Newark College Guitar Race 2017

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James Lister
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Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:56 pm

Those of you that have been on the forum for some time will know that each year Newark College (where I teach guitar making) holds a "guitar race", where two (sometimes three) teams compete to build the best guitar in less than 1 week.

Tonewoods ready to be transformed into a guitar:
sDSC_0550.jpg
Hard at work:
sDSC_0551.jpg
Plan for one of the guitars:
sDSC_0557.jpg
Thicknessing the back:
sDSC_0567.jpg
If you want to know more about the guitar race, search for "Newark College Guitar Race" on the forum to find posts from previous years.

James
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James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:31 am

Morning of day 2 of the guitar race. Both soundboards are braced, ribs are bent, and necks are progressing well.

Some more photos:

One of the "guitars" is going to be quite unusual....
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Some intricate head carving:
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Back thicknessed and braced:
DSC_0582.jpg
Final top bracing adjustments:
DSC_0585.jpg
Rib bending:
DSC_0589.jpg
More brace adjusting:
DSC_0590.jpg
James
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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:07 pm

More pics:
DSC_0593.jpg
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DSC_0596.jpg
DSC_0601.jpg
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simonm
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by simonm » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:25 pm

Looks interesting. They seem to be making very good progress. A slight Hawaiian touch to one of the teams :-) It will be interesting to hear your views about the sound qualities of the two models when they are finished. Looking forward to seeing the end result.

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:32 pm

simonm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:25 pm
A slight Hawaiian touch to one of the teams :-)
Yes, one of the students decided their team needed a uniform....

I'll be back in college for the last day, Friday, so will update then.

James
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by powderedtoastman » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:24 pm

Very cool!
Interesting doing that ornament for the sound hole while under a time constraint.

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:17 pm

powderedtoastman wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:24 pm
Very cool!
Interesting doing that ornament for the sound hole while under a time constraint.
Yes, not to mention the carved head and pegbox - quite ambitious. The team actually cut out the soundhole early on, so that they can work on it away from the guitar. By day 3 it's difficult to get more than 2 or 3 students around the guitar, so there's time for someone to do some fancy work of this type, and the finished rose can be glued back in place at the end.

James
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by powderedtoastman » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:58 pm

James Lister wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:17 pm
powderedtoastman wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:24 pm
Very cool!
Interesting doing that ornament for the sound hole while under a time constraint.
Yes, not to mention the carved head and pegbox - quite ambitious. The team actually cut out the soundhole early on, so that they can work on it away from the guitar. By day 3 it's difficult to get more than 2 or 3 students around the guitar, so there's time for someone to do some fancy work of this type, and the finished rose can be glued back in place at the end.

James
I was thinking there must be times when you're waiting for glue to set also, so then you would have some spare cycles that could be spent on things like that. I'm very curious anyway to see how these are going to turn out!

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:49 pm

Some photos taken by my colleague yesterday. Looks like progress is good, with bindings being glued at some point during the day.


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simonm
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by simonm » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:58 pm

I love the glue pot holder. :-)

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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:37 pm

simonm wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:58 pm
I love the glue pot holder. :-)
Not in a good spot if indeed a glue pot holder. Dripping glue on the top not desirable.

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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:40 pm

Hi James,

What are these things hanging off the ceiling? Is it a central vacuum system with adjustable arms? Looks like a very nice shop!

Image

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:15 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Hi James,

What are these things hanging off the ceiling? Is it a central vacuum system with adjustable arms? Looks like a very nice shop!
Yes, they're part of the workshop dust extraction system that was installed a few years ago. To be honest, it doesn't work as well as we had hoped. The extraction heads have to be positioned very close to the work to extract dust effectively, so if you're sanding down a completed guitar ready for finishing, it's very difficult to work with. I'm in the process of trying to get our old re-circulating filter system re-installed - it wasn't ideal, but it did keep the background dust levels down.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:28 pm

Last day of the Guitar Race! The guitars need to be finished, strings on, and ready to play by 2.00pm today. They will then be judged (by me) for quality of workmanship, playability and design.

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James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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James Lister
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Re: Newark College Guitar Race 2017

Post by James Lister » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:35 pm

Things were a bit hectic towards the end of the day yesterday, so I didn't get time to post again.
It was very difficult to pick a winner - it's the only part of the event that I don't really enjoy. Both teams put a lot of thought and work into the guitars, and it always seems a shame to have a "winner" and a "loser". The element of competition definitely adds to the enjoyment for the students though, so in the end I just went for the instrument that I enjoyed playing more. Both guitars worked well, and the lute guitar had a lovely deep bass (body resonance was very close to open 'E'), but the romantic guitar had much sweeter trebles, and better balance.

Here are some photos taken during the testing of the finished guitars, and after the prize presentation.


Me playing the romantic guitar:
aTesting01.jpg

Me playing the "lute" guitar:
aTesting02.jpg

The team captains with their instruments:
aCaptains.jpg

The runners-up
aRunnersUp.jpg

The winning team with their guitar, engraved winner's cup, and some refreshment!
aWinners.jpg

James
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