2022 Youri Soroka "Local Wood Challenge" SP/WN
|Back & Sides||Walnut|
|Scale Length||650 mm|
|Nut width||52 mm|
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This instrument is one of Youri's “Local Wood Challenge” guitars, which prioritize the use of local materials, rather than exotic woods from far away. For the back and sides, Youri used a mix of cherry and walnut and spruce for the soundboard. The fingerboard is quite unique because it’s made of 5,000-year-old bog oak that was kindly provided to Youri by a friend from Wales. This is a very lightly built instrument with a low body resonance (F) that has great clarity and sustain. As with all of Youri's guitars, the sound is very malleable and ultra responsive to subtle color changes giving a player a very expressive sound palette to work from.
For the back-story on the materials, Youri shared with us how he acquired the materials used for this instrument:
“Several years ago my father-in-law asked me to help him with picking up a workbench he found in a classified ad. We came to the meeting place, and found out that it was a big woodworking shop that looked abandoned. It belonged to the son of the late owner who was selling out all woodworking machines in order to sell the building afterwards. Previously, it was a pattern-maker shop, where they used to build wooden molds for different industries, and at some point in the 80’s they were also building furniture. While walking around all of the bandsaws, lathes, sanders and planers I found a big pile of wood. I asked the son of the owner if it was for sale, and he said that he wasn’t thinking about selling it. He was going to chop it all to pieces and use it as a firewood. I told him that I was interested in buying it, so he called me on the following day with a price and we shook hands. It was about 4m3 of wood, many decades old. I found a lot of alder and walnut, as pattern makers use it to build molds, and also cherry, chestnut, ash, black walnut, and oak. When I told the seller that I was interested in using this local wood to build musical instruments, he loved the idea, and he said his father would have been happy to know that his wood was used for such a purpose."
Youri has selected a piece of French walnut for the back and sides, bridge, and the head plate. This walnut grew locally near the area where he lives – the area of Gerzat, not far from the famous volcano 'Puy de Dôme' in the Auvergne region. The wood has been air-dried for at least 3 decades. He also used cherry in the middle of the back to add some longitudinal strength for a brighter sound. Youri told us that in general European walnut is very strong transversally and pretty flexible lengthwise. Cherry, on the other hand, is bright sounding and strong lengthwise. He combined French walnut and cherry to obtain the sound he had in mind. He also used cherry for the binding. Interestingly, this cherry came from the same stock as the one he used for the guitar presented at the 2nd Antonio Marin Montero Guitar Building Competition in Granada. The soundboard is made of a piece of spruce that comes from the French Jura region. All internal bracing and reinforcements were also made of spruce. For the neck, Youri used a classy piece of old alder. Buffalo horn was used for the tie block inlay to complement the beautiful Pagos tuners with galalith rollers and buttons.Photos taken during construction.