'Orchestra' Model - OM
Many of my designs are aimed at modern finger-style players but I build three models that are perhaps more traditional finger-style instruments; my smallest standard model the 14-fret 00, a 12-fret 000 slot-head model and this; a classic OM or Martin 'Orchestra Model' size. The lines of this guitar are my own but the proportions are based quite closely on the original and I usually build it with quite a traditional scalloped braced system. This shape produces a very concentrated tone ideally suited to both traditional styles such as Travis picking and modern styles in standard and D or G type open tunings. Both Eric Roche and Clive Carroll have owned and used Benjamin OM guitars.
An Adirondack and rosewood Benjamin OM
My favourite wood combinations for this guitar are:
Rosewood with Sitka or Adirondack spruce
Most types of rosewood will work very well with the nicely focused OM shape; Indian, Cocobolo, Honduras etc; ask for details of what I currently have available. Combine with Sitka spruce for a more textured tone or Adirondack spruce for a clear but rounded tone. You can hear Clive Carroll's Honduras RW and Sitka Benjamin OM on his album 'Life in Colour' on the tracks; 'All this Time', 'The Gentle Man', 'The Boat Man' and the octaves melody part of 'Oregon'.
Indian Rosewood and Cedar
Western Red Cedar is very non-traditional for smaller american style steel-string guitars but it works wonderfully well and gives a particularly beautiful tone combined with Indian rosewood; very responsive with lots of swirling reverberating overtones and great for DADGAD. You can hear this combination on Eric Roche's 'With These Hands' album on 9 out of 13 tracks, including my favourites; 'Blue in Green' and 'Deep Deep Down', and see Eric's Benjamin OM on the cover (in mirror image!). Comes as standard with old-school (but a unique Benjamin design) multi-coloured 'rope' purflings in Rosewood/Box/Mahogany which look great with cedar.
Mahogany and Sitka or Adirondack spruce
Punchy and immediate - a great Travis-pickers' option or for anyone who likes to really 'attack' a smaller guitar! Koa or Australian blackwood are great alternatives to the mahogany.