Thursday, December 31, 2015

Roland's Pair Completed

Firstly, Amanda and I would like to wish you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2016.
The last few weeks of 2015 saw the completion and delivery of Roland’s guitar and mandolin. I was very, very pleased with both instruments and of course more importantly so is Roland!  It was also a delight to finally meet Roland in person and hear him play them both. The mandolin is one of my Standard Plus designs and the guitar….well, I think it’s fair to say is unique.  Based on my parlour guitar, it has four nylon strings DGBE and a cutaway. Below are a number of photos of the pair.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Christmas 2015

As another busy year draws to its conclusion, Amanda and I would just like to thank all of our friends and clients- past, present and future- all of those who take the time to follow the blog and everyone else a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
As this time of year is often one for contacting old friends,  I was delighted to hear a song on the Acoustic Soundboard Forum by Andrew and Jane, a talented couple who commissioned this mandocello back in 2008. So, here is the song with ‘cello in action.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A more relaxing time….

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned how nerve wracking gluing the bridge onto a guitar is; for all practical purposes, it’s an irreversible process and there is absolutely no room for error. Then, once the bridge has been glued on, you have the whole setting-up process, which is carried out on a freshly finished shiny instrument, that has to go out of the door as near to perfect as it can be.
By contrast mandolins are positively relaxing. As the bridge is removable it can be re-positioned easily and you can set the instrument up and get it playing before any finish is applied. Below you can see Youhei’s going through that process.
First, roughly with just four strings.
 And then, finely with all eight strings.
 And here we are; all set-up and playing. It can now be stripped down, French polished and reassembled in a few weeks once the polish is hard enough.

PS. the blue tape stops the bare wood absorbing any oil from the tuners.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Bridge on!

After a couple of weeks, allowing the French polish to harden, the bridge has now been glued on to Roland’s guitar.
I’ve said before and make no apologies for saying it again- this stage is the most nerve wracking of them all! After the bottom surface of the bridge has been sanded to fit the contour of the soundboard, you have to mark out where the bridge goes- if, like me, you cut your saddle slot before gluing the bridge on, you have to take into consideration the compensation needed for correct intonation. The marking out is achieved with masking tape, a soft pencil, various rulers and straight edges.
One quality that you need to be a good luthier is spatial awareness; you don’t have any straight edges to take as a datum- everything is measured from an imaginary centre line that floats about 7mm above the soundboard.
With the bridge positioned, I cut around it with a scalpel; through the masking tape and polish but not into the wood.

The next step is to scrape the polish away from the exposed area so that you get a good glue joint.
With all signs of polish removed, the bridge can be glued on.
The tape stops the bridge moving until the glue grabs.  A top-tip is to fold back the end of the masking tape on itself- that way you have something to easily get hold of when removing the tape. The tape comes off before the glue hardens, so any glue that’s oozed out should come off on the tape.

Labels: , ,