Planning

Fantasy is more important than knowledge for knowledge is limited and fantasy surrounds the entire world.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Many decisions have to be made and designs drawn up before a guitar can be built. Most guitars I build are made to order. I like to have a relaxed discussion with the player and find out what type of music this person is playing, what preferences he or she has and how the person plays. Armed with this information, the musician and I plan the guitar together.

The more unusual your wishes are, the longer the planning process. When all the details are finally ironed out, the customer chooses the wood.

This is the beginning of each and every guitar.

Building phase 1

“Doing it” is the only way to prove a skill.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830 – 1916)

In the first half of the build, very little progress seems to take place. Yet, a lot of progress in this phase comes from finalizing the details. I start by manufacturing all the individual components.

Very often I start by joining the soundboard pieces, then planning the soundboard to the appropriate thickness. This is followed by inserting the rosette and gluing it on the soundhole, trim the bars and strips and detailing it all out. All the other main components (sides, bottom and neck) are then manufactured piece by piece.

Then ...

Building phase 2

Perseverance will be rewarded sooner or later … but, mostly later.

Wilhelm Busch (1832 – 1908)

… then I join all the parts together and suddenly it starts to look like a guitar. She’s not quite finished though. Many steps in the build are still to come.

The binding and pieces of purfling are inserted and fitted. Then the body is cleaned, and the fretboard prepped and glued on. After inserting the frets, the guitar is again sanded and cleaned thoroughly. After the bridge is finished, all the parts of the guitar which are not to receive lacquer are taped and the guitar is finally ready to receive her finish.
A good shellac polish takes about three weeks.

Once that step is done, I rework all the frets to give the guitar outstanding playability. Then the bridge is glued in place and the tuners are installed.

Last but not least, two final details are missing which have to be fitted with absolute perfection. These are the saddle and nut. Most of the time these are made of bone.

The last steps in manufacturing determine whether the guitar sounds great, or only good …