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Main Forums => Larrivee Electric Guitars => Topic started by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 12:23:09 AM



Title: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 12:23:09 AM
Hello,

I'm new to posting in this forum, but have been lurking off and on for many years.  I'm basically a Larrivee brand "homer" meaning that I have eyes only for Larrivee guitars.  Other brands rarely interest me unless they're ultra-exclusive models that are unattainable (fitting).  Anyway, I've owned a C-09 since new around 2000.  It plays and sounds fantastic and has aged gracefully over the last 15 years.  Shortly after getting the C-09, I started my search for a Larrivee nylon guitar.  I really prefer the playability, sound, and look of the Florentine cutaway, so I spent many years casually looking for a mint C-30 type Larrivee and finally found one about 4 years ago.  

From there, I turned my attention to an RS-4 to replace my first guitar, a Mexican Strat.  I was generally settled on waiting as long as it took for a charcoal burst model with Matt's gen-3 humbuckers, but my priorities changed when I learned of the exclusive run of 6 spalted maple RS-4 guitars in late 2010, early 2011.  I was lucky to find one second-hand that had very low play time (less than 20 hours) and was in mint condition.  I bought it and had to ship it from Boston to Seattle, but it survived the trip.  The Forum V is also a beautiful version of the RS-4.  I think charcoal burst would now fall to #3 on my list of RS-4 models behind the Spalted and Forum V.

The 6 spalted RS-4s were not numbered individually on the guitar itself, but I decided to do a little forum research to get some history on them mostly because I wanted to see finished pictures of all 6.  (Also because I was anxious as I was waiting for mine to arrive from Boston).  From the searching, I found that Walkerman, Cybercanyon, and JOYCEfromNS also have them and have posted a few pictures.  That's 4 of the 6 known to me, including mine.  I have seen the pictures from Walkerman (Steve) when he took pictures of the unfinished spalted bodies at the factory with Matthew.  I can actually see mine in the pile of unfinished bodies based on some of the detail lines on my guitar.

I thought it would be neat to track the lineage of these rare guitars.  I arbitrarily numbered them in the picture of Matthew that was posted by Walkerman (see links below).  Based on that picture, I think JOYCEfromNS's guitar was the one that is already off being finished when Walkerman was there.  There are only 5 in the pile, but in his original post, Steve mentions one other body in finishing.  That would be #6 in my arbitrary numbering scheme.  Walkerman bought #1 (in Matt's hand in the picture), Cybercanyon owns #2, I own #4, JOYCEfromNS owns #6.  I have not seen additional or finished pictures of #3 or #5 and do not know where they ended up.  I wondered if anyone else had pictures of them.  #3 has an interesting pattern (shown in "Numbers2.jpg" below) that I'd like to see in finished form.

Apparently I can't attach pictures as a noob (nevermind, it did work!), so here are some links to my numbering scheme:
http://s10.postimg.org/hhjzlbdwp/Numbers.jpg
http://s11.postimg.org/u7f2uoh37/Numbers2.jpg
http://s24.postimg.org/4g2raj0n9/Numbers3.jpg

So, in summary, here are some final pictures based on arbitrary numbers:

 1: Walkerman (Steve - http://s16.postimg.org/4j9ip7xfp/walkerman1_3.jpg)
 2: Cybercanyon (Mike - http://s10.postimg.org/6pmf67yg9/Cybercanyon2_1.jpg)
 3: ???
 4: Brazil (Jake - http://s9.postimg.org/s63eoop9r/Spalted_Jake4.jpg)
 5: ???
 6: JOYCEfromNS (Andrew - http://s9.postimg.org/e82v0exnz/joyce6_1.jpg)

Based on info from the first owner of my version, it was one that Matthew took with him to NAMM (maybe 2011 or 2012) before it was sent to the dealer to be sold.  I've spent some time perfecting the setup on mine and it's playing better than ever.  

Can anyone fill in the two blanks for a "round-UP" of all the spalted goodness?

Cheers,
Jake


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 12:25:10 AM
... and here are some more from my trio:


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 12:26:25 AM
Last ones...


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 12:30:13 AM
Spalt... with final shots.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Walkerman on February 19, 2016, 02:42:48 AM
I saw one for sale a number of years ago at Buffalo Brothers Guitars in Carlsbad, CA.  I do not know if it went to a forumite.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 02:51:41 AM
That's where mine was originally sold to the first owner.  I'd suspect it's the same one you saw, #4 (of my arbitrary numbering scheme).  I'm the second owner.  The first owner was living in California at the time he purchased it and then moved to Boston (with about 10 guitars).  Now it's back on the west coast in Seattle.

Glad to hear you are still enjoying yours.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: JOYCEfromNS on February 19, 2016, 03:59:11 AM

I think charcoal burst would now fall to #3 on my list of RS-4 models behind the Spalted and Forum V.

Cheers,
Jake
I am fortunate to report I have your top 3  :laughin:

Very impressive research. I wasn't aware less than 10 were made. Has that been confirmed? Its also possible not all  were sold. ML has been known to hang onto one or two. Sadly I rarely play my spalted  :ohmy:


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Cybercanyon on February 19, 2016, 04:05:35 AM
To the best of my knowledge only 6 were made.  I attached the six bodies.  I have more pics and info to come.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Cybercanyon on February 19, 2016, 04:06:59 AM
Here are the other 2.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Cybercanyon on February 19, 2016, 04:13:35 AM
Here are pictures of my guitar in various states of completion.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Scrambler17 on February 19, 2016, 02:21:37 PM
I didn't know about that run.  Those are absolutely gorgeous!  (I do have an affinity for spalted maple)   :nice guitar:


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: George on February 19, 2016, 03:03:15 PM
I didn't know about that run.  Those are absolutely gorgeous!  (I do have an affinity for spalted maple)   :nice guitar:

Ditto, I did not know about this run either. and I love spalted maple as well.  Wonder who wound up with the other two?  Wonder if we will ever see any of them for sale...


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: George on February 19, 2016, 04:36:53 PM
Spalt... with final shots.

What is that fretboard made of?  Looks figured.  Or did you just finish it?


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 09:06:42 PM
JOYCEfromNS: Only 6 were made (not 10), it's fairly well-documented and at least confirmed second-hand by Matthew Larrivee.  I heard a rumor that he has 6 more bodies worth of Spalted Maple that he's not sure what to do with.  I think he had promised someone (?) that he wouldn't make any more Spalted RS-4s, so maybe some Spalted versions of the new models?  Awesome to hear that you have 3 RS-4s.  That's more insane than me collecting only Larrivees.

Cybercanyon: Great pictures!  I see that I almost got my numbering the same as yours.  #1, 2, and 4 are the same.  Mine is also #4 in your pictures.  I listed Joyce's model as #6, but you have it at #3.  Cool to see the other two in more detail.  They look really cool as well.  Hopefully the owners will chime in.  Any finished shots of the two missing models?  I see your finished shot makes it look like you have gold hardware, yes?  I haven't seen that in the others.  Mine is all nickel.

georbro3: I was pretty lucky to get mine second-hand as I know that people tend to hold on to them.  If they are ever for sale, you'd probably see them here on the forum because we have 4 of 6 accounted for just in this thread.  I don't foresee selling mine, ever, but you never know...

The fingerboard is rosewood.  The details came out in that shot more than you'd normally see, but it's a lighter color fretboard than I'm used to seeing.  Looks great in person.  Cheers.





Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 19, 2016, 09:19:28 PM
What's really interesting to me with respect to JOYCEfromNS's guitar (#6 in my numbering) is how much it changed from the blank to finished product.  The spalting is so highly figured that the routing process completely changed the look of the guitar in detail between these two shots.  It's easy to see in the picture I posted below of the side-by-side.

In contrast, my guitar (#4) did not change nearly as much between blank and finish because it's less figured.  Really cool to see the process steps.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: George on February 19, 2016, 10:57:54 PM
JOYCEfromNS: Only 6 were made (not 10), it's fairly well-documented and at least confirmed second-hand by Matthew Larrivee.  I heard a rumor that he has 6 more bodies worth of Spalted Maple that he's not sure what to do with.  I think he had promised someone (?) that he wouldn't make any more Spalted RS-4s, so maybe some Spalted versions of the new models?  Awesome to hear that you have 3 RS-4s.  That's more insane than me collecting only Larrivees.

Cybercanyon: Great pictures!  I see that I almost got my numbering the same as yours.  #1, 2, and 4 are the same.  Mine is also #4 in your pictures.  I listed Joyce's model as #6, but you have it at #3.  Cool to see the other two in more detail.  They look really cool as well.  Hopefully the owners will chime in.  Any finished shots of the two missing models?  I see your finished shot makes it look like you have gold hardware, yes?  I haven't seen that in the others.  Mine is all nickel.

georbro3: I was pretty lucky to get mine second-hand as I know that people tend to hold on to them.  If they are ever for sale, you'd probably see them here on the forum because we have 4 of 6 accounted for just in this thread.  I don't foresee selling mine, ever, but you never know...

The fingerboard is rosewood.  The details came out in that shot more than you'd normally see, but it's a lighter color fretboard than I'm used to seeing.  Looks great in person.  Cheers.





I wish Matthew would weigh in and tell us if he has any more spalted blanks, RS4 or not...  I would order a Malibu made of it...


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 20, 2016, 12:14:45 AM
It seems like there are a few members of this forum that stop by the factory fairly regularly.  They could probably ask.  I have it on good authority that Matthew does have more blanks and was at least asking a few people what he should do with them. 

If they exist, I don't think they are close to being a model yet (meaning they aren't even started as an RS-4 or any other guitar).  That's all second-hand though.

If you get him to make a spalted Malibu, that would be awesome.

Jake


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: L07 Shooting Star on February 20, 2016, 06:39:13 AM
What's really interesting to me with respect to JOYCEfromNS's guitar (#6 in my numbering) is how much it changed from the blank to finished product.  The spalting is so highly figured that the routing process completely changed the look of the guitar in detail between these two shots.  It's easy to see in the picture I posted below of the side-by-side.

In contrast, my guitar (#4) did not change nearly as much between blank and finish because it's less figured.  Really cool to see the process steps.

Personally, I don't see a big difference between how much your's and Andrew's guitars changed from raw wood to finished guitar and not sure how much it matters.  You are obviously very enthused about these spalted guitars and good on you for that.  Your research has enlightened us and I'm sure will be referred to in the future.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 20, 2016, 09:55:15 PM
I'm looking closely at the details of Joyce's guitar. You can notice fairly easily that the milling process "uncovered" a lot more of the spalt areas than it had in the blank form. You can especially see it near the cutaway and volume knobs if you compare the two, and a "new" spalt area near where your forearm rests. The blank had a lot less spalt showing. Take another look.

In contrast, the milling process didn't uncover much more detail on mine because it's less figured and more uniform through the depth. Since the spalt pattern is clearly 3-dimentional, it makes sense that it would be affected by the depth of the cut.

Clearly I'm over-analyzing the detail due to my interest in these models, but it was interesting to me. I actually think I'd prefer a little more spalt than I have, given the choice, but less than the most highly figured versions. Just my preference. I might have chosen #3 in my numbering if I had the opportunity.

I hope it makes more sense now.

Take care,
Jake


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Strings4Him on February 20, 2016, 10:16:21 PM
How about some sound clips and videos of the beauties in action?  Pretty please :)


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 22, 2016, 09:00:27 PM
A great idea, though I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference between a standard RS-4 and the spalted version if they both have the Gen3 pickups.  The P90 vs. Gen3 HB would make the most difference, though none of the 4 (of 6) have P90.

I did get a Yamaha THR10, so that would be something easy to use to record some sounds.


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: JOYCEfromNS on February 22, 2016, 10:57:51 PM
A great idea, though I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference between a standard RS-4 and the spalted version if they both have the Gen3 pickups. 
I know I can't!


Title: Re: Spalted Maple RS-4 Owners, Unite! A Gathering of Sorts...
Post by: Brazil on February 23, 2016, 12:11:42 AM
The only thing I can think of is a difference in pure acoustic tone, and in that respect, the spalted top is probably very slightly worse since the spalting creates weak spots that do not transfer the vibrations throughout the top as efficiently.  The solid mahogany body probably makes more of a difference in acoustic tone, anyway.  Any difference wouldn't be perceptible to even the most sensitive of musical ears.  Changing the tailpiece to Aluminum probably would make more of a sound difference than the top wood.