1990s Bill Irwin Jumbo Flattop Guitar

Mr. Irwin (he lives just around the bend in the road from us and up a hill) told me he built this entirely with non-power hand tools in a little cabin up in Canada -- that's the story, right Bill? I'd say that he hit it right out of the park, though. This guitar sounds excellent. It has lots of drive, punch, and guts but is yet warm and full in a way many jumbo/mini-jumbo guitars simply are not.

His pattern for building seems to have been a cutaway version of a Martin M-style model. It has that 16" extra-000-shape look to it, though the oval soundhole and cutaway almost scream Guild. Details and fittings are very Martin-like, however -- it has 45-style inlay in the fretboard, lots of extra plys of binding around the top and back edges, and a gorgeous bit of inlay in the headstock veneer.

It has interesting wood choices -- mahogany for the back and rosewood for the sides. This gives it some of the sustain and subtle warmth of rosewood while also retaining a lot of punch with the mahogany back. 

The neck is thin and fast, the truss rod works as it should, and the setup was OK when it came in. All I did was lightly level/dress the frets and then adjust the saddle height and setup after that.

The rosewood headstock veneer is bedecked with a gogeous flowerpot inlay.

Unlike comparable Martins, the fretboard on this guitar is actually flat instead of radiused.

The printed pickguard reminds me of '90s Martin entry-level D-series instruments.

Unfortunately for the owner, to really get it playing well I had to add string ramps to the bridge and lower the saddle nearly to the "deck."


Rob Gardner said…
Hey, this is a dead ringer for a Martin MC 28 Cutaway with an Oval Soundhole from the 80's. These were great guitars,