Well, I'm back on the horse here at Luthier's Review, and we're building a backlog of content so we can deliver more posts on more builders from more locations with more guitars in a more timely fashion. I'm going to start with one of our new contributors: Todd Lunneborg and his Model O guitar. Briefly, Todd is an up-and-coming Minnesota builder and instructor with a love and knack for writing for the boutique guitar world. More can be found in his bio at end of this post. Happy reading and Happy new year!
This guitar is actually an earlier work by Todd Lunneborg that originally didn't quite live up to his own expectations - until he re-voiced it. I will do a follow-up on the re-voicing process with a few notes on different tap-tuning techniques modern builders are using today, but I'd like to first take a look at this guitar as it is to establish the value of re-voicing such an instrument.
First off, I know I played this guitar before it was re-voiced, but I don't remember it. I don't forget a lot of guitars, so that tells me everything I need to know about it from before: it wasn't terrible (because I remember terrible guitars as well as great ones), but not worth as second look. It was worth a second try for Todd though - and it was definitely time well spent. In a word this guitar is: Responsive. It has good, well balanced volume. Getting great tone is effortless and the low end is surprisingly rich and full.
One of the first things you will notice in Todd's guitars is his obsession with lamination. It's never over-done to my eye, but you will find laminated braces, a 15-piece laminated neck and laminated end blocks (some high-end builders are intentionally using ply-wood laminated blocks at the end pin for strength, but Todd laminates them himself as a design element).
One of the other things you will initially notice (especially in this guitar - for obvious reasons) is the Olson influence. Jim Olson has been an inspiration to Todd, as he has been to many, but beyond the obvious dimensions and shape of this guitar that influence is noticeable in how it plays, feels and sounds - a testament to Todd's true original talent and ability. The obvious elements of this influence are likely to fade as Todd's career progresses (we've got some posts coming about some very forward-thinking designs from him this year), but I hope the attention to detail, playability and true sound only grow as he breaks off on his own path.