anyone building their own classical guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
simon
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: United Kingdom

anyone building their own classical guitar?

Post by simon » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:46 pm

hi all

i am contemplating building a classical guitar sometime in the future and was wondering if anyone is building their first classical at the moment.
if you are how is it going?

i have ordered a good book on the subject and cant wait to read exactly how it is done, and exactly what tools you need etc.

best wishes
Simon
Roger Allan 1937 Hauser + Zoom H4 + GTP3 = Hours of Fun !!!

rbjem

Post by rbjem » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:41 am

I am in the beginning stages of my first classical guitar. So far everything is pretty good. My top and back is joined and thicknessed, sides bent and I am currently working on the neck.

One book that is a necessity is Guitarmaking:Tradition and Technology by William Cumpiano. This book goes through all the tiny details of every step involved. I read this book cover to cover before I picked out the materials for my guitar.

Hope you have a good time making yours if you choose to do so. Just remember that an acoustic is a serious time investment and definetly no cakewalk.

Collin

DWB48MS

My first guitar has not yet been built!

Post by DWB48MS » Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:56 pm

Simon,

Building a classical guitar is one of my life goals, but I have not yet started the actual construction. The Cumapiano book is excellent. You might also consider THE classic in guitar building "Classic Guitar Construction" by Irving Sloane. It is not as comprehensive as Cumpiano's, but is a great companion guide. Jim William's book "A Guitar Maker's Manual" is also very good and actually comes with paper templates for getting started.

In order to start, I purchased a kit from Grizzly tool manufacturers. That is a pretty inexpensive way to actually practice some of the skills needed and to discover some of the challenges that are before you. The guitar made with a kit will not be concert quality, but will sound pretty good.

I have also looked at working with a Luthier. Several have programs that allow you to do this. One of the best is Cumpiano. Kenny Hill used to do this, but I have not seen any of his classes advertised for some time. Waiting lists for these are usually long, but you can get a great guitar on your first try this way. These classes are typically around $3000, plus your travel and living expenses if you do not live nearby.

You might want to visit a luthier and talk with them if you can find one nearby. I have done so with a couple and they are almost always very open to sharing with you the process of building a guitar and will show you the jigs you need to build. You may even be able to purchase some of their older jigs to get started.

Hope these insights help. Best of luck on your adventure!

DWB48MS

The Dado

Post by The Dado » Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:43 pm

Hi,

I'm in the process of building it starting from a unserviced kit from LMI, which means starting from scratch but with all the materials avalaible.

Here is the story.

I started Easter day this year and i'm almost done, hopefully by Christmas my beauty will be ready, although after a couple of months i was working by myself (following the cumpiano book and a nice DVD that came with the kit from Robbie O'Brian) I stopped because I made a MAJOR mistake on the top of the guitar while inlaying the rosette channel.
That bummed me out and I didn't feel to continue 'cause even if i finished with no other problems, that mistake was there right on the top.
I started again about a month ago because I met a luthier that lives about 10 miles from where I am.
When I went to the shop I had in mind to ask him to finish it for me, but I dared and asked him if he would coach me so I could finish it myself, I was ready to ask how much for it, and he actually asked only to "Help him to keep the shop clean".
I couldnt believe my luck, I got a "wax on wax off" kind of deal!!

Working with a luthier made everything easier of course. having knowledge and a shop full of tools available it's priceless.

that said I still think it's possible to finish a guitar by yourself and without all of the expensive tools, before i made the mistake I was doing pretty good while having a great time. And even after i made the mistake I could have just bought material for another top and go on with my project.
Granted, you are going to need some tools but you can buy them one at a time when you need it, and you are going to make mistake that are gonna cost you time and money
Regarding knowledge, well this is the internet age and you can find pretty much anything you want. here is a couple of links that should get you started:

http://www.mimf.com
http://www.luthiersforum.com

So my advice is do it without setting your goals and expectation too high, at least for the first guitar!

Keep us posted, I'll try to do the same

Ciao

Paolo

jpetruzzini

Bujilding your first guitar

Post by jpetruzzini » Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:32 pm

Simon,
If you decide to use the Sloane book you need to know that he omits one important step in the building process. The book does not make allowances for the thickness of the back when positioning the neck to the heel. When you arrive at the point where the back has to be glued you will find that the heel is not recessed at the bottom to allow for the thickness of the back.
I did build my first guitar using the Sloane book. Afterwards I ran across the Cumpriano book already mentioned and I believe the Cumpriano book to be more comprehensive and more detailed.
Joe Petruzzini

geo-co

Post by geo-co » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:13 pm

I'm in the middle of an 'unserviced' LMI kit and have been referencing O'brian's DVD, Cumapiano and Sloane's book (yes, there are some omissions that I have picked up when comparing it to the Cumapiano book and O'brian's DVD). For me, I used to do quite a bit of woodworking several years ago and this project has been my return to woodworking.

I would recommend spending the time on the forms and jigs that are referenced in the books. While these items are essential, they also serve the purpose of developing the skills you will need when you are working with the expense woods. Making mistakes with plywood and MDF are far less stressful than those made with rosewood...

Good luck!

Geo.

geo-co

Post by geo-co » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:17 pm

The Dado wrote:

I stopped because I made a MAJOR mistake on the top of the guitar while inlaying the rosette channel.
Paolo -
I'm getting close to doing the top on my guitar. In the interest of not making the same mistake, could you share what went wrong on your rosette channel?

Thanks,
Geo.

DWB48MS

Rosette Channel

Post by DWB48MS » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:22 pm

I also am stuck on how to cut a rosette channel on an existing top. The top is from a kit and is already glued onto the body of the guitar, but there is no rosette channel. I have thought of using a router, but how does one keep it in a channel sized for the rosette?

GWS

Anyone building thier own classical guitar?

Post by GWS » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:30 am

Hi Guys
I have just finished building first guitar and would recommend it to anyone with a mediocum of woodworking skills. I used several books, the Compiano book is good because it describes each process in micro detail. The other book I found very useful is Making Master Guitars by Roy Courtnall, it has guitar plans from most of the famous makers i.e. Hauser, Fleta, Santos, Romillos, etc and also plans for bridge clamps and a really useful adjustable workboard/mould.

In response to DWB48MS
To cut the channel for the rosette I used a Dremel with a router base and soundhole/Rosette routing jig puchased from Stew Mac.





[http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Jigs/ ... g_Jig.html
]
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Dreme ... _Base.html
]

DWB48MS

Rosette Channel

Post by DWB48MS » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:44 am

GWS,

Wow! This is exactly what I am looking for. Thanks for the tip.

The Dado

Post by The Dado » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:52 am

geo-co,

I simply cut my rosette channel by hand using a chisel. It was a pain.
The channel itself came out Ok at best, but I was not careful with grain direction and i ended up chipping the top right outside the channel itself, aarrgh!!

I still think it can be done, with a little more experience, but why? the solution offered by GWS looks really good and not too expensive.

By the way, GWS, can you share some pics of your finished guitar if you can? I would really appreciate it. thanks

Ciao

Paolo

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