Luna is proud to unveil the first USA Luna created by master luthier Gray Burchette for Vicki Genfan, winner of Guitar Player Magazine's 2008 "Guitar Superstar" award.
Vicki was drawn to Luna's Henna guitar since we first met her at the 2007 Summer NAMM show. She has been playing the Muse 12 string and Luna Artist Trinity, but has longed for a Henna guitar of her dreams with all the bells and whistles that her particular type of playing requires.
Vicki started her process by playing and testing dozens of guitars that Gray Burchette had built for other clients, and settled on a Jumbo body which lends itself to the full tones she needs for her percussive style of playing.
The soundboard of the guitar is, appropriately, made of Alpine Moon Spruce. Moon wood is define as wood that, according to tradition, exhibits outstanding and unique characteristics when felled during certain phases of the moon. For centuries lumber was cut exclusively in the winter and then only at certain times in accordance with the phases of the moon. Specific, moon-related felling guidelines passed down through generations have continued to produce tonally superior wood.
The OM symbol on the soundboard is significant to Vicki as it represents the origin of all sounds; the primordial vibration, which has been her life's work to explore. Luna commissioned Alex Morgan, the renowned UK Henna artist that created the rest of Luna's Henna designs, to render the OM symbol in a simple, elegant composition. This was then laser etched on the soundboard.
The back and sides of the instrument are Cocobolo....a true Rosewood that grows along the Pacific seaboard. It is heavier, harder and more dense than other Rosewood and because of this is a better sound reflector. It offers increased power, volume and sustain with incredible beauty. The amazing detail at the back of the guitar is actually the sapwood of the Cocobolo which, with Gray's skillful touch, adds another layer of organic artistry.
Luna's logo shines brightly in MOP against an ebony headstock, while Luna's signature MOP fret markers wax and wane against an ebony fret board. Satin gold Gotoh Super 5-10 tuners crown the headstock and the instrument is further graced by bone nut and saddle and an African Blackwood bridge. Eucalyptus binding embraces the body and the neck is laminated in 5 pieces comprised of mahogany on the outside, maple next to the mahogany and black walnut down the middle.
What is interesting about the end view is that Gray used a Manzer 'wedge' construction that enables the instrument to be more ergonomic where it meets the arm (3 3/4") and flares out to it's full depth at the other edge (4 7/8"). The instrument also features a 15' radius back, and 20' radius top.
Electronics are still a work in process. The guitar currently has a Chris Grener system that uses 2 microphones and one under the saddle system that allows for nuances in Vicki's percussive style to be heard. Vicki is currently experimenting with an RMC hex pickup...a bridge pickup with 6 different sensors, one for each string. This will also give her the ability to have synth control.
What is noteworthy is that Vicki's guitar evolved organically as Gray is a fan of Vicki's and has spent many hours watching her play. He had these observations to make:
"Vicki plays off her right side facing the neck of the guitar. The wedge design tips the guitar back towards her for easier playability and reach. Because of the stress Vicki puts on the neck with her 31 different tunings, I used a 5 piece lamination, a 2 way truss rod as well as two slots reinforced with spring steel . I used Evo frets because they are made from a harder material that reflects the same amount of energy back when Vicki is slapping and tapping. They are also better for harmonics."
And last but not least....here's what Vicki has to say (so far!)
"There's an immediate warmth that comes through the Cocobolo in the back of the guitar - I feel the deep low notes moving right into my body! The top is incredibly 'alive' and it projects a real balanced sound. When I use the top as a percussion instrument it feels and sounds like a drum head! It's incredible. All this and she's brand new - can you imagine what she'll sound like as she opens up over time?
I even played her last night in standard tuning!!! There hasn't been a guitar that's had that effect on me in many, many years! Much gratitude to Luna and Gray!"
Check back tomorrow to see Vicki's video playing Luna Ahumada on her new Luna!