Guitar# 30/1

Before I head off with this post about my next guitar, here are the real answers to the last blog.

1. Common Bulrush

2. Western Painted Turtle – Vancouver Island’s last remaining native turtle species, and unfortunately, already endangered.

3. Double-crested cormorant

4. Ring necked duck

5. Northern Flicker

Now for something completely guitar:

Here is the top of #30, ready for assembly. It’s the same as #29, that is an x-braced domed soundboard. This one is Sitka Spruce.

Guitar#30 top - bracing

Guitar#30 top – bracing

Here is the back plate. Unlike #29 I just went with regular ladder braces. Less work. Spacing was done by eye, more or less, but I placed the braces on more or less even centimeter marks, as can be seen if you zoom in on the tape. The arching was done with a template I had, giving a set rise over a given length. In this case 5mm in 400mm. I drafted the “fair” curve with a bent rod and pins.

back plate, braced

back plate, braced

back arch template

back arch template

The interior body blocks are a little different this time around. The tail is still 100mm deep inside, but the neck is deeper – 90mm. The Martin I used to get the sizes of an “O” guitar had a shorter neck block, (81) which I decided was too short. About 10mm difference is more to my liking, and that also makes for a slightly greater interior volume. It also aids in the fitting of the back to the ribs, as you will see from the next photo.

mock up of plates with blocks

mock up of plates with blocks

Here I have clamped the plates to the blocks so I can see how the angles on the blocks work out.

neck block with dimensions and angles in pencil

neck block with dimensions and angles in pencil

tail block as per neck block

tail block as per neck block

The angles are often best guesses as after assembly they seem to change mysteriously. The key angle is the one that sets the neck. For that I am using 1 1/2 degrees. The upper face brace arch dictates this, more or less. I’m aiming for a bridge height of 15mm, which this should give me.

dry run assembly with popsicle sticks showing the body depths

dry run assembly with popsicle sticks showing the body depths

The body depth is 100mm from the tail to around the waist. Then it tapers at the back side down to 90 at the neck block. The first 5mm of taper occurs between the waist and the upper bout at its widest. The plates are shown here in their natural curved state, clamped to the blocks. The soundboard face of the ribs will be flat, and the back face will be flat until the waist, then tapered.

fingerboard already fretted, ready for assembly to neck

fingerboard already fretted, ready for assembly to neck

This is a Bubinga fingerboard. It’s hard and tough, and a lovely pinkish colour. Also cheaper than Rosewood or Ebony. I did this all at once, starting with cutting the fret slots, putting in dots, tapering the sides, sanding to 16″ radius, then fretting. I double stick taped the wood to a bench to do the radius sanding and then put the frets in right there. After I nipped off the ends I pried it up and sanded the edges straight on the bench belt sander. There’s still an extra millimeter on each side. I always leave room for insurance.

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