Vive la différence

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Trevor Gore
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Vive la différence

Post by Trevor Gore » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:42 pm

There have been a number of posts recently (motivation, innovative bracing, elevated fingerboards, low tension guitar) that made me think I ought to contribute a few pics of recent guitars. Like John Ray mentions, writing can be wearing, so having got the 2nd edition out it was good to get the focus back on guitars and concentrate on my diverse build list. So here are three recent ones, all quite different.

The first is a relatively normal classical, but shorter scale length at 645mm and with very dense gidgee (an Australian acacia, 1300kg/m3) as the back and sides wood. With the timber being that dense, it was always going to be a non-live back, which, cutting a long lecture in acoustics short, tends to favour “volume” over “tone”. It has a falcate braced, Engelmann spruce top with a French polished finish and nitro on the rest of the guitar. It has my usual bolt-on/ bolt off neck, with an adjustable truss rod and interchangeable compensated nuts and saddles for different string sets (mixtures mainly of Knoblochs and Seaguars).
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The second is very different; a neo-classical body shape with a redwood top and palo dorado back and sides. The rosette is spalted Australian blackwood. It has a live back, so favouring “tone” over “volume” (not that it’s short on volume). The neck is my bolted design, compensated nut and saddle with the action set to “fast!” The guitar is pitched in the flamenco negra zone and has a huge tonal palette. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do to it, it still pushes out great sound.
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The third is a small body, cutaway, adjustable neck guitar in Engelmann spruce and Indian rosewood with a pick-up installed. It has to hold its own playing the classical repertoire as a typically classical sounding guitar and be able to front an ensemble acoustically (which I’m informed it does very well). But it also has to be suitable for the Latin/jazz repertoire, hence the cutaway, the pick up and the tilt neck facilitating the transition between the styles. The neck angle is adjustable via a wheel which can be spun with a finger, accessible through the sound hole. I’ve never really been a fan of multi-role fighter/bomber/tank/submarine types of device as they tend not to do anything particularly well. But I got away with it with this design and it is a powerful, lovely sounding, very easy playing instrument.
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Returning to John Ray’s question, there’s no better motivation that having a bunch of challenges like these!
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Pat Dodson
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Pat Dodson » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:02 pm

They are all stunning Trevor. Having just started jazz lessons I'm particularly attracted to the cutaway guitar whose pale top and striking rosette are especially delightful. Thanks for posting.

Adam
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Adam » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:04 pm

Awesome work. Lots of nice little design touches on all the guitars. Are the side purfling lines on the 3rd one part of the binding? Looks really nice.

Also, are they "falcate"?

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bacsidoan
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by bacsidoan » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:21 pm

I'm the owner of the first one and would like to dispute Mr. Trevor's assertion:
"... which, cutting a long lecture in acoustics short, tends to favour volume over tone"

This darn thing, of course, put out ample power but the tone ain't half bad either, quite lyrical, in fact. My only complaints are:
1. Unpleasant odor from the sound hole. This a well known property of gidgee.
2. It is a very heavy bugger. There's no way one can hold the guitar without a support device.

johnparchem
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by johnparchem » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:09 pm

Gorgeous guitars. The first with the Australian acacia is stunning. I also like the way the classical heel looks on the cutaway.

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SeanWinkler
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by SeanWinkler » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:35 pm

bacsidoan wrote:I'm the owner of the first one and would like to dispute Mr. Trevor's assertion:
"... which, cutting a long lecture in acoustics short, tends to favour volume over tone"

This darn thing, of course, put out ample power but the tone ain't half bad either, quite lyrical, in fact. My only complaints are:
1. Unpleasant odor from the sound hole. This a well known property of gidgee.
2. It is a very heavy bugger. There's no way one can hold the guitar without a support device.
I have very similar Rodgers on my 2016 Aaron Green, except mine also have the scalloped edge engraving. Really lovely guitar (both yours, and my Green)!
Remember Anthony Weller, please help. Contact myself or Aaron Green for details.

Dave M
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Dave M » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:39 pm

Trevor you're a bugger. How can we aspire to this level of craftsmanship!

Are you using 12 hole bridges? I can't quite tell from the pics.

Did the idea of a supplement to edition 1 of the books covering the new material go anywhere? I for one would be happy to pay for such.

Cheers Dave
Dave

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bacsidoan
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by bacsidoan » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:54 pm

Dave M wrote:Trevor you're a bugger. How can we aspire to this level of craftsmanship!

Are you using 12 hole bridges? I can't quite tell from the pics.

Did the idea of a supplement to edition 1 of the books covering the new material go anywhere? I for one would be happy to pay for such.

Cheers Dave
The first guitar has a 12 hole tie-block, but I only use 6 channels because each of them was lined with a brass sleeve that will never wear out, hence no decrease in "break angle".

Jeremy Clark
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Jeremy Clark » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:53 pm

Trevor those are gorgeous, motivation indeed!

Despite it's reputable "funk factor" how was that gidgee to work with? I have a couple of tool handles made of the stuff and it seems incredibly tough. The rosette on that "adjustable neck" is, as the kids say, totally sick! Thanks for sharing your work...
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mqbernardo
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by mqbernardo » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:58 am

Very nicely done! The gidgee guitar, once more, really does it for me.
I wonder what palo dorado is. It sort of looks like satinwood, but with more browns (at least here on the phone). Tried to google it but didn't find much info.

Congratulations!

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Trevor Gore » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:35 am

Thanks for all the kind comments!
Adam wrote:Are the side purfling lines on the 3rd one part of the binding?
Yes, Adam. I glue matching purfling lines to the bindings, bend them together and glue them in as one piece.
Adam wrote:Also, are they "falcate"?
Yes, all are various versions of falcate bracing to suit the particular size and shape of the guitar.
bacsidoan wrote:This darn thing, of course, put out ample power but the tone ain't half bad either, quite lyrical, in fact. My only complaints are:
1. Unpleasant odor from the sound hole. This a well known property of gidgee.
2. It is a very heavy bugger. There's no way one can hold the guitar without a support device.
That the smell is unpleasant to you, Doan, is unfortunate. The smell is variously described as boiled cabbage to violets! I can barely smell it (along with other acacias) so it doesn't affect me, fortunately. The fact that I can't smell wattle (acacia) has been deemed to disqualify me from being Australian! But I can smell things that other people struggle to believe, like being able to distinguish between different metals by smell alone. I shellacked the inside back and sides, too, which only goes to show that thin shellac is permeable!
johnparchem wrote: I also like the way the classical heel looks on the cutaway.
John, I think that's just a trick of the light in the photos I posted. Here's what the heel really looks like:
DSCF9095cs.jpg
The cone thing is just a strap button. Nothing to do with the adjustable neck.
Dave M wrote: Are you using 12 hole bridges?
Yes, Dave. All have 12 hole bridges, but tied as 6 hole.
Dave M wrote: Did the idea of a supplement to edition 1 of the books covering the new material go anywhere? I for one would be happy to pay for such.
I think it's unlikely to happen. Too much other stuff to do, I'm afraid.
Jeremy Clark wrote:Despite it's reputable "funk factor" how was that gidgee to work with?
The highly figured stuff is impossible to plane (the only wood that I have come across that I haven't been able to plane) and it doesn't scrape well either. But it does sand well. It likes to facet on the figure when bending, so achieving smooth bends is very difficult. The bindings, which are much more highly figured than the sides, with a lot of end grain showing, are even more difficult to bend and keep in one piece. So not for the faint of heart. The straight grain stuff (like the fretboard) works reasonably well.
mqbernardo wrote:Very nicely done!.....I wonder what palo dorado is.
Thanks, Miguel. "Palo" translates as "stick" or "staff". Dorado translates as "gold" or "golden". That makes it "golden staff" (not to be confused with "golden staph"). :D
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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:08 pm

I am the owner of the Redwood top with Pterocarpus indicus B&S (Palo Dorado). The sound is spectacular! That instrument redefines the limits of classical guitar and excellence!

My musical circle includes many, from people with PhDs in theory and Masters in a performance discipline to semi-pro rockers like myself, and everybody in between. Everyone who has heard it vehemently praises it's sound quality, so much so, it is under to category of being blown away! And, that amazing tone is present from the quietest passage to the very loud statements the instrument is capable of. It's loud but at an audiophile level. Did I say it's really loud? Oh, and it's capable of huge volume and projection. :D The sustain is also not believable unles yo play it and hear it. Note separation, articulation, with simultaneous warmth of over tones - all present. I can romp on it hard, and all notes are distinct, clear, crisp. But when I want sweet overtones, I let the instrument speak for itself.

Trevor and I started with my pet build philosophy a guitar that is much like me - made by an Australian, and 50/50 Aussie and Nor Cal woods. Trevor went farther and made it more playable to accommodate my left hand injuries.

Like a buffoon, I already scratched the French Polish top. My bad and my ignorance. For Trevor's part, he delivered one of the best guitars on Planet Earth. And so say the many who have heard it!

I plan to record a local professional playing this instrument - not soon. But when I do, and am satisfied that the recording represents the instrument accurately, I'll post it for you guys.
Last edited by Andrew Pohlman on Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Colin Bullock
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Colin Bullock » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:49 pm

Trevor Gore wrote: Yes, all are various versions of falcate bracing to suit the particular size and shape of the guitar.

Trevor
I have your excellent books which describe the falcate bracing. Do you have any advice for those of us who would like to adapt it for the classical model in the book?

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Trevor Gore » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:26 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote: For Trevor's part, he delivered one of the best guitars on Planet Earth. And so say the many who have heard it!
High praise indeed! Thanks Andrew. Got to say, I enjoyed it whilst I had it!
Andrew Pohlman wrote:I plan to record a local professional playing this instrument...
Looking forward to it!
Colin Bullock wrote:Do you have any advice for those of us who would like to adapt it for the classical model in the book?
Colin, use the lattice braced plantilla rather than the Fleta style one, unless you want to come up with one of your own. If you use your own, go smaller rather than bigger. For proportions, check out Fig. 4.6.32. Check out Appendix VI in Design. You need to target the classical modal resonances remembering that the falcate braced example in the book is for a steel string instrument. Use the classical "f" numbers in Equ. 4.5-7 and design the bracing accordingly (Section 4.4). Everything you need to come up with your own designs is in the books. The four plans included are just (very) detailed examples to demonstrate how the system works.

And finally, take it easy and enjoy yourself!

Colin Bullock
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Re: Vive la différence

Post by Colin Bullock » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:36 pm

Trevor Gore wrote: And finally, take it easy and enjoy yourself!
Thanks for the advice on adapting the bracing.
I'm certainly going to enjoy myself but plan to do some testing of final instrument as you describe elsewhere.

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