Monday, October 23, 2006

all righty.....

the oak mini Jumbo is on hold til the postman brings the rest of the bits from Stewmac.

the doubleneck's frets are polished and I've cut two nuts. there is a LOAD of sanding to do now before putting on the bridges and finishing.

the latest version of the mandonaught is closed and has the binding step cut.

as you can see from the end shot there is more arch on this one than previous attempts. and there is indeed a cutaway as threatened!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Progress on the doubleneck.

the necks are on, though still need a little sanding, the fret markers are done & the frets are on but need tidied. holes for tuners drilled. Hopefully tomorrow I can spend time sanding & sorting.

while I was waiting for glue to dry I started a mando.

you just cant help yourself can you?

same as last mandonaught, but I'll maybe try a cutaway this time.......

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Well whattaya Know?

Oak bends too!!

No Idea on the tonal implications of this, but I have some oak and well, you use what you got, right? As usual, I have no facility to bandsaw into broad boards so I'm on my usual width maximum of 4", which means a 4 piece back. Never a problem before, so hopefully not one now either!! I'm also trying epoxy for the back joins rather than the usual white PVA on the advice of an online chum...... we'll see, but the downside is it sticks to the paper.....

I have a collegue in work who would like a guitar for her son. he's only six or seven, so I'm looking at a small jumbo shape with a cutaway and a short scale. I'm going to cut off a fingerboard at the 3rd fret and make it slightly narrower than standard. Light strings will let me tune it to E normally. Because the oak is so pale, I'm thinking either pale oak bindings or going the other way altogether and going for rosewood to have a contrasting dark stripe. Dunno yet, I'll wait till I have the soundbox closed to decide that one!!

One thing I'm fairly sure of at this stage is a maple fingerboard. I don't want to get into black plastic marker dots, so I may have to invest in a plug cutter and cut out dots from rosewood or ebony or similar.

Bridge? well, I haven't decised, but maybe oak to keep with the "blonde" look.

the back isn't glued here, it's just here for looks

and the top is a Stewmac AA top which will be braced like this.......

Friday, October 06, 2006

REVIEW of the first instrument I sold. Sam Price is a chum off the many forums I spend too much time on, and she suggested that I get user reviewsfor my instruments, so she is having 1st go!!!

Thanks Sam!

This mandolin is my first ever request for a custom instrument. Being a left handed guitarist, and playing a rightie mando prompted me to try out a is also Martin's fourth instrument.Aesthetically, this instrument is appealing; the top is made from solid Pine, the back and sides from solid mahogany, that has been "air dried" as a science school table for forty years!!!! The fretboard is rosewood, with MOP dots that compliments the MOP celtic cross symbol on the truss rod cover, a unique feature of Martin's instruments. The bridge is Ebony, saddle and nut bone.The pine top has a depth of sheen to it that is truly glows like pure honey.The marvel is that the fretboard is slightly wider than your average mandolin. The scale length remains standard, and the benefit you get is a mandolin that is easier to play.I have been playing this little mandolin for over five months now, and will never grow tired of it.As you can see from the photograph, it is an extremely tough and durable instrument, and I have taken it literally everywhere, proving it fantastic for travel.The is a sweet, shimmery tone with strong trebles. The wonder of this instrument is that it needs "warming" up before the full tonal potential is released. Once you get going, the whole instrument seems to vibrate with sound and the volume increases. Although this is still a relatively new instrument, I am curious as to what she will sound like when the wood has fully opened. I have already experimented with a few tunings, and it seems to cope with what I inflict on it admirably!!Well, what else can I say? I love originality. I love new design. People are very curious about this mandolin, just because it is unlike anything they have seen. As they say..if it got stolen, I would not hesitate in commissioning Martin again!!!Ah well, I'd better get back to playing before the sun sets!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Flippin' doubleneck acoustics!!!!

Well, I've finally got both necks tenon joints cut. The six string neck is roughly shaped, and the fingerboard is glued on, the 12 is still square and I've left it overnight to glue the fingerboard on.

I've also glued the top onto the body so the next job will be to trim round the top & back & get the binding under way.

I've done bolt on necks for a good reason.

I've never made a doubleneck before, so I don't have a clue if all that string tension will rip the top off the guitar.

Bolt ons mean that if the worst happens, it'll be easier to take them off and then remove all the splinters and put a new top on!!! The bolts are the same as used in self assembly furniture, so they should certainly take the strain. (A lot of luthiers use them for this job, it's not just me taking a short cut!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

so, how'd you make an external mould for a guitar?

Well, here's how I do it.........
First find a pic on the net of a guitar you like the shape of. For me it has to be a Lowden Jumbo.
Then Project the pic onto the wall with a data projector.
Make sure that the scale length on the projection matches the scale length in real life. Draw round it, changing it as you like. (I'm adding a cutaway.)

Cut the first half out of 3/4 ply. spend some time and get it perfect. Use it as a template to mark out three more.

Rough cut the other 3 pieces of ply about 1cm (1/4") inside the line

Clamp it and use a router to follow the original to cut the other three exactly the same.

the notch at the bottom right is to bend the cutaway........

Then assemble the two halves. I use offcuts as spacers between the top & bottom to get a little more width.

Don't do this in your best clothes though...........

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Married with 4 kids, Christian, worship leader, luthier