Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Long Wait

As keen as I am to string these guitars up and wave them goodbye, I have no choice but to wait several weeks for the lacquer top-coats to cure before I sand and polish them. I know from experience that to give in to my typical impatience is an exercise in futility, so the long wait begins.

Cheers, Pete

Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Finish Line

After what feels an eternity, I managed to begin the arduous process of applying finish to this crop of guitars this morning, with a seal coat of shellac applied ahead of the first coats of lacquer tomorrow.

I have three other guitars under construction, but with the inevitability of cold wet weather ahead, I vowed to put them to one side and take advantage of our unseasonably dry autumn with a view to finally completing these instruments, some of which I began years ago.

With fresh ideas in mind, I'm well and truly ready to move on from this collection of instruments, and I've come to the realisation that working on a batch of guitars like this can detract from my enjoyment of the process. A completed instrument would be nice!

Cheers, Pete

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bridge Day

With a template describing the bridge outline, and an appropriate jig to facilitate routing of the saddle slot, it's a fairly quick and easy job to fabricate these guitar bridges. A rasp, some cabinet scrapers and sandpaper complete the job after the blank has been cut to shape. The underside of the bridge will be shaped to match the dome of the soundboard at a later stage.

The bridges pictured are of Macassar ebony and padauk. Despite its somewhat extravagant colour, I look forward to using the padauk bridges; it's a much low density than the ebony. Unfortunately, padauk is yet another wood species that has recently been added to the CITES list, so these are the last bridges I'll have the opportunity to make from it.

Cheers, Pete


Monday, July 3, 2023

What's In a Name?

The back and sides of this guitar are of narra, which is an alternative name for a wood that's most often marketed here in Australia as New Guinea rosewood.

According to Wikipedia, the tree is a species of Pterocarpus native to southeastern Asia, northern Australasia, and the western Pacific Ocean islands, Cambodia, southernmost China, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam."

The wood is closely related to padauk - it's most definitely not a true rosewood - and as its range extends well beyond New Guinea, I much prefer to choose a less misleading name when discussing this guitar.

Most significantly, it's beautiful, easy to work, smells great and has a good reputation as a tonewood. What's not to like?

Cheers, Pete 

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Wow Factor - Australian Blackwood

I couldn't wait to see the grain of this Australian blackwood come to life when epoxy was applied, so I didn't!

This wasn't a particularly expensive set of back and sides, so I'm very pleased that a thin film of epoxy has had such a dramatic effect.

More practically, this not only gives me a head start where pore filling is concerned, but has provided a level of protection to the wood ahead of routing binding channels and installing the ebony bindings.



Saturday, May 27, 2023

Winter Is Coming!

As I immersed myself in the task of designing my workshop a few years ago, I looked into the possibility of dedicating a corner of the building to a spray booth. As inviting as the idea was, I was discouraged by the prospective cost of the necessary explosion-proof extraction fan and lights and abandoned the idea. I'm left with Plan B, which is to erect a temporary insect-proof enclosure in a sheltered area of our property which, unfortunately, limits my ability to spray through the winter months when daytime temperatures are typically in single digits and high humidity is problematic.

I came close recently to buying fresh supplies of lacquer and thinners in readiness for spraying this crop of guitar bodies; however, although there are still stretches of fine weather, they are unreliable and increasingly uncommon. As keen as I am to complete some guitars, I've come to accept that I've probably left my run too late.

I'm impatient and more than a little frustrated, but I'm sure I'll find plenty to occupy me through our winter months. Obviously, I'm looking forward to spring when I'll finally be able to string up some guitars!



Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Other End of the Workshop

It's only natural - and advantageous - that guitar builders develop some skills where playing the guitar is concerned. Frankly, I'd love to be more adept as a player and be able to better assess the acoustic instruments I create in terms of their playability and tone. Unfortunately, after 50 years of sporadic playing I have limited abilities and don't practice nearly often enough to improve in anything other than small increments. Some ongoing hand problems I've learned to live with also contribute to my limitations as a player.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy an hour or two of mindless noodling from time to time, and with that in mind I've set up a desk in a spare corner of the workshop where I can plug in an electric guitar, with visions of recording some original music on the rare occasions that inspiration pays me a visit.

Having concluded that I have no aspirations to gig anywhere even if I thought I was a decent enough player, it seemed wasteful and self-indulgent to have collected an assortment of effect pedals and an amplifier that together represent a significant financial outlay. With my pedals and amplifier currently for sale, my new approach to playing my electric guitar is to make use of a couple of Neural DSP's plug-ins and either a pair of headphones or some studio monitors. Along with my laptop and an audio interface, I can dial in a greater variety of tones than I previously could with my amp and pedals and, as a result, I have hopes that I'll be motivated to devote more time to playing and practice once our cold, wet, winter weather closes in and I'm less inclined to attend to outside jobs around our little property.

  • Audio interface: PreSonus Studio 26c 
  • Studio monitors: KRK Classic 5
  • Headphones: PreSonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones
  • Plug-ins: Neural DSP's Archetype: Cory Wong and Archetype: Rabea
  • Guitar: Ibanez Q54



The Long Wait

As keen as I am to string these guitars up and wave them goodbye, I have no choice but to wait several weeks for the lacquer top-coats to cu...