Building a Guitar

Kolfinna
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:51 am

Building a Guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:04 pm

Hey all,

I have this really awesome opportunity to work with someone who wants to build acoustic/classical guitars. They do lovely work on electric guitars already.

With this chance to make a fully custom classical, do you have any tips? So far I know I really like european spruce for the top and rosewood for the back and sides, but I’m open to changing up materials. I also know I want a 48mm nut width, possible radiused fingerboard, shorter scale (maybe join at the 12th fret) and a more petite body size, perhaps akin to more historical guitars. Full size guitars feel huge, as much as I like the projection and depth of resonance.

What else should I be taking into consideration?

Thanks!

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souldier
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Re: Building a Guitar

Post by souldier » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:19 pm

Are you commissioning a guitar from a luthier or a hobbyist?
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Kolfinna
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Building a Guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:22 pm

I would deem this person a luthier—at least for electric guitars—they’re at 17 guitars commissioned for this year already. They’re expanding their skillset into acoustics, so I’m not quite sure if that would be considered luthier or hobbyist.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Building a Guitar

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:56 pm

If it's their first classical/acoustic? I'd say it would need to be rather cheap irrespective of how many electric guitars they have made. Apart from the obvious there are just too many differences between these types of guitars.
Historicalguitars.

Kolfinna
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Building a Guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:59 pm

Right—I’m not too worried about cost at the moment. I’m more concerned with any other factors such as schematics, materials, fit considerations, etc. I think I’ve covered the basics, was curious if anyone else had gone through the process and what that entails.

MessyTendon
Amateur luthier
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Re: Building a Guitar

Post by MessyTendon » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:51 am

Routed pockets on electric guitars are easy peezy to work with. If the builder does not have experience with dovetails,mortice,spanish heel then consider some outside help.

I would keep the wood secondary in terms of importance. You want a guitar that is lively and responsive. Since the builder is not experienced maybe consider some lesser priced woods like basic cypress sets or non figured maple and a basic sitka top. Rosewood is a luxury and privilege that I don't think is worth wasting on an experiment. We won't have the stuff forever. Maybe buy a set and keep it seasoned and humidified for the future. But don't gamble with it to start.

Since he is working electrics he probably has nice stocks of maple, consider it for a neck material. Radiused fingerboards are a godsend if your playing fingerstyle folk on the first three frets. For classical it's better to have a flatter profile...Mostly for doing barre and reaches to a certain extent.

It could be advantageous to build two guitars at once...since you want nylon, if he were to use an early martin style body platform he could consequently build a stiffer box for steel strings...much more marketable to a bigger audience and work on yours in sequence with the other one. These small bodied early Martin guitars are quite rare yet underappreciated...and I've seen many of the early ones wrecked by steel strings :(

Since he has electric experience I would certainly have an added transducer pickup and jack added :) You only live once. Plus there is nothing better than plugging nylon into a Marshall Halfstack.

Kolfinna
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Building a Guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:49 pm

Thanks for all your feedback! :D I’ll ask about their familiarity with the techniques.

Radiused v. flat is an interesting question—I’d been leaning toward radiused because the curvature compensates for my sloppy barre technique. lol
I guess it comes down to what styles/genres I want to play; I do both classical and fingerstyle (just discovered DADGAD tuning, too, which I absolutely love) and that makes it hard to choose. I currently have two dreadnought acoustic guitars and two classical guitars, each for different sounds/applications.

I’d love to see a smaller-bodied Martin—perhaps the 0-28 VS—and compare to a Taylor 912-CE 12-fret. Both are stunning guitars and about the size for which I’m looking.

But yes—I’ll focus on responsiveness and liveliness. :D Thanks again!

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