|Laying out the tone bars|
I didn't make a conscious effort to abandon posting to my blog but, after a while, I began to wonder why I didn't feel compelled to write anything and I eventually came to the conclusion that the reason I did take a hiatus says a lot about the process of building the instrument.
There are, of course, the practical reasons, like the fact that it's hard to find time to build a guitar when you can barely find the time to do all of the other things that come before it. The last three months have been very, very packed, so that certainly played a role. But in the end, I think the real reason for my delay had more to do with the challenges of building an arch top guitar than anything else.
I could probably spout out a very long and boring explanation right now, but I'll spare you the trouble of reading it and try to narrow it down to two issues:
I find the first reason most interesting. I think I mentioned several times how much I love the freedom of carving. It's one part of the process of building a guitar that doesn't require precise measurements and instead relies on feel and intuition to achieve the proper shape and proportion. But the fact is, a flat top guitar like the one I build before requires very little carving. Aside from the carving of the neck and the braces, there isn't much carving to be done. And the carving that is required is fairly focused. In other words, it's not that hard to visualize what a neck should look like and how it should feel.
|Carving the back|
The second reason is much simpler: Let's put it this way: Growing grass is an amazing process. The fact that a blade of grass emerges from the earth and soaks up sun and water and nutrients from the soil to grow into its beautiful, green self is fascinating. But I don't much care to sit around watching it happen. Same goes with arch top building. Building a flat top involves lots of different steps. Carve here, glue there, mitre here, brace there. Arch tops, on the other hand, are carve, carve, carve, carve, carve, at least to the point we've reached now. So there's only so much you can say about it and, as committed as I am to boring you with the minutiae of guitar building, I'm not a sadist.
With that long-winded explanation I'll move on to actually catching up on the progress, which has been substantial in recent weeks.
|Measuring the thickness of the top|
Aside from the carving, most of the time has been spent on small details like gluing in the kerfing, and laying out, shaping, and gluing in the tone bars. The tone bars represent a major difference between the flat top and arch top guitars. Flat tops have intricate bracing systems and multiple tone bars. Since the carved wood of an arch top is much stronger than the flat pieces of a flat top, very little bracing is needed and the tone bars serve primarily to transfer sound throughout the top. Other steps since I last wrote include gluing the head and tail blocks to the sides, then gluing braces into them.
|Cutting out the sound holes|
So the holes are now cut and I'm very happy with my design. They still require lots of touch up, but I think they'll turn out well in the end.
|The top after cutting the sound holes|