the noisy bits

In a previous life (about a year ago) I made most of the forms and jigs that I’ve been using in this process with power tools but since then I’ve gravitated away from the noise makers and I’ve managed to do all of the actual work on the guitar with hand tools. It has been peaceful, meditative…

a box with three sides

After bracing the soundboard and back plate of the guitar the next major step is assembling the sound box. My daughter Brighton had a library book a few weeks ago in which Piggie wanted to throw Gerald the Elephant’s ball. Gerald (clearly the more experienced and serious character) brow beat Piggie saying: “It takes skill. It takes practice. It takes…

an alien landscape

There are things I understand empirically that I don’t yet know how to comprehend on a spiritual level. I have found that, generally speaking, the opposite is also sometimes true. It is perhaps paradoxical to say this, but when it comes to shaping and carving the braces for the back and soundboard of a guitar,…

When the question is asked…

What question? The oldest question in the world: “What is that thing?” Yesterday Brian asked a question about my clamping system for bracing the guitar soundboard. I had assumed the details would either be obvious or uninteresting to folks, but the question reminded me (as good questions do) to think back to when I was…

Brace yourself

I am a graduate od Duke University, and for a time shortly thereafter I worked in Chapel Hill, NC. I have known what it means to experience rivalry. Given that statement, I can think of no other topic that sparks such rivalry and debate amongst guitar players as acoustic guitar bracing. The methods, the placement, the…

rollercoaster of wood

After building the form, the first thing I did was glue in the tail block and the neck block. I fashioned both the neck block and tail block from solid mahogany. After cutting out the rough shapes I did the rest of the carving with chisels. Sharp chisels. The tail block is pretty standard. The…

Trying times

I’ve been wanting to build a copy of one of Benjamin Seaton’s famous try squares for months, but it has just been one of those projects that gets pushed back, and back, and back… And that’s just silly. Everything begins with square and everything comes back to square, so it just makes sense to make…

the shape of things to come

Sometimes it becomes clear that there are many ways to solve the same problem. They each have their advantages and challenges and at the end of the day you just have to pick the one you feel most comfortable with, try it and adjust from there. When I started reading up on how to build an acoustic guitar,…

Boxcars

If you looked around my shop and took inventory of my tool chest you might observe that I don’t own a proper jointer or try plane. On the other hand, I would argue that I actually do. They just don’t happen to have No.7 or No.8 on the tail end. Instead, at least for the…

Back where we began, with a step in the right direction.

I’ve been a musician since the third grade, and a guitarist for at least two dozen years, so it didn’t seem that far fetched to me a year ago when I decided that I was going to try to bring together two passions and build an acoustic guitar. Having built several electric guitars I knew something…