Brazilian Rosewood and German Spruce-Available July 2011

This guitar has sides laminated from 5 layers of Brazilian rosewood. This method results in sides that will never crack and are very rigid. The back is laminated from 3 layers of Brazilian rosewood. The top is a piece of German spruce that was cut in the mid 1970's. The photos here show some of the steps in the building of this guitar. I will endeavor to post regular photos as the instrument progresses. Please contact me if you are interested in this guitar.


Interior of Brazilian rosewood laminated sides.
Exterior of Brazilian rosewood laminated sides.
.Gluing of the neck block and end block.
Gluing of the linings.
Single lining on the back, double linings on the top.
Back in go-deck with Alaska yellow cedar braces.
Back being glued onto the sides.
Interior of body.
The assembled body without the top.
German spruce top with lots of character.
Necks are fairly complicated. Following are most of the steps. Here the scarf joint has been made, and the neck blank has had a stiffener of rock maple inlaid. The surface for the head veneers has been planed.
This is the veneer 'sandwich' that will be glued to the head. B/W/B/W veneers are glued under the Brazilian Rosewood head plate.
This is the head after laminating the veneers, rough-cutting the slots and profiles, and then routing on a special fixture. The corners between the sides and the top profile still need to be rounded.
Corners rounded, and the string slots have been laid out. I make four saw cuts to the layout lines before chiseling out the ramps.
Here the string ramps have been chiseled out. You can see the veneer lines showing in the ramps. The roller holes have also been drilled.
This is the pattern for the relief that I will rout and chisel. The half-pattern will be flipped, marked out, and then I will score a line freehand on those layout lines before routing.
The relief area has been routed up close to the layout lines, and then finished off with various chisels and gouges.
Here the handwork of chiseling to the lines is done. Now this area will be stippled with a small sharpened reamer. It takes several hundred hammer strikes to texture this area. Just call me Geppetto.
Here is the finished stippled head. Next I will fill some of the deeper pores in the Brazilian rosewood, and detail sand the entire head.
Here is the head contrasted with one that has been polished already. By leaving the textured area unfinished I get a nice contrast.
The mother of pearl has been inlaid, and the inside diameter has been cut in the ebony ring to the exact dimension of the outside diameter of the concentril lines ring. The ebony ring is ready to be glued.
Detail shot of the ebony/mother of pearl ring. Note the outside diameter of the ring is not to final dimension.
The ebony ring has been glued to the inside ring of concentric lines. The masking tape serves to shim up the ebony ring, so that when gluing to the lines, the lines will be proud of the ring, and leave some to level.
This shot shows the gluing set-up, except for the important fact that it's actually glued up face down. This allows the rings to end up above the face of the mop ring, giving me some material to level with the ebony.
Here is the rosette being clamped into the soundboard. I rout the channel, aiming to end up with a few thousands smaller than the rosette.
The inlaid rosette, less than .005" proud of the spruce. I don't want to do any more leveling than I have to.
Detail of the inlaid rosette.
Cross-grain bridge patch is on, and here the wide braces are being glued. They start out thick and are then planed to a specific profile.
The completed braced top. The more I work with this top the more I like it-it has a very complex tap tone.
View of the braced top. Here you can see how low profile all the bracing is. There is very little mass. All bracing is Port Orford cedar.
Here is the completed body ready for the top.. You can see the mortices for the large cross braces in the linings. The port holes are done, the label is in, and it's now time to glue on the top.
The top is on. Now I will flood the rosette with superglue, scrape the back and sides, and move on to routing for purflings and bindings.
The back has been scraped now, and the colors are really starting to come out. I still haven't decided whether or not to use a back strip.
Here the back strip and end graft are in, and I'm planing the strip down so there will be little to scrape.
The ends of the strips have been cut off at the exact thickness of the purflings. Now the miters need to be cut.
Here the first back binding and purfling are in. You can see the miters on the ends of the two strips.
Fitting the second back purfling. Bindings and purflings are one height.
The body with bindings done. Now on to attaching the neck.
Detail shot of the bindings coming together at the end of the guitar.
This is my setup for gluing on the neck. Once on the neck angle is set.
Detail shot of the end-of-the-fingerboard treatment.
Fingerboard on the guitar. This treatment opens up the soundhole a bit.
The guitar is ready for finishing now. First I will do some pore filling, and then move on to French Polishing. These days I am using a technique and recipe I got from my good friend Marcus Dominelli.
Using thin superglue I will coat all of the maple bindings and the back and bottom strip before pore filling. Then an egg wash and on to polishing.
Here is the guitar reclining, resting up for the ordeal of the finish process. After finishing and doing the set-up, the instrument will begin its life, so it's good for it to get a little rest whenever possible.
The first coats of shellac are on the guitar now, and the German spruce is already taking on a nice color.
The bottom of the sides showing the bookmatch of the Brazilian rosewood. I'm always surprised to see how light the bindings look-they are actually a warmer color than in these photos.
Here is the side showing the first coats of shellac and the oval-shaped sound port. Again the bindings look lighter than they are.
I have been excited about this top since I first planed it to thickness-it has all of the qualities of excellent spruce. Now as I see the color deepen with the shellac I like it even more. It will have an almost vintage look to it when finished, and the knot shadows and color differences add all the more character to an already exquisite top.
This is a fairly accurate representation of the color of the Brazilian, and you can see the figure in the maple backstrip. It took quite a bit of work to fill the pores of this Brazilian, but it will be worth it. The thicker back and sides, and doubled linings on the top, will make for a very powerful, yet articulate sounding instrument.
Just about finished with the French polishing now; all I need to do is rub out the entire guitar and then move on to fretwork and then the bridge.
This shot shows the elipse-shaped sound port. There is another on the upper bout treble side.
Shot of the finished top with a view of the label: 'Brazilian Special'.
Brazilian rosewood head veneer that has been carved and stippled.
View of the back and upper sides.
Detail shot of the heel cap and mitered purflings.
This guitar is now available. Please follow this link to see the finished instrument.



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