What's On My Workbench - 8 String "Brahms" Classical Guitar, Spruce/Ziricote

The Brahms guitar is a relatively new design developed by guitarist Paul Galbraith and the late luthier David Rubio.  It is a unique instrument in that it is played in the cello position, while increasing the range with an additional treble and bass string.  The guitar features fanned frets and a cello style endpin.

Erez Perelman, luthier

I am making my second "Brahms" classical guitar, this is a custom order for a young guitarist/composer who asked that I make the guitar from Engelmann spruce and ziricote.

I made and used an external mold to make this guitar, I am not completely sold on the idea of an external mold, other than holding the guitar firmly in place when I sanded the sides to accept the back, I don't see any advantage over an open work board. And it is heavy! Perhaps if I had started out making guitars with an external mold I might have a different opinion.

The top is bracing with a five strut pattern over a bridge patch and I added a Yuris Zeltin style floating brace to catch the top just in front of the bridge. The idea of a floating brace is to prevent the spruce top from caving in from the torque of the strings on the bridge. With eight strings, this guitar is subjected to the same tension as a standard steel string acoustic guitar and I want the top to have a long life.

Other than having eight strings and a wider neck to accommodate the extra strings, it is for all purposes a standard classical guitar, however, this model will not have a sound hole in the top. The sound holes will be located in the side on either side of the heel of neck. The player I am making this for records a lot of his own music and tells me the microphones pick up the sound of the air leaving the sound hole on the other Brahms guitar I made him. The "no sound hole" top will make for a louder guitar and he will have cleaner recordings. One nice this about having the sound holes on both sides of the heel of the neck, the new owner will have instant feed back of the sound of the guitar. The guitar has a nice bright tap tone right now, it will be interesting to see how much lower the tone will go once I cut and open up the sound holes. 


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