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In designing a building, the architect makes sure that its foundation is sufficiently sold to support the weight of the entire structure. Similarly, in learning to play the guitar, the student must first establish the foundation of his technique.

Andres Segovia, preface, The Segovia Technique, 1972

The rosette of a cedar/walnut guitar that I need to complete the finish, I am using an oil varnish.
I recently replaced the fretboard on this guitar, it originally had a Honduran rosewood fretboard, it was very striking, but it is a little softer than ebony and I had a hard time with the frets not holding as well as they should. There were also dead spots only the neck as one played it, I hope that a new fretboard and new frets will correct that issue. The new fretboard is African Ebony, a very nice piece of wood with some mottling that is very characteristic of that species and it added some weight to what was a light guitar.

A new workbench is my latest project, I hope to have photos of that soon and photos of other guitars that I am working on. I am finding in difficult to pursue a hobby with a full-time day job, along with an 11 acre plot of land that demands attention and a 68 year old paper-maiche house, not to mention trying to maintain a blog that I am not sure that anyone really looks at. Ah, doubt. The new workbench is more or less a copy of Carlyle Lynch's woodcarver's bench, the plans that I picked up in the 1990's when I was worked at Hubbell Trading Post NHS. The materials are milled from old pine beams that I salvaged from the tank house that my grandfather built back in the 1940's, wonderfully seasoned and pitchy. I figured that since I was going to re-use the pine workbench top that was in my old shop, why not build the entire bench out of pine. The plans for the work bench are still available and can be purchased from

Please complete the poll on the right hand side of my blog and let me know what is most important to you when purchasing a new guitar!

I plan on auctioning one of my cedar/mahogany guitars on this blog this summer and put the money towards the purchase of a band saw. It is a great guitar and needs to be in the hands of someone who plays alot. Stay tuned!


  1. Okay, so...playability or tone? The little Martinez proves one can have both in one instrument. When dinking around with instruments in music stores, though, I think I favor playability; as my hands have become less nimble, I rejoice when I find an instrument that makes me feel that they still have "it"--and also,as my ears have aged, I know I've lost some ability to judge the sound of an instrument. So, I give guitars' voices the benefit of the doubt, assuming that better strings, or a few years of playing-in, will make a big difference. On the other hand, an ill-set neck, or an oddball neck profile, or a body too far across or deep...these you can't expect to improve although I have a spokeshave that can could be downright therapeutic to the right (wrong, that is) shape o'neck...


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How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

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Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
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I will cite the case of a marvelous concert player, a Japanese lady who is barely 5 ft. tall and with hands that are real miniatures. She plays a 664 mm 10 string guitar and demanded that I build this guitar with an action 1 mm higher than normal, which she handles with incredible ease. This is serious study!

Jose Ramirez III, Things About the Guitar, 1990

Here is the hand size and scale length that I found on the forum at

Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 250+ 664mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 230 to 250 656mm scale length
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Thumb tip to pinky tip span of below 170 615mm scale length

Here is my flexible imperial/metric ruler.

Here is my hand properly placed on the flexible imperial/metric ruler.

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Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
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