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Osthoff OM Guitar from The TREE Mahogany

Osthoff OM Guitar from The TREE Mahogany

$ 20,000.00

Osthoff Guitars logo

Osthoff OM - The TREE Guitar (New)

Please Read the History for the legend of "The TREE" at the History Tab

  • The back & sides are from the Rarest tonewood on the planet: The TREE mahogany with tortoise shell figure. It is iridescent as you tilt the guitar one way & then another.  A mesmerizing phenomenon in person.
  • Master grade Adirondack Spruce top
  • African Blackwood fretboard & body bindings
  • African Blackwood bridge
  • The TREE headstock faceplate with a sparkling abalone & mother-of-pearl Torch inlay
  • "Stealth" truss rod cover ( no ugly screw )
  • Waverly tuning machines
  • Bone nut & saddle
  • Ebony fretboard with Abalone Snowflake inlays
  • Abalone & Mother-of-Pearl rosette
  • Double sides
  • Mahogany neck with Titanium truss rod
  • Custom Ameritage case
  • This is a true, top-of-the-line instrument.  It has all the eye candy - nothing was spared. And, it sounds out of this world.  Please listen to our audio clips and view the videos.  We do not alter the recordings so that you can hear exactly how magnificent this guitar sounds.
  • Condition: New
  • Frets to body: 15
  • Scale Length: 25.4"
  • Nut Width: 1 3/4"
  • Saddle Spacing: 2 1/4"

What is The Tree? To understand The Tree's history we have to go back to 1965, when Belize was British Honduras... Deep in the rainforest jungle of Chiquibul, a small party of loggers happened upon a towering mahogany. At over 100 feet high and 10 feet in diameter at the base, this tree was massive in every sense of the word. Best estimates would later place it at approximately 500 years old. While felling an average sized tree can prove to be a formidable task—felling a tree wider than a bus must have required a great deal of bravery, a great deal of insanity, or an equal measure of both. Whatever their state of mind at the time, the loggers vowed to complete their quest. According to legend, and armed with nothing but their axes, the loggers began the long and arduous operation of chipping away at the base of The Tree. Fragment by fragment. Inch by inch. Weeks of manual labor in the sweltering, humid climate would have been required to prepare this tree for felling. Then, finally, The Tree was ready to fall. The loggers' many years of experience had prepared them for this moment. With everything in order, the team was ready for the giant to come tumbling down. It is at this point in the story, when the story and The Tree take an unexpected turn. Instead of landing where intended, The Tree fell backward, coming to a rest at the bottom of a ravine—now impossible for the loggers to extract with their limited machinery. An unfortunate twist of fate for this small team of loggers, this accident would, nevertheless, prove fortuitous for The Tree. With the unanticipated reverse dive delaying its departure from Honduras (now Belize), The Tree would later make a much grander entrance onto the world stage. However, for the next 10 years, The Tree would call the forest floor its home.

It is possible that it would have spent the rest of its days lying in the ravine—its incredible beauty never to be seen by the human eye and its untapped potential squandered away through a slow and unrelenting progression of rot and decay.

Fortunately, The Tree was to have a fate much more glamorous.....

Although flooding prevented the two from visiting The Tree for a month, upon first sight Novak "recognized its significance almost immediately" [1]. His experience with other figured hardwoods led him to believe this specific tree could be quite unique. At the time, he would have had no idea just how unique The Tree truly was.

Novak purchased The Tree and then set about creating a plan to extract it from the ravine. Unforgiving terrain, The Tree's enormous weight, and wet conditions were just a few of the obstacles he had to overcome.

Novak supervised all of the processing, and was finally able to confirm his suspicions. This was certainly no ordinary tree. It had figure unlike anything he had ever seen. It was full of deep color, rich, swirling patterns, and it was also unusually dense......

To the guitar building community, this tree would not become known as The Tree for another 10-15 years.

It wasn't until the late '80s and early '90s when The Tree would see its first serious use in guitars, thanks to pioneering luthiers like Tom Ribbecke and Richard Hoover (owner of Santa Cruz guitars). These luthiers, and others, were crucial to popularizing The Tree within the guitar building community.

The Tree's transition from a tree to The Tree was just beginning to take shape.

"When I first saw the wood, I was impressed by its spectacular beauty," Ribbecke said. "The sound is warm and beautiful...[with a] bass response that is almost overwhelming." [4]

Although not normally a fan of mahogany tonewood, The Tree found another admirer in master inlay artist, and guitar maker, Harvey Leach. "I was immediately stunned by its beauty...and it sounded magical," Leach said. Tonally speaking, it was "nothing like mahogany but more like the very best [Brazilian] rosewood, with this astonishing clarity and bass response."

"I built two OMs at the same time", he recalled, "one with The Tree mahogany and the other with Brazilian rosewood. In the end, they actually sounded quite similar. But the guitar built from The Tree somehow sounded a little more like it was built from Brazilian rosewood than the one that actually was!" [5]

Leach has built 16 guitars from The Tree, and has stashed away a handful of guitar sets. ......

What makes The Tree so rare?

The Tree's figure (commonly called quilted, blistered, or tortoise shell) is thought to be caused by a genetic defect. In truth, the reason for its dramatic appearance remains largely a mystery.

While the cause of its beauty may be open for debate, the fact that it is beautiful certainly is not.

The look of The Tree is totally and utterly breathtaking—unbelievable depth of color often coupled with a large, undulating pattern of glistening waves and spider webbing.

"The Tree's dramatic figuring is classified in three main categories. One pattern resembles a tortoise shell, its triangular shapes having dark veiny outlines. Another is often referred to as a sausage quilt, as its wide horizontal patterns bear a resemblance to [sausage links], with rolling vertical lines that look like long, wavy tendrils. The third type of figuring is blistered, which, with its illusion of irregular curly shapes, is the wildest variation. While all three varieties are dazzling, the tortoise-shell pattern is most wildly coveted…" - Adam Perlmutter [6]

The tone of The Tree is unlike any other wood available. The Tree's density, response, and headroom rival that of the best Brazilian rosewood, and it has an open, ringing quality at first strum.

To date there have been no other trees found that compare to The Tree—in look and in tone, it truly is one of a kind....  (courtesy of StewMac)