Page McConnell purchased Trey a new dreadnaught guitar for Trey’s September 2021 birthday and we’ve been eager to get the details on this guitar here at TGR. Late last year, Page and Trey stopped by the lutherie to thank them for the instrument, as JamBase documented here. We recently reached out to the builder, Circle Strings, to get some details on the guitar — including the creative process and materials sourcing — and wanted to share that information here and add this guitar to our archive. Circle Strings also sent along some stunning photos of the instrument that we wanted to share.
Circle Strings founder and principal luthier Adam Buchwald told us that he had been saving this special set of Koa for Trey for quite some time, and had been a Phish fan since the 1990s. In 2018, Adam bought a wood supply and guitar parts business called Allied Lutherie, and he told us the mission of that company “is to source materials from retiring luthiers and wood collectors.” Since purchasing Allied, Adam has significantly grown their collection. “I have been able to buy out at least 6 people in that time,” Adam told us, “and have developed quite the collection of woods.”
The particularly stunning Koa set — Adam calls it “Mother of Curl” — used on Trey’s new acoustic came from a New Hampshire company called Euphonon, whose owner, Walter Lipton had been “in the guitar game since the 60s and had quite the stash,” according to Adam. “He had a couple of these sets and when I saw them I knew I had to save one for Trey.” Fortuitously, Adam, who also knows Paul Languedoc through the local lutherie scene in Burlington, met Page through a paddle tennis group. Adam showed Page the Koa set in the hopes that Page would tell Trey about it. Upon seeing the spectacular woods, Page decided to commission a guitar himself for Trey’s birthday using “the best woods [Adam] had.”
It took months to decide on the inlay, according to Adam, which is a scenario anyone who has commissioned a guitar can appreciate. Page is a long-time admirer and collector of Roy Lichtenstein’s work, so they chose for the inlay to replicate one Page’s favorite Lichtenstein works. The piece is called “Landscape 8” from the 1967 series Ten Landscapes. The inlay is made from black mother of pearl, and lays beautifully below the Circle Strings logo, making for an elegant headstock with the ebony peghead overlay.
The guitar spec is below, along with some additional photos:
Dreadnaught Body Shape
“Mother of curl” Koa wood for Back and Sides
100 year old German Spruce Top and Bracing and Brazilian rosewood Bridge plate.
75 year old mahogany neck
Old jet black ebony bridge, fretboard, and peghead overlay
Holly binding and Trim
Bone nut, saddle, and bridge pins
Waverly Titanium Tuners
Black pearl Lichtenstein inspired Inlay
2.25” bridge spacing
Modified V neck Profile
Custom Calton case