10/25/2015

1996 Froggy Bottom F12 Koa Deluxe 12-Fret 0000 Guitar




Well, Vermonters are rightly-proud of Froggy Bottom guitars. They're simply-put boutique instruments and, while having a voice (and build) similar to "golden era" 1930s instruments, do that and more. The F12 model, at a glance, is a 12-fret 000 similar to old Martins from the 20s and 30s. When you dig into it a bit more you notice the 4" body depth, 16" lower bout, and a 25 1/4" longer scale length. So -- basically -- it's a "jumbo" version of a 000 and sounds, in a way, like you'd expect it to. Tonally (and under the fingers) it has more in common with a D-18 12-fret than a 000.

This came in ready-to-go, but I did adjust setup at the nut slightly and compensated the B and low E-string slots at the saddle (Froggy left the B uncompensated on their older guitars and it kills my ears without it adjusted). It plays perfectly with 3/32" low E&A and 1/16" DGB&E action at the 12th fret, strung with 12s and with a good straight neck. The guitar has an adjustable rod buried at the neck block internally, to boot.


This F12 deluxe (in koa) runs $10,335 these days. Yikes!

While this one has a few small dings in the finish and a little bit of finish crackle/weather-check here and there, it's otherwise very clean and all-original except for the (high quality) replacement pickguard. The original would've been a "small teardrop." This is one of those StewMac "Tortoloid" ones.


Bound headstock with rosewood veneer... original bone nut... and very nice green-pearl "froggy" headstock inlay.

Those are gold-plated Waverly tuners, too.


Cute, huh?


The neck shape is a modern, quick C profile and has a flatter-radius (12"?) ebony fretboard with abalone dots. The nut width is 1 3/4" but because of the way the neck is cut it plays faster (with the same string spread) than your average 1 3/4" width.

The frets are in beautiful shape and didn't need anything.



The rosette has a ring of pearl inlaid.


Good, tall saddle on that ebony bridge...



Here's another shot of that nice 'guard...






...and Mr. Millard's script on the label.



Crisp... and perfectly-built.


A small open hairline at the center seam was repaired professionally a while back.



The koa hits the spot, doesn't it?

Tonally -- I love koa. On a big guitar like this it's a great choice because it has the punch and sweetness of mahogany with a bit more clarity and sparkle like maple. It's also gorgeous.



The decorative (painted) heelcap is also gorgeous!

...as is the pearl backstrip.



The maple binding and "45-style" edging at the heel is a nice touch as well.




I love seeing koa with the streaky coloration to the grain like this.





Did I mention? -- there's a K&K Pure Mini pickup installed under the hood. As expected -- it sounds great.


It comes with an original hard, arched case and original advertising material.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what a beauty both visually and tonally.

Jake Wildwood said...

Yep, Froggies are stunners. I had a 14-fret version of the same model, same timeframe a while back that was equally awesome but very different. This has the balance of the 000 sound with the big up-front of a 12-fret dread. Really an excellent design choice...

Plus... KOA!