Where to start guitar building?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
vonsliek

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by vonsliek » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:19 am

i hope this isn't inappropriate but here is an image of the chiselled & Schneider Gramil cut binding channel on my first build. I actually only got the SG yesterday, so I cut the soundboard channel with it & the cypress sides were actually cut with a modified old mortise marking gauge, a snap-off mini box cutter & deepened with a swiss army knife blade (if Benito can do similar things with his old saw blade Paracho knives, then I figured why not my improvised set up :shock: ).
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

John higgon
Amateur luthier
Posts: 157
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:25 pm

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by John higgon » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:32 am

James Lister wrote: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.

James
James, you are way ahead of this very amateur luthier, but i shall defend the two wedge method! First, it's easier to mark out a parallel recess than a wedge-shaped recess. Second, the four wedges will be planed from a single block of cedar, then cut into individual wedges, so they should all mate nice and easy. But i must re-iterate that I am just a hobbyist and i am sure that there are many equally valid methods for this!

John

Ernest Kleinman

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Ernest Kleinman » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:00 pm

If your not familiar with hand and shop tools I suggest a shop class in night school or wherever you can find it,Then slowly start accumulating, books , wood , tools knowledge.

User avatar
James Lister
Luthier
Posts: 7084
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:53 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by James Lister » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:36 pm

John higgon wrote: James, you are way ahead of this very amateur luthier, but i shall defend the two wedge method! First, it's easier to mark out a parallel recess than a wedge-shaped recess.
Marginally, I'd say, but...
John higgon wrote:Second, the four wedges will be planed from a single block of cedar, then cut into individual wedges, so they should all mate nice and easy.
I have to admit I hadn't thought of that - of course this only works if your recess edges are perfectly straight and parallel (which I'm sure they are :wink: ).

Cheers,

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6567
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:35 pm

No one use the no wedge method anymore?
Historicalguitars.

Quique

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Quique » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:51 am

Hi,

For those who want starting with a book, they can compare a rough description and prices at the classical guitar section of the bookstore on the masterkit website. Following the links of each book there are many reviews of such books writen by readers and technical critics.

For those who prefer starting with a course, they can try the comparative list at http://musikakustik.es/escuelas/escuelas.htm. It is in Spanish but can be translated to any language going to the main menu of that website and, selecting the appropriate flag (at the top riht corner), navigate towards 'courses'. It will show you an automatic translation made by Google, not perfect but with enough quality to understand everything.

roycourtnall
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:24 pm

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by roycourtnall » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:21 pm

About the wedges - one or two? I cannot be absolutely certain, (long time ago now), but I seem to remember that when I visited Jose and we looked at the necks he was working on, I saw at least one with a tapered slope, calling for just one wedge. That made immediate sense to me and I cannot see why you would use two (as James correctly explains below). One is so easy and gives a perfect fit.

About the 3 mm solera slope - that was an error that somehow got missed. (Corrected in a recent re-print.) 1 mm is enough, or even perfectly flat. It does depend on the height of the dome at the bridge, and how much this collapses over time, if at all; and if the neck moves (less likely with a CF rod inserted), and so on. A flatter neck angle makes it easier to fit the fretboard.

mitch lees
Amateur luthier
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by mitch lees » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:53 am

I started with Rik Middleton's 'The Guitar Makers Workshop' - in my opinion it gives an uncomplicated, sensible approach to building a first classical guitar.

Mitch

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2664
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:02 pm

It might be nice to get a number of books, but when building your first I'd suggest putting all but one of them on the shelf. Each maker has a system for doing things that works, and a beginner might not know when they're mixing up parts of different systems. After you've made a few (and you will!) you'll be better able to sort that out.

The main divide is 'solera' or 'plug-in'. In the solera system you build the guitar around the top and neck. The neck angle and center line are established by the solera, the fixture you make to hold things in place. There's a premium on making that accurately, and since you need it to build the guitar on that can be a challenge if you don't already have good tool chops. On the other hand, once you've got the solera, you can make a lot of instrument on it and know that they'll line up right. The other main issue is the relative difficulty of correcting the neck angle down the road as the box changes shape over time.

The plug -in neck has you making the box and the neck separately, and then mating them. Getting the neck alignment correct is the hardest thing for most of my students. On the other hand, by the time you get there you've got some experience with your tools, which helps.

Having done it just about every possible way over the years, I can't endorse the bolt-on neck strongly enough. It may add a little mass in the heel, but there are worse things you can do.

Take your time and do each step as well as you can: you won't remember the frustration of slow progress but you will see the mistakes every day. No one step in making a guitar is all that hard, there are just a lot of them, and they're fussy.

MessyTendon
Posts: 1363
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:01 pm

I'm in same position...Quite honestly, I think I have gleaned enough information here and watching a few web videos to go forward. The basic plans are out there...You can order specific plans on-line from various vendors.

Do a search for Courtnal Solera, there you will find suggested revisions of the top doming. Watch the Pablo Requena videos on youtube...he takes you right there into the procedures. I think he's the most clear and concise about the importance of things. He's got some of the best explanations on things and he keeps it simple to the Spanish tradition. Things you don't really need like Bogdonavich...

TJ2
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:11 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by TJ2 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:53 pm

This has been a great thread to read through. I think I have an idea of which books to look for.

Also, thanks to all for your contribution to this thread, it helps a lot.

Is there a book that covers the "plug-in", "bolt-on" method for the neck attachment?

User avatar
adamjohnson
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:53 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by adamjohnson » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:46 pm

What about Stanley Doubtfire's Make Your Own Classical Guitar? What are people's opinions on it? Always wondered why that book got so little attention, it's exclusive use of hand tools at a time when hand tools were largely out of favour probably did not help it sell.

User avatar
geoff-bristol
Amateur luthier
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: Bristol - UK

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by geoff-bristol » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:26 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:35 pm
No one use the no wedge method anymore?
I ditched it. I now have a more reliable way to cut a 'wide' slot ( ie - 1.6mm or so ) It had its appeal - but find it easier to slip the sides into a slot. They exit more naturally than when forced tight with wedge somehow ?
Its a fall back if the slot goes pearshaped :D

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6567
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:43 pm

I prefer the dovetail joint or bolt adjustable. For Torres copies I just cut the slot at near 1.5 mm. Quite right, if it goes wrong it's easy to convert to a wedge. Thankfully I've now got it down to a very reliable procedure, so I don't need to bother converting it.
Historicalguitars.

Return to “Luthiers”