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Froggy Bottom F12 Deluxe D-Tuned
 
A new variation of Froggy Bottom’s 0000-size guitar specifically designed for low tunings.
September 21, 2022
 

As one of the longest-running makers of custom steel-string guitars, Vermont’s Froggy Bottom Guitars has been at the forefront of the custom guitar world for more than 50 years. In some cases, requests made by a customer have made their way into the company’s list of options, while at other times, one of the company’s builders will try a variation on a theme. Recently, Froggy Bottom president and luthier Andrew Mueller decided that he wanted a guitar that could be tuned a whole step lower than standard, and after some experimenting, he built a long-scale (28.35-inch) version of the company’s F12 Deluxe model. Pleased with the result, he sent the guitar to a few dealers and players to get feedback, and I was lucky to be among those who got to preview what is now an option when ordering a Froggy Bottom guitar. In this video, I give the guitar a spin in the Peghead Nation studio.

As a variation on Froggy Bottom’s F12 model, the F12 Deluxe D-Tuned uses the company’s 0000-size body. This prototype was built with gorgeous Guatemalan rosewood back and sides and a top-grade German spruce top (we checked out a standard F12 Deluxe with a similar wood combination in 2020. Check out that demo here). The obvious high-quality of these materials was complemented by Froggy Bottom’s Deluxe set of appointments, which include the company’s #5 pattern fingerboard inlay, abalone rosette and back-strip, bound peghead with abalone frog inlay, koa binding, and more. The instrument also has a deep Florentine cutaway. 

The F12 Deluxe D-Tuned’s 28.35-inch scale length (longer than most baritone guitars) makes the instrument unusual in a way that few instrument makers have explored. The long scale makes it possible to tune the entire guitar down a whole step, D to D, while keeping normal tension with a standard medium-gauge set of strings. This allows you to, among other things, place a capo at the second fret and get standard E to E tuning with a similar scale length as a regular long-scale (around 25.5 inches) guitar, which means that the guitar can be thought of as allowing you to capo down two frets, increasing its range. This can be great for matching vocal ranges, creating unusual chord voicings, or creating rich-sounding solo guitar arrangements—all while having a regular guitar at your disposal with the flick of a capo. Froggy Bottom isn’t the first to introduce this clever idea, but I can only think of a handful of other instruments I’ve come across with similar designs. 

Playing the F12 Deluxe D-Tuned without a capo creates a sonic experience that puts the guitar into a category of its own. Lower and richer sounding than a standard guitar, the guitar is beautifully resonant when played solo, and alternate tunings can extend its palette even further. While a baritone guitar (usually tuned B to B) can almost function as a bass, its heavy strings can make strumming muddy sounding, and transposing to different keys during a jam can be tricky. The Froggy Bottom stayed focused even when strummed. It sits about halfway between a standard and baritone guitar, and when a musical situation calls for a standard guitar, popping on a capo makes it exactly that.

The appeal of the F12 Deluxe D-Tuned can’t be denied. It certainly had me thinking that perhaps I needed something between my standard and baritone guitars. For players who want to cover a large tonal range with a single instrument, the concept of a longer scale, regular gauge strings, and lower tuning could be a revelation. Big kudos to Andy Mueller and Froggy Bottom for thinking outside the box and creating a very cool new instrument!

SPECS: 14-fret 0000 body. German spruce top with X-bracing. Guatemalan rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 28.35-inch scale. Evo frets. 1¾-inch nut width. 2¼-inch string-spacing at the saddle. High-ratio Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $17,470 as shown (standard models start at $8,645). froggybottomguitars.com

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    ● 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