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By Dan Grigor
I got to do something this year that I have been meaning to do for a long time. In January I spent a few hours at the Two Old Hippies booth at NAMM. There was so much fun stuff to look at there I never got to cross the line from Bedell to Breedlove. I guess we’ll have to go back.
Click through for a video and to read about another Bedell beauty!
This continues a series on Bedell Guitars and we’ll take a look at several. There is a review and some video already up of the 12-string and a teaser for an amazing little orchestra-sized guitar. The RR-18-G Rock’n Roll Guitar is a stunning little rocker. I’ll let Tom Bedell himself tell you all about it in the video but let me say this: I loved it! What a cool little guitar. Don’t let the orchestra size fool you; this is a serious guitar. A tad small for some but there is nothing small about the sound. Bedell has found a recipe for sound that they apply to all of their instruments. They combine terrific ingredients, with unique and somewhat ol’ skool craftsmanship to bring Tom’s designs to life.
I love carpentry and furniture making. When I was younger I spent a lot of time working in cabinet shops of all kinds. Some were production shops and we cranked out apartment cabinets by the foot. Some were really high-end custom shops and we produced exquisite cabinetry for some of the most expensive homes around. I made custom furniture for a while, working with exotic woods and crystals and cut glass. You learn to appreciate expert joinery. You learn the intricacies of grain matching and pairing woods that must be joined together so that they work in harmony to stay together rather than tend to pull apart. The guitar in particular has some very important joins, any one of which can significantly change the volume, tone or feel of the instrument.
In the video, Tom mentions that they make the neck and the neck block from the same piece of wood and dovetail them together. The grain is all going the same way and the properties of the two pieces of wood are the same so the join is, essentially, as if it grew there. They have the same moisture content, they will likely age the same and warp or bend in the same directions. The join will not tend to pull apart but rather naturally, it will tend to pull together.
When you play a guitar that is built this way you can feel what you are playing right back through the wood to your hand. That feedback is there to some extent in all guitars, but when built with this method you can really feel it. I love that! That is smart guitar making. That is guitar making that processes wood in an efficient manner. In this day of concerns over our use and abuse of our precious resources, this ingenuity of design is a clear indication of a less wasteful industry. That is important. More importantly, from the guitarist’s standpoint, it sounds great and feels good to play. Enjoy!
What a great little guitar! Next we’ll look at the Limited Edition guitar. Just wait til you see this. Another stunning example of great guitar making. We’ll check out several guitars at different price points. The 300 dollar “beginner’s” guitar sounds as good as guitars that cost three times as much. More in store from Bedell and Two Old Hippies. Stay tuned!
Click here to start with Part One!
Dan Grigor reviews the beautiful 12-string from Bedell.
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