Some progress shots of my newest archtop. Most archtops are 17in at the lower bout, this one is 13in. This guitar was started before Christmas. Work stopped to build a mando and started again Jan. 9. I’m pretty happy with the time, 8 hours a day just like the old days. For carving and binding details see the mandolin build.
Top …..Western Red Cedar
Back … PNG Rosewood
Sides.. Victorian Blackwood
Neck…. Plantation Mahogany
Fingerboard, Bindings and Veneers … Solomon Blackwood
23in scale story stick
FB is shaped by pre- beveling, sanding with a 12in radius block and scraping, where I can, in between
The neck has two 3mm purple heart laminations. I thought PH bindings might look good. Wrong!
Fretting hammers, just to get the ends started. The 12in radius driver sets the fret. The hammers need four 20 cent coins for weight.
UPDATE 2-3- 15 Binding the ff’s. and closing the box.
Laminated binding, 3 wenge veneers.
UPDATE 2 – 4 – 15
Crocs, for slaving over a hot pipe. Solomon Blackwood bindings
The ends and the waist need more than masking tape.
My mate Phil came by to bend a ” drop top” for a chambered jazz bass arm rest.
It happened so quick I didn’t get a good shot. This is the kind of bend he was making.
First coat of polish, it’s just a little ol’ guitar, not much bigger than a Les Paul.
Electric double bass parts.
The body is almost done. It will sit another day, get fine scuff sanded and a final rubber of french polish. The neck is almost done, the fingerboard extension gets added tomorrow.
Meet Wilf the neighbor’s bull. We’ve known him since he was just a calf and looked like a funny little fawn.
Fingerboard extension, tailpiece and cardboard pickguard pattern.
Jorge is back and has his new back carved, the top is next week. The bench is on 130mm risers.
UPDATE 2 – 13- 15
Pickguard and trussrod cover
Pearl on a stick, I need dots and squares to make my logo.
The neck an body are joined. I made an 11th hour decision to further define the cutaway with more binding. It will mean a bit of re-polishing but worth it I think.
The pickguard is too big, it will be reshaped closer to the drawing. The pickguard only has to be big enough to hide the pickup wire going into the body.
Solomon Blackwood and Mahogany bridge. Same 12in radius as the fingerboard. I’m doing it this way because I only have long pieces of S.B. and a lot of offcuts.
ALL DOVETAILS, ALL THE TIME!
The guitar is as good as done, just some fret work and the pickup to fit. This is the second guitar from this mold and the best acoustically. I think that may be due to the West. Red Cadar top and reducing the side width to 55mm from 65mm. A full size archtop has 75mm sides. Fiddles and mandolins have 32mm sides, these type of instruments seem to work best with shallow sides.
Fitting the bridge with lipstick, the high area registers.
Jorge is very keen on the blue chalk as a color. A couple of samples of chalk under oil, and shellac. The chalk works better on the Oregon than it does on the Mahogany. Collaborations are good for me because I go places I wouldn’t go on my own. I’ve dreamed up a mando I wouldn’t have even considered yesterday.
blue chalk Oregon Top
blue chalk Oregon hearstosk veneer
Maple binding on body and headstock
Maple fingerboard with black dots. Very old school Fender feel.
Jorge was very keen about this yesterday, not so much today. I might have to build my own blue mandolin. If I build my own it will also have Maple back and sides.
-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.