(reprinted from Larry's posts in AcousticGuitarForum.com)
Alrighty then...on to Bruce Sexauer's website and see what I can glean there. I've visited quite a few guitar builders websites and over the past few years have witnessed the overall level graphic sophistication to have improved immensely..In another life, when I needed to get away from the music biz for a stretch, I was a web developer/builder so I have a good appreciation of what goes into presenting a visually effective, well architected internet presence..
Without going on very much on this I think it's instructive to just look at my my 2 "finalists" websites.
Howard Kleppers website: http://www.klepperguitars.com
Bruce Sexauers website: http://mojoluthier.com/
The URL names alone give a pretty good clue...I'm not going to say too much along these lines but the differences in websites gave me a lot of information and insight right off the bat.!
So..at the top of Bruce Sexauer's website was a navigational link called "Inventory"...well alrighty then...let's see what's there...now look at that...all sorts of info about where some of his guitars are currently available, both at his dealers and directly from him, including one that he bought back from the original buyer.
I take a look and I see a 2008 WRX JB-15 14 fret...hmm....whats the WRX model...? I wonder what "JB" means?...wait....hold on.....does that say "Pernambuco"...?
I click on the link and up comes this really interesting looking guitar with a very compelling story behind it..It seems the WRX guitars that Bruce offers are not a model so much as an approach.
In Bruce's own words - The WRX is:
"No bells and whistles, just the great guitar itself. Targeted toward the working musician who wants the absolute best guitar available and doesn't need the fancy trim. One ring rosette. No side or back purfling. The worst wood in my woodlocker (I don't have bad wood, but I do have better and best)."
And then the explanation of the "JB" designation:
"This guitar features my JB package. It is fully asymmetrical in both the body and the headstock in order to completely realize the benefits of being a multi-scale guitar. I believe this is a better guitar for being a JB."
And then the topper..his explanation for the back and side woods:
"Pernambuco is one of the rarest woods on the planet, and is often called "the music tree" as is is probably the most acoustically live wood known. It is used predominantly for violin bows, and rarely grows large enough for guitarmaking. This is my third guitar from it, and I belive it is the best wood available if clarity is your first consideration. This guitar is no slouch."
I felt like I had potentially hit the jackpot here for the following reasons:
I've been having a number of conversations with luthiers and fellow guitarists about the irony of this widely acclaimed golden age of luthiery we seem to be in. The outpouring of fantastic acoustic guitars, truly pushing the envelope of what's possible sonically and aesthetically, and their unaffordability to the very working musicians who arguably could best appreciate and utilize them, and provide an active feedback loop to push those envelopes even further. Bruce Sexauer's WRX approach clearly showed his awareness of this issue and a strategy to address it.
I've been looking seriously at the multi-scale idea as I've been intrigued with the concept behind it.
And "Holy tone wood Batman"...memories of that Pernambuco guitar I played on my trip remained vivid and strong.
I have to say that the fact that Bruce's concept of a "workingman's guitar" included a multi-scale neck and Pernambuco back and sides kind of blew my mind.... but as I later discovered Bruce is an actively performing musician and this very guitar was his personal working instrument for over a year.
But I'm getting just a bit ahead of myself here....!!
Anyway..at this point I was seriously hooked and knew now was the time to open up a line of communication directly with the builder..so I emailed Bruce inquiring about the WRX and it's availability. I mentioned how I had initally come upon his guitars on my trip and even included a link to the thread that praised them.
I can do no better than to quote the relevant parts of Bruce's email response not only for the information conveyed but for the manner and quality of his thought process:
I read your travel journal at the time you posted it with interest. Your sense of drama/timing seemed really excellent, and the quality of the experience was both high and well conveyed. It appeared to me that you would be saving for one of Ervin's guitars, and I felt a little pang that I had not been fortunate enough to entertain you in my shop for an hour or so. Such good press cannot be bought.
I do have my Pernambuco WRX here, and play it daily. It is absolutely the best guitar I have here as far as being a music tool is concerned. I do not quite understand why, but when playing "out" this guitar has a voice which is so strong it cuts like a light saber. Not because it's edgy or harsh, but it is a clarity and beauty . . . I shouldn't try to describe it because I don't really understand it. Suffice to say It had a voice that allows my solos to be heard and also allows me to communicate the turns in the music to whoever I'm playing with, and that is a big deal from my view. I also have my JB-15-ME, which I made for myself a few yeas ago so that I would have both a better guitar (yes, I have that problem like the rest of us) AND an outstanding example of my latest top end work. It is a great guitar and completely up to the tasks assigned, but the WRX is better. I have been indulging myself by not quite offering the WRX wholeheartedly, but there is a new development.
A month ago I strung up a spec guitar which is a single "0" done up as a full asymmetrical, my first such, which I call a JB-0; I have fallen in love with it! I cannot afford to keep all three of these guitars out of circulation. I cannot sell my new love. I should not sell my perfectly adequate personal (ME as in me) instrument, and that leaves the Pernambuco WRX.
The character of the guitar is much like the one you heard at Eric's, with a few differences. As I think about it now, I'd have to say the similarities for out weigh the differences. Especially considering the time I've spent with the guitar (I am my own testing ground and can be heavy handed), the WRX is in remarkably pristine condition. Less marring than even my new JB-0! I think I always knew I'd have to sell it, whereas I am probably making sure I can't sell the JB-0. There are no cracks or scratches at all, and less than a half dozen dents, all of which require searching to locate.
I hope you will take the time to give me a call, the phone can facilitate communication of the emotional qualities that are so hard to manifest, for me, in the written word.
OK..after reading this through, oh... maybe 10 times, I looked at the first paragraph after "good morning" and let sink in his line about regretting the chance to have me in his shop after my wonderfully impressive encounter with Ervin Somogyi and one of his guitars. This probably is where my "badass" analogy/appreciation first got it's start. If I was interpreting Bruce correctly here he was saying that a visit to his shop would have compared favorably or perhaps even surpassed my experience with Ervin...
In any event I was now very seriously interested in this guitar and the luthier.
So I took Bruce up on his request to call him...!!
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