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1995 Bourgeois JOM-C
 
A great maple flattop from early in Dana Bourgeois’ career.
August 23, 2021
 

Dana Bourgeois is one of the most accomplished luthiers of our time. As a major player in the world of high-end small-production-shop guitars, it’s easy to lose track of the path that has led him to being mentioned in the same breath as other luthier icons. Dana built his first guitar in his Bowdoin college dorm room, and by the late ’70s, he’d set up a shop to build and repair guitars, which gave him access to study some great vintage instruments. Always interested in feedback from players, Dana was able to connect with virtuosos such as Tony Rice as they passed through Maine, and these experiences helped him refine his own tonal ideas. During the 1980s, Dana worked with guitarist Eric Schoenberg on creating Schoenberg guitars, which were built in collaboration with Martin Guitars, and which effectively put OM-style instruments back on the map after not being built in any significant quantities since the 1930s. By the early ’90s, Dana was ready to combine his experiences to create his own Bourgeois Guitars, leading a team of craftspeople in building innovative, vintage-inspired steel-strings. 

I’ve been following Dana’s instruments since the late ’90s, and it has been especially fun to have a chance to demo a wide range of new Bourgeois guitars here on Peghead Nation over the last few years. However, when I recently found a 1995 Bourgeois JOM-C hanging on the wall at Eric Schoenberg’s shop on Tiburon, California (Dana and Eric’s formal collaboration ended years ago, but, they continue to stay in touch), I was reminded of just how far along Dana had already been at that relatively early stage of his development as a production guitar maker, so I decided to bring the guitar into the Peghead Nation studio for a demo. 

All Bourgeois guitars reflect Dana’s experience with vintage instruments (and in most cases, the inspiration is obvious), but this JOM-C is a perfect example of his own sense of design. The guitar uses Bourgeois’s “Jumbo OM” body, an enlarged 000/OM body, similar to what Martin fans will recognize as a 0000 or M-style, and it features the vaguely Maccaferri-style cutaway that harks back to the Schoenberg Soloist model. It also has the original tapered Bourgeois peghead, which allows for an almost straight path for all six strings from the nut to the Waverly tuning machines, as well as Bourgeois’s innovative fully bolted-on neck. The JOM-C is built with beautifully figured maple back and sides and a spruce top, giving it a bit of classic jumbo vibe in a slightly more compact package. Naturally, the craftsmanship is first-rate, and with a quarter-century of age, the finish has darkened and sunken nicely into the wood grain, giving it the feel and appearance of a beautifully worn-in instrument. 

The JOM-C is a great-playing guitar. It has a comfortable, contemporary-feeling neck, and I found the body to be very comfortable to hold when playing while sitting down. It had a powerful strumming voice, but it also excelled when it was played with a softer touch, and I found it to be a highly capable fingerstyle guitar. Like many maple guitars, it offered great clarity and a certain amount of “dryness” to the overall tone, both of which helped generate excellent balance and a bit of restraint in the overtones, likely making a JOM-C a great candidate for the stage or studio. 

Although this particular JOM-C has the wear, patina, and vibe that can only be achieved by years of playing, Bourgeois continues to offer the JOM as a standard model. With the Bourgeois building process having only been further refined, guitars like the one in this video are wonderful reminders of the heirloom-quality work that today’s top guitar makers are producing! Bourgeoisguitars.com 

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com