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Seven String Classical Guitar: Checking the Neck Angle and Starting the French Polish

...the (guitar's) graceful lines and splendor of its body possessed my heart as swiftly as would the features of a heaven-sent woman suddenly appearing to become the loving companion of a lifetime.

Andres Segovia, Segovia, 1976





Binding installed, fret board glued and fretted

Much is written in guitar making books and journals about proper neck angle of a guitar, I won't delve into it here, because others have done a better job writing about it than I could.

I make my guitars in the style suggested by a 2004 Guild of American Luthiers lecture given by Eugene Clark. Part of that process is that I keep the neck and the heel block on the same plane, you draw a line along the neck in will intersect with the top at the heel block.

The top is domed in the area of the bridge. This doming adds the proper amount of "neck angle", so to speak.

In the above photo I have a 1mm thick piece of steel at the location of the first fret. 1mm represents the height of the string at that fret.

There is a 10mm thick piece of wood at the bridge location, which represents the string height at that location.



Right on the money!

I put a 2mm thick piece at the 12th fret, I am looking for 4mm clearance between that and the straight edge.

I got it and the only sanding that I needed to do on the fret board was to level it.

Pretty sweet.



Even one wash coat of shellac sure makes fiddle back maple "pop"!

Once the fret board was installed and fretted I started that wonderful task known as sanding. And sanding and sanding.

And filling in any gaps.

Then I can start laying down a wash coat of shellac.



This is some gorgeous wood...

When I first started learning how to French polish, I used a 2 pound cut of shellac. I had read that Cyndy Burton used a 2 pound so I figured I could too.

I have tried 1 1/2 pound cut and a 1 pound cut, but I have gone back to a 2 pound cut because of how quickly it builds up and for some reason it is easier for me to use.

Now that I am back at my "regular day job", I will have to make time to finish this beautiful guitar.




I don't remember when I bought the top, I think I bought it from Alaska Specialty Woods back in 2008 or 2009, it is Sitka spruce and has some wonderful characteristics to it, more show up as I put on the shellac.

I call this guitar, Novia, which is "sweetheart" in Spanish.


Enjoy the YouTube videos!

One of my favorite performers, Scott Tennant, plays one of my favorite Couperin keyboard works.

I added Rod MacKillop because I was asked recently by a client if I could make a baroque guitar.

I can, by the way.

Some of you may recognize the piece MacKillop is playing, Joaquin Rodrigo used this melody in Fantasia para un gentilhombre.





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