Brand New Classics for a Modern World
While there’s been lots of fun along the way, what we most enjoy doing is designing and building guitars. On occassion our love for our craft truly shines through. It warms the heart to be recognized as doing something special. Here we are featuring two guitars we completed this week. Both are siblings to the original models within their family. Both have earned respect in their own right.
Newport Pro: We’ve been building the Newport for over ten years now. It was in February 2000 that Guitar Player magazine put the original Newport through its paces in one of their bench tests. The Newport did very well in the ratings game, earning an Editor’s Pick award with five picks (the highest rating) in all six rating categories: Tone, Playability, Workmanship, Hardware, Vibe and Value.
By the time the Bench Test was printed we had already introduced the Newport Pro, an adaptation of the Newport but with two significant changes. The original Newport was fitted with Phat Cat single coil pickups. On the Pro we replaced the Phat Cats with Seth Lover humbuckers. We also replaced the Bigsby tremolo found on the Newport with a Tonepros tailpiece.
Much, however, remained the same. We retained the spruce top and mahogany back and sides, the 24 3/4″ scale length and fingerboard appointments, the twin f-holes, the interior sound chambers and the electronics.
After three separate levelings, Todd Gencarella buffs out the guitar, also a three stage process.
The real deal.
Time to install those Seymour Dunan Seth Lover pickups.
We use AAA Stika spruce for the tops on the Newports. This is the same high quality spruce as is found on the best acoustic guitars. The difference is that we have to find billets that are two inches thick so that they can be resawn and bookmatched. Sourcing fine woods has long been a challenge that we have embraced.
While we have employed a number of different systems, the jack cups that we currently mount on the side of the guitar are the most functional to date.
The Newport Pro has certainly earned its place in the Newport family.
A family with a rich and deserving heritage.
Korina Junior: Following a long Hamer lineage, the Junior is Special indeed.
The magazines raved over the original Special: “the Special’s combination of raw good looks, functional design and superb sound make it a truly exceptional instrument.” On the Junior we lightened up the Special by using Korina (African Limba) rather than our typical Honduras mahogany.
A Tonepros wrap around bridge took the place of a Tune-O-Matic and Stop Tail piece from our original Special.
The Junior has a single dog ear P-90 with a tortoise shell pickguard rather than the two P-90s on the Special.
Truly clean Korina has become increasingly difficult to find.
However, we’ve always found character in each piece wood. It individualizes the guitar for the player.
We don’t make guitars like they used to. We don’t even make them like we used to. We make them better.