Guitar #2 - Spruce / Maple

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Project by joseff posted 06-27-2012 11:21 PM 1981 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally had the chance to post my second guitar. This one is made with a spruce top, and maple back/sides. I’ve always been amazed by maple, because when I was a kid I only knew narra, mahogany, and philippine ebony. I first encountered a maple guitar when a friend brought one his dad bought in Italy. It had a nice flame figure on the back and it didn’t have much decoration, so all the attention was on the maple. When I started to get into the classical guitar, I noticed that all the guitarists around me either preferred indian rosewood or some other dark exotic wood for their guitar’s back and sides.

So whenever I encountered maple, on the countertops, dance floors, furniture, and on other stuff, I was down there examining the piece with its nice figured maple.

So now, this guitar. This was another learning experience for me as a woodworker. I kept notes on the things to watch out next time, as quilted maple is a bit of a challenge, in planing and bending. I am glad I finally finished this one.

15 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4363 days

#1 posted 06-27-2012 11:40 PM

What a beauty! I’d love to build a guitar one day. My everyday guitar is a steel string, which I play mostly finger-pick or flat pick style. I’ve always wanted to delve into classical, so you’ve got me thinking maybe I should take the plunge and build it myself.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2336 days

#2 posted 06-27-2012 11:43 PM

Wow! Do you have any plans?
I wouldn’t mind building this for my friend.

-- My terrible signature...

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 3365 days

#3 posted 06-28-2012 02:05 AM

Very nice! I have always wanted to build a guitar.

View Retsof's profile


134 posts in 2380 days

#4 posted 06-28-2012 05:46 AM

Very nice! I like to play a bit myself. I’m sure I’ll attempt one of these eventually. In addition to the maple back, I really like the inlay around the sound hole.

-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

View Ken90712's profile


17575 posts in 3333 days

#5 posted 06-28-2012 09:36 AM

A work of art!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View FretFool's profile


3 posts in 2527 days

#6 posted 06-28-2012 02:02 PM

Love the rosette! I’m a big fan of maple, as well. Good work.

-- It's not the wood;it's in your fingers and heart

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3195 days

#7 posted 06-28-2012 02:04 PM

Gorgeous stuff. Love it!

As a guitarist, I need to add, though: The reason for the popularity of the use of rosewood for building a guitar’s soundbox is not the looks, but the sound. It pains me whenever I see a piece of furniture made out of solid rosewood—seems like a waste for a very unique wood with very unique acoustical properties. Tap on a plank of maple, then tap on a plank of rosewood and you’ll immediately get it. Imagine a marimba with maple keys. It would be gorgeous, but would sound duller and softer… it might sound sweeter, don’t know, but it will definitely sound like someone put a blanket on it when compared to a rosewood one.

Up to the Late Romantic period, I believe guitars were made primarily with maple backs and sides, not to mention smaller. I you ever visit one of the music museums in Europe you’ll see this. I have heard some copies and original examples of classical-period guitars played right in front of me and I’d say they do sound very sweet, and soft, although that also owes to the smaller scale of the instrument, lack of fingernails on some of the players, age of some of the instruments, etc. In fact, the increased sweetness and the late response of their sound is precisely their appeal, so you’re in for a treat when playing pieces by Sor, Giuliani, etc. (although yours is a more modern-scaled instrument).

Your guitar is beautiful, and I can imagine it’ll only improve with time! I’d love to try it.


View Rickterscale's profile


163 posts in 2506 days

#8 posted 06-28-2012 05:59 PM

Very nice work.

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2388 days

#9 posted 06-28-2012 10:14 PM

Sweet axe!!! So do you build the neck too or is that manufactured? There’s a school in Oakland that has a mandolin and uke building class that I’ve been considering. Your classical guitar may have just inspired me to take the class sooner than later.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2333 days

#10 posted 06-29-2012 03:09 AM

Beautiful work !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View joseff's profile


44 posts in 2919 days

#11 posted 06-29-2012 07:08 AM

Thanks for all your commments!! Very much appreciated.

Alexandre – I got the plans from a book, Making Master Guitars by Roy Courtnall. There are plans you could buy from Luthier Mercantile. There is one plan I got for free from a website, Check it out. I got it a year ago from there.

Millo – Thanks for the info. That’s the same thing I’ve been hearing from other players, that it is sweeter, but I’ve never really heard a classical guitar with maple being played in front of me. I have one now, but a master luthier I am not. Although I have compared it to another guitar with indian rosewood and there is a difference in sound projection. It may be due to the density of the wood, no?
Anyway, it was funny when you said how it “pains” you when you see furniture made of solid rosewood, because I remember a time when me and a friend were thinking of taking apart a nice coffee table from Africa and bringing it to a local luthier. I was not sure if it was rosewood, but it sure was dense and it had a nice tap tone.

sixstring – Thank you!! I carved the neck with chisels and a spokeshave. I am glad my guitar inspired you. I also have an uke I’ve been planning on finishing for more than a year now.

View Schwieb's profile


1869 posts in 3606 days

#12 posted 07-01-2012 11:08 AM

Beautiful guitar. This is on the agenda for the next year or so. I have to build at least 4 for musical family members. I’m inspired.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Woodknack's profile


12369 posts in 2525 days

#13 posted 07-02-2012 03:17 AM

Gorgeous classical guitar, the rosette is spectacular. I wouldn’t worry much about the wood choice, Martin built one from oak pallets that reportedly sounds great. Benedetto built one with some uncommon choices and maintains that traditional woods are highly overrated.

FYI, the link you posted is dead for me.

-- Rick M,

View joseff's profile


44 posts in 2919 days

#14 posted 07-16-2012 08:15 AM

Wormil – thanks for your response. I am not that worried about the wood species. I believe that there is a different guitar for every type of music.
If you are looking for a classical guitar plan, let me know. Here’s another link that might help,

View Woodknack's profile


12369 posts in 2525 days

#15 posted 07-17-2012 09:13 AM

Excellent link. I’m working up to more complex instruments. Luthiery requires a bit more concentration and attention to detail than the simple furniture I’ve made in the past.

-- Rick M,

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