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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guitars of Jeff Yong

Dear Guitar Lovers,

I believe the Singapore Guitar Show has allowed some unique guitars to be showcased to this guitar community. Instead of the BIG brands we are usually exposed to, the show has created immense amount of opportunities for Luthiers to demonstrate their skills and appreciation of arts extroverted by the guitars made by them. Those who stepped into the show should have seen Jeff Yong's guitars. If one spends some time to understand his guitars, one will realize the uniqueness of Jeff's wood selection. Generally, we can recognize spruce, cedar, rosewood, mahogany, koa, etc as choice wood for guitar making. These woods are generally native in North America and Europe but we are well aware that in tropical regions, there are abundance of woods too but why tropical woods are not being considered as choice woods for guitar making like their mentioned counterparts? I am quite sure the opinions are going to be divided. Suffice to say that wood selection has something to do with accessibility and convenience and Jeff's choice of tone wood is anything but usual.

Being a friend (also a past student) to Jeff, I have many opportunities to learn from this master regarding wood and construction of guitars. They are intricately intertwined and cannot be separated when comes to evaluation of guitars' worth in various aspects. As inseparable as they are, the myth surrounding tonewood, i.e. being the sole influence of the resulting guitar tone is inevitably put to the test but not debunked as yet. So the mystery of tonewood is still lingering on ... I think it will be around for some time.

Skillfully, Jeff is able to put together a guitar which allows the wood grains to shine and the tonal properties of the wood to sing. It is hard to attribute that the smokey, sweet, balanced, chimmie tone of his guitars to just the choice of wood or purely the constructs. The blending of these two awareness and knowledge is the key to his guitar characteristics. No forgetting to emphasize his ability to identify from wood stumps those mesmerizing wood grains and patterns that will eventually become head tuners when they are transformed into guitars. I have to say that it is a gift not possess by any regular tom, dick or harry.

He has entrusted to me two very beautiful guitars. As like any exhibitions, the compounded noise within the hall didn't do justice to all the guitars. In his intention to let interested guitar players to truly appreciate his guitars, he has offered to anyone who wishes to try them and eventually to find a suitable buyer for the two guitars. A JJ model, spruce/angsana BS and a OM model, bearclawed spruce/monkey pod BS. More wonderful guitars are featured in his website:

Each is priced at MY $15,000 ringgit. I will let the pictures talk.

The JJ, Spruce Top / Narra (A.k.a. Angsana) BS model

The OM, Bearclawed Spruce / Monkey Pod (Pithecebium saman, Rain Tree) BS model

 Contact me if you're keen!

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