The North American Guitar | Unit 9, Waterside | 44-48 Wharf Road | London | N1 7UX
Call us on 0207 835 5597 or Via Email

Talking Guitar: Casimi Guitars - The Jumbo C4 & Incoming TNAG Guitars

BM: Hi Guys, How Have you been and what’s new in the wonderful world of Casimi Guitars?


CG: Hi Ben, we are doing very well thanks, I hope you are too!

This year has started off on quite a high for us. We’ve been working hard on polishing up parts of our production process and creating a new model (The C4) with attendant mould and jigs. We’ve also been upgrading some aspects of our workshop and tools, so we are enjoying the increased efficiency and ease with which things are moving along.

The C4, which TNAG has commissioned, is particularly exciting! Its going to be our first full jumbo guitar and as you know, the very first one is going to be heading your way made from nothing less than The Tree and Alpine Moon spruce.



BM: Big Congratulations on the CNN documentary that recently air internationally. Tell u show this came about?


CG: Thank you, yes that was a great experience.


We were approached by CNN to be part of a series of short documentaries called African voices. It was an eight-minute segment shot in our workshop and surrounds. It was produced and directed by a really great local team who fly all over Africa hunting down interesting stories on people who are doing or creating significant things on the African continent. It was a privilege to work with them and share some of the build we did for TNAG of our first ever guitar in the legendary Tree!


BM: We have seen some beautiful orders coming through the showroom recently from the world exclusive C4 in the Tree, to a stunning C2 in master grade Koa to a TNAG favourite African Blackwood C2 Signature. Tell us what do you look for when sourcing the finest tone woods available to you?

C4 Signature Tree: SOLD

C3 Signature Tree: SOLD

C2 African Signature Blackwood:

C1 Signature Koa: SOLD

The Girls...



Well, that’s a pretty interesting question actually. We’ve been lucky enough to procure some of the most exquisite woods known to man through some of the finest suppliers on the planet. In a word, what we look for is “exceptional,” Firstly it all comes off the very top of the 5A master grade shelf. So that rules out absolutely any flaws or defects and ensures the pieces are exquisite, perfectly cut, matched and dried. This means the woods we select are the finest examples available in their species. We use a range of different woods for backs and sides that cover a broad spectrum of different characteristics. From high elevation Hawaiian Koa to African Blackwood there is a huge difference in weight, density and hardness, but one quality is consistent, that’s quality!

 


For our tops, our preferred wood is Alpine Moon Spruce. Its clarity, power and purity just work best for our recipe, but whether its Alpine Moon spruce, Adirondack or Carpathian, we are always looking for the stiffest, lightest pieces. Strength to weight is crucial in a top. 

There is a lot of talk about grain density and many say that as rule, the tighter the grain, the better, but that can also be misleading. In the case of Carpathian in particular, you find the grain can be pretty wide, but as long as those tops are stiff enough and light enough, they are going to give us what we are looking for.


One thing I'd like to mention here is slightly controversial .. run out. There is a lot of discussion about it being undesirable in a high end instrument and I can understand why people would feel instruments that belong in this category should be flawless. My view however is that a certain amount of run out is not actually a flaw, but a natural feature of real wood. In other words, because trees grow in a vortex, when the timber is cut, run out is merely the visible result of this vortex and not a flaw. I said “a certain amount” meaning that because of this vortex it's basically impossible to achieve absolutely zero run out. To my eye however run out is merely a natural and beautiful effect of wood. To my ear, honestly it makes less than no difference. So although I’d also be looking for pieces that are as run out free as possible, it would not be for my sake.

Its worth mentioning the Honduras Mahogany and West African ebony we use for our necks and finger boards. Here its all about straight, consistent, quartered grain and colour. Strength to weight of course as well.
Lastly, what we look for is ethical suppliers. Wood is an ever scarcer material and there is some serious cloak and dagger stuff out there. We make sure that all our woods are sourced from the most sustainable sources and trusted suppliers


BM: Do you both have a favourite tone wood to build with?

CG: That would have to be The Tree and Alpine Moon spruce at the moment.. but in truth, pretty much all our woods leave us wide eyed. Its just such an incredibly varied and beautiful medium to work with.


BM: In a relatively short period of time your brand has shot to the top of the luthier world like a rocket ship! How does that feel?


CG: Yes that’s true. It’s felt much like a rocket ship at times.. thanks in no small part to the amazing work from team TNAG.

Casimi Guitars was only born in 2012, so its been a steep trajectory! But then it’s worth remembering we spent more than a decade building and gaining experience at Maingard Guitars and the music business before we got around to Casimi. In all that time and the years since, we‘ve poured our souls, blood, sweat, tears, joy and every scrap of ingenuity we posses into this adventure. Building these guitars is what we do. We do it because it means everything to us. Being a luthier, especially in South Africa, is not for the faint of heart. We’ve navigated our fair share of insanity to get to where we are now. But it feels amazing to have had so much encouragement and help along the way and to know it all paid off. Immense gratitude and plenty of excitement.


BM: Your instruments just so beautiful tonally and aesthetically, and incredibly intricate. If you are faced with them, how do you deal with set backs in the build process.


CG: Thankfully set backs are pretty rare. Experience has enabled us to iron out most of the tricky bits… But, when they do happen, they can be pretty nail biting. One tries not to think too hard about the costs of the materials involved, otherwise we’d risk getting nervous.. nervous is dangerous.

But an interesting truth is, almost every time we’ve had a challenge its resulted in something more interesting or better in the build. I think it’s actually potentially the most fun when something doesn’t go exactly to plan. It forces us to be creative.

BM: Tell us where do you draw your inspiration from with your inlay and rosette design.


CG: Well, it occurred to me with the very first Casimi prototype, that it would be a great idea to base the rosette inlays on traditional motifs from the area where the back and sides came from from. In that case it was a cocobolo C2S, so I looked to the Yukatan peninsular for inspiration. It was a way of saying thank you to that part of the world for the beautiful wood. Since then, the idea has become ever more inspiring. The world is an endlessly fascinating place and sticking just to traditional motifs is a never ending fountain of ideas. I really enjoy researching art from different cultures and ancient civilisations. There is such a rich supply of beauty and ideas.


BM: We are just so proud to represent you guys and want to thank you for consistently surpassing ours and our customers expectations every time!


CG: Thank you to all of you at TNAG! Its been an incredible journey. We both sincerely look forward to continuing to work with you and have the opportunity to grow as luthiers and artists.

INCOMING & AVAILABLE

CASIMI GUITARS:

Casimi C1 Singnature Koa / Moon Spruce

£21,250.00 inc VAT
£17,708.33 ex VAT
  • Sound Board – Moon Spruce
  • Back - Koa
  • Sides - Koa
  • Venetian Cutaway – yes
  • Rib & Arm Bevel
  • Nut Width - 1.75"
  • Headstock Veneer - Ebony
  • Rosette - Casimi style in Ebony
  • Scale length - 24.9"
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Moon Spruce Top
  • Signature  Bridge, Rosette and Headstock
  • Soundport
  • Honduran Mahogany 1 piece Neck
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • Nut - black Tusq
  • Saddle - black Tusq
  • Bridge - Ebony
  • Bindings - Ebony
  • Tuners - Gotoh 510
  • Inlay - Brass Casimi headstock logo
  • Electronics - none
  • Case - Hoffee Carbon Fibre

 

Casimi C2 Signature African Blackwood / Moon Spruce

£21,250.00 inc VAT
£17,708.33 ex VAT
  • Sound Board – Moon Spruce
  • Back - African Blackwood – Inner Wenge
  • Sides - African Blackwood – Inner wenge
  • Florentine Cutaway – yes
  • Rib & Arm bevel
  • Neck - Mahogany
  • Nut Width - 1.75"
  • Headstock Veneer - African Blackwood
  • Rosette - Casmimi sig Carved
  • Scale length - 25.5"
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Nut - black Tusq
  • Saddle - black Tusq
  • Bridge - Ebony Signature design
  • Bindings - Ebony
  • Tuners - Gotoh 510
  • Inlay - Abalone on rosette
  • Electronics - none
  • Case - Hoffee Carbon Fibre

For more information on these absolutely incredile incoming Casimi Guitars please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or email hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com.

 

Have a wonderful weekend...

Ben

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