Ecological Jazz Guitar, Part 3 – Assembly

7 May

After a damp and humid April, along with lengthy deliberations about the revolutionary, innovative, electric scratch-plate design that this guitar will feature – came a very dry spell of weather. Perfect for assembling guitars.

Once the soundboard had been braced and the back and sides had been thicknessed to around two and a half  millimetres, the last thing to make were the linings. The bits that hold it all together. For this I used an old plank of hardwood, picked up in Jerusalem. Probably birch wood. Here is my fascinating photo journal of how I turned an old, discarded plank of wood into an integral part of a guitar:

hardwood plank

1.(above) The plank.

planing off the varnish

2.Planing the varnish off the plank.

cutting with elecrical saw

3.Cutting the plank into strips with an elecrical saw.


contouring the strip

4.Contouring the strips.

finsished precut lining strip

A contoured strip.

sawing slots in the lining

5.Sawing slots in the strips.

guitar linings

handmade guitar linings

Finished linings.

child labour

6.Getting unpaid child labour to collect the wood-dust in a plastic bottle by letting her believe it to be fairy dust. I’m not sure if that’s ecological or ethical.


Now that I had all of the parts of the guitar ready to assemble, and a nice clean workshop, it was time to assemble the guitar. Here’s how I did that:

Assembling the guitar

1.Glue the neck to the soundboard. That’s the Spanish way. If  I did it the American way I’d make the body and the neck completely separately and then slot them together when they’re both finished. One advantage of the American way is that it’s easier to take the neck off if the joint breaks. The advantage of the Spanish way is that the joint is very unlikely to break as the whole guitar is essentially one piece.

reinforcing the sides

2.Reinforcing the sides with Western Red Cedar offcuts from a previous guitar.

I’m sorry I didn’t put any pictures of me bending the sides. I suppose I should have done as it is the greatest mystery of guitar making – the thing  people always ask about. The main reason I wanted to learn how to make guitars, in fact, was just to know how they bend the sides. I’ll put a bit about it on my Frequently Asked Questions page when I next get round to making another exciting photo-diary.

linings all attached

3.Linings all glued on.

making the soundport

4.Sound-port cut out.

quality control

Quality control inspector takes a sniff around.

guitar ready for the back

Guitar gets stamp of approval.

carving the back bars

5. Carving the back-bars from a piece of Sycamore, coppiced in Sherwood forest, England 2003.

back bars

This will give the back its arched contour.

back bars

This pieces was then cut into three on the electrical saw.

glueing the back bars

6. Glueing on the back bars. The centre strip is local Cypress wood from Galilee.

back ready to be attached

Back ready to be glued on.

glueing on the guitar's back

7. Glueing on the back.

assembled guitar

Assembled guitar.

guitar back

g weigert guitars


One Response to “Ecological Jazz Guitar, Part 3 – Assembly”

  1. Maureen Weigert May 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    and what, pray, does your unpaid child labourer do with all the ‘fairy dust’? I am fascinated by your blog, Gideon. Introduced to it by sister Jacqui. xx

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