Skip to main content

The Making of a Guitar, part 2

One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.
Georgia O'Keeffe



Plans that I drew for a terz guitar, it shares the same outline as the "Mae West" Lacote posted in the last blog. I did some research a while ago on the terz guitar and thought I should make one, because it would be as fun as a uke, bigger then a baritone uke and has six strings. This all started because I came across a fugue for terz guitar by Mauro Giuliani in the Boije online collection and fell in love with the piece.



In this photo I am gluing the peghead to the neck shaft. It is a simple butt joint and it will be reinforced with a dovetailed key, this is one time I will pull out my Porter-Cable router. I'll make the channel with a dovetail router bit, make the key on a table saw and glue the key in place.



Here is the wood that I am using to make the terz-Indian rosewood back and sides (I bought the wood from Allied Lutherie almost 10 years ago) and the top is Sitka spruce that I purchased from Alaska Specialty Woods. Believe it or not, the piece is from a 1A top.

Still waiting to see when I will be going to Rocky Mountain National Park. Weather has been gorgeous.

Oh, if anyone listens to NPR, maybe you have already heard about the Yosemite Valley Post Office getting a face lift with new sugar pine shingles. I was lead carpenter on that project, Nick G. and I put the last shingle on at 4pm on Groundhog Day. I will post some photos soon, the post office looks great!

Comments

  1. wilson,
    the terz' sounds intriguing. a bit like having one's cake and eating it too.
    I corresponded a few weeks ago with a young fellow in Dallas who was all hot to reinvent the fretted instrument; what he had in mind, it sounded like, was an unholy combination of a baritone guitar with a harp-guitar and maybe that oddball transverse-mounted-harmonics-n-drone-string thing made by someone for John McLaughlin some many years ago. My correspondent, referred to me by an old college friend, is a scientifically-precocious high schooler who is mad about the physics of instruments...but I counselled him that instruments full of divergent possibilities end up, like the giant-economy-size swiss army knives, left on the shelf in favor of more manageable tools.

    Played a little Lanikai tenor the other day. Had on-board electronics, a single cutaway (!) and came from the box properly set up, assembled well and at a stinker of a low price. Ah, chinese labor--such wonders it makes possible. Didn't like the spruce top on it, which may stamp me as an old fuddy-duddy; make mine mahogany or koa, please.

    so, any word on your eastward move?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice


Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…

The Guitar Maker's Backsaw for Cutting Fret Slots

The overall correct process of placing frets in a guitar fingerboard ("fretting"), is far less straight forward than most people believe. A perfect job, for perfect playability, requires some careful preparation.

Anthony Lintner, guitar maker



Twenty five years ago, I bought my first fretting saw from Luthiers Mercantile. It was made in Germany and had a straight handle on it, basically it was a gent's saw.

First thing I did to the saw was to take off the straight handle and make a nice handle for it from some wonderful Claro walnut that came from a Cottonwood Creek bottom wild grown walnut. I used it to cut fret slots in dulcimer and classical guitar fret boards. The saw served me well for several years until I made the mistake of cutting some brass with it.

Well, I never did get around to sharpening the thing.

The blade is .015 of an inch thick with the teeth set at .022-.023 of an inch. I think it has 22 teeth per inch. It is a great saw and I was very sad to see that…