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Archtop Guitar Build

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Project by rdwile posted 612 days ago 2361 views 4 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project I finished a while back, but still remains as the project I am most proud of in 25 years of woodworking.

I think the arch top represents the pinnacle of the Luthier’s craft. All the technical challenges of a a flattop, except that its top and back are carved from a solid wood and fined tuned to make the perfect sounding instrument. They are also huge, 18” across the bottom end 3-4” wider than a normal steel string. They are built similar to a violin or mandolin with lots of shaping from the finest woods in the world.

This guitar is made from European Spruce and Maple which comes from the same forests from which Stradivarius sourced his materials 300 years ago.

This was made following the book and plans by Bob Benedetto who wrote the book on building an archtop – literally. While this instrument exceeded my expectations once finished, I will never build another, it’s far too much work!

Hope you enjoy,

Richard

-- Richard D. Wile, http://richard-wile.blogspot.ca/





27 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13248 posts in 936 days


#1 posted 612 days ago

Beautiful. Wish I had a chance to play it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View intheshop's profile

intheshop

47 posts in 1436 days


#2 posted 612 days ago

Gorgeous guitar. That must have been an incredible amount of work I’ve heard that you really never know how a guitar will sound until you finish it, string it and play it. From that perspective, it must be a pins and needles build from day one. I’m glad you’re happy with it’s performance. Thanks for sharing.

-- Cole - Rydal, GA

View sras's profile

sras

3780 posts in 1727 days


#3 posted 612 days ago

Awesome project!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#4 posted 612 days ago

That’s an amazing guitar Richard what a master piece you work of art is.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View dnick's profile

dnick

892 posts in 980 days


#5 posted 612 days ago

That is a beautiul piece of work. Well done. I remember you, you’re the guy with the collapsing house logo!

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View CJay's profile

CJay

133 posts in 1829 days


#6 posted 611 days ago

Stunning. I’m looking at trying my hand at building one of these. You’ve done an amazing job.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - http://www.chrisboreham.co.uk - http://throughwoodeneyes.tumblr.com/

View JimDaddyO's profile

JimDaddyO

286 posts in 1677 days


#7 posted 611 days ago

Beautiful, the book and an archtop are on my bucket list

-- I still have all my fingers

View rdwile's profile

rdwile

137 posts in 709 days


#8 posted 611 days ago

Thanks for all the kind comments and PM’s. One thing I would say, if you are thinking of a building a carved instrument, start with a mandolin. It uses far less material (in case you butcher it) and all the carving and building techniques scale up directly to the archtop.

-- Richard D. Wile, http://richard-wile.blogspot.ca/

View carguy460's profile

carguy460

774 posts in 933 days


#9 posted 611 days ago

Beautiful work!

-- Jason K

View griff's profile

griff

1206 posts in 2360 days


#10 posted 611 days ago

Well it looks awesome and i bet it sounds even better.

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View Rob W's profile

Rob W

423 posts in 2134 days


#11 posted 611 days ago

That is awesome!

-- Rob — I've cut it off twice and it's still too short!, http://www.witzkewood.com

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2690 days


#12 posted 611 days ago

You should be very proud of the achievement. Just out of curiosity, how many hours do you have into the project?

This is becoming a lost art form, hope you change your mind an build more.

-- Nicky

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15655 posts in 2816 days


#13 posted 611 days ago

Fantastic piece of work! You should really post a YouTube of how it sounds.

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

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3040 posts in 771 days


#14 posted 611 days ago

Stunning and gorgeous work!

www.bandsawblog.com

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View doordude's profile

doordude

1085 posts in 1581 days


#15 posted 611 days ago

awesome project. thats alot of curves, to get right.congrats

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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