Sunday, November 1, 2015

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!

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