Where to start guitar building?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
pvg

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by pvg » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:55 am

Steven D'Antonio wrote:I also strongly recommend Courtnall, however the Bogdanovich book isn't bad either, though it is very jig intensive (and he has lots of pretty pictures if that impresses you). I had great luck borrowing them from my local library network when I first looked them over (I’m a great fan of try before you buy)

Steven
I have to warn against the Bogdanovich book. As one of a collection of reference books it's ok, but it's a nightmare to try to build a guitar from- at least as a step-by-step instructional manual that it claims to be... Way too many errors, inaccuracies, and vague instructions.
If you like Bogdanovich's guitars and you want to commit to building several- and you've maybe already built one or two guitars- maybe it's a good resource. If you're a 1st time builder and mostly on your own, BEWARE!
regards
pvg

mikey

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by mikey » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:11 pm

Depending on your budget have you thought about 1 to 1 tuition with a luthier?
I started my first build about a month ago and even after reading through all the
usual books and 15 years experience as a joiner I'm sure glad I took some regular
tuition with luthier James Lister from Sheffield.

The knowledge I've gained has enabled me to avoid any 'fatal' errors and for some-one
like myself who has little patience for certain things its working out great.

Be warned ,guitar building is extremely addictive. If you have a partner you may
want to start filling the divorce papers out now.

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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by John higgon » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:16 pm

The Courtnall book works very well for me, and i haven't noticed significant errors in the text, other than his plan for the Romanillos neck, where he has drawn a tapered wedge recess. In fact, Romanillos makes a parallel sided slot and fills it with two tapered wedges. Robbie O'Brien's website is excellent. Forums like this are very useful, too.

Bear in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat: advice that initially seems to conflict may in fact be just different methods for achieving the same result.

Stick to a tried and tested plan. Avoid the temptation to experiment until you have a good sense of "the basics". Having said that, slavishly following soundboard dimensions and bracing thicknesses will not necessarily deliver that Hauser or Torres. You need to develop your own sense of soundboard flex, and this is just a matter of experience. I know what a ripe avocado feels like, but i would have difficulty putting that into words.

Use sharp tools and good quality wood. Sadly, your first instrument may, if you are careful and lucky, turn out to be quite good, but it will almost certainly not be a great instrument. But you will be hooked, and your second guitar will probably be just a bit better...

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James Lister
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by James Lister » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:11 am

John higgon wrote:The Courtnall book works very well for me, and i haven't noticed significant errors in the text, other than his plan for the Romanillos neck, where he has drawn a tapered wedge recess. In fact, Romanillos makes a parallel sided slot and fills it with two tapered wedges.
Probably the most significant "error" in the Courtnall book is 3mm slope suggested for the solera neck extension, but even this could be OK for a very small dome. As for the Romanillos double wedge, I'd be surprised if at some point he didn't use the single wedge method, so again, not really a mistake.
John higgon wrote:Stick to a tried and tested plan. Avoid the temptation to experiment until you have a good sense of "the basics". Having said that, slavishly following soundboard dimensions and bracing thicknesses will not necessarily deliver that Hauser or Torres. You need to develop your own sense of soundboard flex, and this is just a matter of experience.
Absolutely.

James
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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Waddy Thomson » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:33 pm

James Lister wrote:[ As for the Romanillos double wedge, I'd be surprised if at some point he didn't use the single wedge method, so again, not really a mistake.
James
Inedeed, as I understand it, he did use a single wedge originally. It's what he used for a good while I believe.
Waddy

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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by James Lister » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:46 pm

I never could see the point of the double wedge - surely it's exactly the same, except you have to make 2 wedges instead of 1?

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Waddy Thomson » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:26 pm

Simpler to get a match to the slope, putting even pressure on the sides in the slot. Also easier to cut and clear out a pair of vertical cuts than one vertical and one sloped.
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by James Lister » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:12 pm

I still don't get it Waddy (maybe I'm being thick). With one wedge, you just have to match the angle of the wedge to the angle of the (wedged) slot, with two you have to either match the two wedges perfectly, and have the sides of the slot perfectly parallel, or just make one wedge, and then match the second to the remaining (wedged) slot - and I don't see it's any easier to chisel out a parallel channel than it is a wedged one.

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senunkan
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by senunkan » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:49 am

I also prefer to use a single wedge and I do find it a lot easier to fit than a double wedge.

The only advantage a double wedge can give is when the building assembly sequence is changed.
(For example when replacing a top of a guitar.)
Normally for the single wedge, slope is with the thinner edge nearer to top.
When the top is replaced with the back still on, we can never have such an orientation.
That's where the double wedge will come in handy as you can orientate the wedge slope in the correct way.
i.e. place the first piece in contact with the sides widest part near to the back and wedge in the piece between the heel block and 1st wedge.
This will give the correct orientation.
But if building in a normal assembly sequence (top facing down and back on later), single wedge will be easier to fit (for me).
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Alexandru Marian
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Alexandru Marian » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:04 am

I've made 15 guitars with the double wedge and sick of all the fiddling and tuning needed, I did the newer 15 with a single wedge. It doesn't feel like 2 times easier, but more like 5 times :) Cutting and clearing is the same effort for me. Just need to use a narrower chisel.

I also put glue on all surfaces, I'm more interested in having a solid cemented sides/neck connection than future repairs. This is my latest using grain that follows the sides (thanks Eric Reid for steering me in this direction)
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Kevin Clark » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:23 pm

Probably the most significant "error" in the Courtnall book is 3mm slope suggested for the solera neck extension, but even this could be OK for a very small dome. As for the Romanillos double wedge, I'd be surprised if at some point he didn't use the single wedge method, so again, not really a mistake.
Is the 3mm slope incorrect for the neck slope James? I'm in the process of building a solera using Courtnalls book. What should it be? Regards Kev

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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Winterdune » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:20 pm

3mm is generally considered too much if you are going to dish the solera and so dome the top. 1mm is more like it. On here there is a post (by Les Backshall) with a formula to work it out. I quote his formula in my own thread here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=78706&hilit=neck+a ... 15#p854786
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by James Lister » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:42 am

The only thing to add to what Sean has said is that it's pretty difficult to be really precise about the correct neck angle. Changes in humidity and the tension of the strings move things enough that you'll be lucky to hit your exact target in terms of action and string height at the bridge. The good news is that if the string height at the bridge varies by plus/minus 1mm, it's not a problem.

James
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Kevin Clark » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:10 pm

So If I start building a guitar in my garage/workshop where the humidity is pretty high and then bring it inside my house, I could cause all sorts of problems for myself?

vonsliek

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by vonsliek » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:04 am

I use the Courtenall book & have the Cumpiano, but rarely follow it - rather I use it to double check on methods.

One thing no-one has mentioned that REALLY helped me not get too freaked out was the video of Benito Huipe.

That video - using the so-called Paracho Method - makes light of things in a way diametrically opposed to the precision & power tool-heavy method of O'Brien. I have the O'Brien dvd & found it well .... too intense.

Benito makes it seem like child's play - he seems so sloppy that it is totally reassuring for the first-timer, self-teaching, no prior woodworking experience builder working from a serviced LMI flamenco kit, that is I! :wink:

The 'sharp tools' advise is PRICELESS & O'Brien's tutorial videos on LMI have really helped me. I use a King water stone 800x & a 4000x without getting too caught up in the intensity of sharpening technique - if I can shave the hairs off my forearm, I am good! :bravo:

Also, I amy be wrong here, but I have been haunting a woodworking tool supplier in a nearby city & have discovered that the german made paring chisels they carry are about the same quality as the LMI chisels, for half the price & no shipping, duty, additional taxes.

The Schneider Gramil is pretty darn great though for cutting binding/purfling channels. Again, you will need to hone the blade on the stones prior to use.

I was too scared to use a router/laminate trimmer even though I purchased one, so I used a 6mm paring chisel & sharpened it a few times along the way.
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