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Minor Bird Thaté
 
An innovative custom instrument that’s shared by participants of the Acoustic Guitar Project.
March 29, 2021
 

There are cool guitars and there are great guitar-related activities, but it isn’t every day that you see something as perfectly paired as Minor Bird guitars built by Maryland luthier Victor Long and the Acoustic Guitar Project. Although he is currently taking a break from lutherie, Long crafted several instruments that are used by participants in the Acoustic Guitar Project, which is a creative effort that was founded about a decade ago in New York City. Participants in the Project, which is now represented in more than 50 cities around the world, are invited to write and record a tune on the same guitar. I was recently invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

Minor Bird guitars are all built using sustainably harvested woods. The guitar I received, which is named the Minor Bird Thaté, is built with a Sitka spruce top, American sycamore back and sides, a mahogany neck, and a granadillo fingerboard and bridge. Sycamore isn’t often seen as a guitar wood, though I have played a handful of other examples. The sycamore on this guitar featured spectacular figuring and had a very attractive appearance. The guitar also has an Ambrosia maple rosette and koa binding. Thaté features several other elements that depart from traditional flattop construction, including an asymmetrical bridge, a Manzer-style wedge body that is thinner at the bass side than it is at the treble side, and a soundport in the upper bout. 

So what is the Acoustic Guitar Project? Founded by Dave Adams, the project seeks to connect artists and to reduce the creative process of writing a piece of music to its bare essentials. The participants each receive the same guitar (every chapter has its own instrument), and a simple hand-held audio recorder, and the assignment is to write and record a new tune or song within a week. Performances are featured on the project’s website, and before COVID-19 put a temporary halt to it, each city’s chapter produced an annual concert featuring the participating artists. 

As an instrumental fingerstyle player, I always enjoy finding out what kind of tunes a new guitar might lend itself too. The Minor Bird Thaté has a really rich low end response, so I tried several pieces of my existing repertoire on it, discovering that it sounded lovely in a variation of an open C tuning that I frequently use: CGCGCD. I ended up writing a piece that I called “Rendezvous at Howard & Spear,” titled for the downtown San Francisco location where Bay Area Acoustic Guitar Project curator Steve Gallup and I double parked for a quick handoff of the guitar (you can see the full performance and a discussion of how I arrived at the piece here). 

Overall, I felt that the Minor Bird guitar is a great example of a little-known builder creating an innovative instrument and becoming part of a creative effort that is much larger than the guitar itself. I had a ton of fun participating in the project, and was happy to add my name to the long array of signatures that already graced the instrument when I finished! Minorbird.com, theacousticguitarproject.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