To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=151912
60 messages

Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)

18 Aug 13 - 09:59 PM (#3550566)
Subject: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

A few weeks ago I stopped by Rockport Maine to visit with my friend, master luthier Nick Apollonio. I've been a fan of Nick's work since I was a kid - literally. Gordon Bok's Rogue's Gallery of Songs for 12 String was and is one of my favorite albums, and not just because of Gordon's voice. There's something magical in the way Nick brings the music out of the wood. Today I'm fortunate to own several of Nick's instruments, including one of his fine 12s.

Well, this time he's outdone himself. Seriously. The 12 string he handed me was not only perfect in every cosmetic detail - right down to the lovely tailpiece - but it sounds unbelievable. I don't need another 12 string, but I was seriously tempted to get out my checkbook then and there, and write out a check for $5,000, just to own a piece of art like that. Gordon Bok valued it at closer to $8,000.

Nick's 12s have a fully adjustable neck - not only through the normal truss rod adjustment, but through a special invention of Nick's which allows the player to adjust neck angle in seconds with a simple turn of a screw. As climate sensitive as 12 strings can be, I've found that an invaluable feature. This one even has a first rate pickup.

I wish you could hear this guitar. I wish you could play it. When I picked it up it sang with a rich and subtle voice, clear highs and deep lows, perfectly balanced throughout. It was, amazing, even for one of Nick's.

Nick now has this guitar listed on Ebay.   I know Ebay auctions for custom instruments are hit and miss, but take it from some experienced players - this one is a hit, at just about any price. This is worth bidding on, and it's worth bidding high. It may be one of the finest 12 strings ever built. I really mean that. It's fantastic even for Nick's work, and that's saying something.

And he'll even throw in a Hiscox case.

Dan


19 Aug 13 - 07:15 AM (#3550630)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,kendall

I have one of Nick's first 12 string guitars, and Jacqui has one of his latest 6 string guitars. If I were rich I would fill my living room with his instruments.


19 Aug 13 - 09:26 AM (#3550646)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Richard Bridge

I'm sure I posted here. Did I get modded off? If so why?


19 Aug 13 - 11:49 AM (#3550697)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Richard, I posted saying that very occasionally posts disappear into the ether. And then my post disappeared into the ether. You may want to try again.

Dan


19 Aug 13 - 11:57 AM (#3550702)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Jeri

Nothing's been deleted from this thread. I don't see how something regarding this Apollonio 12 strings would be.

Personally, 6 strings are hard enough, and I'm avoiding auctions anyway. I've heard Kendall's. The first time I did so, Rick Fielding was playing, and he and the guitar blew me away.


19 Aug 13 - 12:05 PM (#3550706)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Bill D

I ought to save a copy of my posts about how to check if a post has 'taken' and how to repost if it hasn't.

Look at the thread after posting.... if it doesn't appear, go 'back'...most browsers retain the text where the attempt was made. Select & copy it... then **reload** the Mudcat forum by clicking on RELOAD at the top menu of the browser..NOT *refresh* on the Mudcat page.
**Reload** puts a new copy of the current forum in your browser cache, whereas 'refresh' only checks for new posts.
Then open the thread and paste the text back in.


The alternative used by some is to always compose in a separate program such as Word or a smaller word processing program.


19 Aug 13 - 01:40 PM (#3550735)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: gnu

$1025 right now? I can't locate the reserve. Then again, I couldn't find squat until about an hour ago.

Sure is purdy. I wanna bid just fer the thrill of losing but that would be rather daft.


19 Aug 13 - 01:59 PM (#3550741)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Richard Bridge

No, my two posts actually appeared. Unless I posted them somewhere else.   But here they aren't. I shall go and check my posting history.


19 Aug 13 - 02:01 PM (#3550745)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Richard Bridge

Nope, not in my posting history either.


19 Aug 13 - 02:14 PM (#3550751)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

It wouldn't be daft, Gnu, especially if you won. Honestly, this guitar is a seriously worthy investment.

By the way, for those of you more interested in unique 6s, Nick has another remarkable guitar for sale, too - a 6 string modeled on an old English "guittar," with an extra deep sound box, extra sound hole on the side (the top as you're holding it) and a powerful, powerful punch. If I played guitar in a Celtic band, I'd be on top of this in a second - we buy instruments for sound, and this has it, but what a great look, too!

Dan


19 Aug 13 - 02:56 PM (#3550782)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Jeri

I'll try this again: no posts have been deleted from this thread.
Feel free to post again.

$1200 at the moment. Yeah, his guitars are worth it.


19 Aug 13 - 04:19 PM (#3550820)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

I'm sure they're worth it. The trouble is, though, he's not at all well known in my neck of the woods (central Ontario), which makes it hard to convince local buyers of the full value of his instruments. I have an Apollonio Cittern which I'd like to sell, paid $1,000 for it when I bought it from Nick, but I can't find anyone around here who will pay a decent price for it.

As for the 12-string, I bet it's wonderful, but I never end up playing 12s much when I acquire them. 6-strings suit my style of playing better.


19 Aug 13 - 07:59 PM (#3550873)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

Playing a guitar that Nick made is like making love with someone you love; playing most other brands is like well, casual sex. Not that there is anything wrong with that!


20 Aug 13 - 05:36 AM (#3550960)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel

I am clearly a dissenting voice.

I cannot comment on the sound of the instruments, but based on the images online, I couldn't buy one - they seem butt-ugly to me. The design looks dated and clunky, and the zoom facility on the pictures on Ebay suggest a crude finish quality.

YMMV of course...


20 Aug 13 - 06:52 AM (#3550982)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

You have never seen one, never played one, yet you are qualified to condemn them? Sounds like the Pope giving advice on marriage.


20 Aug 13 - 07:01 AM (#3550984)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: jacqui.c

Nick made a guitar to my specifications a couple of years ago. He went to great lengths to make sure that I was happy with the finished result, even to asking my opinion on the type of wood for the finish.

My immediate response was that I didn't really care what it looked like, it was the sound that mattered.

That little guitar has been played by the likes of Gordon Bok, Bob Zentz, Dave Mallett, Deb Cowan and Cindy Kallett, all of whom were astounded at the sound quality of this instrument. Kendall now uses this guitar as his 6 string instrument of choice, over his own Taylor.

IMO, as with people, it is not the outward appearance that matters - I have met too many good looking bastards in my life to go for looks - but the inner quality. So far as guitars go Nick has captured that quality in spades.


20 Aug 13 - 07:07 AM (#3550987)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: alex s

As my grandma always said, jacqui.c, "there's many a handsome nowt".


20 Aug 13 - 09:31 AM (#3551010)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Midchuck

I read Guest Mark Bluemel's post above.

I went over to my Apollonio 12, hanging on the wall, and looked at it closely.

Then I stroked the strings, gently, and listened in the quiet.

Then I composed a wordy, sarcastic, and abusive reply in my head.

Then I said, "Why bother? Kendall already said all that needed to be said."

So I'll keep quiet on the matter, unorthodox as that may be on Mudcat.

Peter


20 Aug 13 - 11:28 AM (#3551050)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

We all have our own unique taste when it comes to what we think an instrument should look like. And it does play a part in whether or not most of us will buy one...though sound and playability come first.

I try to find instruments that look good, sound great, and are comfortable to play....all of those things.

If Guest Mark doesn't like the aesthetic appearance of that 12-string...(shrug)...well, that's his business. We don't need to rush to the barricades and burn him as a heretic just for saying so, regardless of how much we appreciate the great qualities of Nick's instruments. He (Guest) hasn't committed a crime. He has just stated his own taste regarding guitar design and appearance. No big deal.

I like the classic appearance of Martins and Collings guitars, for example, better than I like the look of the Apollonio guitars. I like the appearance of some Taylors better (depending which model)....but this is not to say that I think they are better instruments than the Apollonio guitars. It's just to indicate what style of guitar body and decorations I like, and nothing more than that.

I wish Nick lived closer to my own area so that I had more chance to hear and play some of the guitars he's built.


20 Aug 13 - 11:47 AM (#3551058)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

LH, you are right. Opinions are just that, but my point is, I have a picture of the Coast Guard training Barque "EAGLE", but it can not compare with seeing the actual vessel. There is nothing more beautiful than the Eagle under full sail.

I can tell an Apollonio 12 string as far as I can see it. I don't see that as a flaw.


20 Aug 13 - 11:49 AM (#3551059)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

Some classic cars look old fashioned, that's part of their charm.


20 Aug 13 - 11:51 AM (#3551061)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

Regarding the design of this 12-string, I notice that instead of having the conventional bridge pin setup the strings go to a tailpiece arrangement that is anchored near the end pin at the bottom of the lower bout. That's something one usually sees on the old jazz guitars from the 30's or 40's.

What I'm curious about is whether such an arrangement is more advantageous from a structural and a "sound" point of view, since you don't have the usual situation where the bridge is being pulled up by the combined tension of the strings.

Seems to me that this would lessen the tendency of the top of the guitar to rise over time, and would make for a stronger, more stable body on the whole instrument. And how does it affect the sound?

Also notice the saddle provides a much wider area for the strings to contact than conventional saddles do, which would probably produce more sound.

Any comments?


20 Aug 13 - 11:54 AM (#3551062)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

When it comes to cars, Kendall, I think the cars of the 1930s were the best looking ever.


20 Aug 13 - 01:35 PM (#3551095)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

So do I, but I like things that look old. Comes from being different, I guess.


20 Aug 13 - 02:06 PM (#3551108)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: gnu

I take almost no offense to the nay vote, the exception being "and the zoom facility on the pictures on Ebay suggest a crude finish quality." My exception is that I don't consider this part as a comment on the geetar but it's a little too close for my "clarity comfort".

I like the looks and hope to hear one some day.


20 Aug 13 - 02:37 PM (#3551126)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Little Hawk, I can't speak to the saddle, but the tailpiece is definitely important both from a structural and a sound point of view. 12 strings put a lot of pressure on a guitar body, and to quote Nick, "The tailpiece removes tension from the bridge allowing for more responsive bracing." Another little feature - on which scholars may differ from an aesthetic point of view - is the little bar on the bridge that presses down on the strings. That helps the strings ring more true - since Nick retro-fitted my 12 with that little feature it has sang even more beautifully.

As for questions of visual aesthetics - different strokes for different folks. I personally think dreadnoughts are ugly, but they are one of the most popular guitar shapes in the world. I even own one. For finish, some people like a hard, high gloss finish, which is fine - but be aware that it may constrict the sound of the instrument a bit. Plain old lacquer is good too, and allows for a better sound, I think - but it is soft and will need touch up more frequently through the years. I have no idea what the finish is on this one; probably something between those two.

Unfortunately Nick doesn't have a video studio in house to make demonstration videos, but if you're wondering what an Apollonio 12 sounds like, you can listen to various recordings:

Here's one of mine (song by Si Kahn): Dan Schatz - What Will I Leave

But to hear someone who REALLY knows how to play it, listen to this: Gordon Bok - Driveway Reel    

I'd say the 12 being talked about here combines the subtlety of tone of Gordon's 12 with the clarity and responsiveness of mine.

Dan


20 Aug 13 - 03:34 PM (#3551145)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Midchuck

So do I, but I like things that look old. Comes from being different, I guess.

So, will that get Kendall "cellared" PERMANENTLY?

P.


20 Aug 13 - 03:40 PM (#3551150)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Probably not, Midchuck, but if I were you, and I visited South Portland, Maine, I'd step tender.

Dan


20 Aug 13 - 04:00 PM (#3551157)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

I knew that would bait Peter! LOL

Gordon recorded a whole album called "A Rogues Gallery of songs for the 12 string guitar. Folk Legacy records.

This is a kick ass album played on a kick ass Apollonio 12 string guitar by a kick ass musician.

By the way, it's still in print.


20 Aug 13 - 04:41 PM (#3551166)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: dick greenhaus

Kendall-
Really comes from being old. Trust me.


20 Aug 13 - 07:18 PM (#3551220)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

Thanks for the great technical info, Dan! Just what I was wondering about, and it sounds like a very good approach to building a 12-string. Are they normally tuned up to concert pitch or down a bit from there?


20 Aug 13 - 09:16 PM (#3551252)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

I tune mine down to D, and I use the thinnest wound strings I can find for the Bs. They can't take being wound up to B.
Gordon tunes his down to C. Man, what a sound he gets with those custom strings he uses.

My 12 also does not have a tail piece, and the bridge has never lifted.


20 Aug 13 - 11:48 PM (#3551270)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

No, if it's properly built, it won't lift regardless. But I figured the tailpiece arrangement might help in some respects with both sound and strength.


21 Aug 13 - 12:16 AM (#3551274)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

I tune mine four frets down. It's incredible.

Dan


21 Aug 13 - 12:37 AM (#3551277)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

Aha! Very interesting. I hadn't thought people would tune them down that far.


21 Aug 13 - 06:15 AM (#3551313)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,kendall

With the right strings it is very possible.


21 Aug 13 - 09:40 PM (#3551598)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

The highest gauge string I use is a 56, and it sounds fine. Gordon uses towing cable, and it sounds even better.

One trick Nick taught me is using nickel wound 17s for the "B" strings (actually G in my tuning). It makes for a very nice tone quality.

Dan


21 Aug 13 - 10:21 PM (#3551603)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Mark Ross

Lead Belly tuned down to B, and sometimes B flat. His lowest course utilized a .70, combined with a .014 (a double octave). He also didn't use an octave string on the third course, that was doubled.

Mark Ross


22 Aug 13 - 11:52 AM (#3551772)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: dick greenhaus

I've sometimes wondered how a good luthier can afford to charge so little for product of his time, skill and tslent, and at the same time, wondered how anyone could afford to buy it.


22 Aug 13 - 12:07 PM (#3551782)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,kendall

He's more of an artist than businessman.


22 Aug 13 - 01:04 PM (#3551808)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: EBarnacle

20 years ago, my [now] ex-wife wanted a 12 string. We visited Maine and designed one with Nick. He only charged us $1650, including the hard case--for a custom instrument. When we parted, she kept the instrument.


22 Aug 13 - 01:46 PM (#3551826)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

I sure hope this one goes for more than that. It really is an unusually fine instrument, even for one of his, and that's saying something.

Dan


22 Aug 13 - 01:48 PM (#3551828)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: gnu

"I've sometimes wondered how a good luthier can afford to charge so little for product of his time, skill and tslent, and at the same time, wondered how anyone could afford to buy it."

Ahhhyup!


22 Aug 13 - 02:04 PM (#3551831)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

I'm afraid the short answer is he/she can't.

What's sad is that very often instruments of much lower quality fetch higher prices - sometimes because they come with a big company's name attached to them, or because they look more flashy, with flawless glossy finish and the like (some kinds of finish require a separate ventilated building just for that - few luthiers can afford that kind of set up), or just because the makers are good at selling things.

Nick is good at making guitars, mandolins and citterns. VERY good. He's getting better, too, and deserves to be compensated accordingly.

Dan


22 Aug 13 - 02:05 PM (#3551832)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,kendall

He loves his work more than he likes money.


22 Aug 13 - 03:26 PM (#3551859)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Midchuck

He also likes Liberal causes, bad puns, and dirty limericks. 3 out of 4 isn't bad at all.


23 Aug 13 - 06:49 AM (#3552057)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: gnu

Well said, Dan. It applies to just about everything. In the case of a fine craftsman, it's especially sad.


25 Aug 13 - 05:55 PM (#3552768)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Two and a alf hours left. Ths s an exceptional instrument.

Dan


25 Aug 13 - 06:33 PM (#3552779)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Sorry for that bad typing. Two and a half hours left. Well, two now. This is an exceptional instrument.


25 Aug 13 - 07:52 PM (#3552801)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: kendall

What liberal causes?


25 Aug 13 - 07:55 PM (#3552803)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

You know, arts grants for Luthiers, that sort of thing. :)


25 Aug 13 - 08:45 PM (#3552819)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

Reserve not met! It's relisted! That means you all still have time to buy me a new 12 string!

Dan


25 Aug 13 - 09:49 PM (#3552840)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: gnu

Just saw that. The present bid is $100. So, what is the reserve? I don't know squat about auctions. Is a reserve not public?


25 Aug 13 - 10:01 PM (#3552841)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Jeri

The high bid on the previous auction (that closed earlier tonight) was $2,025.00 and the reserve wasn't met when the auction closed. So the reserve is more than that.


26 Aug 13 - 09:42 AM (#3552986)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Midchuck

The high bid on the previous auction (that closed earlier tonight) was $2,025.00 and the reserve wasn't met when the auction closed. So the reserve is more than that.

If it weren't, Nick would be a fool. And he isn't. He's not only a master craftsman, he is rivaled only by Kendall and myself as a reservoir of filthy limericks.

P.


01 Sep 13 - 04:41 PM (#3555137)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: SINSULL

I have heard Kendall get raunchy in his cups but never Nick. Somthing to look forward to.
Re: Nick's instruments - he showed up at a house concert or song circle here with seven instruments. I remember a guitar, and a fiddle (?). We had several out of towners without instruments. He brought them for them to play.
He left with none. They were all purchased on the spot. Those without cash were trusted to send it later.
Kendall will remember the details better than I.
Plus Nick is a genuinely charming and talented man.
Hope his guitar sells. Hope he continues to produce whatever he chooses to.
SINS


01 Sep 13 - 05:20 PM (#3555153)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Jeri

There are 3 + hour left bidding on it. The current high bid is $610.00. Needless to say, the reserve hasn't been met. I do hope SOMEBODY wins it!


02 Sep 13 - 08:03 AM (#3555316)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: GUEST,kendall

If I didn't already own an Apollonio 12 string, I certainly would!


02 Sep 13 - 07:53 PM (#3555503)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Dan Schatz

This remarkable 12 string is still available - Kendall or I can put you in touch with Nick. Nick also has a few other higher end "Deluxe" instruments for immediate sale -among them a gorgeous rosewood 6 and a very unusual 6 string "guittar" shape which really deserves a good home - it's a powerful instrument.

Nick also tells me he's now taking orders for both the Deluxe and budget guitars, bouzoukis and citterns to be built over the winter. The budget models are the same good craftsmanship, but without the fancier woods, intricate inlay or other bells and whistles. The sound and playability are still exceptional - far better than, say, a Martin or Taylor. Right now is a really good time to order one of these - I don't think his prices will be any better than they are right now, for high end or budget.

PM me and I can put you in touch with Nick.

Dan


03 Sep 13 - 12:01 AM (#3555545)
Subject: RE: Best Apollonio 12 ever? (Aug 2013)
From: Little Hawk

Given the fact that I already own 3 absolutely wonderful guitars, I remind myself there's no reason at all to buy another one, and I'm sticking to that. I may sell one of those 3 as well, because 2 is all I actually need.

I could have easily ended up with 15 or 20 guitars by now if I didn't think that way...and I know people who have done just that!

Be that as it may, I know Nick's guitars are great, so I hope the 12 goes to someone who appreciates it to the max.