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Old 09-12-2017, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Something very cool and historic

There's a venue in Tulsa called Cain's Ballroom that's been an historic music hall for decades. It was built in 1924 and was the place from where Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys used to broadcast their first radio show, and it earned the nickname The Carnegie Hall of Western Swing. Besides Bob Wills, it hosted other notable greats like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams Sr, and Tex Ritter.

It was also a hopping dance hall at that time, famous for it's spring loaded, maple floor laid out in a concentric square pattern. There are still folks around Tulsa who have very fond memories of the dances at Cains. Another of it's distinctive features is the 4' neon star in the middle of the roof above the dance floor.



There was a period during the '60s where the place fell into disrepair, but luckily it was purchased and brought back to life in time to see some great modern bands come through, including Jerry Lee Lewis, George Clinton, Jack White, Elvis Costello, and Beck. One of the most seemingly-odd for Tulsa was the Sex Pistols. Cain's was one of only 7 stops on their 1978 US tour.



Today, Cain's is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an iconic building in Tulsa.



So now for the fun part. I was able to get in touch with the family that owns Cain's, and they've given me some of the original flooring to build 4 guitars. 2 of them will be for Cain's, 1 will be a donation guitar to raise money for Tulsa Public Schools music education, and 1 will be part of my Heritage Series.




My Heritage Series guitars are a limited run. There are 77 counties in Oklahoma, and my goal is to get wood from 1 old structure in each county and build one guitar out of that structure. It'll come with a detailed history, certificate of authenticity, and some professional photos of the structure as well. My original idea wasn't to necessarily use historic structures, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to use this wood.

For all the guitars, I'm not going to put any other finish on the bodies. I'll just clean up the maple and let the history come through with the worn, dented, finish of the old floor. Also, each guitar will have a custom neck plate with the plain CAIN'S logo.

Here's where things stand as of right now:





While I was processing the wood, I was surprised at how many pieces had some really nice birds eye figure.



You'll notice that stamp on the that board. It's the name of the mill that produced the flooring back in the '20s. I did some research on them and found out they were fairly historic in their own right. They were started in the 1870s and not only built the flooring, but they designed and built the machinery to make the flooring. I wanted to preserve that part as well, so the back of the guitars look like this:




I'm hoping to have these done by the end of the month, and I'll be sure to post some finished pics.

Oh, and a statewide TV show came out and did a story on these a couple of months ago. Here's a link to the piece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKV_WCoXZqM

Last edited by RogerC; 09-12-2017 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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As a former instrument builder myself... Cooool! I thought about branching into guitars but it felt dirty.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have never heard of Cain's even though my mother and my stepfather lived in Tulsa off and on for a number of years during their marriage. They were living in Enid when he died and my mother moved back to her hometown in Texas.... but as a kid growing up I remember all those old time country stars... never met any of them, but my brother in law did... he was a fiddler and base player and was offered jobs with a couple of the name bands of that era. He didn't like to travel though so he turned them all down and stayed close to home and his family.... he mostly played on weekends. Was a cool story about the place and look forward to seeing the finished guitars.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Wow! Those are fantastic!!! I love what you are doing with preserving local history. Please pose the finished pics.
I never thought about a tongue and groove guitar!
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Fabulous work, Roger!
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mckenziedrums View Post
As a former instrument builder myself... Cooool! I thought about branching into guitars but it felt dirty.
My own son actually plays drums and doesn't really want anything to do with guitar. I've written him out of the will...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TellicoTurning View Post
I have never heard of Cain's even though my mother and my stepfather lived in Tulsa off and on for a number of years during their marriage. They were living in Enid when he died and my mother moved back to her hometown in Texas.... but as a kid growing up I remember all those old time country stars... never met any of them, but my brother in law did... he was a fiddler and base player and was offered jobs with a couple of the name bands of that era. He didn't like to travel though so he turned them all down and stayed close to home and his family.... he mostly played on weekends. Was a cool story about the place and look forward to seeing the finished guitars.
Yeah, Cain's has been around forever and has quite a history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_W View Post
Wow! Those are fantastic!!! I love what you are doing with preserving local history. Please pose the finished pics.
I never thought about a tongue and groove guitar!
Thank you, Charlie. The original idea behind my Heritage Series was to get wood from places that aren't necessarily historic. I wanted to tell the story of people who wouldn't otherwise be known because their stories are what make up our history. As I said in the vid, though, I wasn't going to turn down wood from Cain's Ballroom

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Originally Posted by ajollydds View Post
Fabulous work, Roger!
Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Roger, Its great to see your preserving this old historic wood and repurposing it into a musical instrument which will be enjoys for many more years to come. Keep us up to date on your project. Darrell
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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As a former musician I loved the Western Swing genre, and among all my records I also have a collection of every cut that Bob Wills recorded. Nice to see you paying tribute to Cain's... but man, it's gonna be hard to top that Matt Holliday guitar that you crafted!
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Nice!!
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Highly cool. Highly!!
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