Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Classical Guitars for Sale, 15% Off All Guitars in Stock!


I am extending my 15% off sale through March 2017!

Now's your chance to own one of my handcrafted guitars!

Please contact me for details!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Making Wooden Capos/Cejillas for Classical/Flamenco Guitars

The musician that looks upon the capo as a cheater, becomes much more limited in his playing than the capo user.

Anders Sterner, musician


Thought you might be interested in a short post on how I make capos, or cejillas, for classical/flamenco guitars.




First thing I do is roundup some black and white strips of veneer; a piece of nice wood for the core and even pretty wood for the outside laminations.

I plane pieces to proper thickness, align in proper order and glue all pieces together.



Here are two capo templates I came up with, I copied historic original Spanish capo shapes, I draw these onto the block of wood I just created from the veneer, laminates and core. Then I drill holes for the violin pegs and have a violin/viola/cello peg reamer handy.



Here is a photo of a shop made violin peg shaver that I made. I use 1/2 size violins for the capos.



Once the violin pegs fit perfectly in their holes in the capos, I cut them to proper length, drill a hole in the peg shaft between collar and head of peg for the nylon guitar string. I cut the capos to match the template outlines, sand, buff and apply some linseed oil.



I use LaBella brand nylon flamenco guitar strings to attach the friction pegs to the capos. The string will run through a piece of vinyl tubing which will protect the guitar's neck. After the strings and pegs are attached I glue a strip of neoprene to the face of the capo. Once the glue has dried I trim the neoprene...


and have a whole handful of beautiful capos!

Yes, I have left out a few steps of how I make these handy little tools for a guitarist, I can't give away all of my secrets!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Guitar Capos/Cejillas for Classical and Flamenco Guitars

Any prejudice that may exist against the use of this device (capotasto) with the classical guitar should be dispelled by the knowledge that Giuliani's nickname given to him by a frivolous secret society to which he belonged was Vilax Umo Capodastro.

Frederick Noad, The Classical Guitar, 1976


I made eight capos/cejillas for classical or flamenco guitars.

These cejillas/capos are based on a traditional Spanish design that dates from the 18th century. The peg is made from rosewood, the center section of each capo (capodastre) is carved from either hard maple or East Indian rosewood and the sides of the capo are either curly maple or East Indian rosewood.

Current capo inventory consists of two with curly maple sides and four with East Indian rosewood sides. There are two capos made from solid Vermillion, a very gorgeous hard wood from Africa.

All pegs are attached to the capo with LaBella brand flamenco "G" string, the faces that go against the guitar strings are covered with neoprene and the peg string is covered with vinyl tubing to protect the guitar neck.

The laminated capos are $30 a piece, plus shipping.

The vermillion capos are $20 a piece, plus shipping.

I will not be making anymore capos until June or July of 2017.

Please contact me at highcountrylutherie@gmail.com if you would like to buy a capo!

Thanks!




Thursday, January 26, 2017

Nickel Thick, Dime Thin

Top thickness is, along with bracing, the most debated and tinkered-with area of guitar making.

Ervin Somogyi, Guitar maker, 2013


How thick to make a classical guitar's top is a subject of heated debate. I know, other makers, and amateur classical guitarists, have argued at me about top thickness. I see no point in arguing about top thicknesses, either you like my guitars or you don't. You are suppose to buy the guitar you love.


I found the following tidbit of information in Ervin Somogyi's Specific Top Thickness in the Guitar:

...Mr. Tatay motioned the young Newberry over to his workbench and, using hand gestures and some coins, indicated to him that the secret to his lutherie was to make the guitar top about the thickness of a nickel in the middle, and the thickness of a dime at the edges.





These two coins have been in my jean's pocket for the last two weeks, so I can pull them out throughout the day and feel how thick they are between my thumb and forefinger.




According to my General brand caliper, a nickel is .070 inches thick, or about 1.8mm...



a dime is is .046 inches thick, 3/64th of an inch, which would make it between 1.1-1.2mm thick.



This is a Port Orford cedar guitar top that is going to be paired with some "wild grown" East Indian rosewood. The caliper is on the very outside edge of the top, it measures in between 1/32th of an inch and 5/64ths of an inch, a hair or so over .070 inches, or about 1.8mm. So I got the top's edge to a little more than a thickness of a dime.

Just so you know, I made this top last fall, before I read through Mr Somogyi's article. I was using the top thicknesses of Spanish guitars that were made in the 1960's as a guideline.



Here at the middle of the top at the sound hole, the thickness is almost 3/32nds of an inch, about .090 of an inch, or somewhere around 2.2-2.3mm.

Should I go thinner? Maybe. I won't know until I glue the fan braces on and "tap tune" the top. Remember, Mr. Tatay said about the thickness of a nickel and dime.


When the great guitar maker, Antonio de Torres, was asked what his secret was for making such wonderful sounding guitars, he answered by holding up both his hands and put his thumbs to his fore and middle fingers. He said that knowing how to thickness a guitar's top was the secret, which was no secret to other guitar makers.


Silviu Ciulei - Nueva Vida (1962 Manuel de la Chica) from Guitar Salon on Vimeo.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bracewood for Guitars from Reclaimed Construction Lumber

The United States is the world's largest producer and consumer of wood products harvesting about 350 million tons of round wood annually.

Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service




When I dismantled the old workshop I made sure that I inspected every stick of wood that came out of the building to see if it could be used in making a guitar.

There wasn't much, most of the Douglas fir 2x4's were too knotty or had amazing amounts of runout to be used, all of that went into constructing the new tool shed. I did find a couple of 2x4's that were white fir, abies concolor, that showed some promise.


I cut out the parts that looked good and split them, the failure rate was pretty high, lots of run out. One piece that is suitable has the old sawmill stamp on it, I believe it is a West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau stamp. I went to their website, click here, and found that Mill 74 is no longer in operation. This piece of wood is definitely white fir! The old workshop was constructed about 1964, which means this stick of wood is two years younger than me!



This is from a new 2x4 that I used to frame my new workshop. As you can see it is stamped Doug Fir-Larch and was milled at Priest River, Idaho. Go to the Western Wood Products Association webpage to see a listing of all the mill currently in operation. I am not sure if this piece is Douglas fir, it's a little too light in weight and really doesn't have the pitchy Douglas fir smell to it, it could be Western Larch.



Check out the medullary rays in this piece of white fir! The Douglas fir/larch piece also has some glorious medullary rays.



Here is a guitar top made from redwood that I purchased from Redwood Bears and Burls in Gasquet (Gas-key), California. You can also find their products on eBay, just look for "renobird". The "fan" braces are from the old piece of white fir and these braces are surprisingly stiff and light. When I was single and living in Northeastern California, I cut and splits cords of white fir for firewood, even then I thought that it would make good brace wood for guitars.


Today was also baking day! I started baking bread again, I forgot how much I enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Follow Me on Instagram

I am slowly dragging myself into the 21st century, I just reactivated my Instagram account.


Look for highcountrylutherie on Instagram for daily updates on what I am working on in my shop, mostly guitars, though I may post about something else.

I would put a "link to button" for Instagram on this blog, but the directions I found this morning on Blogger Help didn't work, and the websites that were suggested for add-ons, well, their platforms were for everything else but Blogger. Sigh. I need to hire a web designer.

I have a Facebook page, too, Wilson Burnham Guitars, but that really isn't much different than Instagram or this blog.

You won't find me on Twitter, I can't limit myself to just 140 characters because in college I studied creative writing with Bill Kittredge, Sandra Alcosser, Paul Zarsyski, William Pitt Root and the late Patricia Goedicke.

Now, back to work!

Monday, January 9, 2017

The New Workshop: New Roof, Snow, Rain, Sub-zero Temperatures

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!

Author Unknown


Cold weather and snow delayed me in getting down the corrugate tin roofing on the new workshop. January 3rd proved to be a day of snow flurries and sunshine which at least allowed me to install the roofing. Then it snowed six inches.


The temperature fell to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and it kept snowing...


...until there was 22 inches of snow on the ground. And the temperature fell some more to register -14 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.



Yesterday, the temps warmed up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind gusting up to 50 mph and we lost power for about two hours.

This morning we woke up to rain and warmer weather. I am very glad that I got the new workshop "dried in" before all this snow fell.



The high reached 40 degrees today with rain and snow flurries, there is a good six inches of slush underneath all the snow. No wind to speak of today, though some locales all the foothills had wind gusts up to 90mph, it was a very quiet day here.

The forecast doesn't call for sunny skies until Saturday, on that day we will drive nearly two hours out to Wiggins. Colorado to a butcher shop to pick up a quarter of beef that we bought from friends of ours who run Angus cattle near Sterling.

Maybe next week I can start putting up the siding on the new workshop.

I look forward to it.