I knew Adrian Lucas from a few RMMGA gatherings, but back when I started attending these things, it took a lot to bring me out of my shell so that I was comfortable playing in front of others, so I was always shy to try the instruments that were there. Silly, I know, but there it is.
My last gathering before a return in 2016 was 2007 and I’ve done a whole lot of playing and performing since then! I felt much more comfortable and I pretty much had a guitar in my hand for the whole weekend. It was a real treat to get to try Adrian’s guitars, the bunch of Brooks that Simon brought, Tony Thompson’s, Malcolm Griffiths’ and all the other wonderful instruments that were there — guitar heaven, so to speak.
My guitar preference has been honed over the years and I’d put myself down as a traditionalist, so rosewood, mahogany or maple, spruce, no bling; instruments that are set up for rhythm and flatpicking with good volume. I’d never really gone for the pointy Venetian cutaways, and didn’t think that contemporary instruments would really float my boat, you know? — Sound ports, Manzer wedges, bevels, alternative woods, all that modern stuff. So I guess you could say that when I picked up Arian’s Pavilion 12 Sweep, I had some preconceived notions of the guitar. It was nice to be surprised! And, all of a sudden, the pointy cutaway and sweeping curves became delightful and alluring.
Over the weekend I kept going back to that guitar, trying different styles and different tunings and I felt a real bond begin to form. Uh oh. Danger, Will Robinson! And so began the inner monologue of justification which kinda went as follows:
- This guitar is so different from anything that I have or have had;
- I don’t have a dedicated fingerstyle guitar;
- I’m saving for another Walker and just about have enough in the Walker fund and might as well put the money into a guitar;
- I’ve just sold two guitars;
- Life’s too short for regrets (yeah, that one!)
So, a quick email off to Adrian and the deal was done!
The guitar is set up with 12s for fingerstyle and I think that’s why it’s coaxing new things out of me. It’s so easy to play and really responsive, and it has plenty of headroom for a heavy gauge Red Bear pick. The sound port really makes a difference, with an unadvertised advantage being the smell of the inside of the guitar – that woody smell mingled with the notes makes my heart swell.
- Top: European spruce
- Back & sides: American cherry
- Side lamination: English oak
- Fingerboard and bridge: Laburnum
- Nut: Holly
- Bridge pins: Box
- Bindings: English walnut
- Scale: 650mm
- Nut: 75mm
- String spacing: 57.5mm
- Fingerboard markers: Brass tubing infilled with ebony
Here’s Adrian’s copy…
This is the third guitar I made for The Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015 in Berlin. This is the Pavilion Sweep 12 model. The difference between this and the regular Pavilion Sweep is that the neck has been moved two frets further into the body, which places the bridge at the widest part of the lower bout as on a traditional 12 frets-to-the-body guitar. This is sometimes referred to as “the sweet spot”. The fingerboard still provides plenty of upper fret access, meeting the body at the 16th fret. The soundboard is European spruce, the neck reclaimed Honduras mahogany, and the back and sides American cherry with a remarkable curly figure. The sides are laminated with English oak on the inside to double their thickness. This gives a solid foundation to the soundboard so that its energy is more efficiently projected as sound. The rosette is made from a piece of yew incorporating the sapwood and heartwood to great effect. The body has a Manzer wedge across the width so that it is shallower on the bass side where it fits more comfortably under the player’s right arm. The finish is French polish.