It was a busy month full of long workdays and little sleep, but somehow I managed to get all three of the guitars done for delivery and for show at the Hamilton Guitar Festival.
The plan is to build about 4 guitars a year, and somehow I have already built 4 this year. For the rest of the year, I will be taking some time to finish old projects and improve some basic woodworking skills. Of course, if any commissions come along, I would be happy to work on those as well (shameless plug)!
The first guitar to be delivered this past weekend was the asymmetrical steel-string guitar. I was incredibly happy with how this one turned out. The wood choices (chosen by the customer) work really well together, and the inlays look quite sharp. The tone and volume of the guitar are pleasing – I was very reluctant to hand this one over to my cousin! True to form, I forgot to take pictures of the guitar, so I had to ask Andrew to take some after I dropped off the guitar.
I used just about every species of wood that I had in my scrap box to make the headstock inlay on this guitar: maple (birdseye and flamed), cherry, purpleheart, holly, butternut, lacewood, mahogany, walnut, zebra wood, and rosewood.
I was particularly happy with how the asymmetry of the bridge complimented the asymmetry of the headstock.
I finished the guitar with General Finish’s Enduro-Var which brought out the grain of the wood beautifully. I have to work on my brushing technique, but overall, this is my favourite finish yet.
After delivering the steel-string, Craig and I moved on to the Hamilton Guitar Festival, where I spent a lovely Saturday chatting with luthiers and performers. I had the two Torres guitar copies there, and several players gave them a test drive.
I used the same Enduro-Var finish on these guitars. The original Torres guitars would have most likely been finished with an oil varnish, something that is not readily available today because of the environmental concerns that are associated with such finishes. The Enduro-Var is a water based varnish that has been formulated to mimic the look of oil varnish, so I thought it would be perfect for these historically informed builds.
The Quilted Maple:
And the Flamed Maple:
The rosette turned out best on the commissioned guitar, although personally, I think that the quilted maple guitar sounded just slightly better from the outset. It is hard to say for sure though as I did install different sets of strings on the two guitars (Augustine Classic High tension on the quilted maple, and Aquila Nylgut strings on the flamed guitar).
I am very happy with the spruce from Rudolf Fuchs at germanspruce.com. Beautiful wood with fantastic tone and great service. I will definitely be ordering more for future projects.
I used cutoffs from the steel-string guitar to make the headstock for the quilted maple guitar, and cutoffs from a rosewood and spruce classical guitar for the headstock of the flamed guitar. The headstock design is taken from the original Torres design, however, I used a slotted headstock for modern tuning machines instead of the original peg head design.
I still have the quilted maple guitar, and although I will likely sell it at some point, for now I will use it for 19th century guitar repertoire. I will be getting back to a regular practise routine in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully I will have a new YouTube video up (featuring the quilted Torres guitar) before the month is out.
I have a lot more planned for this summer, including slightly more regular blog posts, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!