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Rayco Weissenborn Style Hawaiian Guitar: Master Grade Koa

Master Luthiers Mark Thibeault and Jason Friesen have done it again with another of their magnificent Weissenborn-style beauties ! Spectacular AAA Koa wood throughout, huge tone and sustain and feather light construction. Every time I pick this up I am amazed at how light weight these Rayco guitars are. When played, the guitar feels alive. The entire guitar surface seems to vibrate with equal intensity and I immediately notice how the hollow neck strongly resonates through my legs.

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Great woods and workmanship, great tone, great price ! Keep up the good work guys !!

The actual origins of the Hawaiian steel guitar may never be known for sure. As Brad Bechtel outlines on his Lap Steel Guitar page: “Steel guitars were originally invented and popularized in Hawaii. Legend has it that in the mid 1890′s Joseph Kekuku, a Hawaiian schoolboy, discovered the sound while walking along a railroad track strumming his Portuguese guitar. He picked up a bolt lying by the track and slid the metal along the strings of his guitar. Intrigued by the sound, he taught himself to play using the back of a knife blade.”

J.D. Bisignani in his Hawaii Handbook from Moon Publications adds to the story of Joseph Kekuku: “Driven by the faint rhythm of an inner sound, he went to the machine shop at the Kamehameha School and turned out a steel bar for sliding over the strings. To complete the sound, he changed the cat-gut strings to steel and raised them so they wouldn’t hit the frets. VoilĂ ! Hawaiian Music as the world knows it today.”

Mark Thibeault and Jason Friesen already have a great reputation for their reso-phonic square necks, but I’ve been picking up more & more of a buzz lately with regards to their Weissenborn-style instruments. Per Mark Thibeault; “We talked with some top players and collectors of this style of instrument and with their input we made a few changes that resulted in an even bigger sound. We thinned down the bridge and fingerboard to make the top more responsive and we now use a lighter hand-rubbed satin finish on all our Hawaiian guitars making them more resonant. A harder saddle material provides a good solid transfer of vibrations from the strings to the soundboard delivering increased punch and clarity. Rayco Hawaiian guitars are played by IBMA and Grammy awards winning musicians and producers such as Rob Ickes and Randy Kohrs.”


* precision Waverly tuners with ebony buttons
* raised bone nut
* highly flamed solid Hawaiian koa construction
* Adirondack spruce braces
* radiused top & back for maximum strength-to-weight ratio
* “rope” marquetry and rosette
* mother-of-pearl fingerboard markers

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