Sunday, October 18, 2009

El Corazon’s neck

I thought that I would go through the process of fitting the neck with you. With the body completed, the next step is to route a dovetail slot for the neck to go into. At this stage of construction things start getting a wee bit tense because of all of the time and effort already invested- you just can’t go wrong!

I firmly clamp the guitar body to my jig which gives the tapered shape of the slot. Then using a template follower and straight 6mm cutter the bulk of the wood is cut away.

With the majority of the wood removed, I re-cut the slot with a dovetail shaped cutter. Because of the tapered sides of the dovetail cutter, you have cut to the full depth in one hit which could overload things; hence using a 6mm one first.

Once the slot is cut, I take careful measurements and cut, chisel and file the male part of the joint in the neck. The whole process of fitting the neck joint into the body can take many hours. The neck has to be perfectly aligned in two planes and the heel fit neatly against the sides. I know that some makers cut the neck too small and rely on shims to pack it out but I prefer the best fit I can get. By the way the Jiffy bag is to protect the head from getting damaged!

I have often debated whether or not to use the Spanish method of an integral neck; sound-wise I don’t think that there is any difference and both ways are far superior to using mechanical fixings. However, I am tempted, just for the hell of it, to have a go and I’m thinking of trying it out on the parlour guitar.......we’ll see!

I’ve never been a great fan of classical music apart from guitar and lute music. I guess classical music is a bit like custard; you’re put off by your experiences at school! Anyway, as Radio 4 tends to a little depressing, I started listening to Radio 3 and heard this viola da gamba music composed by Carl Friedrich Abel, “The Drexel Manuscript” and played by Paolo Pandolfo. I had to buy the CD and have been playing it constantly in the workshop this week. Absolutely amazing!! Put in viola da gamba into YouTube an you’ll see this amazing instrument in action.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Ergo electric completed

Stefano’s ergonomic 7 string electric has been completed and I’m extremely pleased with the outcome. Here are some photos: a picture’s worth a thousand words!

Having completed the guitar and spent sometime playing it, I feel incredibly enthusiastic about this design. In the YouTube video you can see how the guitar balances perfectly when you play seated. At some point I shall make a 6 string version (the neck is already glued up!).

One thing I love about this guitar, is the use of mahogany and the Tru-oil finish. Over the years I’ve never been a great mahogany fan, seeing it just as a good wood for necks. However since I’ve been using Tru-oil or French polish, I’ve really warmed to it. The water-based lacquers that I used to use gave the wood a colder hue, whereas these more natural finishes bring out the real beauty of the wood.

El Corazon
El Corazon is being bound and purfled. You can see how the joint between the sound board and sides is completely cut away and how important the linings are in holding the whole thing together. I’ve used a red line around the soundboard, keeping the heart/blood theme going. The bindings are rosewood with a single line of boxwood laminated to it. The single line looks very elegant. Here you can see how the binding is held in place with clothe tape (50 metres!) whilst the glue dries.

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