Late fall, 2014. Vehicle packed with firewood, food, a few beers, surf board, wet suit and a weissenborn. The essentials. A solo drive north ward along the coast line in search of surf. A bit of fog and not much for breaking waves, a perfect spot was found to sit for the morning to eat, drink, write music and deep thought. Though sitting here till sunset in wait of surf would be ideal, but the day would be cut short to head back into the city to meet Michael Rusen. I didn't know much of who I was meeting. But what I did know was that he built weissenborns. I had seen his work in the local guitar shops, and I had been hooked for many months and that day, I was to meet the man himself at his wood shop. Finishing my food and putting out the flames, I packed and drove south just as the rain was rolling in. A typical west coast day.
At this point I had been playing a Celtic Cross weissenborn for 5 years. Locally made by Neil Russell, I had never met him though knew that he taught Mike his craft. I didn't know what to expect, all i knew was that i had to meet him.
I arrived at a house and was welcomed with a smile by a young man. He quietly and politely offered for me to come inside for a tour of his shop. We entered the garage to the soft sounds of bluegrass and fresh dust in the air. The back wall was stacked with beautiful cuts of lumber beside a pile of unfinished and old weissenborns from his early building days. He then ushered me over to his work bench to show me his latest master piece, a teardrop. He began telling me the types of wood used in this instrument with excitement and passion in his voice. The conversation trailed off to music. Turns out, we were both very much into Xavier Rudd. Our love for the weissenborn had very similar backgrounds. Though my path led me to playing, and his building.
He then made an offer I was not expecting. To build me a custom weissenbron from lumber I hand picked. Beyond excited, we immediately began picking lumber. Picking through his stack of koa, cedar and mahogany, I was quickly drawn to a cedar top he had pre-cut for a teardrop. And that day it began.
Today I am both honored and excited to tell you that it is not only complete, but has already been taken into studio to record part of my upcoming summer release. The amount of time, love and labor that goes into hand crafting a instrument is unheard of. This is a instrument I will have for the rest of my life and I cant wait to see what songs come from this beauty. Forever I will be grateful. Thank you Mike.
Old growth Van Isle Cedar top
Local sourced maple bindings and fret board
Mahogany sides and back
Ebony frets and markings
1/2" extra deep
Fishman Rare Earth Pickup
LG Bags Lyric Pickup
Duel individual inputs
Hand crafted by Micheal C. Rusen in Victoria BC in 2015.
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