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I got a cigar box, I cut a hole in the top, put a board and nail it on there. And I taken four nails, put wire on 'em from a screen door for strings. I couldn't play it, but I rapped the sides, hootin' and hollerin'. I thought I was doin' something you know. - Furry Lewis recalls his first guitar

Author Topic: Tonk American  (Read 9279 times)

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Offline natterjack

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Tonk American
« on: May 22, 2008, 01:44:08 AM »
Just got this one back from repair, Rick Sellens in St Leonards did a fantatsic job.

Prof Scratchy brought his almost identical one to Euroweenie last year which sounded so good, I thought, 'I've got to get me one of those'. Six months later one turned up on ebay and here it is. Sounds really good, very loud and with a bit more bass than other ladder braced guitars I've played.

Not sure who made it, but my first guess is Regal, due to the body shape. If anyone else has any ideas, let me know.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 02:04:32 AM by natterjack »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 01:55:32 AM »
Natterjack - Rick Sellens (rick218) is in St. Leonards/Hastings (I'm in Rye).

It seems that whatever guitar (mainly acoustic but occasionally electric as well) Rick gets his hands on, the improvement is breathtaking.  He's worked wonders on both new and old models, but he has a particular affinity for the pre-war guitars. I've introduced many players to him and they invariably are amazed at the apparent miracles he achieves.

He's also a great guitar maker, with impeccable workmanship, but like many craftsmen has to do other work to earn a living.  This means the guitars often have to go on the back burner while he makes a window for someone or suchlike.  He's currently close to finishing a couple of OMs (one in walnut and one in rosewood) with a rosewood 00 following behind.  They've been in progress for several years now, but hopefully will be finished soon.

To cap it all, he's a good country blues picker himself as well.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline natterjack

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 02:04:06 AM »
Natterjack - Rick Sellens (rick218) is in St. Leonards/Hastings (I'm in Rye).

Of course he is! Thanks, edited accordingly.


Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 10:50:27 AM »
Nice to see the Tonk brought back to life! I think they were fine guitars with loads of volume, lots of presence in the bass (which I like) and lots of volume from that oval soundhole (which puts off the day when I have to invest in digital hearing aids)! Next Euroweenie we'll have to have a Tonk reunion! Yes, I think they were made by Regal - but Cambio might know for sure?

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 11:09:42 AM »
THAT is one beautiful guitar! Picasso would have approved.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline onewent

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 07:20:28 PM »
Here's another .. never thought I'd see another one!  ..just goes to show.. one of several things that make them unusual is that they are 14-fret slot heads..pretty rare combo..and I think the back and sides are ash..? At first I thought birch, then possibly maple, but I'm sort of thinking ash .. How 'bout yours, natterjack?  ..Tom
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 07:29:14 PM by onewent »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008, 06:38:05 AM »
There was one at Bernunzio (I think) that I kept eyeing, but it's gone now. Nice gitfiddles, guys!

Offline natterjack

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008, 08:03:22 AM »
I think the back and sides are ash..? At first I thought birch, then possibly maple, but I'm sort of thinking ash .. How 'bout yours, natterjack?  ..Tom

Mine has a lot of finish on the back and sides, it matches the edges of the sunburst, almost black, so you can't see a lot of wood through it. Looking through the soundhole the back wood looks pretty birchy to me, although I'm not 100% sure.

Offline Pan

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2008, 04:22:53 PM »
Hi Natterjack and Prof Scratchy.

You wouldn't happen to have any tiniest audio sample of this guitar, would you?  :P

I'm wondering how does this guitar sound, when recorded. Usually the smaller body sized guitars sound better than big guitars, when recorded fingerpicking, I believe.

But, on the other hand, you say that the instrument has more bass response, than the usual ladder braced little guitars.

Also, may I ask what restoration work was needed to get your instruments playable, and how costly it may have been?

I thank you on any information you might be able to share.

Yours truly

Pan

Offline Richard

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2008, 12:27:30 AM »
Having heard Prof S thundering away on his Tonk in a darkened room take it from me you don't not need no sound samples.. just go get one !

On another note (pun) I see a mention of a latent Euroweenie - very encouraging, so shall I start sounding out the hotel again? 
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline natterjack

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2008, 04:21:14 AM »
There are a few samples of scratchy's in this topic

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=3405.0

Mine just needed a neck reset (as do pretty much all old guitars) and the bridge re-glued. Rick Sellens (a weenie) did a great job for ?140. The guitar only cost $275 on ebay, so definitely the best value for money guitar I own (or am ever likely to).


Offline Pan

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2008, 04:35:42 AM »
There are a few samples of scratchy's in this topic

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=3405.0

Mine just needed a neck reset (as do pretty much all old guitars) and the bridge re-glued. Rick Sellens (a weenie) did a great job for ?140. The guitar only cost $275 on ebay, so definitely the best value for money guitar I own (or am ever likely to).



Thanks for the info, Natterjack!

Cheers

Pan

Edit: I agree that the guitar sounds great, and so do you, Prof Scratchy, and Natterjack!  :)

« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 05:05:46 AM by Pan »

roundarch

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2008, 07:21:10 AM »
I recently bought a guitar that I think may be a Tonk, although it differs some from the photos posted so far:




To me it looks just like this Tonk American posted on littlebrotherblues.com:


Can anyone shed any light on this guitar?  Thanks.

Offline natterjack

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2008, 07:36:34 AM »
Apart from the soundhole and the pickguard, it looks pretty identical to mine. Same tight-grained spruce on the top.

roundarch

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2008, 07:53:43 AM »
That's what I thouught looking at your pictures.  I didn't mention that it's light as a feather (3 lbs. 2 oz.) and plays and sounds fantastic!

 


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