Sunday, February 15, 2015

Making an Antonio Torres Style Guitar: Carving the Neck and Heel

As you can expect, the neck is the most complex part of the guitar. In the Spanish school, every part of the classical guitar is built in conjunction with the neck and in line with it.

Manuel Rodriguez, The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitar, 2003




I am often asked what part of the guitar takes the longest to make, everyone assumes that the task of calibrating the top consumes the most time.

I find that carving and shaping the neck takes the longest, other than the French polishing. As a classical guitar player, I know the importance of a well shaped neck, the profile must not be too round or too thick, both will tire a player quickly and can lead to physical issues. I spend as much time needed to make the neck perfect!

Here is a short photo essay of carving the neck and heel on Kyle's guitar...



The heel...





Refining the heel to match the profile used by Santos Hernandez...




Almost there...





Refining the other profile...





Time for the draw knife...





The neck after using the draw knife, spokeshaves, knife and files...





I shape the neck to have a sort of flattened "D" profile. I find this to be a most comfortable shape and I have yet to have a client complain about it.





Almost done!

A little more finish work on the headstock and heel and the guitar will be ready for French polish!






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