Skip to main content

Classical Guitar Necks: Black Cherry and Spanish Cedar

I believe in tradition as long as it doesn't interfere with some of my ideas. First, I differ in the kind of wood that I use to make my guitar necks.

Arthur E. Overholtzer, Classic Guitar Making, 1974

I was busy last week.

First, I joined a western red cedar top, inlayed the rosette and then thinned the top down to about 2mm thick.

I want to experiment with the so-called fan/lattice bracing that is very popular right now amongst classic guitar makers.

The idea is to have a very, very thin top that is reinforced with an ultra strong, ultra light style of bracing, the concept is similar how the drum head on a banjo works.

These days young classical guitarists who compete in guitar competitions are playing the loudest guitars they can get their hands on. Some folks call these guitars "uber guitars", others call them "Australian guitars". These guitars are very loud and some don't sound like a guitar at all, they are very controversial right now in the classical guitar world.

Click here to how one luthier makes this style of guitar.

More on my cedar lattice braced guitar in upcoming posts.



Left, cherry neck. Right, Spanish cedar neck


Second, I started making two necks: one is of Spanish cedar which is for the lattice braced guitar; the other is of cherry, which is for a Conservatory model guitar that will be made of North American woods.



The cherry neck was a little too narrow, to make sure I have enough wood to make the head stock I added an "ear" to each side. Most of the excess wood will be cut off when I make the head stock and won't be noticeable when completed.



The heel block has been slotted to receive the guitar sides which will be held in place by wooden wedges, take a look at the photo on the top of this post to see the angles that I used.

I use a traditional "Spanish heel" on my guitars.

The saw in this photo is a Disston, it started out as a crosscut saw and now it is a rip saw!




An Atkins panel crosscut saw is just the thing to start the cut for the heel profile...




...which is completed with a shop made bow saw.




The necks awaiting the head stock veneers. The cedar neck will receive a Macassar ebony headplate and the cherry neck gets a walnut headplate made from cutoffs of the walnut back that goes with this neck.

Oh, so much work to do this week!

Comments

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…

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…

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…