The Santos that never was.

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Michael.N.
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The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:48 am

Image

Early last year I decided to make a Santos copy, flamenco. I got as far as the neck being fairly advanced but that's about it. It was placed on the 'to do' pile, maybe, someday, perhaps, who knows.
Seemed a shame to abandon it completely so I decided to repurpose it. There was a little problem. My Santos neck was cut for a 650 scale and 51 mm width. I wanted to alter the scale to 630 or 635 mm's, the heel and heel slots already cut. The only way I could do it was to slightly fudge the 12 th fret body joint, the top nut depth and move the slot for the sides as far up the neck as I could, which wasn't very much. I managed with the 635 mm scale without things looking very odd.

Image

So the neck has finally found a body to latch on to. The bracing is one that I've tried a couple of times on experimental models, both abandoned ladder braced. That's the beauty of experimental models, you can hack away the old bracing and replace it with something else without being too precious about it. This is the first guitar proper that uses this bracing. I term it flèche bracing, for obvious reasons. It also sounds posh.
Last edited by Michael.N. on Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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gjo
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by gjo » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:11 am

That looks fine and promising, but may I ask you why do you call it a "Santos"? There are so many differences that I now dare to ask this question.

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:23 am

It isn't a Santos. It started off as a Santos, just the neck. That's why I termed it the Santos that never was.
The back/sides are of yew. I swear that it's a complete coincidence and had nothing to do with the flèche bracing. However when I did realise the coincidence I thought about doing a herringbone rosette in Lincoln green. . . . that was taking things a little too far.

Image

The yew is quite pink! even when a finish is applied. Somehow I don't think pink is a great colour for an adult guitar. So now I've just placed the whole thing in my UV light cabinet to tone it down, hopefully a lot. It should come out more Orange/Brown. I think it will have to be in there for over one week, my UV lights are losing their power. Once out of the cabinet I can then start varnishing it. Fretboard is oak that I've dyed black. If it gives trouble I'll replace it for one that is bog oak. Bridge might be oak too. I haven't decided on that yet.
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MessyTendon
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:54 pm

I would have thought the pink color would have been pretty cool. I like minimalist designs, no fancy stuff, just wood binding, and a minimalist rosette, or no rosette at all. Is there something wrong with me, I just don't like rosettes.

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:15 pm

Nope, sorry. Can't do pink.
This one has a relatively simple rosette, just lines. I'm pretty fond of that type, they never really go out of fashion. Simple. elegant, unfussy, timeless.
Don't know about the complete absence of a rosette though, that might be a bit too austere even for my minimalist taste. Quite a number of ukuleles omit the rosette but they are obviously very small instruments. With a modern guitar it's a lot of blank estate, I just feel you've got to fill some of that space with something. That's just my personal opinion and I guess that the vast majority of players go along with that even though they won't all share my aesthetic ideals.
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Big bird
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Big bird » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:24 pm

N/A
________________________________
Randy ( Big Bird, it's what my grandkids call me)
2015 ESTEVE 7SR - 650/52 Spruce/EIRW
2016 ESTEVE 8 - 650/52 Cedar/EIRW
2017 Yamaha SLG200NW

MessyTendon
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:33 pm

Do we get a sound sample?

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:57 pm

Not if it sounds rubbish, no. That could be a couple of months away.
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Aaron Green
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Aaron Green » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:59 pm

On the topic of tanning wood, since you have a UV cabinet, you might try the solution that a number of violin makers use, which last I checked was called something like Impertura Dorata or something like that. It's basically something you brush on and stick in the UV booth. It turns maple and spruce the most gorgeous cinnamon color. It stops reacting once you get it out of the booth so it's like fuming with nitric acid or something like that, where the color changes and the wood is slowly eaten away.

I would bet that would work well on Yew, it'd be worth a shot anyways, if you find the pink color objectionable.
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Chris Sobel
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Chris Sobel » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:06 am

Michael,

I find your bracing very pleasing to look at. Like an arrow going out the sound hole.

Chris
CE Sobel Guitars

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:51 am

The bracing came about by accident. I had made an experimental classical with ladder bracing. Before it went on the bonfire I decided to try one single central brace, very minimalist. Off came the back and I removed the ladder bracing and replaced it with that one central brace. It sounded fine but after a few days I noticed that the soundboard was taking on more of a bulge than I liked. I then glued bracing to the outside of the soundboard. Of course the bridge was in the way, so two braces ran either side of the wings, two ran from just behind the bridge. I think I tried a few positions with these braces. The soundboard looked a mess but that wasn't important. I tried it again on another experimental ladder braced guitar but this time I placed the braces internal. I only really noticed the arrow effect on the second guitar. They are obviously running more across the grain than typical fan braces, especially those that are near the bridge position. Lattice does that but on steroids.
Aaron. I'm not sure you can get that Dorata solution anymore. I think it stopped being sold when Koen Padding died. One thing I did notice with this yew is that it's easy to inadvertently stain it or produce water marks. Hide glue was sending it an odd colour, kind of purple and crimson. Plain water was having a similar effect. Fortunately the stain doesn't run deep.
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Aaron Green
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Aaron Green » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:04 pm

Hi Michael,

Humm good to know. And sorry to hear that. The only time I used it was when I built the La Bella guitar, which was one of my only maple instruments. At the time my shop was located between two world class fiddle shops and my friend Marilyn Wallin helped me out. This was 16 years ago and the solution was new to the market then. Worked like a champ.

A few years ago I was talking with another excellent Boston maker named Marco Coppiardi, he builds incredible reproductions of often highly decorated Italian instruments. He claimed that he knew how to recreate that formula and I was remiss at the time in not following up on that. Might be a good idea to do so.

A
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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:44 am

The yew has come back from it's UV light beach holiday.

Image

That's with a couple of sealer coats of clear shellac. Lovely aged warm colour that draws you in. Makes you want to feel the wood. Ignore the lower left, I guess that's because the flash triggered. The colour in reality is somewhere close to half way up the back.
Now it can be varnished proper. I was thinking about using a bridge made of yew, then I remembered that I don't have any, at least not of that thickness. I'll have to try fake a bit of oak.
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Aaron Green
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Aaron Green » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:39 am

That's a gorgeous color. Everything looks better with a tan...:). Nice!
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Michael.N.
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Re: The Santos that never was.

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:45 am

Yes, it's just like cypress that's been lying around for a hundred years and never seen any varnish! Anyway I didn't do anything, I just sent it on holiday. UV light cabinet, every maker should have one.
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