This is a guitar that on the first strum shows why Jim Williams' acoustic guitars are so sought after. Unbelievable openness, detail and volume. Super sweet, but can get as aggressive and powerful as you want. Jim's famous lattice bracing is no doubt a huge factor in this, along with the selection of tonewoods (more details below).
This is one of Jim's dreadnaught models, the WD40, but optioned up by the previous owner (initials S.D., which are inlayed on the fretboard as the 5th position marker) who ordered this guitar. The top is Adirondack Spruce. This tonewood is used on many of the highly collectible pre-war Martins, and in more recent times used on premium Martin and Collings guitars. The availability of Adirondack Spruce is limited and the cost and collectability of guitars with an Adirondack Spruce top is usually far greater than those with a Sitka Spruce top. The fretboard inlays have been optioned up from the usual dots to very striking snowflake style markers right up to the 17th position.
Wikipedia has a very interesting entry on tonewoods (click here to see it), which says the following about Adirondack - "Adirondack Spruce aka Red Spruce (Picea rubens). This legendary wood that Martin used for its tops throughout its golden years came from the East Coast, from the Southern Mountains into New England and upper New York State. Called both Appalachian and Adirondack spruce, it has a creamy white color. Similar to Sitka, Adirondack responds well to either a light or firm touch. It has more overall resonance than Sitka. Interesting grain color variations make this another visually desirable top. Adirondack has been unavailable since the mid-1940s. Virgin growth has been (fortunately) preserved in national parks; the rest is all second growth, plentiful but too small to be usable for guitar tops until recently. Guitar makers have started finding second growth of at least 100 years old that is big enough to be used for tops again. Adirondack is, like Alpine spruce, very expensive and mainly used for top of the range acoustic guitars."
The back and sides of this guitar are solid East Indian Rosewood, the neck is a stunning piece of Queensland Maple and the fretboard is lush, dark Gabon Ebony. Gabon Ebony tends to be more consistently black than Indian Ebony, and, not surprisingly, it is also more expensive. It has a specidic density of 1.03, meaning it sinks in water, showing just how dense it is. It feels wonderful to play.
The frets display virtually no wear at all, and have at least 90% life left in them. The Gabon Ebony fretboard is unmarked. Action at the 12th fret is 3mm on the bass side and 2.5mm on the treble. Neck width is 45mm at the nut and 55mm at the 12th fret, making it beautifully playable either with a plectrum or fingerpicking. The neck is a nice shallow C profile.
This Jim Williams is serial number 604A, and was made about 4 years ago according to the previous owner. It comes in a very high quality and expensive hard shell case - see the photos in the 'more pictures' link below.
Sold to Mark