I know I have been gone for some time. I have been finishing up my last semester of school. Ever. It’s been rough. But I made it through alive.
While I was gone I began a project. A project that is teaching me more about instruments and music than learning the instruments is. I didn’t bring many tips about guitar to this blog. I found it easier to talk about instruments that were new to me. But this project has shed a new light on an instrument. It makes me appreciate all the magic in the acoustic guitar. Every detail, every tiny detail, makes the instrument beautiful.
I know, I know. You are dying to know what I have been doing.
That’s correct. I am building an acoustic guitar. And if you are wondering. Yes. This is my first time working with wood that doesn’t require nailing two-by-fours together.
Now, I think I would be crazy enough to try and do this with no woodworking abilities and no help, but that is not what I am doing. My pap has always worked with wood in his basement. I remember going down as a kid and watching him as he cut things and glued things and built things. I thought is was so cool that he was able to build just about anything he wanted. So I asked my pap if he would help me build a guitar.
“I don’t the first thing about building a guitar,” he said.
“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “We will figure it out together.”
Next thing I know, we are in his basement with blocks of wood and Natelson and Cumpiano’s book, “Guitarmaking. Tradition and Technology.
When you consider a project like this you already know it is going to be very time-consuming and difficult. I prepared myself for this. I understood that this is going to take time and that I would hit rough patches along the way. But however much detail you think goes into building this instrument, triple it.
Everything you do has an effect on the sound of the instrument. How much of the wood you scrape off; how thick you make the braces; how you shape the braces; how many braces you use; the shape of the guitar; the wood you use; how you touch the wood; how you blow on the wood. I think you get the point.
I just finished with bracing the soundboard. And as much of a bitch it was to do, it was incredibly rewarding. Shaping the braces was probably the most tedious thing I have ever done. Not only do the braces smoothly roll to a point, but some are also tapered. The tapered braces pull the soundboard enough to provide a slight concave.
Even after getting this much done, I already believe I have a much better understanding of the instrument. These hand-crafted instruments are a work of beauty; and hand crafting one lets your work become the beauty.
There is too much to say about this project than can fit in one post. Check back for the details of the steps up until this point as well as the details for future steps to come.