Friday, February 24, 2017

On the Bench - Redwood/Black Walnut Classical Guitar

Redwood forests were California's second Mother Lode, and like Sierra Nevada gold they are inextricably linked to the state's history.

John Evarts, et al, Coast Redwood, A Natural History, 2011

Today, I glued the back onto a redwood/black walnut classical guitar that I named Luisa, after the flamenco bailaora, Luisa Maravilla.

The top is redwood that I purchased from Paul Carroll at Redwood Bears and Burls in Gasquet, California.

The back and sides I re-sawed, by hand with a Disston D-8 rip saw, from a board of black walnut that I purchased at a flea market in Longmont, Colorado.

The neck is Port Orford cedar, the top braces are from a 50+ year old white fir 2x4, the back fillet is sycamore, the back braces are black cherry. All of these species grow in Tehama County, California, which is where I am from, either as naturals or exotics.

It is a "green" guitar, meaning that all the wood comes from sustainable sources.

Here are some photos of building this guitar.


Joining the top pieces.



Preparing to rout out the channel for the rosette.



Laying out the top bracing. This is similar to the bracing pattern used by the great guitarrero, Feliz Manzanero.



Glueing on the transverse braces.



The sides are next...



and the top blocks are glued in one at a time.



The sides are attached to the top and the neck.



Back linings attached along with all of the pillarettes to support the back braces.



The back is ready, with my label, to be glued on.



The Cumpiano/Natelson method for clamping the back onto a guitar, a cut up inner tube.

It was a lot of fun work to reach this point!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Making Wooden Capos/Cejillas for Classical/Flamenco Guitars

The musician that looks upon the capo as a cheater, becomes much more limited in his playing than the capo user.

Anders Sterner, musician


Thought you might be interested in a short post on how I make capos, or cejillas, for classical/flamenco guitars.




First thing I do is roundup some black and white strips of veneer; a piece of nice wood for the core and even pretty wood for the outside laminations.

I plane pieces to proper thickness, align in proper order and glue all pieces together.



Here are two capo templates I came up with, I copied historic original Spanish capo shapes, I draw these onto the block of wood I just created from the veneer, laminates and core. Then I drill holes for the violin pegs and have a violin/viola/cello peg reamer handy.



Here is a photo of a shop made violin peg shaver that I made. I use 1/2 size violins for the capos.



Once the violin pegs fit perfectly in their holes in the capos, I cut them to proper length, drill a hole in the peg shaft between collar and head of peg for the nylon guitar string. I cut the capos to match the template outlines, sand, buff and apply some linseed oil.



I use LaBella brand nylon flamenco guitar strings to attach the friction pegs to the capos. The string will run through a piece of vinyl tubing which will protect the guitar's neck. After the strings and pegs are attached I glue a strip of neoprene to the face of the capo. Once the glue has dried I trim the neoprene...


and have a whole handful of beautiful capos!

Yes, I have left out a few steps of how I make these handy little tools for a guitarist, I can't give away all of my secrets!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Guitar Capos/Cejillas for Classical and Flamenco Guitars

Any prejudice that may exist against the use of this device (capotasto) with the classical guitar should be dispelled by the knowledge that Giuliani's nickname given to him by a frivolous secret society to which he belonged was Vilax Umo Capodastro.

Frederick Noad, The Classical Guitar, 1976


I made eight capos/cejillas for classical or flamenco guitars.

These cejillas/capos are based on a traditional Spanish design that dates from the 18th century. The peg is made from rosewood, the center section of each capo (capodastre) is carved from either hard maple or East Indian rosewood and the sides of the capo are either curly maple or East Indian rosewood.

Current capo inventory consists of two with curly maple sides and four with East Indian rosewood sides. There are two capos made from solid Vermillion, a very gorgeous hard wood from Africa.

All pegs are attached to the capo with LaBella brand flamenco "G" string, the faces that go against the guitar strings are covered with neoprene and the peg string is covered with vinyl tubing to protect the guitar neck.

The laminated capos are $30 a piece, plus shipping.

The vermillion capos are $20 a piece, plus shipping.

I will not be making anymore capos until June or July of 2017.

Please contact me at highcountrylutherie@gmail.com if you would like to buy a capo!

Thanks!




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