Without wanting to make too bad a judgment on a different guitar, against the Reid Vaultback, a normal price industry guitar would seems as it were the handicraft of a ten-year old child. Extraordinary, unique, far away from any mainstream and artistically valuable. The Vaultback Halo of DAR is a masterpiece of contemporary lutherie – without ifs and buts. Its unbelievable value as a musical instrument competes with its artistic quality. I am honoured to have been allowed to play a guitar that differs so much from anything known and which leaves such an impression. Considering how rare these creations are, how innovative, refined and special, I want to predict that they will also play a prominent role in the future.

Grand Gtrs Magazine

Realwood Headstock
Real Wood Vault Back. (SOLD)

Real Wood Vault Back. (SOLD)

No heavy gloss here! Following the successful sale of all my previous Real Wood models - all auditorium models - I have now decided to make a Vault Back using the same finishing methods. My Real Wood models are very lightly sprayed with a matt Nitro Cellulose lacquer and without using any grain fillers. Whilst studying instrument making at university, I conducted lengthy laboratory experiments with many different types, and amounts of finishes, on many different timbers.

The results, achieved using a 100% humidity cabinet, a 12% humidity cabinet, typical construction environment conditions - usually 40-45% humidity - and then equations to calculate moisture content, were, quite frankly, seriously surprising! It would seem that it is a great misperception that a heavy gloss lacquer helps greatly to protect your instrument from the elements. Quite simply, wood is hygroscopic, and even when completely soaked in several coats of Acid Catalyst lacquer - the finish which showed the highest level of protection - the wood still absorbs, or loses, the moisture from, or to, its environment.

Further to that, it is very surprising how little an amount of finish is actually required to protect the outside of the instrument from dirt and grime penetrating the timber.

Therefor I concluded that all that heavy gloss finishes were doing was restricting the instruments movement. These guitars really sing, and I love making them. One down side is that people have conditioned themselves to the sound they expect from a heavily finished instrument, and they generally like shiny things!! I feel that seeing the "Real Wood" as nature intended it is one of the greatest bonuses of this method. If you're not a stick in the mud, and can open you eyes, and ears, you'd do well to test one out! Drop me a line or give me a bell.

Written: Sunday May 25th, 8:22pm 2008