Saturday, September 05, 2009

Interesting goings on in the Nava workshop!

El Corazon
I often get asked, “What’s the most difficult/challenging thing that you’ve done?” This rosette fits in that category!

I’ve just completed this rosette for El Corazon, Chris’s rosewood classical. The rosette was demanding on a number of levels: Chris commissioned this guitar in celebration of having a major heart operation, so clearly it’s a special instrument for him. The design needed to be more anatomical rather than twee; Amanda and I spent hours looking for suitable images, going right back to my father-in-law’s old copy of Leonardo’s Movement of the heart and blood! And below you’ll see how tricky it was to construct.

Firstly all the hearts had to be cut out of some pink ivory and I was very pleased that I managed to get them all virtually identical. They were then inlaid in to some Macassar ebony. Once the hearts were glued in, the ebony was cut into a circle.

Red and black lines were inlaid into the soundboard and the wood in between them routed away to take the ebony ring. The soundboard, by the way, is a beauty: it’s a German spruce one that I bought 30 years ago when I was working at the London Guitar Gallery.

That’s a brief description of how it was made, but it took a ridiculous amount of time to make: I’m sure that I would have got a better hourly rate fruit picking at one of the local farms!! On the other hand, it is pretty and I’m rather proud of it!!

7 string ergonomic electric guitar!!
In parallel with El Corazon I’m working on an electric guitar for Stefano, a Latin/Jazz guitarist. The two instruments couldn’t be more different. This one is based on the design of a Steve Klien ergonomic guitar. Stefano wants a 7 string, so although most guitars of this style are usually headless, we have decided to go with a head and mini tuners, as the hardware for a 7-string headless is prohibitively expensive. The head has to be small to cut down on weight so as you can see its shape is dictated by the old adage form follows function. It’s going to have a straight thru’ neck and here you can see the central core with the body halves ready to be glued on.

Not wishing to blow my own trumpet, there aren’t many luthiers about who would be willing to take on such diverse commissions and as I have said before, all of these experiences help you grow as a craftsman/designer/luthier.

Interesting website
If you’re interested in early romantic guitars this Japanese luthier has an interesting site. Click here for Crane guitars.

Acoustic magazine
The article about me will now be in issue 34. Order your copy now!!

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