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Larry Clyman's Story
(reprinted from Larry's posts in AcousticGuitarForum.com)

Part 6 (really):

FedEx vehicle arrives, driver goes to the back of the truck, pulls out the box, says sign here..I'm betting many of you have gone through this same drill, and can identify with the anticipation.

I grab the box and can't help noticing right off the bat that it's pretty light..and that is the first in an unbelievably long line of surprises and delights...!!

With box cutter in hand I slit through the packing tape, open up the box and get surprise # 2. A really cool looking Calton deluxe Van Deusen Blue w/Granite/pewter interior case. Whew baby..!

I actually had to have Bruce convince me to take this case as opposed to a more straightforward alternative. Bruce offers Calton cases at his cost with all his guitars for the obvious reason that the best deserves the best. But I still had to put up a clearly weak fight for the much less costly alternative. It really didn't take all that much convincing...But I'm going to tell you right now, if you ever get the chance to try out one of these Caltons, do so. Besides it looking beyond words cool, I swear if I could fit, I would pack myself inside it and without a doubt fly safely and comfortably in the cargo hold of any airline...gorilla staffed baggage handlers be ****ed.!

So anyway, I carry the case into the house and take it into my "studio"...relax...it's just a medium sized second bedroom, recently carpeted with a nice view of the woods surrounding our house..it's not like I have a beautiful oak floored, acoustically treated, softly track lighted paean to Mix Magazine's tastes...!

I open up the case and my first reaction was, to paraphrase the opening words of Stevie Wonder's fabulous "Living In The City" ...The Sexauer WRX-Pernambuco...jes' like I pitchered it..!"

And really it was true...there were a number of pictures of this guitar in various states of construction as well as in finished form in a variety of posts on a couple of guitar forums as well as on Bruce's website. And except for now it being life sized and....well you know....right in front of me...it was what it was...!

The very first thing that struck me was the asymmetrical nature of the body, then the really cool looking cutaway, and then I was hit hard by how "clean" it looked. I can best describe what I mean by that as, the more I stared at it, the more I felt that this guitar was everything you need and nothing more...! I'll certainly elaborate on this later but we're talking initial impressions for now.

I then picked up the WRX for the first time and the light weight nature of it was exactly what I expected and completely surprising at the same time. Of all the great guitars I've now managed to play, the one feature they all without exception had in common, and in each case still surprised me, was an almost feathery lightness to them. As I've come to understand there is a very good reason for that... and it's not to say there are any number of great sounding guitars out there that are not light weight...but I'm laying my bets on "less is more"..!

I take a closer look at the beautiful close grained, then silky, light colored master grade Italian Spruce top, the oddly shaped but contextually perfect tortoise shell colored pickguard, and the single thin but still striking wood filled rosette, and realize that I had been holding my breath. I let it out and try to remember to keep breathing normally...

I turn the guitar over and there is the Pernambuco....oh my... oh boy...

Bruce Sexauer and Howard Klepper have both gone on record as feeling strongly that Pernambuco is one of the finest sounding tonewoods they've ever used. And to quote Howard:

"IMO pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) is the equal of Brazilian Rosewood tonally, although it is different. It tends to be more balanced: less "glassy" in the trebles, and has a little less tendency to boom in the bass. Overall just a beautiful, balanced, articulate tone, vibrant in all registers. And it is visually very beautiful. It only grows in what remains of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. It's rarely available in guitar sets, and not at all from the usual commercial guitar wood suppliers. Factories have none of it, and only a few handbuilders do, so most people may not get to hear a guitar made from it. It's now on the CITES Appendix II, but an exception to CITES has been made for its import and export for use in musical instruments. This came about because of lobbying by classical music organizations, since pernambuco has been the wood of choice for over two centuries for violin (etc.) bows. But the exception fortunately applies to all musical instrument use."

And I have one right here in my hands....and it is truly beautiful...The orange reddish hue is something else and the wavy swirling grain is making me really happy...!

I know that Bruce painstakingly puts a mind boggingly thin varnish of his own concoction on all his guitars..with a resulting shimmer/shine that brings out all the inherent beauty of the guitars woods and inhibits none of it's voice...and the WRX is clear visual evidence of that...

Then I notice the very thin back strip down the center that looks to be of the same wood as the top rosette/ring. And there's a subtly elegant wood binding encircling the back and top..don't know what wood it is, maybe Bruce will fill me in on that.. The phrase "workingmans elegance" starts to comes to mind...!

I turn the guitar over again and see the signature "S" logo that as Bruce pointed out in an earlier post, is in some way individual to each of his guitars. The headstock shape, tuner placement, the five individually shaped and sized pearl fret board markers, the cutaway, the fanned fret/multi-scale fingerboard, the wider than normal bridge...it all just works perfectly...and, as I was about to find out..not just visually..!

To go back to the uniqueness of Bruce's instruments, it's not an exaggeration at all. From everything I discovered about Bruce's building process, he does not use templates, molds or machines. He works by his hand alone, from concept to drawing...with the resulting shapes, sizings, dimensions, and materials evolving...until he decides to his extremely high standards that it's now a finished guitar.

And the WRX I have in my hands and am about to play for the first time is in so many respects truly one of a kind.

OK..now it's time to hear what this puppy's got...

I pull out my V-Pick, sit down in my studio chair (actually it just a plain vanilla, armless computer chair)....place the guitar on my lap, immediately feeling a nicely comfortable neck in my left hand...tune the guitar to pitch...geez...those notes and harmonics sure do pop...I'm sensing something revving up...and I decide for no particular reason to finger a basic "E minor" cowboy chord...

Then, with my other hand I strum.......

(In my best Keanu Reaves in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" voice imitation)


Copyright Larry Clyman 2010

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