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OddManOut 06-25-2015 07:09 AM

Build Thread: Tahoe Guitars Mahogany/Carpathian 000-12
Here is a build thread for my latest guitar being built by Larry Nair of Tahoe Guitar Co.. It is a 000-12 with figured old growth mahogany back and sides, and a Carpathian spruce top.

The plan was for this guitar to be started around the new year. So I was surprised when Larry called me and asked if, due to a gap in his build schedule, I would mind if he started my guitar early. I thought about it for a billionth of a second, then said " problemo."

My goal with this guitar is to have very traditional looking guitar: 000-12 slothead, herringbone rosette and top purfle, pyramid bridge. I am going with a slightly deeper body, modern nut and saddle width, and Martin long scale.

The Carpathian top (Old World Tonewood) was dubbed by Larry and I as "uber spruce"...very light, very stiff along and across the grain, with amazing tap tone.

The back/side set is old growth figured mahogany, called "Fallen Giant" by the folks at Hibdon Hardwood. It is from a large fallen log which was found on the forest floor.

The five-piece neck will be fiddleback mahogany, with walnut and curly maple lams, also from Hibdon.

I will update the thread with pictures as I am able. Enjoy!

Tahoe Guitar Co. 000-12

Top: Carpathian Spruce
Back/Sides: Old Growth Figured Mahogany
Neck: Five-Piece Fiddleback Mahogany/Walnut/Curly Maple/Walnut/Fiddleback Mahogany
Binding: Curly Bigleaf Maple
Top Purfle: Herringbone
Rosette: Herringbone
Backstrip: Chevron
Bridge: Ebony Pyramid
Headplate/Fretboard: Ebony
Saddle/Nut/Pins: Bone
Frets: Evo Gold
Tuners: Gotoh Open Back Slothead Gold w/Amber Buttons
Logo/12th Fret Marker: White Pearl

Nut: 1 3/4"
Saddle: 2 1/4"
Scale: 25.4"

The top and back being joined in a nail press.

CoolerKing 06-25-2015 11:30 AM

Cool backstrip!

ChuckS 06-25-2015 11:53 AM

From the looks of the materials this should be wonderful guitar; and a 12 fret 000 body is a great body shape.

Out of curiosity, is that flamed mahogany big enough for a one piece neck? Either way, it looks fantastic.

OddManOut 06-25-2015 02:39 PM


Originally Posted by matthewpartrick (Post 4545991)
Cool backstrip!

Thank you! :cool:


Originally Posted by ChuckS
From the looks of the materials this should be wonderful guitar; and a 12 fret 000 body is a great body shape.

Out of curiosity, is that flamed mahogany big enough for a one piece neck? Either way, it looks fantastic. has all the raw ingredients for an excellent guitar.

Yes, that neck blank is large enough for two one-piece necks. That is, the heel, neck and head all being a single piece, rather than stacking the heel and scarfing the head. The neck for this guitar will be laminated lengthwise as indicated above for stability and aesthetics, but not stacked and scarfed.

Thanks for following this thread! :up:

OddManOut 06-25-2015 07:45 PM

Sides: Profile, Thichness, Bend
Here Larry is profiling the sides for the varying depth of the guitar, thicknessing them, then bending them into shape. Larry uses a heat blanket and a touch of water. He prebends the waist, then bends outward from there. The sides are allowed to cool around the mold, then placed in a shape-correct cooling jig.

Prebending the waist.

OddManOut 06-26-2015 07:11 AM

Rosette amd Rims
Here Larry is inlaying the herringbone rosette and doing some wok on the rims (blocking and kerfing).

My choice of a herringbone rosette is a departure from the usual paua rosette. Again, the goal is a more traditional aesthetic on this guitar.

Prebent kerfing.

OddManOut 06-29-2015 10:15 AM

Top Bracing 1
The build on my 000-12 Mahogany/Carpathian continues...

Here Larry lays out and glues up the top braces. I went with a trapezoidal tongue brace instead of the traditional popsicle brace. The bridge plate is black locust...physical attributes similar to rosewood.

OddManOut 06-29-2015 10:25 AM

Back Bracing 1
Larry lays out and glues up the back braces.

Larry standing vigil at the Tahoe Guitar Co. table at the Father's Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley, CA.. Note the go bar deck at work...

OddManOut 08-04-2015 07:14 AM

Top Brace Carving
It has been awhile since I updated this post...busy summer. I have a lot of pics to share, so I'll try to get caught up.

Here Larry carves the top braces, first the initial shaping, then the finer work.

With the rims attached, the final tuning begins.

CoolerKing 08-04-2015 07:37 AM

Super clean work!

OddManOut 08-04-2015 07:53 AM

Top Edge Thinning
One of the tricks Larry uses during top tuning is to graduate the top thickness. The top is thinned at the edges and then faired (or is it 'fared'?) in to the rest of the top. Thus the top has a wedge-like profile from center to edge in the lower bout, thickest in the middle, gradually getting thinner toward the edges. Typical reduction at the edges is .005"-.010". The amount of thinning is determined by how the top is responding to the brace carving and a good dose of luthier's intuition.

I can tell you this top responded somewhat to brace reductions, but was sounding tight, being a bit "stubborn". Larry had taken the brace heights well below Martin spec (used simply as a reference) and done quite a bit of profiling. Neither of us were surprised as this is a very stiff set of spruce. Nonetheless, it was time for some edge thinning. The resonance bloomed after the edge thinning. Pretty amazing.

The top is marked to indicate areas to be thinned based on thickness measurements.

An index line of the desired depth is routed into the top.

The top is then sanded "into" the index groove (sanding block shown above). Typically a couple of grams of material is removed.

Look index groove.

OddManOut 08-04-2015 08:31 AM

Back Braces
Larry does the final shaping of the back braces. She rings like a bell!

OddManOut 08-04-2015 08:43 AM

Closing the Box
The box is now closed. The back is taken to the final profile, the rims notched to accept the back brace ends, then glue and clamps applied.

TomB'sox 08-04-2015 02:27 PM

Congrats! Mine just became a box yesterday! Are you hanging out at the shop again for this build?

OddManOut 08-04-2015 08:02 PM


Originally Posted by TomB'sox (Post 4591641)
Congrats! Mine just became a box yesterday! Are you hanging out at the shop again for this build?

Sweet! It is a good starts to look like a guitar, with some of the major design elements in place. Soon after the neck is rough fit...closer and closer.

I visit Larry every few weeks. The last two visits were design tuning and neck shaping. More pics to come when I get back home.

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