In the mid-1990’s, I bought this Tippin Guitar. It’s a 00 (pronounced double oh). That means it’s medium-sized, with single 0 (0) being smaller and triple 0 (000) larger. Even larger sizes include Dreadnoughts, Jumbos and others.
This guitar was handmade by Bill Tippin in Massachusetts. He’s been making incredible guitars for several decades.
The back and sides of this guitar are Brazilian Rosewood Negra (black rosewood) that was reclaimed from a dam that burst a long time ago. The extended exposure to water made the Brazilian Rosewood, already an amazing tone wood, incredibly dense and a powerful “sound projector.” Along with its European Alpine Spruce top, it is an aural canon. Despite the smaller size, it is one of the loudest guitars I own.
The action, the distance from the strings to the fingerboard, is very low, making it extremely easy to play. This is due to the neck angle and overall design of the guitar. Bill Tippin is a gifted luthier!
It’s not only loud, the tone is as pure as a bell. When I played guitar on TV or radio, it was either this Tippin or my Dana Bourgeois curly maple OM, yet another guitar size, similar to a 000 guitar, with a slightly longer scale (neck). Both sounded great on-air.
Playing guitar is a very Zen-like experience for me. Even when I was a kid on the farm. playing the instrument took me away from everything except the music. The same is true today.
I am blessed to have some wonderful guitars in my collection. But this one is special for a lot of reasons. With my wacky on-air schedule, I worked a lot of nights until 2 or 3 AM. When I got home, I’d usually play guitar for a bit to relax before I went to bed.
Because of its incredible sound, the low action, and the overall comfort (due to the size), the Tippin was the guitar I reached for most often. Sounded great playing with my fingers (my preference) or a pick.
Once I had my dog Mandy, playing guitar became extremely relaxing, as she would snuggle up to me on the couch while I played. Many mornings I woke up on the couch, slumped over my guitar, with Mandy’s body pressed hard against me. Putting me to sleep was one of Mandy’s superpowers. I cherish my time as a puppy warmer.
I couldn’t remember the pedigree of the Brazilian Rosewood, so I called Tippin Guitars and left my question on their voicemail. Less than a day later, Bill Tippin himself called me back with the details. He was charming and very informative. That’s what I call great customer service! I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of the luthiers who made some of my guitars. All really nice and good people!
The first opportunity I get to perform in public after the pandemic, I plan to use this guitar. It looks and sounds so great, I need to share it.
© 2020 Steve Bryant – No portion of this or any blog can be reproduced or copied and posted on any online site or read aloud on any audio or video media without the express permission of the author.