As you know by now, my name is Tony Duggan-Smith and in order to make more than just five or six of these instruments on my own schedule (were I working alone on this project), I have been lucky enough to have the incredibly talented and well recognized Mark Kett work with me on the development of them including the V2 Prototype that has been out in the field for the last few months being put to the test.
Before that we worked together on an amazing custom guitar case built from carbon fiber and birch bark for the Arthur Lismer guitar I designed and built as part of the ‘Group of Seven Guitar Project' which was an incredibly successful exhibition funded and curated by the McMichael Gallery over the past few years and is currently on exhibition at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, London, England at least till September 2018 and more likely November 2018. I have known Mark for much longer than these two projects and he is a force of nature with unbelievably versatile skills.
We want you to have a sense of who we are and where we have come from if we are to build these instruments for you, so here are a few details about us and you can always google us!
BASE MODEL - US $10,000.00
We are happy to inform you that there is an official V2+ model which we are ready to produce in small numbers for you.
Between the original AE belonging to Mark Korven and used relentlessly over the past year and a half and the prototype V2 (seen in all pictures attached), there have been many build upgrades. These include an alternative reverb tank placement, custom magnetic pickups, refinement of literally all components including tailpieces, Hurdy Gurdy mechanism, custom hand crank, rod and spring clamps, universal fittings for upgrades and versatility of sound source placement, choice of either vertically mounted reverb tank of the original (benefits of gravity on spring movement) or mounted on the top surface as seen in V2 if you prefer that location, and many more…….
When these first ten engines are far enough along in their construction we will be notifying those in the next ten spots to send in their deposits. This may sound a little clumsy but I want the quality of these instruments to be no different than my guitars and I don't like taking deposits for instruments that won't be built till long into the future. The turnaround time is expected to be three months for every batch which is extremely good although some custom work on individual engines could delay delivery for obvious reasons.
We are sure you have many questions. Contact us ASAP with them!
The base model is everything that you see in the photographs with the magnetic pickup mod already mentioned, the ruler hold down bar adjustment and some other finessing on the bridges and minor details. It comes with either an E-bow or TC Aeon (buyers choice) for the slack string neck and a custom short carbon fiber ‘Incredibow’ for the rulers and other bowing surfaces. It includes a fitted crate with foam support for shipping and shipping costs will be the responsibility of the buyer.
There are a small number of options in exterior wood choices and components with the base model price that we can discuss with individuals but they will all share the same internal laminate substructure design regardless of the outer solid wood skin. As already mentioned, there are many hardwoods that are protected species and can cause problems when traveling internationally, so it is a good idea to think about how your ‘engine' will be used. Will it be sitting in your studio or touring the planet every couple of months? We can recommend species that suit your needs and abide by laws.
All the tops of these instruments are high-quality solid spruce and braced similarly.
The maple necks have ebony fingerboards and solid mahogany(or similar) blocks inside the instrument. integrated into the substructure which has been designed not just for the present configuration but also for some future ideas that will be backward compatible with this established design. It is always good to look ahead and plan! Tailpieces are also ebony with brass reinforcement inlaid into them. The ‘whacka rods' are steel with tungsten weights on the end of them and the clock springs are from a collection we unearthed that have great tone and possibilities compared to the lighter variety more common now.
The box has many threaded inserts installed already for moving things around and exploring some of your own ideas! The compact ebony ‘hold downs' are very versatile and more can be ordered if required.
THE LONG, LONG AWAITED
Thank you! First Run Sold Out!
LOOKING FORWARD TO BUILDING YOU ONE OF THESE AWESOME MACHINES!!
First off, Thank you all for being so patient with us!
Tony Duggan-Smith (micro bio)
Started out in Fine Arts in the UK and ended up at NSCAD in Halifax during its most vibrant period.
Apprenticed with guitar maker Jean Larrivee and was introduced to Linda Manzer, David Wren, George Gray, Sergei de Jonge, Grit Laskin, who all became lifelong friends.
Founding member of Casby/Uknow award-winning ‘canadian treasures' Pukka Orchestra
Set Designer for Bert Leonard TV series and Lorimar action films amongst many others
Primarily Archtop guitar maker working alone and with Linda Manzer
Restoration of historic and fine guitars
Songwriting with Alannah Myles, Neil Chapman, Robert Priest, Russ Walker, Sue Breit etc..
Short films and instrument projects (Sarello) with composer Mark Korven
Helping worthwhile projects be realized including the historic Group of Seven Guitar Project
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Kett (mini-bio)
Celebrating twenty years making musical instruments and helping some of the most talented musical artisans create theirs.
“Collaboration with talented people is my life's work and seems to bring me the highest level of fulfillment”
Classic and Steel String guitars (apprenticeship with Sergei de Jonge & Family)
Custom tools and fixtures for guitarmakers (GuitarJigs)
Custom inlays (Mark Kett Custom Inlay) with Marc Beneteau, Dana Bourgeois, Sergei de Jonge, Robert Godin (with Levon Ichkhanian), George Gray, Michael Greenfield, Linda Manzer, Michel Pellerin, David Wren, etc…
Custom guitar parts and Instrument production with Frank Brothers Guitar Company, Tony Duggan-Smith (AEv2), Alastair Miller of Watt Guitars, Sheldon Schwartz, Mark Stutman, Joseph Yanuziello, etc...
Purchasing an Apprehension Engine
As usual, ‘life' had its own plan mapped out for us regardless of our own agenda. This included several trips to the UK and Spain for Mark Korven and I and the absconding of our V2 prototype by a couple of multi-Tony Award winners who needed it in New York City for three months for their rehearsals, theatrical premiere and studio recording (Power Station) of a new piece they had been working on. We saw this as an excellent 'trial by fire’.
The Apprehension Engine had to go head to head for this show with an A-list Orchestra, in fact, dominate that orchestra at times because it was representing a life-crushing dread that throughout the story could crush the hopes and dreams of the protagonist - I wonder why they thought of us?
This gave us the chance to monitor the process that all those (some of you) who get one of our instruments will have to go through, albeit in super high stakes, take no prisoners kind of way.
The chosen 'player' of the AE had to come to terms with using something completely unfamiliar and with no deep history to build from other than a few short videos of Mark Korven on the original engine (courtesy of Great Big Story' and Mark himself). This really helped us and all those at the theatre, focus on the learning curve and methodology, which obviously we were highly involved in for the first month of rehearsals. Between Skype lessons, one very brief onsite demo and learning to park the judgment that sometimes comes with knowing too much about music, the player and the sound designer slowly but surely were absorbed into the engine's capabilities and created their own unique voice for "the Beast", crucial to the story. Working hand in hand with the music director the whole orchestra came on-side with the engine very quickly turning into something of a love fest that extended throughout the production team, the very best of Broadway. It was a seamless experience both professionally and personally and when I went to pick up the engine towards the end of the session at Power Station, there were a lot of happy smiling faces not to mention monstrous sounds coming from the monitors.
We learned a lot through this partnership and although theatre wasn't at the forefront of our radar, it encompassed so many of the shared processes universal to many of you who have contacted us over the past year, we knew it was a pivotal opportunity that we and future users would benefit from.
…now really to business
There are a few small changes between what you see in the included images and what we will be building. We will be using a single custom made magnetic pickup as standard in upcoming builds as there was no major benefit from two single coil pickups when using an e-bow or TC Aeon with the slack string on the short neck.
The ebony hold down bar for the bowed rulers will be moved a little further away from the front edge and for those ordering metal ruler/wood bar combinations, the bar will be modified to accept two different thicknesses.
Apprehension Engine Makers - Who are we?
THE FIRST TEN PEOPLE TO COMMIT WITH A US$2500 DEPOSIT WILL GET ONE OF THE FIRST TEN PRODUCTION ENGINES WHICH WE ARE STANDING BY TO BEGIN AS SOON AS THE ORDERS AND MATERIALS ARE LOCKED IN!
We have given a lot of thought to material choices and they are practical on many levels. Obviously sound and durability are key but also whether these instruments are going to remain in one country ad infinitum or travel internationally is a major consideration for the buyer.
If travel is imminent, rare and protected species of woods which are on universal lists can be a major liability and prevent instruments made of these materials from being admitted to these countries.
We have a variety of instrument wood species but you the buyer need to be practical on this matter. We can talk individually with you specific to your orders.
Like the two existing instruments, you can have the Engine remain unfinished, which we have done deliberately because all the wood surfaces remain super ‘live' in this state, or sealed with a light matte finish if you prefer. In its natural state, the instrument has a really medieval vibe that evolves quickly through handling. The surfaces of these instruments will become ‘decorated' in time by the users, whether through wear or artwork applied. Every town/city has its own local artists, whether anime, old school, appliqué and I am sure that some buyers will choose to do this themselves. We will offer this option ourselves down the road at an added cost but for now, we want to get these instruments into your hands to play and create some epic sounds with!