sends better vibrations to the top.”

The SJ body shape received a unanimous thumbs-up from everyone who’s seen it; it stands for ‘small jumbo’ and it resembles Martin’s OM style, if a little deeper and curvier.

Internally, the work is exceptional, with hand-cut kerfing looking clean as a whistle, with no globs of glue, untidy saw-lines and other evidence of clumsy work. Incidentally, Olson is just a two-man operation producing just 60 or so instruments per year. [Webmaster’s note: Olson Guitars is now a one-man operation, producing somewhat more than this amount.]

rv_heel

The five-piece neck sends better vibrations to the guitar’s top, says Jim Olson.

Playability

If it’s good enough for James Taylor it’s good enough for me. Neck dimensions are very standard feeling, with a gentle C-section which is most comfortable. Nut width is 44mm and the strings sit 58mm wide at the bridge, making the perfect finger-picker’s guitar. Action, as set, is perfect and the instrument somehow feels very low in string tension; barre chords are easy and single string licks easy to play. Bluesy acoustic bends are a doddle, too.

Sound

Sweet, singing and sustainy are words that instantly come to mind. There’s a real warmth to the tone, without mushiness at the bottom but with enough twang in the treble to cut through. It’s a fruity sound and one which responds to picking or strumming dynamics exceptionally well.

Compared to the most recent top-end guitars I’ve played—Collings and Santa Cruz—the Olson has more of a recognisable tone. If I can bring it down the level of electric guitars, the former two are great sounding Teles, whereas the Olson is a beautiful Strat set at position four.

No, i couldn’t resist playing my JT repertoire, and it must be said that his style—fingers and the occasional “thumb and back of the nails” strum—offers the perfect combination for the Olson to shine. Of course you could belt out street songs if you so desired, but this guitar cries out for the more sophisticated, subtle player.

JT model SJs come fitted with LR Baggs transducers; very open-sounding and natural, with perhaps the least ‘electro-acoustic’ sound of any. With no controls on the guitar, you’ll have to rely on a good monitor engineer, or invest in one of the many acoustic guitar preamps available. That would help push its rather polite output up a little, too.

Value for Money

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: find the acoustic guitar of your dreams and it will mature until it’s ready to be passed down the family tree. It will earn its keep just by sitting there accruing value but if you want quicker rewards, take it out and make it work for its supper—it’ll pay you back with better tone, volume and response. The best flat-tops love to graft and really open up as a result.

Verdict

Jim Olson is proud to say that there’s no difference in quality from his most fancy instruments to the most simple. “No, every one is built to the same standard, whether it’s plain or ornate.”

And you don’t have to be a James Taylor fan to buy an Olson. Jim has a small range of instruments that can be created to your exact requirements, with stunning inlays and intricate carving and chasing.

But if you do play that general style and can afford the cash, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most musical acoustics around. Of course, if you do hanker for the guitar of your hero, you’ll be assured of becoming a member of a very small and exceptionally exclusive club.

Olson’s ‘small jumbo’ is a very attractive beast indeed, we say.

rv_body

The SJ has a cedar top and rosewood back and sides.

Rating

Build Quality: 5 (of 5)
Features: 5
Sound: 5
Value For Money: 4+
Guitarist Says: Exclusive and superb sounding, the Olson does more than just play James Taylor tunes.

Spec Check

Origin: USA
Back and sides: Rosewood
Top: Cedar
Neck: Five-piece maple and mahogany
Fingerboard and bridge: Ebony
Nut width: 44mm
Spacing at bridge: 58mm
Body width: 385mm [lower bout]
Body depth: 11Omm [typical; 96mm at neck, 117mm at endpin]
Inlays: Pearl and abalone
Left handers: Yes
Case: Tweed-covered hard case supplied