Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Heart of El Corazon

Whilst working on the ergo electric, I’ve also been bracing the soundboard of El Corazon. I know that Chris is interested to see how it’s all put together, so here’s the story......

The soundboard is taken down to a thickness of about 2.7 mm, a bit thicker than its final dimension; I like to leave a bit of meat, as it will have to be scraped and sanded a few more times during the construction process.

The bridge plate and sound hole reinforcements go on first. The bridge plate helps to stop the soundboard distorting around the bridge; any distortion could lead to the bridge pulling away in places. The area around the sound hole needs to be reinforced too, particularly as the rosette is inlaid into the board making it very thin in this area.

Next the fans go on. Some luthiers cut the plate, some notch the fans; as you can see I’m a notch man. All the gluing is done on a curved board making the soundboard a subtle dome shape. The fans are then shaped: the ones on bass side more than the treble side; this is a way of getting tonal balance in the guitar.

Whilst all this gluing and shaping is going on, I tap the soundboard to listen to the sound it produces. Also I measure how much the soundboard deflects when a 500g mass is placed on it. I record this deflection for each guitar and this data helps me with the consistency of my instruments.

With the fans in place, the two large cross braces are glued on. I my opinion these are mostly structural, although the one below the sound hole can be glued on at an angle to make the treble side shorter and hence tighter and similarly the bass side longer and looser.

Of course that’s the way I do it and there are as many methods of working as there are luthiers and we’re all right!!

Next stage is to glue together the magic box!

New Links
I’ve just added a couple of new links to the side bar:
WD Music: great for all guitar hardware, very helpful guys
Stringbusters: strings at low prices and again very helpful
And last but not least one to the Muse website.

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