What exactly is a ‘one-piece’ guitar?

When we say “one piece” we mean exactly that. The JJL One series are made from just one piece of wood. One piece designs have one inherent feature – amazing sustain. But we know that sustain alone is not enough, so we look for the same thing everyone else looks for in a guitar – unique tone.

Guitar makers, or Luthiers, will go to great lengths to explain why they kiln dry their wood and bring the moisture content down to say 6%. They do this they say to crystallize the resin, which improves the tone. The problem is of course that although this may crystallize some of the resin, most woods are very hygroscopic (i.e. absorb moisture from the air), so unless they could seal in that reduced moisture content at the kiln, before it travelled back to the factory and was sealed as it was made into a guitar, then the wood will be back at 8% or 10% in no time as it settles at the level of its environment.

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Here we take a different approach. Firstly the wood you see here, has our serial numbers on it as it sits air drying in racks by the Mill in Belize having been recovered by teams of divers from the silt at the bottom of the Belize River where it has been laying for about 150 years. Water is the best way to season wood – and this is one hell of a seasoning. This Honduras Mahogany was growing around the time the Conquistadors were still in South America. “Crystallize the resin”? This wood has NO resin in it at all. It disappeared from the wood in the 1800’s. It is then imported with a CITIES certificate and air dried in its own environment again. Then we test it for humidity and most importantly – tone. Too big to just “knock”, we test it with 6 tuning forks (tuned the same as a guitar) and an engineer’s stethoscope, to make sure it makes the Grade. If not – it is rejected.

Then we do something even more remarkable. We bond into the whole one piece guitar, a titanium “acoustic chassis”. This allows great strength for the one piece design, but also, rather like the strings of a Grand Piano stretched across a metal frame, also allows for a more complex mix of overtones as the chassis is both directly connected to the nut – and the bridge at the same time. This is the JJL One’s “tone superhighway”.

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