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David - Machinist in wood
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I've mentioned this many times over the last couple of years and it's finally to a point where I can post photos. Over the last 30 years or so I have replaced tops, backs, done fret jobs, inlay, glued braces and lining, refinished, made bridges, saddles, and nuts, replaced tuners, and all kinds of repairs, etc. but this is the first guitar I've built from scratch.

I cut all the wood for this including resawing the back/sides/top, cutting the binding and bracing from lumber or billets, etc. Along the way I've designed and built my own modular cantilever side bending fixture that will accommodate sizes from Jumbo down to 0, possibly smaller like a Ukulele. I'll post photos of the side bending fixture later and also built all the forms, fixtures, templates, and jigs for the build. I started the build a couple of years ago just working an hour in the evening, sometimes two, and some on weekends, but I put it aside and didn't touch it for about 8 months.

I'll tell you ahead of time that it sounds good, is bright, has great sustain, and plays very easily with good action. But it may be a while before I make a video of it being played.

Back and sides - Honduras Mahogany
Top and bracing - Sitka Spruce
Neck - African Mahogany with Maple and Honduras Mahogany center pieces
Headstock, rosette, arm bevel, heel cap, and tail wedge - Walnut burl
Headstock inlay - Zebrawood
Fingerboard, bridge - East Indian Rosewood
Binding, purfling - Zebrawood and Maple
Sound port lining - Macassar Ebony
Solid lining - Honduras Mahogany
Side braces - Honduras Mahogany
Finish - Shellac (French polish), measured just over 1 mil at the bridge

The neck is bolted on and I devised a way for it to be completely removable. It can go from tuned to pitch to neck off in about 5 minutes. In the week that the guitar has been tuned to pitch it is holding its tuning as good as my other guitars. The intonation still needs some minor tweaking but I'll play it a while before working on it again.

Assuming I like it enough to play in church I'll install a K&K Pure Mini pickup. If I decide to just play it at home and with friends I'll save the pickup for a future guitar.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the build and some of the finished guitar.
Back bracing with Padauk glue strip -
Wood woodworking


Top bracing -
Art


Gluing the back in place -
Wood Hardwood Games Play


Finished guitar. I didn't want a super high gloss finish but rather decided to do an old world vintage patina. Nothing against the super high gloss finishes but I have 5 guitars with high gloss finish and wanted this one to be different. Now that I've done it this way I like it even better than I thought I would.
Guitar String instrument Musical instrument Plucked string instruments String instrument


String instrument String instrument Musical instrument Guitar Plucked string instruments


Guitar String instrument Musical instrument Plucked string instruments String instrument


Guitar String instrument Musical instrument Plucked string instruments String instrument


String instrument Guitar String instrument Musical instrument Plucked string instruments


Varnish Wood Brown Wood stain Caramel color


So feel free to comment, ask questions, critique. I have about 1,500 photos of the build and good documentation but these few photos tell the story just fine, I think, so I'll spare you the copious extras.

Enjoy!
David
 

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Doug
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Other than having 2 extra strings, it looks perfect! Great choice of a verse on the headstock.

I think too glossy of a finish detracts from the color and pattern of the wood, especially in photos. Your finish lets the wood speak for itself, and looks awesome. The color on the sides, and the figure on the walnut headstock are beautiful. You can definitely see more than a few hours of love went into it!
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Other than having 2 extra strings, it looks perfect! Great choice of a verse on the headstock.

I think too glossy of a finish detracts from the color and pattern of the wood, especially in photos. Your finish lets the wood speak for itself, and looks awesome. The color on the sides, and the figure on the walnut headstock are beautiful. You can definitely see more than a few hours of love went into it!
My son wants a bass so maybe one day, Doug. The label inside speaks to the verse, as well.

And many thanks to everyone else - I appreciate the kind words!

I took the guitar to church last Wednesday evening for Praise Band practice and our Pastor played it for a while. He "is impressed", he said, and I told him not to be 'cause I was trying to build a rocking chair and this is how it came out... :wink:

David
 

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Paul
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David that's just amazing. I can't begin to think about the work involved in a project like this. I guess many people would keep it simple for their first but you've added features beyond that. Nice job!
 

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Excellent! My uncle has built many guitars but no longer. I’m glad to have a couple of them. I have toyed with the idea of making my own as well-however I would probably start with a ukulele!! You did a fantastic job and I like the shellac finish as well. I’m sure it plays as well as it looks !
 

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David,

You know it's a success when you consider it's your first and you can compare it to any quality brand that has been making them for decades or more. Here in Quebec we have world renown Godin Guitars and they are of the highest quality to be had. I would compare yours any day. Beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail.


Dan
 

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This is beautiful. Post all 1500 pics! Just kidding. With my limited knowledge of fan bracing etc. it looks like you're doing everything right and it will have a great sound.

You're going to think I'm crazy (well, I am, but not because of this). I've been wondering how making a cutout like the one on the lower front, except in the upper rear (where your right arm goes over) would affect the sound and integrity of the structure. I have arthritis in my right shoulder, and it's gotten to be too much discomfort to even play these days. Even the thin body models on the market aren't much help.

I really don't want to switch over to a solid body electric, but that's the only solution I've come up with so far.

If that part of the guitar was cut away, I wouldn't have to have my upper arm out at such an angle. Any ideas?
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
David that's just amazing. I can't begin to think about the work involved in a project like this. I guess many people would keep it simple for their first but you've added features beyond that. Nice job!
Thanks, Paul! My best friend, a guy I've known since grade school and who cuts me no slack at all, is a very good guitar player and is very critical of the work I do. It's in a good way but he's always there to 'jab me' whenever possible. Case in point - two weeks ago I ran into a problem with the final few steps on getting this all together and sent him a photo with a question. His first comment was, "You should have built the simple guitar first and saved all this fancy stuff for later", which didn't really address my question. I asked him if he's been waiting the entire couple of years during the build to make that comment and he said yes, he's been saving it. LOL!

David,

You know it's a success when you consider it's your first and you can compare it to any quality brand that has been making them for decades or more. Here in Quebec we have world renown Godin Guitars and they are of the highest quality to be had. I would compare yours any day. Beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail.


Dan
Wow, Dan, that's a tremendous compliment! Thank you! Godin makes a very good guitar and I'm pretty sure mine would kneel in reverence if placed in the same room as a Godin. Now if someone wants to pay me what his costs that would be fantastic - :surprise:

David
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is beautiful. Post all 1500 pics! Just kidding. With my limited knowledge of fan bracing etc. it looks like you're doing everything right and it will have a great sound.

You're going to think I'm crazy (well, I am, but not because of this). I've been wondering how making a cutout like the one on the lower front, except in the upper rear (where your right arm goes over) would affect the sound and integrity of the structure. I have arthritis in my right shoulder, and it's gotten to be too much discomfort to even play these days. Even the thin body models on the market aren't much help.

I really don't want to switch over to a solid body electric, but that's the only solution I've come up with so far.

If that part of the guitar was cut away, I wouldn't have to have my upper arm out at such an angle. Any ideas?
Thanks, Jim! So like a double cutaway? One to reach higher frets and one to cradle your arm? It would reduce the volume in the box in its greatest area for sound so that would definitely have an effect on the sound. But reduced sound over not being able to play is an easy decision to make, I would think. Anything to keep playing.

David
 

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Mike
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Beautiful build David. I'm sure it sounds as great as it looks.

I'm sure everyone would be interested in seeing a few more pictures of the build and the jigs and templates you made while building your masterpiece.
 
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Thanks, Jim! So like a double cutaway? One to reach higher frets and one to cradle your arm? It would reduce the volume in the box in its greatest area for sound so that would definitely have an effect on the sound. But reduced sound over not being able to play is an easy decision to make, I would think. Anything to keep playing.

David
Yes. That's exactly my idea. I only play for myself, so reduced volume wouldn't be much of an issue. Thanks.
 
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