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New Fairbanks Arrivals

This week saw our biggest arrival of Fairbanks guitars from Dale Fairbanks in Connecticut, USA.

Dale has quickly developed a reputation for himself as an incredibly talented luthier, having spent years restoring pre-war Martin and Gibson guitars.

Included in our latest delivery are four sensational guitars, ranging from best selling F-35 model to our first F-40 and a special Kalamazoo Gals guitar, paying homage to the female workforce employed by Gibson in Kalamazoo during World War II.

Check out our new arrivals below:

Fairbanks F-35 in Honduran Mahogany & Adirondack Spruce - £4,850

Fairbanks Roy Smeck in Mahogany & Adirondack Spruce - £4,950

Fairbanks F-35 K-Gals SJ in Mahogany & Red Spruce - £7,250

Fairbanks F-40 in Torrefied Maple & Red Spruce - £5,750

We spoke to Dale Fairbanks about these guitars and the thought process behind their design.

TNAG: What inspired you to build these guitars?

DF: I was inspired to build these guitars by my admiration for the pre- and post-war guitars that a certain factory in Kalamazoo was putting out during their 'golden age' of production.

The Southerner Jumbos built during the war era were the finest guitars available at the time and long get better as they age into the new millennium.

The Roy Smeck model is the epitome of tone: nothing beats a twelve fret dreadnought body, with the bridge smack in the middle of bat big vibrating top.

And the F-40, my natural and torrefied take on a J-185, that's just a classic design-maybe the most beautiful shape ever devised.

When searching for a specific tone from an instrument what qualities do you look for in a particular set of wood?

When I choose a set of wood, the first thing I take notice of is the weight. Lighter is better, in my opinion. Nothing is ever certain when you try to predict the tone of an instrument, but you can hedge your bets by sorting for different criteria.

Second is stiffness. I prefer stiffer pieces to floppier, but great vintage sounding guitars can be made with either by compensating for the lack of stiffness with heavier bracing, thicker bridge plates, thinner or thicker back and top plates, etc.

Lastly, good, dense bridge stock is a necessity for any guitar.

I think the tone of any guitar (dry or lush, thumpy or ringing) has as much to do with the bracing style as the species of the back and sides. Maybe more. So I tend to concentrate my attention to the bracing rather than try to divine what woods will produce what qualities of tone.

Did you have any set backs with these guitars or pleasant surprises during the planning or early construction?

That's a tough one. I don't tend to have any setbacks these days that I can't dig myself out of. The majority of issues come when I go on autopilot and do something like cut the wrong scale length for a particular guitar and have to make a new fingerboard. That'll set me back a few hours. On one of the SJs, I put the 15th fret parallelogram inlay on the 14th fret while I was listening to a political podcast. I must have been irritated. Stupid stuff like that happens more often than I'd like to admit.

When they eventually find a home, do you have hopes for where they will end up? And do you ever think about all of the instruments you have made and what or where they all are?

For every guitar I make, I just hope it will get played, a lot. My favorite thing is when a guitar I've made comes back in for a checkup with pick scratches, a scar or two from being knocked around, and just evidence from general mayhem. That gives me the most satisfaction. I respect the players that treat their guitars well and avoid marring the finish, wipe them down well after playing, and so on... I used to be one of them.. but nothing beats evidence of a life well lived. That is, unless I'm fixing punctures or broken headstocks. That's just careless!

For all my guitars. I only hope that they bring satisfaction to their caretakers, be it on the couch or on stage somewhere. And I do hope that they make it to subsequent generations with the echoes of songs still ringing. Even if they end up in a pawnshop somewhere, they'll be there for someone new to write their own songs with. That's my philosophy, Jerry.

These guitars are available to purchase now. For more information, please get in touch by calling +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or emailing hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com.

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