My latest builds

Monday, June 5, 2017


Back in September 2016 I started work on two '00' model acoustics and with a preference for smaller bodied guitars I thought they'd make nice editions to my build list.


Both models were designed with a 43mm nut, 14" fretboard radius and 14-fret neck join so will (hopefully) offer a good amount of 'playability' and versatility, and of a nice enough size to suit most players.


Prior to the project I'd acquired a selection of materials and began mixing and matching the lot in search of the best combination of tonewoods - to include sapele, black walnut, Sitka spruce and red cedar.

With both tonal and aesthetic qualities in mind I made an initial pairing (contrary to several colleagues opinions!) of walnut/cedar and sapele/spruce, my reasoning as follows.....


Walnut/cedar: The addition of a mahogany neck really added warmth and brought the whole look together. I also figured the cedar top would offer an immediately warmer tone - an aspect of the build I was keen to discover and in keeping with the overall style and of the instrument.


Sapele/spruce: I considered this combination to be a pretty safe bet all round. The high colour contrast had a strong visual impact which combined with a cedar neck appeared elegantly subdued. Tonally, I would enjoy hearing the spruce come into its own over time.


The spruce X-bracing followed a standard non-scalloped pattern with just a few tweaks here and there, retaining overall strength but open enough to allow for good movement and offering a well balanced sound.



The walnut model was designed to include a bound fretboard. This was my first attempt at binding a fretboard and to make things more difficult I'd designed a particularly interesting shape at the higher end. Additionally, I was using ebony binding (made using off-cuts from the fretboard) which I soon discovered is quite hard to bend around tight curves. That, combined with a white veneer between the ebony made for a tricky task.

All that said, I was extremely pleased with result and learned a lot from the process. More binding to come!


For inlay and decoration work I drafted out two very different but very thematic designs ideas, both of which proving to push my technical ability further than any previous work.

The first design would see a 'crazy paving' theme running throughout the decorative sections i.e. fretboard, rosette, end graft.

The second design would be rather more geometric, bold, spacious and more difficult to install due the addition of complex fretboard feature.

To ensure nice clean cutting on the inlay channels I used a rotary tool (with 1mm and 2mm downward spiral router bits) in combination with a mini plunge base for accuracy/stability and to keep the cutting angle vertical.


The final bit of inlay icing on the decorative guitar cake would be a small logo inlaid on the headstock, something to become a standard feature on all future builds.


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June 5, 2017

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