1. Leach Family history, My family history dates back a few years. One of my ancestors was the doctor for King Edward II. He was apparently good at it as he was knighted given his ow castle. There is a famous story of how Edward captured the king of Scotland and the king of France rather than throw them in the dungeon they stayed in my ancestors castle.. The 3 crowns on the Leach Coat of Arms is to symbolized that event. My mother's family came to America on the Mayflower and my father's 4 years later on the HMS Talbot. My father's family settled in Salem Mass. and were fairly high up in the church at the last part of the 17th century... none were hanged though... Abou 100 years later one of my ancestors, Jonathan Leach was among the first settlers in Kirby Vermont... the reason behind the name of my Kirby model guitar! There is also a bit of history of whaling ships.
Dragon, I've always wanted to do a dragon (or dragons) that wraps around the neck and body of a guitar.
Lucky Strike, or LS redwood is from a single tree that fell across a ravine allowing it to air dry under nearly perfect conditions. It is widely recognized as the finest example of redwood ever found. Perfectly straight grain and uniform color combined with a tap-tone that is literally like a bell. One of the great things about LS redwood is that each set looks just about the same as the one before it. While not pictures of actual available sets they are great examples of what your set will look like.
Price - $1,000.00 per set
"The Tree" Quilted mahogany
At one time I had several sets of this uniquely figured spruce, not this is the last set. Unlike most bear-claw this has a more subtle figure. For my tastes this is the finest sounding spruce I've ever had, I like it so much I'm hesitant to even offer it here for sale.
Price - $500.00 per set
Guitar Base Price (OM or Dreadought) $8500.00
Another Hot Rod, My earliest involvement in art was model cars, I loved working on the Martin Hot Rod but it would be fun to do another version with a theme other than a street race. If someone collects cars or has friends who do, it would be fun to do something using those actual cars for the inlays. Bob Hergert and I discussed doing a theme called Cars, Stars, and Guitars. Famous musicians who had connections to cars, like Elvis and his caddy etc. Another fun angle would be Robert Johnson at the cross roads..
Some Inlay theme suggestions
Bear-claw Italian spruce
I am rapidly approaching that time in life where most people are thinking about ways to kick back. Never been much for too much of that so I've decided to do something a little more entertaining.
I always like a good milestone to start think about building a special guitar. In the past I've always come with something and built it, but this time I'd like to approach it from a different angle... one where I actually sell it before I start! novel concept I know! I'm going to start the ball rolling by offering up the most special, one of a kind sets of wood that I have been hoarding for years and some inlay ideas that seem to either resonate with me and my life so far of simply with some of the possible combinations of these woods.
My hope is to arrive at a final value that equals the rather obvious $60,000.00 price point. Some of these woods will take up a significant part of that budget while others will have more room for an epic inlay design. So with that, keep in mind that these are only suggestions so if you like one great! or if a different combo inspires you to do something more personal to you then lets talk.
Obviously, there will only be one of these so shop early!
Winewood is old growth redwood that was salvaged from wine vats that had been in use from 1918 until 1972. Great quality redwood with a unique dark color from the wine exposure... even has the smell to match! Guaranteed vintage sound!
Price $500.00 per set
Back and Sides
Millennium Redwood is as unique acoustically as it is visually stunning. Most if not all the redwood you have ever seen comes from Sequoia sepervirens or coastal redwood. This however is Sequoiadendron giganteum or giant Sequoia. One reason is the giant sequoias are largely protected. This particular wood came from a tree growing on Sacramento State University's Campus Commons and needed to be removed for safety reason. The amazing rippled figure and color comes from a unique history. At some point the tree became rotten in the core leaving just a "straw" if you will. To help support the massive tree the core was filled with concrete. This kept the tree standing longer that it should have but it placed thousand of tons on the trunk of the tree, crushing the wood into the intense flamed pattern. The second effect of the concrete was a chemical reaction between the trees natural tannins and the concrete causing a darkening of the heartwood and black spiderweb lines in the sapwood. Acoustically this wood is unlike anything else, it soft and extremely light weight. Because of this I recommend it for guitars that will be played primarily with lowered tension (like DADGAD, Open G or just tuned down a step) It has a haunting lush sound that reminds me of a resophonic guitar... but deeper. I believe I possess the only remaining set of this wood.
Price $1000.00 per set
Brazilian Rosewood (US customers only)
Homestead wood is very special to me. It comes from the farmhouse in Vermont that I grew up in. The house was built it 1835 and as near as I can tell the tree this came from was alive when Michelangelo was painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I'm not sure what type of wood it is but my best guess is Balsam Fir. Of all the soundboard wood I've ever had only the Lucky Strike has a better ring to it when tapped. Unlike LS this wood isn't cosmetically perfect, in fact it looks like wood that was in a house for almost 180 years. It's also a little too narrow for a 2-piece top, none of which matters to me. All things considered this is the most valuable wood in my shop.
Price $1000.00 per set
What more can I say than some really special sets of what many people consider the finest tonewood ever. While these sets are pre-CITES the challenges of exporting from the US may prove insurmountable and at the very least expensive.
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Harvey Leach Custom Inlays and Guitars
Jungle animals, Lions and Tigers and bears... OH my! .
Michelangelo, Proposed to Martin as well but the inlay budget got to be too high for them at the time. The trick here is to make it not confusing with the Sistine Chapel guitar. Maybe feature the Creation of Man but otherwise maybe use more of the sculpture.
"Lucky Strike" Redwood.
One of a Kind wood combos
Over the past 46 years I have always found myself collecting unique sets of guitar wood; Lucky Strike Redwood, The Tree mahogany, Millennium redwood, Bear-claw Italian spruce, "Homestead wood" and Ancient Sitka to name a few. But even within such a collection there always seems to be a set or 2 that stands out and often times I never offer those sets for sale because I just like having them... until now!
Below are examples of these very special wood choices along with some of the related stories for them.
I've also taken the liberty of adding some examples of inlay projects that I think would be fun... but of course I'd love to make it personal to the customer so I'd welcome your theme ideas.
The prices shown with each set would be added to the base price.
Merlin I proposed this to Martin a few years ago but for some reason they didn't go for it. Had some cool plans for Merlin in a castle room with famous paintings on the wall... done in my "Smoke and Mirrors" of course. Have to have a dragon too I guess.
Floating World, always up for another Japanese block print theme, or maybe a samurai theme that was more realistic rather than Kabuki.
The Sixtieth Birthday Project
The Tree has long been my favorite back and side wood. The unique figuring combined with a density that belies its mahogany roots creates, in my opinion, the ultimate tonewood… the magnificence of quilted maple, the color and depth of dark Koa and tonal characteristics similar to Brazilian rosewood.
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