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Instruments #1: Archtop Guitar

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Blog entry by RonPeters posted 08-28-2016 06:17 PM 442 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Looks as if I can’t make furniture like the rest of you folks… I’m forever stuck making instruments…

This guitar took me two years to make partly because I started from scratch. No molds or jigs so I had to make them.

I got the bug to try an archtop because

1. play guitar,
2. always wanted one,
3. it costs a lot less to just go out an buy one ready made.

Here’s the process beginning to the end.

Layout

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layout

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Transfer to wood blank

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At this point I used a drill press to hog out the majority. Drilling to depth and gouging out what didn’t look like a guitar plate.

Carve

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inside carved

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F holes

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Parallel (vs ‘X’) Braces inside

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Binding – channel is cut

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Tough spot

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First layer of mahogany. Used pins to hold it against the ledge. Ended up using rubber bands. Much faster and easier.

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Used folio rubber bands to stretch and put pressure on the inside mahogany/maple/mahogany bindings respectively.

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Trimming excess

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Used heat to steam to bend ‘F’ hole binding and then this handy jig to keep it till it dried.

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Close up ‘f’ hole binding

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Looking like a guitar

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Not quite finished

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Neck = maple/walnut/maple

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Jig for ebony tailpiece

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Nearly finished

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The Howling Wolf in a Blood Moon

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Over and out!

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-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I



6 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

713 posts in 2342 days


#1 posted 08-28-2016 06:22 PM

addendum

Benedetto archtop plans and book.

Armstrong floating pickup

Made the varnish myself from fossilized amber and linseed oil. Very durable.
Varnish is yellow ‘reddish’ as in last picture. Lighting is everything to a camera!

Oh, and you have to click on the pictures to ‘see’ what’s there.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3665 posts in 1728 days


#2 posted 08-28-2016 06:55 PM

Holy Cow that amazing. Way, way out of my class or skill set!

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3019 posts in 1714 days


#3 posted 08-28-2016 07:08 PM

Awesome craftsmanship! Thanks for all the pictures of the build. I had no idea that the arch top was carved—I always thought a thin panel was bent over a form. How ‘bout a short video so we can hear how she sounds?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

713 posts in 2342 days


#4 posted 08-31-2016 03:02 PM

Thanks!

Traditionally they have been carved, however Gibson has recently begun using a 1/4” piece of wood and steaming it to shape. Those are typically the quick and dirty cheap instruments. $6K for one of those from Gibson! They call it “Solid Formed”.

I’m working on a short video. Stay tuned!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

713 posts in 2342 days


#5 posted 09-01-2016 05:43 PM

Here you go.

Ain’t Misbehavin

https://youtu.be/gFuwonPgrD0

It’s going through a small 5W tube amp. It sounds better through a bigger rig.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3019 posts in 1714 days


#6 posted 09-01-2016 07:33 PM

Well done, Ron—both the guitar building and the playing/singing! The new axe sounds really smooth.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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