Student Guitar Project

Starting a new archive topic, wooden instruments. You music lovers will love some of the trivia we'll delve into with this topic.

In this first post, I have the honor to share with you the product of a dual student special project here at Penn State. Shaun Herbst and Brandon Treece are two students graduating this semester with degrees in Wood Products. They describe their guitars below...

Forest Products Society (PSU Chapter) Fundraiser. 
These acoustic guitars were hand built by Shaun Herbst and Brandon Treece as a fundraiser for the Forest Products Society – Penn State Chapter. The materials for each of these guitars were purchased from C.F. Martin Guitar Company in Nazareth, PA.  The finishing process was completed by Woodmode, Inc. The first guitar features true bookmatched mahogany back and sides, and a solid spruce top. The second contains beautiful bookmatched East Indian rosewood back and sides and a solid spruce top. Both guitars incorporate an X-brace style soundboard bracing.  Moderately scalloped lower bracing provides increased low-frequency response while maintaining the structural integrity of the soundboard. The hand fitted dovetail neck joint allows for better tone and lasting support for both guitars.  The necks feature a 2-way adjustable truss rod allowing for full adjustment in either direction.  The rosewood fretboards have a 25.5รข€ scale length and pearloid dot inlays.  Each guitar has a custom engraved Penn State logo on the pickguard - with the rosewood having black and the mahogany featuring blue.  These guitars include C.F. Martin tuners and strings. They are both modeled after the Martin D-28 dreadnought.  Great buy for anyone looking for a quality guitar, or as a gift for Penn State students, alumni or fans!

Photos available on the following website:
They are displayed and available for play at:
Rainbow Music
140 North Atherton Street
State College, PA 16803
M-F 11am-8pm, Sat 11am-6am, Sun 1pm-6pm
Both guitars will be posted this Friday April 22nd thru Friday April 29th on eBay
In case you can't figure it out from the descriptions above, Shaun and Brandon put a lot of hours into these guitars. For the three hour credit they received, they put in "about three hours a day for seventeen straight weeks!" And that doesn't count the time the guitars spent at Wood-Mode receiving the world-class finish Wood-Mode cabinets are known for.

Both of the guys grew up wood-working. Shaun was a helper in his dad's construction business in Spring Grove, PA, where he said he had a "nail gun in hand by the time I was five. The other kids were buying toys, I was making my own."

Brandon said he took "every shop class in middle school and high school" growing up in Saltsburg, PA. He also learned about drying wood working in the summer for Gutchess Lumber.

As I said, these guys are graduating in a couple of weeks, and both are "accepting bids for their services" in the real world.  Shaun is open to relocating anywhere where wood is found, while Brandon would like to find something in the Charleston, South Carolina area, for matrimonial reasons. If you need an employee that knows wood, both theoretically and practically, you couldn't do better. If interested, email me and I'll get you connected.

The guitars are now up for bid on EBay at the following links...

Mahogany -

Rosewood -

Proceeds from the guitars go to support the Penn State student chapter of The Forest Products Society. Bidding closes Friday!

Tip Amount


Ed Pepke said…
With the concern for sustainability and legality of species such as rosewood and mahogany, which were used in these guitars, it would be useful to know how the students were assured of both. And whoever buys the guitars may also want assurance of the sources of the wood.
Brandon Treece said…
Both guitars are built with a solid spruce top and a mahogany neck with a East Indian rosewood fretboard. The guitar on the right has bookmatched mahogany back and sides. The guitar on the left is made with bookmatched East Indian rosewood back and sides. All of these woods are perfectly legal. The confusion I believe arises from the Brazilian rosewood species, which has been placed on the endangered list, making it illegal to harvest. However, Brazilian rosewood harvested prior to these restrictions can still be marketed legally, although supply is extremely limited, making Brazilian rosewood very expensive. I hope this clarifies any confusion. These materials were purchased by C.F. Martin guitar company in Nazareth,PA. As their website states "committed to corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship, and to support this commitment, Martin maintains FSC chain of custody certification" They are also a member of the Rainforest Alliance. For more info, please see their website:

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