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  #1  
Old 01-29-2010, 11:34 AM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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Default Building my first guitar - Looking for advice

Hey there everyone, I'm going to be starting my first build soon, and though I've been reading everything and watching every video on the subject for a long time, when it comes right down to matching the right tonewoods to get the sound I am looking for, I'm a little sketchy. This is because I made the somewhat impulsive move to buy a nice oregon myrtle back and side set that I found on ebay.

So, I'm going for an instrument that is good for fingerstyle but won't be completely overpowered if I start strumming, and will hopefully have a sound that is closer to, let's say, a rosewood/cedar-topped guitar than a maple/sitka one. From everything I've read, oregon myrtle seems to fall into a range somewhere between indian rosewood and maple. Cool. That's fine. But how can I ensure that it stays more towards the IR side?

For the top I've been considering port orford cedar and lutz spruce. However, redwood and red cedar are also options.

Does anyone know how port orford/myrtle in an OM body might sound? I should mention I'm probably going to make the body depth 4.5".


Any help is welcome.


Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2010, 02:20 PM
Guitar Hack Guitar Hack is offline
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Here's your best bet for advice.

http://www.kitguitarforum.com/
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:04 PM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Hack View Post
Here's your best bet for advice.

http://www.kitguitarforum.com/
I'm avoiding the kit method. I'll build it from the ground, up, with nothing but a kitchen knife if I have to. But thanks!
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  #4  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:10 PM
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Cornerstone Guitars Cornerstone Guitars is offline
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Originally Posted by Guitar Hack View Post
Here's your best bet for advice.

http://www.kitguitarforum.com/
You asked for good advice.... that's the best advice for a start.
Maybe you can learn from a kit and make the second one from scratch.

Good luck,
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  #5  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:53 PM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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I'm really hoping for information on oregon myrtlewood, mainly. Aside from what I've read in other posts, I'm trying to narrow down my topwood selection to make it sound good for fingerstyle.
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:25 PM
Brackett Instruments Brackett Instruments is offline
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I haven't built with Myrtle. I've got some and it taps similar to Maple. I believe it would pair well with Red Cedar or Englemann Spruce for a fingerstyle guitar. I haven't built with Port Orford Cedar. I admire you for staying away from a kit. I started from scratch also.
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Old 01-29-2010, 05:49 PM
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Steve Kinnaird Steve Kinnaird is offline
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Hi SMC, I always thought that myrtle fell somewhere between mahogany and maple, not Indian rosewood. At least, that's what I've been telling people.
I've used it twice, once with Sitka, and once with Lutz.
Both worked quite well, and though not like rosewood, sounded very pleasing.
I think for a first guitar Myrtle will be fine, as it bends so easily, but it might take you a couple of tries before you are able to control the outcome, or predict what the sound might be.

Chronicle your build and post your progress for sure.

Good luck,
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:34 PM
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Simon Fay Simon Fay is offline
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I would recommend Engelmann / Indian Rosewood. Myrtlewood doesn't sound anything like Rosewood -- it definitely falls in the Maple / Claro Walnut / Pearwood category -- meaning great articulation and less sustain. If you want a lush Cedar / Rosewood sound but with the clarity of a Spruce guitar -- then Engelmann will push you the farthest in that direction.

So my advice is to build an Engelmann / Indian Rosewood guitar. If you just want to build with Myrtlewood (which is a really nice wood to work with and is incredibly easy to bend) then also go with an Engelmann top. I built an Engelmann / Myrtlewood guitar and really enjoyed the tone.

Best of Luck. Also, you might check out the OLF (www.luthiersforum.com) -- it is much better suited for an aspiring builder than the AGF.

Kind Regards,
Simon
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:39 PM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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Thanks for all the responses so far! I will definitely give progress reports as I go.
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:23 AM
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hnuuhiwa hnuuhiwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smctunes View Post
Thanks for all the responses so far! I will definitely give progress reports as I go.
Looking forward to seeing how you do. I just started my first build this week..and decided to go with IR "to play it safe" and a sinker redwood top (partly because I'm partial to sinker, but mostly because I have a number of tops handy).

Like you, I'm doing his one from scratch, and decided that with this first guitar I'm mostly interested in the experience and to learn, especially about how bracing affects tone. I'll be using a bending the sides on a pipe, as that is how the guy who's shop I'm building in does it - no Universal Bender here!

So far I've thicknesses and joined the top plates, back plates and sides and glued the tail block to the sides. We'll be bending the sides next week and trimming the top and back to the pattern.

I'm building a 00 and have decided to go deeper than normal .. about 4 1/2 at the tail to 4 5/8 at the waist. Sorry, no build pics on this one..maybe completion pica though
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2010, 02:46 AM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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Yeah I might end up doing IR because I really do love the sound. Might save the myrtle for my second build.

One thing I'm a little wary of is the back radiusing process. But that's a ways down the line so I will definitely be coming back here for advice at that point.

Also, I have heard of radiused sides...is that a standard practice? If so, what is the benefit (real or perceived), of doing it?
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:57 AM
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hnuuhiwa hnuuhiwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smctunes View Post
Yeah I might end up doing IR because I really do love the sound. Might save the myrtle for my second build.

One thing I'm a little wary of is the back radiusing process. But that's a ways down the line so I will definitely be coming back here for advice at that point.

Also, I have heard of radiused sides...is that a standard practice? If so, what is the benefit (real or perceived), of doing it?
Hmmm....heard of backs, not sides. Unless you mean using the radius dish to sand the rim and provide the matching contour to the radiused back for when the box is closed up. The fellow I'm building with has the radius dish so I won't have make one, at least not for this initial build.
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2010, 06:00 AM
theotigno theotigno is offline
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Congratulations on your first build!

In my opinion, if you *really* want to have a guitar that sounds closer to cedar / rosewood v. sitka / maple, why not go with a cedar top to accomodate one of the variables (and, of course the fact that the majority of the sound comes from the top anyway).

BTW, if you were wondering about how Port Orford Cedar sounds on an OM, I built a 12-fret 000 for my dad a while back with Port Orford / EI Rosewod. You can hear how the guitar sounded playing fingerstyle on it after being strung up for a few days @ this post. It was a bit ... okay, well, a lot sloppy, but at least you can hear how it sounded.

Side note @Braddah Henderson!: Building your first guitar? Next time I come back home to the islands, I'd love to get a chance to play it! I'll bring my dad's guitar with me and we can jam
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2010, 12:36 PM
smctunes smctunes is offline
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Hey that guitar is nice, and sounds really good! I particularly like the turtle inlay.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2010, 01:50 PM
Coke_zero Coke_zero is offline
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In regards to getting the top and back with a radius, I'm finding this the hardest part so far. I can't justify buying a radius dish as I will have to import it. I got some good tips for a board member here. I am somewhat anxious about bracing my first guitar. I put so much effort and time into doing my rosette I would be totally gutted if I ruin the top with bad bracing.

If you go to my build thread which started off as an advice thread I got A LOT of useful information which I'm sure will also apply to your build.

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=169919

I plan on adding a few new pictures of my rough drawn out bracing plan next for people to look at and advise on which again, the comments made will be of great use.

All I can say is, take your time. I'm not sure how you like to work, but personally, I pick one job and work at it until I am happy. Some may do a few hours here and there on different parts of the build. I can't do this as for one, it will confuse me and two, I am buying parts & tools as I go along.

The help from people on this board and the http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/index.php is a godsend.
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