Saturday, April 17, 2010

Neck joint

The next episode of my parlour guitar videos is now up on YouTube. In this one, I demonstrate how I use a tapered dovetail to join the neck to the body. I like the flexibility that the dovetail gives during the construction stage- it allows me to alter the angle of neck in relationship to the body. Some of you may be surprised that the surface of the neck is not just in alignment with the body. On a classical guitar, for example, the neck is set forward to allow high action at the 12th fret without the bridge being overly high. And of course, once the neck is glued in, the neck and body are as one and should never move.

Andy’s archtop

I’ve also being doing the purfling on Andy’s archtop: it’s taking so long! Not being able to use the router slows the progress considerably, as does not having a flat surface to work from- below is my armoury of tools that I’m using!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Martin’s Baritone ukulele

Martin’s Baritone ukulele is now complete and awaiting delivery. It’s a lovely little instrument and I’ve really enjoyed having a play on it. I think that the choice of tonewoods combined with my construction methods, gives more of a guitar like sound compared to other ukes. When Martin first approached me about an instrument, he was looking for a cuatro but a baritone uke had been suggested to him as a more viable alternative. I think that this style of uke is an ideal addition to a guitarist’s collection for a number of reasons;

It has a fuller guitar like tone with good bass,

It’s tuned to the top four strings (DGBE) therefore no need to learn new chords, scales etc. It therefore gives a different voice to your music with a minimum the of learning effort

Also its size makes for a great travel instrument....judge for yourself!

Richard’s mandolin update

Did Richard like his mandolin? Here's a thread on the Mandolin Cafe forum for you to read.............


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Friday, April 02, 2010

Andy’s hybrid acoustic/electric

With Richard’s mandolin completed and Martin’s uke’s oil finish hardening off, I thought it time to go back to Andy’s hybrid acoustic/electric. With the guitar having a carved soundboard, I have had to re-think the order in which I do things- the main problem is that its curved shape means my router won’t sit flat on top of the guitar. To allow me to use my dovetail neck jig, I glued the back to the sides and routed the female part of the joint before the soundboard was glued on.

Also it helps to think a number of steps ahead- I’ve made up these mahogany brackets which not only reinforce the sides but also allow me to run the pick-up wire around the guitar’s inside. It’s going to have the volume and tone controls (using a concentric pot) on the upper bout and I want to keep the wire out of view en route to the jack-socket.

You’ll also notice that I’ve used kerfed linings, instead of my usual solid ones. The reason that I use solid linings is (in my opinion) to improve sustain, however too much sustain on this instrument might lead to feedback, hence back to the kerf.

Parlour guitar videos

I’ve put a couple more Parlour guitar videos on YouTube: these two explain the how the purfling and binding is done.

If you’re not following the videos-here’s the story so far.

I deliberated for quite awhile about the binding; I wanted a contrast with the walnut and had this been the 19th century, ivory would have been used. I decide to use some very plain hard rock maple; it’s off-white colour gives the aged quality that I wanted.

I can’t understand why there is a trend for some manufacturers and luthiers to leave off bindings and have to back/side joint exposed. The only reason can be cost. The bindings are not just decorative and have the function of protecting the joint and the edge of the back from accidental damage.

Who needs eBay!

You’ll remember the luthier’s literature post? All the books and one set of plans were sold. I still have the French polishing DVD and the plans for a spider resonator. I’ve also found these SG plans- they’re very detailed (3 sheets) right down to a wiring diagram. I bought them to get an accurate shape for the 12 string below. Yours for £5 plus postage!

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