~ S.Talkovich Guitars ~
JUST A GUY WHO LOVES GUITARS
S.Talkovich got his first Sears guitar (with the spray painted sunburst) for Christmas at 10 in 1960, but his love of two piece single cutaway style guitars began in 1970 when he traded a 1960 Epiphone Sorrento thinline for a grocery bag full of a 1954 Blackguard in pieces.
Around the same time he apprenticed and worked at Arrowhead Guitars in Duluth, MN, a shop that specialized in six and twelve string acoustic guitars and repairs and restorations. He learned from two talented luthiers who had worked with long time builder Charles Hoffmann from Minneapolis. Later he built custom "T" style guitars with phenolic and wood composite necks with one piece swamp ash bodies (a few with artwork engraving) in the early '90s, working out of Greg Curbows shop in North Georgia. Greg was an immensely talented designer, builder and cranky perfectionist, a friend and an inspiration to S.Talkovich.
Over the years Talkovich has developed a point of view on this guitar building thing. He's gone from a high tech, modern design of a classic, back to a traditional approach using the elements he believes to be important factors for great electric single cutaway guitars.
The Talkovich goal is to build simple, straight forward electric guitars that work great on the stage and on the couch, guitars that inspire folks to play their best, guitars that we all love to pick up and play.
Talkovich is a fan of the CNC machine. It allows small custom builders to blend technology i.e., accuracy and consistency with hand-built elements at affordable prices for regular folks who love fine guitars.
Assembled by hand is the definition of hand built. That's what Talkovich does. Just like a $5k to $10k mastercraftsman custom shop guitar, one person assembles S.Talkovich electric guitars, one at a time.
Talkovich seasons the wood in his shop for at least six months before starting the finishing process. He final shapes the necks and final sands the bodies and rolls the fingerboard edges by hand. He finishes the backs with satin lacquer for a silky feel with no drag. Glossy lacquer necks can be sticky. The Talkovich process of spraying the back and front, satin and gloss respectively takes more work but the results are definitely worth the effort and time.
The standard industry finish loads up the body and neck with thick coats of finish over a day or two which is then sanded flat. Talkovich applies thin coats of nitrocellulose lacquer directly to the wood over a couple weeks for the thinest finish he can apply. He sweats each coat, uses a slower process, He lets the lacquer dry and gas out every couple of coats. He expect his body finishes to sink into the grain slightly over the first year and age with use. The beauty of lacquer is how each layer bites into the layer below, fuses together and sinks into the wood and of course how lacquer hardens and ages with use.
Talkovich shields his electronics, pickups, controls and pickguards with copper and connects the grounds with a star ground pattern. Over the years he has developed a system that shields, but doesn't drain treble.
He hand fits the neck to the neck pocket, taking his time to get a tight fit.
He sources the bone for the good, hard stuff and hand shapes the nut. He spends some time here, using a "wider than standard" string spacing and rounds the top of the nut to eliminate sharp edges.
He levels and polishes the frets by hand with special attention to upper fret "fall away" and the fret ends for a smooth, broken in feel.
Talkovich adjusts pickups, sets the neck relief and adjust the truss rod several times as the neck takes the string tension. He sets neck angle and the correct saddle height for the best string down-pull across the saddles. His set up process may take days.
MADE IN USA
S.Talkovich guitars are built from trusted "made in the USA" suppliers. All necks and most of the bodies are made for him by USACG in Washington State. His pine bodies come from trusted suppliers who specialize in seasoned Eastern and sugar pine. His bridge hardware comes from Glendale in Texas. All this ensures the tightest specifications, dimensions and quality. Necks and bodies are acclimated in his shop for further curing before finishing.
The neck profile is a hand shaped soft "V" profile on a medium chunky neck (.89 at the 3rd fret), and 1 3/4th Wide Nut with wide string spacing. He uses medium jumbo frets with a modern 12 inch radius. These dimensions are the best blend of acoustic and electric guitar specs for excellent playability. The slight V makes chord changes smoother and easy. Perfect for fingerpickers and blues players.
With their wider nut and spacious string spacing the S.Talkovich guitars have a special appeal for the acoustic player who is most comfortable in first position, particularly those who play country and blues; the fingerpickers and roots players out there. That sort of inviting playability has always been one of the primary design goals at S.Talkovich Guitars and indeed many Talkovich owners are primarily acoustic players. The extra surprise though, is that this design ethic doesn't make the Talkovich instruments any less appealing to the rock or multi-style enthusiast. In fact, the acoustic-style playability translates into an instrument with startling versatility, an instrument that is as adventurous as it is familiar.