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Sexauer FT-L00-JB/2
 
A great flattop guitar built with olive wood back and sides.
March 8, 2023
 

Bruce Sexauer has been building stringed instruments for more than 50 years. Based in Petaluma, California, he continues to take custom orders, but his main focus is on building spec guitars that allow him to follow his own muse. Bruce recently stopped by the Peghead Nation video studio to show us three recent creations, an FT-L00-JB/2, a JB-16, and a JB-CN. In this video, Bruce and I briefly introduce all three guitars, before discussing the FT-L00-JB/2 in detail, and I also play a couple of fingerstyle pieces (one in standard tuning, one in DADGAD) on the guitar. Look for full demos of the other two guitars in the coming weeks.

The FT-L00-JB/2 has a body size and shape inspired by vintage L-00-style guitars. However, while the instrument’s dimensions and proportions are similar to a vintage L-00, this is where the similarities end. Like many Sexauers, the guitar has an asymmetrical design, including a slightly offset body shape and a multi-scale fingerboard. Other contemporary touches are the instrument’s side port and Bruce’s original cutaway design.

This FT-L00-JB/2 is also built with a unique set of materials; the olive wood used for the back and sides is a particularly unusual choice. Bruce got the wood from the estate of the late Sonoma county luthier Michael Hemken who passed away in 2021 and who owned the wood for more than 30 years. The guitar has a German spruce top that Bruce purchased from legendary wood dealer Martin Guhl many years ago. Hot hide-glue construction, an oil-varnish finish, and overall light construction complete the instrument. 

I found the guitar incredibly satisfying to play. Its overall character is bright, but complex, with enough bottom-end to carry the sound when playing solo. It has a lightning-fast response and a dynamic range that creates a very musical tonality. The relatively subtle multi-scale didn’t take any getting used to, and the overall feel is like that of a typical short-scale guitar, which is reflected in the shorter treble-side string length. The FT-L00-JB/2 is an excellent fingerstyle guitar, but like many mid-size flattops, it certainly isn’t limited to any one playing style. 

It’s fun to see a luthier with Bruce’s extensive experience stretch out and build an instrument fueled only by his own ideas and curiosity. The resulting FT-L00-JB/2 is a guitar driven by functionality, with a distinctive appearance and unusual materials. Players looking for a one-of-a-kind, mid-size steel-string that delivers tone and playability in spades shouldn’t wait to give Bruce a call!

SPECS: 13-fret 00 body with wedge shape. German spruce top with X-bracing. Olive wood back and sides. Honduran mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. Multi-scale fingerboard measuring 25.4 inches at the bass side, and 25.15 inches at the treble side. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle. Schertler tuning machines. Made in the USA. $18,000. sexauerguitars.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
 
 
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