Skip to main content

The Ten String Classic Guitar-My Latest Obsession, Part 2

And because Billy Malone lived almost his entire life on the Navajo Reservation working as a genuine Indian trader, a great deal of his story is a story about reservation life, Navajos and old time trading posts.

Paul Berkowitz, The Case of an Indian Trader: Billy Malone and the National Park Service Investigation at Hubbell Trading Post, 2011

I got a nice piece of Spanish cedar from LMII for the neck for the 10 string guitar, but to make the neck I needed to do a full size drawing of the peghead, neck and body. This allows me to figure out how the whole guitar is going to look and work.

The peghead is based upon photos of 10 string Ramirez guitars that I have found online, the only set of plans that I found for a 10 string guitar is from Roy Courtnall's website, but he charges 25 pounds ($38) for the plans. I'm cheap, I have Scot Antes plans for a 1960's Ramirez and my own mind and hands to develop a pleasing head stock. I think it works. I'm not sure if I want to incorporate the Ramirez crest, I want this to be a bench copy, but since I am using a rosette that is not one used by Ramirez, it won't be a really close copy.

I need to do some more research on how large to make the foot, what shape, etc., but at least now I can rip the cedar blank and start making the neck.

Here's Narciso Yepes from 1970. Many music critics of the day thought that he was the best interpreter of this concerto, I agree.


  1. Wilson,

    Good luck with the project...what kind of plane is that in the first pic?

    Take care,

  2. T:

    That's a Stanley No. 7 joiner plane that I bought back in 1995, I think it was one of the last good planes that Stanley ever made.



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…