It's always an incredibly exciting time when we start to represent new luthiers and begin working with them. We have been speaking with Ben Wilborn for around a year now, firstly deciding on specs for guitars and then watching them come to life. We are so pleased to have our first ever two stunning Wilborn Guitars being delivered to the TNAG showroom in the very near future.
We've kept in touch with Ben throughout the build process and he's sent us some information and thoughts on the two guitars which will be coming to our showroom.
"This is my Lion model (named after my son Leo) It’s what I probably sell the most of. It’s 14 1/4 inches across the lower bout.
This size is so comfortable to play, yes despite it’s smaller size, it still manages to have a very full and powerful sound.
This one is made with a Ceylon Ebony back and sides, Tunnel 14 Redwood, and leopard wood binding. Tunnel 14 Redwood is very cool. Here is its story: In the Siskyou Mountains of southern Oregon, there are three railroad tunnels (13,14,15) that were constructed in the 1860’s. These are pretty significant structures- long and cut through granite. They were shored up with the nearest hand timbers, which happened to be old growth redwood from the nearby California coast. In the early 2000nds, there was a fire in one of them, and the RR company took the opportunity to start replacing the wooden structure with steel. Many, many thousands of board feet of this precious redwood were brought out of the tunnel, the large majority of which was disposed of as “hazardous waste” (one presumes because of a corporate mindset, and the ugly black soot that had built up on the timbers).
Anyway, a local luthier, Rob LaCoste, managed to get permission to salvage some of this wood before it was destroyed, and with Herculean effort, involving a long hike with a chainsaw and crowbar, managed to save some of the finer specimens, of which this guitar’s top is an example. This is wonderful, powerful sounding wood. Some of it has acquired beautiful mineral streaking, but some, like this, is pure in appearance, and possessed of a quality which is just very very hard to find in any modern harvest redwood. This stuff is rare, and it’s storied background makes it really special. I’m very excited about this instrument!"
"Here is the larger of the two guitars. This is my EllieBelle model. (Named after my daughter Ellie) It’s 15” across the lower bout, similar in size to a Martin OM, but the design is my own. This one features a curly Honduras Mahogany back and sides, Adirondack (red) Spruce top, and ziricote binding and arm bevel."