Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Seven String Classical Guitar - Julia's New Guitar

Tomás was frustrated by the guitar's limited bass range, so he asked José Ramirez III to build a guitar with two additional bass strings, giving him the freedom to play most bass lines in their original configuration.



Howard Bass, José Tomás: Memory and Legacy, 2012




Last year, I made a guitar for Julia, lead singer of Ode to the Marionette. It was a redwood/Indian rosewood guitar, small bodied with a short string length of 635mm. She loved it so much that she asked me to make her a seven string flamenco guitar.

I am excited to make her a new guitar, especially a seven string because it is surprising how much more music can be played on a guitar with an extra bass string. Check out the video at the end of this post.



Julia has small hands and to make it comfortable for her to play this guitar I am making it with a 635mm string length, a standard classical guitar has a string length of 650mm, so this requires making the entire guitar smaller so it doesn't look out of proportion to itself and the performer. A standard classical guitar has a box length of 480-490mm, this guitar has a box length of 470mm.

A concern of mine was to make sure that the head stock wasn't going to be way too big to fit this guitar, I also don't want this guitar to be neck heavy. I tapered the headstock in the opposite direction of the usual classical headstock, that is wider at the nut and smaller at the crest. I was going to make the crest be a copy of Santos Hernandez's crest, but it made the head stock look gargantuan compared to the rest of the guitar.

I spent most of the morning checking and re-checking the layout of the headstock to make sure everything was perfect for I cut anything. The noon time 2 mile run I took helped me get through the afternoon with the rest of the work.




Here's the heel block. I like to wedge the sides in, instead of having just a narrow slot.




Glueing the headstock to the neck shaft.




Julia chose a nice Sitka spruce top for her guitar, this photo shows my jointing jig. It was a sunny day when I jointed this top, I went outside to "candle" the joint using the sun.




Glueing the two top pieces together.




The top with layout for braces and harmonic bars.



Tomorrow will be spent finish carving the heel. Again, it is a balancing act, how to make everything look in proportion for a wider neck on a smaller bodied guitar.

Stayed tuned, more seven string guitar fun is on its way!



Here is a video of Doug DeVries playing on a seven string classical guitar. Enjoy!



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