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OddManOut 01-15-2015 10:22 AM

Build Thread: Tahoe Guitars Madi RW/BC Lutz 00-14
My latest build by Larry Nair of Tahoe Guitars is underway. It will be a Madagascar Rosewood and bearclaw Lutz Spruce 00-14 long scale. Originally this was going to be an OM with a Carpathian top, but I decided I wanted a slightly smaller guitar with a more lush tone. The 25.4" scale on the 00-14 body pushes the bridge slightly more toward the center of the top. Larry has built a number of these and they have all been robust, powerful little guitars.

The Lutz top is quite light, very strong and has great tap tone. The goal is a guitar with a large dynamic range and a lush voice. The Madi RW set is nice, but not hugely figured. It does have a very rich butterscotch brown hue and great tap tone. The guitar body will be bound in curly mahogany, the neck in ebony.

I have posted some pics of the woody bits. I will keep this thread updated as pics roll in.

Tahoe Guitars 00-14

Top: Bearclaw Lutz Spruce
Back/Sides: Madagascar Rosewood
Binding: Curly Mahogany/Ebony
Neck: Five-piece mahogany/curly maple/walnut
Bridge/Fingerboard/Headplate: Ebony
Bracing: Adirondack Spruce
Frets: EVO Gold
Pearl Inlay: Logo, Rosette, 12th Fret
Nut: 1 3/4"
Saddle: 2 1/4"
Scale: 25.4"
Saddle/Nut/Pins: Bone

We are trying to get some nice 1/4" curly maple neck lams. Examples in the picture below. One maple board with a lot of fine curl at the surface (the one pictured above) didn't yield much curl on the narrow quartered edge of the neck lam (curl is visible on the slab side). The next attempt will be a board with thicker curl. You can see it shows nice curl on the quartered edge, but hasn't yet been taken down to the 1/4" thickness. We shall see if the curl remains visible at 1/4".

EDIT: 30 seconds after posting this, Larry sent me pics with the new curly maple neck lams cut to 1/4" thickness. I think the pic below tells the story. The neck mock-up in back shows the latest maple lams with the walnut center lam...lots of curl. The front mock-up shows one of the lams from the first board...not much curl visible. The darker neck (with wings) is sapele, which we will not be using. The actual neck will be built from the mahogany boards at the rear of the pic.

swiftz07 01-15-2015 11:03 AM

This looks wonderful great color on the madrose ;)

OddManOut 01-17-2015 07:42 PM

Back Center Strip

This looks wonderful great color on the madrose
Many thanks! Its color does come alive under some naptha. Should look even better under finish.

Here is a minor update to this build:

Larry is getting ready to join the back plates, and we needed to make a final decision on the back center strip. Below are the three choices...which would you choose? I'll let you know what I chose in the next update.

I don't have a picture of the back with a chevron center strip, but that was another option which I declined.

Curly mahogany?

Curly maple?

No center strip?

OddManOut 01-19-2015 11:34 AM

Joining Plates/Bending Sides/Neck Blank
I just received a batch of pics from Larry. There are multiple posts below.

Firstly, I went with no center strip on the back. I decided to allow the wood speak for itself.

Next, the top and back plates are being joined in a nail press and set aside to allow the glue to cure. The first two shots (from a previous build) show the nail press prior to the top/back being glued up.

Here are some pics of the back and top braces laid out on the brace stock.

OddManOut 01-19-2015 11:45 AM

Joining Plates/Bending Sides/Neck Blank

The side layout is drawn on the side using a template.

After being cut to profile, the sides are bent over the mold with a heat blanket.

They are then placed in a cooling jig to cool.

The mahogany-maple-walnut-maple-mahogany neck sandwich is glued up.

Order Up: One five-piece neck sandwich ready for cutting and carving.

OddManOut 01-22-2015 11:04 PM

Profiled and Rosette
A brief update...a few more pics have come in.

The top and back are profiled, the heel block is stamped, and the rosette is inlaid.

OddManOut 01-25-2015 01:00 PM

Blocking The Sides
A few more pics have rolled in...

Here Larry is blocking the sides.

OddManOut 01-26-2015 09:50 AM

Top Bracing
Here Larry is making the top braces and gluing them to the top on the go bar deck.

A few notes:

(1) The Tahoe 00-14 design is based on the Martin 00-14 design, which has a 24.9" scale. To accommodate the 25.4" scale, Larry's design simply moves the bridge back, leaving the position of the X-brace unchanged. This adjustment can be seen in the picture showing the bracing template. So there is a bit less overlap between the X-brace and the bridge. I suspect this helps contribute to the robust tonal character of this design.

(2) The braces have been tapered at the top to give them a more triangular profile. They will be rounded during the carving process, giving a more parabolic profile. This is in an effort to reduce mass while preserving strength.

(3) All brace ends below the X junction are left untucked, the intent being to maximize vibration on the outer edge of the soundboard.

(4) I have chosen to have no tongue brace.

OddManOut 01-26-2015 10:06 AM

Here is a more nuts-and-bolts procedure: Building a body mold. Larry uses an inner mold. Larry feels it is better to build a guitar with relaxed sides rather than having to force it into the exact spec contour. Once the sides are bent on the proper form, Larry matches key width dimensions to the spec body shape. There is usually a very small amount of variation in the contour of the sides from the spec shape between the key measurement points. Larry then builds the inner body mold to the resulting shape.

Sperry 01-30-2015 09:08 AM

GREAT series of pictures and explanation of progress! I love this stuff!!!

The 00-14 long scale is a nice design. IMHO it is widely overlooked by players who think they need a short scale to play the way they think they can. The smaller body moves the guitar in their grasp, and it's a whole new ball game. Takes an open mind to discover this, though.

OddManOut 01-30-2015 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by Sperry (Post 4335026)
GREAT series of pictures and explanation of progress! I love this stuff!!!

Thank you. I do, too. :up:


Originally Posted by Sperry (Post 4335026)
The 00-14 long scale is a nice design. IMHO it is widely overlooked by players who think they need a short scale to play the way they think they can. The smaller body moves the guitar in their grasp, and it's a whole new ball game. Takes an open mind to discover this, though.

With the long scale it is like a mini OM. So IMHO quite different than with a short scale. Larry has built a couple of these in the last two years, both long scale, both Adi over mahogany. The first was very similar sounding to my Adi/mahog OM. It had all the robust playing qualities of my OM, with just a bit less rumble and a bit more midrange punch. He varied the size of the soundhole for the second one to give it a bit more midrange spank. It was cool, but I prefer the fuller sounding version. It's an OM that tucks under the arm just a bit more.

Treenewt 01-31-2015 08:49 AM

Loving watching this build thread! Looks like a fantastic guitar coming your way!

OddManOut 02-01-2015 02:31 PM

X Cap, Kerf and Binding Bend

Loving watching this build thread! Looks like a fantastic guitar coming your way!
Thank you! I hope so...time will tell.

The final touch on the top bracing prior to tuning the top...the X-cap. This helps ensure the integrity of the X junction. The piece under the go bar is a caul. The cap itself is a smaller piece of spruce

Prebent kerfing helps reduce breakage during glue up.

Prebending the body binding. This is curly mahogany.

OddManOut 02-01-2015 02:44 PM

Back Bracing
Here Larry is laying out and prepping the back braces for gluing.

The back brace template...a standard ladder pattern. The position marks from the top pattern (see the X?) are showing through from the reverse side.

A raw back brace. Note the rectangular cross section.

The shaving commences.

Ahhh...that's better. The brace ends are not yet taken down to their final height. That happens later.

The back brace layout prior to gluing. I dig the Tahoe Guitars badge as part of the back reinforcement.

OddManOut 02-02-2015 09:11 PM

Back Braces
Here Larry is gluing up the back braces on the go bar deck. The one closeup showing the glue squeeze out is from a D-18H spec dread he is currently building for sale.

On a whim, Larry weighed the braces and shavings after shaping the back braces. 80g starting weight, 23g of shavings, 57g left on the braces. This is a 28.75% reduction in weight prior to final shaping and taking the ends to final height.

Here is a comparison of various necks. The finished necks are for guitars in the final stages of their build. The raw blank on the left is for my guitar. Note the thicker maple lams. The other is for the spec D-18H. The visible glue will be taken off when the necks are carved.

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