Tag Archives: hand made guitar

Guitar #35

Recently finished this guitar. Maple body, cypress top. Hand rubbed French polished sunburst finish, somewhat like the bass I made before this. The yellow stain is made from turmeric in alcohol and the red brown colour is Dark Brown leather dye, which works on wood. I used that on the entire maple body and neck. This guitar is a full depth body of 4″ with x braced top like my previous Corona models. Previous models of this design were 3″ deep, so this one has a bit more low end. As part of this experiment this top has less arch, and I used cedar for the braces to see how that might effect the tone. Conclusion – it worked out very well. It’s loud and bright but more mellow than my normally arched tops. This one is perhaps the best of the bunch of Coronas, due to the balance between attack and sustain. It certainly holds its own in a jam and is not at all nasal, although real loud!

Strung it with Martin 80/20 light strings, to my ear the closest thing to Argentines at far less cost. 80/20 bronze alloy (4:1 copper to tin) is thousands of years old and the same stuff they make church bells of etc, so the magic formula hasn’t changed over time. I made the head-stock joint lower down on the neck this time, which I think I now prefer the look of. With a 2 way truss rod I can dial the neck from flat to whatever relief I want. The neck is on the fat side, a bit larger than usual but I like the feel of that too, as it is substantial and will be very stable, especially being hard maple. The fingerboard is extra thick as well, which contributes to the overall stability. With zero tension on the truss rod, the neck has a bit of relief. I dropped that to a tiny bit for now, but it is very easy to tweak it either way.

The bridge is Japanese, and rosewood this time as opposed to ebony on my previous ones. Rosewood is better to work with than ebony, which is brittle as heck. I had to cut it down a bit since they come too tall for this design.

Tailpiece is gold plated steel. I made the wood insert for it as they come without one. Hard to argue with the low price of stuff from China, and it’s really not bad looking. The brass ones cost almost 10 times the price !

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Guitar #29/1

Martin O15

I’m building a guitar for a friend. It will be based on a Martin O-15. It’s small, about the smallest full size guitar Martin ever made, but it has a great sound. The 15 series were all mahogany, and had minimal trim.
The one I’m going to build will be made of walnut, with a cedar top. It will not be a flat top, but will have an arch. This will require a tailpiece and a floating bridge. Martin made some like this around 1932, the R model, but they were short lived.
So far I’ve traced the body shape of an O-15 I borrowed, and made a paper half template. From that I traced a full size body outline on Bristol board. Next I drew in where my braces and the sound hole will go. Then I made a body mold from 8 pieces of 9x22x¾” plywood. This involves band saw cutting, drum sanding, and finally routing the seven rough sawn shapes using the master as a router template.

Body plan and half template of bristol board

Body plan and half template of bristol board

Body mold glue up

Body mold glue up

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