It’s time for our sixth and final La Conner Guitar Festival preview here in the Bench Press column. This week the featured builders are Will Bright and Randall “Sparky” Kramer. We’ve had a great time talking with all the luthiers and can’t wait to see them in La Conner this weekend.
As usual, we asked them just the one question: Are you working on anything special for La Conner?
Randall “Sparky” Kramer, Randall Kramer Guitars
I’ll be bringing a just completed Schoenberg Quartet for its debut at the 2018 LaConner show. Ten years ago Eric and I collaborated on the design for the Quartet, a 12-fret 0000, bringing to fruition an idea that he and Stephan Bruton had batted around for years. (Bruton was portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the film Crazy Heart. He unfortunately died before the first Quartet was finished in 2009.)
This Quartet differs from preceding Quartets in that it is the first one without a cutaway. It also has no steel truss rod, but rather graphite bars for stiffeners, thus lightening the neck, and is compression fretted to achieve the correct neck relief. It features Red spruce, Brazilian rosewood, Gotoh 510 open gear tuners, and traditional fingerboard and headstock inlays, and a variation of a 30-style purfling.
Previous Quartets were labeled the “Stephan Bruton Model,” this one is Model 34, to represent the last year the Martin Guitar company would have made a 12-fret 0000, had they ever made one. They introduced the 0000 as a 14 fret in 1976.
I drew the first Mini Concert slot for 11:00 a.m. Friday morning, so make it your first stop at the show and hear this Quartet played by Frog and Toad.
Will Bright, Bright Guitars
This year I’m bringing a Grey Wolf™ model in Sitka spruce and persimmon. I discovered persimmon years ago as a domestic alternative to ebony. They’re from the same family and their properties are very similar.
I’ve been using persimmon almost exclusively for fingerboards and bridges for several years now, and I recently found a piece large enough for a back. I cant wait to hear it!