David’s Acoustic BYO

Having already built a 6120 style guitar AND an Abbey Road with me, David has embarked on the building of his own acoustic guitar under my tutelage.

This guitar is an RGa59 guitar which features a very challenging- from a builder’s viewpoint – cutaway.

He’s opted to build this guitar using a Sitka spruce top and some very exclusive and expensive Macassar ebony for the back and sides.

We’ve allocated half a day a week to the project, which suits us both…

The Macassar ebony has proven quite challenging to bend and I’ve lent a hand with the tricky bits.

Fortunately, nothing broke…

In our next session, the sides are fitted into the mould and cut to the right lengths to start assembling the bent sides into the body of the RGa59…

With the sides fitted into the mould, the head and tail blocks are cut to size and shape, and glued in.

Next session, the linings are glued in and the braces are cut to the appropriate lengths…

…and then the top can be glued on.

With the top and sides done, David trims the excess from the top before routing the top edge flush with the sides.

Now before we progress any further, I’ve convinced David that we need to apply some of Roger Siminoff’s theories on the subject of tuning the guitar’s components…

We found it difficult to tune each brace but we have gone to some lengths to tune the guitar’s top.

It panned out that we tuned the top to A#- we wanted it tuned to a note not commonly used by a guitar player- and A# would be good.

We achieved this note through trimming the braces AND thinning the top by sanding, checking both the thickness at the edge and checking the note the top produced as we went.

When we glued in the bridge plate, the note dropped to A – not what we wanted, because us guitar players love playing in A!

But judiciously paring the braces of the top and sanding the EDGES of the top, the note was dropped to G# plus a few cents…

With the top tuned, David trimmed the back braces…

…installed the label…

…and glued the back in place.

The body of David’s guitar is completed and the top and back are trimmed flush with the sides. The end strip is marked out with a sharp blade.

When the strip fits neatly, it’s glued in.

Now any irregularities in the roundness of the guitar’s sides are sanded out.

The binding ledges are routed…

…and the binding installed.

With the binding done, David machined up the timber for the neck…

…and with the neck made, some inlaying on the headstock seemed appropriate.

David has opted to inlay his initials into the headstock which he cut out of white mother-of-pearl.

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The holes for the machine heads are drilled…

… and it’s time to fit the neck to the body.

The painting of David’s guitar is now MY responsibility and when it’s done, David rubs back the finish and then buffs it to a really great shine.

The bridge is then glued into position…

…and the following day, the bridge pin holes are drilled and it’s time to fit the strings..

David plays his new guitar for the first time…

OK- it will need a couple of adjustments, but it sounds highly promising and we have to say that the new guitar really looks very special…