More Repair Work

retrofit  verb

ret·​ro·​fit | \ ˈre-trō-ˌfit  , ˌre-trō-ˈfit \

retrofitted or retrofit; retrofitting; retrofits

Definition of retrofit

transitive verb

1: to furnish (something, such as a computer, airplane, or building) with new or modified parts or equipment not available or considered necessary at the time of manufacture

2: to install (new or modified parts or equipment) in something previously manufactured or constructed

3: to adapt to a new purpose or need 

Routing the edges of the sound board in order to remove the top.

Three years ago, I made my first "Brahms" guitar. A "Brahms" guitar is a classical guitar that has an extra bass string, usually tuned to the second "B" below middle "C", and an extra treble string that is tuned to the "A" above middle "C", giving the guitar eight strings. These extra strings extend the musical range of a classical guitar.

Top removed.

The problem with adding those two extra strings is that they increased tension and torque to the guitar's top. This guitar started to collapse at the sound hole end of the fret board making the string action too high for easy playing. 

Shelf cut for neck extension.

The owner brought the guitar back into the shop for me to repair it and I realized I needed to add an extension to the neck to support the fret board. Another thing I decided to do was not use a traditionally placed sound hole in the top, which is located at the very end of the fret board. 

Neck extension support and veneer to support the sound holes in the upper bouts.

The second "Brahms"guitar I made, I placed the sound holes in the upper bouts on either side of the neck, and I will do the same on this guitar. I glued veneer to the bouts to support the sides when I cut the sound holes. 

The neck extension was glued and screwed to the neck block along with the bracket that supports it.

I kept the harmonic bar attached to the sides for as long as I could, it helps maintain the shape of the guitar.

I added a pice of maple veneer to the upper part of the sound board with the hope that it will help keep the cedar top from cracking.

If you look close you will see the "floating brace" that is near the position of the original harmonic bar. This will help keep the top from collapsing in front of the bridge and it can increase the tonal qualities of the guitar.

The top is glued on! 

Since the owner has ordered and bought three other classical guitars from me, and is a good friend, I decided to upgrade the bindings on the guitar. Originally they were cherry, to match the back and sides, but to honor what this guitar has been through I am using ebony. 

The ebony goes well with the cherry.

I still have to install the ebony bindings and black/white purflings on the top, I need to make and install a new fret board, a bridge, and basically French polish the entire guitar again. It's a lot of work for a prototype, it will be worth working out all the bugs to make future "Brahms" guitars better.


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