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JGT Masterworks Spotlight: John Buscarino’s Autumn Leaves Guitar

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Every 5 years starting with his 20th Anniversary of becoming a luthier, John Buscarino has built a concept guitar to commemorate that particular milestone. John shares his thoughts on his most recent creation: The Autumn Leaves Guitar.

The Autumn Leaves Guitar is my 35th Anniversary model and the latest of this series of guitars. All of the Anniversary guitars are unique and one of a kind. All of my previous Anniversary Models were mostly over the top versions of what I was building at the time using highly figured exotic woods and inlay details to make it unique.  With the Autumn Leaves Guitar, I decided it was time to show how much I have grown and learned as a Luthier and decided to do something completely different.  I got the idea to do some sort of carving on the back of the instrument and the first thing that sprung to mind was a Tree of Life. I have never done anything like this before so a lot of time was spent researching and learning so I could achieve this goal.

After much thought, I decided to go with a relief carving so the image would really pop and add some texture and movement to the carving.  The natural choice of wood was a highly ornate Big Leaf Quilted Maple. The delicate swirling patterns in the grain mimicked movement and wind and it set just the right mood for this piece.  The rest just sort of fell into place… The Tree inlay on the headstock and the falling leaf inlays done on the fingerboard and tailpiece really add to the whole theme.  This guitar took almost 2 years to build but the result is probably one of the finest examples of my work to date.

Top Photo: An Aged and Seasoned Master Grade Carpathian Spruce Top is the perfect canvas to show off the contrast of the Beautiful falling leaves inlays, the exotic Curly Koa Binding on the PIckguard, Body and F-Holes and the Ebony Bridge, PIckguard and Tailpiece.

Starting with the “Tree of Life” concept every detail on this guitar from the ornate headstock design to the delicately falling leaves down the Fingerboard, Pickguard and Tailpiece and the detailed Relief Carving  was chosen to not only be aesthetically pleasing but to invoke emotion on what trees represent not to just the world but to guitar players in particularly. Music and movement were foremost in our thoughts when building this guitar and the results are nothing less than spectacular.
With this close up shot of the relief carving you really can see the details of the tree.  The Quilted Maple was chosen specifically for the idea of movement it creates so you can almost imagine the tree blowing in the wind.
Custom “Tree of Life” Inlay with abalone for the tree and natural woods of various colors for the leaves.
Instead of putting the leaves as fret markers we decided to keep the theme of movement throughout the instrument and just have random falling leaves cascading down the fingerboard. The Fingerboard is Ebony and the Inlays are natural wood.
Side shot showing off highly figured master grade quilted maple Sides and ornate hand carved leaf side port
We chose Myrtle Burl for the Rear Headstock Veneer for its resemblance to the bark of a tree and we thought it tied the whole theme together.
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