2014 Holo Traditional | Blog

image2014 Holo Traditional | Blog

The latest from the workshop of the illustrious Bob Holo!

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  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,069
    Cool new Busato model from Bob!
  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 488
    Is this one used? just curious as it says it's a 2014.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited September 2016 Posts: 1,252
    It's new. I just kept it for a while to see how it matured. I've done this for other models, but never for a Busato. It's important to tune guitars so that when they get past their "young colt" phase, they settle in with clarity of tone and a good balance. The bass firms up and gets a little deeper, the topend gets a little less zingy and in its place you start to get that compression "thrumb/growl" thing on comped chords. After that has occurred, you want the mids to balance and the overall presentation to be cohesive as you go up and down the neck and across the fretboard. All in all, it matured a lot like a Nouveau, which is not surprising given that they're both Mirecourt/Italian inspired designs. It's strung with 10's but an 11 on the high E which is how I string my Busatos (both my vintage ones and the ones I make) For a little more sizzle, you could use a 10 on the high E, but I love the piano-like focus on the high-E with an 11, but I like the more lively harmonic sound of 10's on the bass side as it's a big body guitar and not hurting for bass, and the harmonics of the 10's give it more midrange presence. It has fairly good volume, so it sounds like it might have crushed youtube's auto-gain a bit as Michael's voice is a bit soft, but man do I like Michael's setup. Those Neumanns he uses are great - very accurate sound - nice recording.

    Well... I digress... Lol. Anyway, yes, it's new.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,154
    beautiful work Bob!

    Older guitars are better. In the first year (maybe more) of a new guitar, it's always a good idea to bring it back to the luthier for adjustments as everything settles. Looks like that's what Bob did, and I give him praise for that. This one's most likely ready for a new daddy (or mommy!).
  • Posts: 4,300
    Never heard of luthier holding on to the new guitar to make sure it settled the way you want it to and everything else is good before it goes out to the world.
    That's pretty darn cool Bob.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Haha, thank you gents! But I don't hold on to all of them like that. This was just to better understand how this design evolves in the first year or two. I've started doing some things to help them be more broken in from the get-go, but it's mostly just building components ahead of time in order to spot the ones that want to go out of bounds. Cut up a flitch of wood into brace blanks and let them sit -- the culls will sort themselves out after even a year of stickering. Make up some neck blanks and let them sit. Build the bodies and wrap them in bath towels for ding protection and let them sit. Assemble the guitar in the white and then just let it hang for a month or so in a humidity controlled environment until all the humidity from glue & bending etc., has made its way out, and then level & fret... that sort of thing. I suppose if you count it all up, they've all sat for several months by the time Michael gets them. But yeah, even after you string them they need to sit for a month or so before you find out what they're truly like, because as Dennis said, they still mature a lot in the first year. But I try to do at least those steps. Even so, if the climate of the buyer's location is different, the guitar will adjust a lot. People in Sedona buy shims & People in Seattle lower bridges...
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited September 2016 Posts: 2,154
    I personally think it's always better for luthiers to build guitars first and then have them around for a year if not more before selling them. It's why I really respect Bob's work; he's not doing it for the money but for the art.

    Most professional luthiers would be very pissed off at my statement... It's a very tricky situation, because luthiers don't make much money, and they can only build guitars on commission. Luthiers get better by building more and more guitars, and learning from trial and error. In this world, they're basically asking money to get better, unless they spend years doing just that , or apprenticing under a master.

    But the way I see it, it's like I'm learning to play Gypsy Jazz, and I walk up to Bireli, and say, hey listen, I've never played Gypsy Jazz before, but I'll play rhythm for you, you need to pay me 500$ a gig, so I can improve. Once I reach a good level, I'll charge you 1000$ a gig.

    I say this because there are LOTS of horror stories that don't get shared in public for fear of reprisal. I have one friend who's guitar was messed up by a "renowned" luthier but he didn't dare speak up because he knew he'd be crucified by the musician community who idolize the luthier. He tried to go back to the luthier to have him fix his mistakes, but instead the luthier put a "hex" on the guitar; he literally put a sticker with a curse written on it.

    I have one other friend who bought a guitar from a fairly well known luthier, after a year , the guitar had structural problems, when he asked the luthier to help out, the luthier basically told him "tough luck"

    one of first gypsy jazz guitars was by a pretty well known luthier. It was actually a good guitar, but I sold it to a student, and while in paris, a hoodlum tried to mug him and he fell on his guitar. When he brought it in for repair by a local luthier, we found out that the guitar had already been messed up previously during construction and that the original had tried to cover it up rather than starting from scratch, to save money.

    These are just a few stories out of many.

    All this to say, I have big respect for people like Bob who experiment and get better at their own personal expense before selling it to customers. That's how you build a solid reputation.

    That's why I always tell people to always try one before buying. If you really need to get a guitar on commission, be sure that you're able to either send it back to the luthier regularly for setup, or have a local luthier that's qualified to do it for you. Guitars in their first few years are totally different instruments than what they become later on and may very well need regularly adjustments in the beginning

    Many many many years ago, I knew one guy who had never built guitars before, and started building Gypsy Jazz guitars. Upon building his first guitar, he made very bold statements, saying that pretty much all luthiers didn't know what they were doing, that he had found the secret formula. Back in the day, I tried out the instrument, I was so impressed and was shocked that he was right. The guitar sounded amazing, and so loud and balanced. A few months later, the top caved in... boom.. He had made the guitar so light, that out of the box it sounded incredible, but it was basically an ice cream next to a volcano... destined to last only a few seconds.

    Moral of the story: don't judge a guitar out of the box. It takes a year if not even more before you know what it really is.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Man, I am going to have to work so hard to live up to that! ;-)

    Seriously though - Thank you, Dennis. You know I return those sentiments to you tenfold.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 801
  • ronzo4600ronzo4600 PNWNew Eimer's, Lebreton & Selmer
    Posts: 44
    Like A Fine Wine

    Let me preface this by stating that I’m not a great or even good player, but I have a fantastic ear and I know what I like in GJ style guitars.

    Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical regarding all the incredibly wonderful statements about Bob’s guitars. After all, there are many great luthiers out there and I’ve not really heard a bad or offensive instrument in a long time.

    That said, this guitar is a masterpiece of sorts and leaves no idea whatsoever that’s it’s a bastard child or unique anomaly coming from Bob. It plays like a dream, feels comfortable in your lap and as far as I can tell does not have a single untoward characteristic. At this point and in my opinion, Bob deserves all the accolades he’s getting for building great and very special guitars.

    The midrange and upper registers are crisp, clear and without messy overtones. The bottom end is tight, full of punch and carries a bit of bark reminiscent of the “real deal”. Tonally it’s as close to the real thing (at least my real thing) as I’ve ever heard.

    I find this instrument to be very aggressive in the best possible way. If you’re a bit tired out with the athletic component required to play this genre, you’ll find that this guitar provides exactly what you need and want with a lighter to moderate touch. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to get the most out of it.

    I played it for a couple of hours last night with the Peche pickup and Peche amp and it was nothing short of fantastic. I’m a fan of the retro sound and this combination did not disappoint. Honestly it was everything you could hope for and more.

    Workmanship is first rate; fit and finish is as good as I’ve seen and frankly at this price, there is no way anyone could go wrong with this instrument. Indeed, I’ve heard and played instruments at nearly three times the price and frankly, this guitar wins my mental competition hands down.

    So as another reviewer has stated; run, don’t walk to snatch this instrument from the clutches of someone like me who will never do it justice.

    Build me a short scale Bob, so I can have my very own Bobolo!
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