Danny Brown 00-28 Build

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mdrs
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Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:23 pm

I have been blessed by another custom built acoustic guitar, built by my friend, Danny Brown. Danny is the senior luthier in the Custom Shop at Martin Guitar, but does a small number of custom builds at home. He has collected all sorts of old growth wood over the past 30 years, affording him the now rare opportunity to build guitars like the "golden era" guitars of the pre WW-II era that are not only built in the old tradition, but are also built of wood very much like the "old wood" that was used back then.

Here is a link to the thread discussing the first guitar Danny built for me, a wonderful Danny Brown D-45;

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6424&hilit=danny+brown

As I've gotten to know Danny, we have developed a list of guitars I'd like to have him build for me. This little "DJB" (aka Danny J Brown) "00-28" was NOT on that list!! This is a guitar that Danny started for another client, who ended up in a divorce and unable to follow through with the build. Luckily I was given the opportunity to come in and participate in much of the design of the build. When I got involved, Danny had assembled the body of the guitar, but nothing else. So, I was able to "make it mine" so to speak.

One of the great things about a DJB guitar is that Danny knows what a maniac I am about guitars, and in particular acoustic guitars. I LOVE everything about them, and love learning more of the details about what makes them tick. So, Danny and I will decide what basic style we'll go with, and then will literally design it from the bottom up. How many frets clear of the body.....12 or 14? Neck thickness, shape, width.......It's a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to do this with someone who knows what Danny knows about acoustic guitars.

So, I told Danny that I'd like this to be a finger style guitar, similar to an old 1930 Martin 0-28 that I own. I wanted 12 frets free of the body, with a slot head, and a wide neck. No pick guard either. All of these are attributes of the most coveted of the old Martins for finger style players. I wanted a "V" neck, and I wanted a more pronounced "V" than you typically see in modern guitars. I also wanted a thick, chunky neck. I feel strongly that a big thick neck has tremendous value to the tone of a guitar, particularly an acoustic guitar. With help from Danny's wife, we decided to go with vintage styled tuners, but plain ones....nothing fancy. I also wanted an old fashioned "pyramid" bridge, just like the old one's made in the early '30's had. As opposed to the "fancy" D-45 Danny had already made me, this guitar was to be more of a "plain Jane", which is very much in the fashion of old Martin guitars. For me, that understated handsome elegance of an old Martin is the visual message I'd like my guitar to make. I also wanted this 00-28 to be a "shade top", similar to my old 0-28. Here is a photo of my 1930 00-28. Take note of how the braz back on this 1930 Martin is so similar to the braz back on the DJB 00-28......it could almost be from the same tree!! :shock: ;

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So, with my son Jeff, and Dave Smith in tow, I headed down to Danny's this past Saturday to pick it up. We had a great couple of hours, playing the new guitar, and just enjoying some time with Danny, and his wife.

The guitar is a little power house! It's got a very sweet small guitar tone. It's much louder than you'd expect from a relatively small sized guitar. It's got a treble biased tone, yet still have amazing bass and mids with wonderful overtones. The guitar was braced for medium strings. But, I asked Danny to set it up for lights. It is a short scale length. So, that, combined with the light strings makes the feel of the strings very pliable, and easy to bend strings. It has a wonderful "snappy" feel, especially for finger style playing. It also responds very nicely to strumming chords. The guitar likes to be strummed lightly, and rewards you in amazing overtones when you do so.

As we were playing the guitar at Dannys, both my son and Dave Smith stated their opinion that this guitar was every bit as amazing as the D-45 Danny built me. Now, I am continuously amazed and totally in love with the DJB D-45. So, when I heard them saying this, something in me said "no way!!".

Yet, having lived with the 00-28, and playing it for a couple of hours every day, I'm now in full agreement. It's another stunningly wonderful guitar. Danny has THE MAGIC! :thumb:

Danny did a totally unique hand stain job on the adirondack face of the guitar. It's a shade top the likes of which I've never seen before. It's quite striking. And, my wife likes it!! Believe me, THAT means a lot!! :D :thumb:

I've been playing it along side of my wonderful old '30 Martin "0-28", and have to say that the DJB 00-28 holds it's own, and then some!! I can not wait to hear it as it settles in, dries out, and opens up. I may also have Danny change out the set up in order to put medium strings on it. I know Danny voiced it for medium strings, and can only imagine how much more punch and power it'll have with mediums on it. Danny's D-45 has mediums on it, and I'm very comfortable playing it. If I do go with the "conversion" to medium strings, which would require the nut to be altered, and a new saddle, as well as a tweek on the truss rod, I'll post and let you know how it goes.

Here are some photos of the new DJB 00-28, along with a couple of iPhone vids we shot at Danny's house.


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Here's Danny;

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Here are some iPhone vids. In order to view the video, just click on the center of the image below. The first is the very moment I first laid my eyes on her;

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Here's Dave Smith (aka 'gtrfxr');

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Here's Danny;

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Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

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Greg B.
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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by Greg B. » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:19 pm

Wow......just WOW!!!!!!! Don, that is amazing!!! Damn I wish I could make it up to Donstock!!!!!
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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by Craig » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:26 pm

Beautiful guitar! Some great picking in that video too, Don!
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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:56 pm

Thanks Greg, and Craig. :wave:

Those vids were literally the first playing I'd done on the 00-28. It's got a wide, and FAT neck, which I love. But, you have to adjust to playing it. There is a huge pay off in the way of great tone and sustain in having a big chunk of wood for a neck.

The first song I played was "I'm One" from Quadrophenia. The flat picking tune is called "Red Haired Boy"......flat picking is a real challenge, but fun stuff, and IMO pretty darn cool. It's gotta be a good picking exercise, too!!
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by BritInvasion » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:54 pm

What a stunner Don! Love the woods and the whole construction technique. The slot headstock just looks perfect old-school. Congrats! :thumb:
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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:58 pm

:shock: Wow is the only word that comes to mind on that beauty Doc!!! :pirate: Danny does it again! genius workmanship! :thumb:
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:44 pm

Thanks, Frank. I insisted on the slot head. What I wanted was a "DJB" (Danny J Brown) guitar fashioned after the old fingerstyle Martins from the '30's. Danny wisely counseled me that a peg head would be much easier to change strings on, etc., etc.. Of course, I didn't listen to him!! I agree that the slot head keeps the "old guitar" vibe strong. And, who knows, maybe the slot head keeps the tone characteristics closer to those old ones. Danny has never built a shade top, and I know he sweated it out doing this one. I really LOVE the way it ended up looking. Remember, Danny is using an Adirondack spruce top that is about as good as you'd ever see, not to mention that it's VERY hard to even find one close to this quality these days. So, he's working on a top you can't replace, AND I'm asking him to stain it to match an old 1930 Martin shade top I have. The top did not absorb the stain the way Danny expected it to. He actually applied something like three different stains to get the results you see. I can honestly say that I've never seen a top that looks like this one. I really love it.

Lee.....Danny is brilliant. I have know him for a couple of years now, and can honestly say that he continues to astound me with his talent.

Wait until you see the NEXT ONE we have planned!! :rawk:
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:00 pm

I knew there was a issue with the top stain. Hard and soft spots or dense and less dense areas of the wood always cause a uneven hue, there are some products that minimize that effect and sort of neutralize the dark to lighter effects. But really wood is not consistent in density an so what you end up with is the essence of the properties of the wood along with the tonal complexities that make up the personality of the instrument. So if you force less dense areas to not absorb stain and force stain to absorbe more into dense areas it is more consistent, what that does to the tone of the instrument is unknown but I would think leaving the grain breathe would be the best way to go.
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:17 am

Exactly right, Lee. Danny did a hand rubbed staining technique, and as anyone who's "rubbed in" wood stain knows, some woods will take up the stain more uniformly than others. This piece of spruce decided to "misbehave"!! The good news is that the end result is really cool to look at!! Even the wife likes the way it looks!! :? :shock: :whistle: ;) :D

Most "burst" or shade top's are sprayed on. Danny wanted to do the hand rub staining, so that there'd be less finish on the top, thus allowing it to move better. He also applies fewer coats of lacquer to the entire body of the guitar for the very same reason.
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:55 pm

Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:06 pm

Oh very NICE DON!! it has such a sweet ring and sustain to it on the top end! I love that!! good job on the demo too!!!
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:26 pm

Thanks, Lee.

Danny's guitars are amazing. This one records really REALLY well, too. It just sings........
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by rickygclef » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:29 am

Beautiful! Love the rustic look of finish and the fret marker inlays are really nice. DJB is some craftsman. :whistle: :whistle:

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Re: Danny Brown 00-28 Build

Post by mdrs » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:04 pm

rickygclef wrote:Beautiful! Love the rustic look of finish and the fret marker inlays are really nice. DJB is some craftsman. :whistle: :whistle:
Thanks Ricky, you got that right!! I will pass this on to Danny, who just had double hernia surgery!! OUCH! I'm sure it'll cheer him up.

Funny you post this today....... I met a guy who has an AMAZING collection of old Martins last night. Tim also builds guitars, and has built some really outstanding instruments, too!! I brought my DJB 00-28 with me, and Tim and a couple of his friends really liked it as well.

BTW, I played a 1932 Martin OM-18, and a '30's era 000-28. Nothing like old wood, let me tell ya!! :rawk:
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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