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Joost Assink 02-26-2013 10:57 AM

Build Thread: Brazilian Rosewood/Swiss Alpine Spruce Custom Design Crossover Acoustic
I hope you guys will join me on the guitar journey of a lifetime. I will be building my dream guitar this year. Due to chronic nerve and wrist damage, I can no longer play steel string guitar. However, due to the much lower tension, I am able to play nylon string guitars.

So, ever since December of last year, I've been planning and designing a custom nylon string crossover guitar. I am very happy that I can finally reveal the plans. What is to follow, hopefully, will be an exciting build thread that will see this guitar come to life from these two-dimensional drawings in the next few months, as I build this guitar together with master luthier Febo Waanders (

I will ask patience from your end though, because these things take time and I don't think I will be able to post updates more than once a week most of the time. I hope you guys will join me.

In this design, I combined all the factors that I think are beautiful in guitar design. I borrowed the bevel from Kevin Ryan, with his permission, and was inspired by some Taylor designs. All in all, it will be my ultimate guitar, both in design, woods and specifications.

I read a lot of books, saw a lot of plans of the best classical guitars and got measurements on some classic guitars of the master builders in this field. In the end, the inside, and the bracing as well as most of the construction is based on Romanillos, Torres and Hauser.

There are many reasons why this build will be special. First off, I got my hands on unbelievable woods. The back and sides will be made from a set of mastergrade Brazilian Rosewood that has been drying with a luthier friend of mine for 40 years. It’s perfect, dark, quarter-sawn and a taptone to die for. The Swiss Spruce I got has a waiting list of two years! The tuners…. well, I’ll tell more about all that later.

So without further ado, here are the plans and specifications.

Model: 12-fret Nylon Crossover with bevel and soundports
Construction: Solid Spanish heel construction
Body Size: Grand Concert 12-Fret Cutaway
Top: Master grade Swiss Alpine Moon Spruce
Rosette: Black Pearl/Mother of Pearl
Top Bracing Pattern: Custom fan bracing design
Top Braces: Solid Swiss Alpine Spruce
Back Material: 40 year old Brazilian Rosewood, Mastergrade
Back Purfling: thin 1 mm abalone
Side Material: Double Sides construction: Solid Brazilian and Solid Swiss Spruce
Binding: Flamed Koa
Top Inlay Style: Multiple Black/White Boltaron
Side and Back purfling: thin 1 mm abalone
Neck Material: 5 piece neck Brazilian Rosewood/Flamed Maple
Nut Material: Fossilized Mammoth Ivory
Headstock: Slotted Custom Design
Headplate: Solid Macassar Ebony
Backplate: Solid Macassar Ebony
Fingerboard Material: Ebony
Scale Length: 25.50 inches
Fret material: Stainless Steel
Number Of Frets Clear: 12
Number Of Frets Total: 19
Fretboard radius: 16 inches
Fingerboard Width At Nut: 1-7/8''
Fingerboard Inlays: Custom design in Black Pearl/MOP
Fingerboard Binding: Koa
Finish: Nitro
Bridge Material: Ebony
Bridge Style: Custom Design
Bridge String Spacing: 2-5/16''
Saddle: Fossil Mammoth Ivory
Tuning Machines: Custom Graf Tuners

Larry Pattis 02-26-2013 11:05 AM

Excellent solution...

billgennaro 02-26-2013 11:13 AM

best of luck to you. i may have to travel the same path as you some day soon. both my left shoulder and left index finger are getting worse by the month. i'm starting to think of possible solutions, guitar-wise, for the not so distant future. maybe a crossover should be contemplated.

anyway, looks like it'll be a great guitar for you. hopefully, you'll be able to play for many years to come.


Joost Assink 02-27-2013 06:18 AM

So I thought I would share some pictures with the raw, unsanded woods that will make up the guitar. First off you see the Mastergrade Swiss alpine spruce top. It looks good even in its unsanded, unfinished form.

There is hardly any discoloration, and the grain lines are very tight. This is a very stiff top, allowing me to make the top even thinner and more responsive. Also, look at the crossgrain silking. It's perfectly quartersawn with hardly any run out. I am very excited about this top!

The Brazilian Rosewood is even more unique. This is my private stash wood. It's been more than 40 years since it was imported and has been drying ever since, waiting on that special project. This it it!

It is straight-grained, quarter-sawn, in a quality that is no longer available. It is really irreplaceable. From all the sets I've owned and I've tapped, this one has the most sustain in the tap tone. People think that the note coming out is most important, but depending on the dimensions of the woods, that will change. It is the sustain you have to listen for.

The neck wood is just as special. Also 40 years old, probably from the same tree. I am a fan of the 5 piece neck, like Olson uses. The construction is very stiff and most stable. Also, it adds sustain which is important in a nylon stringed guitar. I tapped all the pieces until I found one that rung out the longest, clearest and loudest. Won’t hurt right? :-D

Here is the Swiss spruce for the sides. It looks good enough to be a top, so I’m very happy with the quality there.

And finally, here are the billets that will be turned into the bracing. Also high grade Swiss Spruce. Perfectly quartered.

Hard to believe that these pieces of wood will be my dream guitar in about six months.

VJP5 02-27-2013 06:23 AM

Congratulations and best of luck on your new journey.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Red_Label 02-27-2013 07:10 AM

Beautiful looking guitar! LOVE the bevel!

I've got a pair of nylon crossovers (Breedlove Masterclass Bossa Nova and Breedlove Passport N250) and they've been a pleasure to play. I still play my steel strings a lot. But I don't play any of my nylons besides these two crossovers. Just don't have any iterest in picking-up a regular nylon any more. The crossovers are so much more comfortable to play.

teach 02-27-2013 07:53 AM

Congrats on getting the project started! What a great looking guitar and that wood is beautiful. Like you my left wrist is pretty shot from too many years of not paying attention to it so I've really had to back off on playing. A nylon string may be the way to go.

cigarfan 02-27-2013 08:37 AM

This is going to be an exquisite piece. Love the wood you've decided on. Design looks fantastic. This will be fun to watch.

Joost Assink 02-28-2013 04:37 AM

Thanks guys!

Early last night I got the call that my plexiglass templates were done, so I collected them immediately. I had them made of the bridge, front and back of the headstock, bevel as well as the guitar top with the bevel cut out and finally one of the entire guitar with the lower fan bracing cut out.

That’ll make for a very precise guide to our build in translating the paper design into reality.

VJP5 02-28-2013 05:20 AM

Bracing ?
Being relatively new to guitar play and certainly ignorant of construction, why did you pick that bracing pattern? Are nylon guitars braced differently then steel strung ones? I was recently at a Martin show where they talked at length about their trademark "X" pattern and the reasons for it.

Just curious

Joost Assink 02-28-2013 10:07 AM


Originally Posted by VJP5 (Post 3377293)
Being relatively new to guitar play and certainly ignorant of construction, why did you pick that bracing pattern? Are nylon guitars braced differently then steel strung ones? I was recently at a Martin show where they talked at length about their trademark "X" pattern and the reasons for it.

Just curious

This is one of the variations of the most popular bracing pattern for nylon stringed guitars. Yes, nylon guitars are braced very differently from Steelstring ones. Even Martin Steelstring Guitars were braced with fan bracing before they came up with the x-bracing. They support the much higher string tension of a steel string guitar.

Here you see the most popular bracing patterns for classical nylon stringed guitars, used by some of the greats:

VJP5 02-28-2013 10:17 AM

Thank you for the explanation (and indulging the less informed :D)

Bruce Lancaster 02-28-2013 10:43 AM

I am looking forward to watching this guitar build.

Glennwillow 02-28-2013 01:21 PM

Hi Joost,

I am very sorry to hear of your nerve issues and wrist problems. What a shame!

Your new guitar, however, looks like it will be wonderful. I am looking forward to how things progress. And when it's all done, I hope you will be able to play it without suffering with those nerve issues.

Best of luck to you!
- Glenn

tpp 02-28-2013 08:12 PM

I look forward to watching this guitar come together. Thanks for sharing!

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