Archive | March, 2013

Ecological Jazz Guitar – Part 2

14 Mar
I build my guitars using the Spanish method. This involves using a ‘Solera’, which is a workboard on which the guitar is constructed, face down. The whole guitar (ie, neck and body) are built together – as compared to alternative methods where the body and neck are finished separately and slotted together at the final stage.
The advantages, I find, of the Spanish method are these:

It makes it easy to accurately align the neck to the body.

The neck – body join is very strong and well integrated into the guitar as a whole.
A wide variety of body shapes can be made without the construction each time of a bulky mould.

This is the solera I usually use for classical guitars

This is the solera I use for classical and flamenco guitars. The circular depression gives a slight arch to the soundboard.

Jazz Guitar Solera, with much more pronounced arching.

Hybrid Archtop by G Weigert

This is the bracing on the inside of the soundboard. This gives it strength as well as defining the tonal and response of the guitar. Because this is to be a guitar with a tailpiece and floating bridge, all of the pressure will be pushing down on the soundboard – I have made the bracing a lot stronger than most of my other guitars.
Part 3 – Wood
Here are the woods I shall be using to build this guitar, and a bit about their sources and origins.
Turkish Walnut from Muzaffer in Turkey
Here is a picture of Muzaffer cutting down a tree with a large pair of scissors – he’s that ecological he won’t even use a chainsaw.
Flamed maple. I’ve had this piece for so long I can’t remember exactly where it came from. I think Nottighamshire.
Sesam is a type of Rosewood that grows around here, in Galilee.
London Cherry. This tree was growing outside my parents’ house in North London until the neighbour complained of it’s roots spoiling her lawn. When the council came to cut it down I made sure to save the wood. It’s now part of a few mandolins and will be the neck of this guitar.
Mystery Spruce. I think it’s Sitka. I got it from a guitar maker in Sheffield several years ago who was clearing out his workshop. Maybe he was retiring. I don’t know. The mystery is why he didn’t keep this amazing sounding piece of wood.