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  #76  
Old 01-21-2011, 05:10 PM
WhistlingFish WhistlingFish is offline
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Howard, I realize that this is Wade's build thread, but it's hard to let the last photo in the sequence above pass without asking: what is the thinking behind your relatively small bridge plate compared to some of the massive ones used by Somogyi and his disciples (for example)?

Congrats Wade! Love your work Howard!
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  #77  
Old 01-21-2011, 06:23 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhistlingFish View Post
Howard, I realize that this is Wade's build thread, but it's hard to let the last photo in the sequence above pass without asking: what is the thinking behind your relatively small bridge plate compared to some of the massive ones used by Somogyi and his disciples (for example)?

Congrats Wade! Love your work Howard!
Pete, I am working in the AJ tradition, and will be using a simple rectangular bridge such as the AJ's use. This plate is actually about 1/8" wider than those used on the old AJ's.

I am not familiar with Ervin's thinking about bridge plates.
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  #78  
Old 01-22-2011, 02:30 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodd View Post
Wade, you are a humble man. Good on ya.
Oh, I've got you fooled, I can see! I have a few virtues, but I wouldn't say humility was among them...

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Originally Posted by Rodd View Post
You're not fully in the back seat of the build, you have a plenty of input into it.
Be proud!
Well, I am proud, thank you. I think Howard's being a bit too generous with his praise of my input, but it's probably due to the fact that I have done this often enough with some other very fine builders that I don't feel a need to imprint my ego on every stage of this process. Howard and I kicked around some ideas, I told him what works for me musically, told him that I like black walnut and other than that I've let him develop the ideas from there.

I was fortunate that when I first started playing music that I was able to develop a really good relationship with the luthier who built a mountain dulcimer for me, which was the first instrument I took up. That was Duane Waterman, back when we both still lived in Missouri. Duane later went on to work for Tacoma Guitars as one of their R&D luthiers (John Walker being the other one,) and then Duane went on to be president of Luthiers Mercantile. Now he's in Tucson building mostly classical guitars.

So through my friendship with Duane I learned a lot about the hands-on process of custom instruments, from my very beginnings as a musician. That very first instrument I owned was custom-made, and a very high percentage of all of them since have been custom-made, as well. (I was in my mid-forties before I ever bought a guitar in a music store...)

Being a dulcimer player on a professional level has meant I've had to deal with custom builders, so that combined with my long term friendship with Duane has meant that it's really second nature to me now.

So that's a large part of why I'm relaxed enough to let Howard make all of the most important decisions on this instrument. My gosh, he's got the wood right there, he's the guy working with it, not me.

And I honestly don't care about things like bearclaw or flame or any of that wood porn stuff that so many people on these guitar forums get all excited about. To my eye, bearclaw figure looks like stretch marks - I can't imagine paying extra money to have something that looks like stretch marks on the soundboard of my guitar. And while I'm not as reflexively dismissive of flame as I am of bearclaw, again, it's still not something I care all that much about.

I can't really revel in the beauty of the wood while I'm actually playing the guitar.

So tone is what I get excited about, the actual sound, playability and projection of the guitar functioning in its capacity as a musical instrument. The rest is just gingerbread, so far as I'm concerned.

Highly attractive gingerbread, no doubt. But still just gingerbread when compared to the actual function of a serious musical instrument.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #79  
Old 01-23-2011, 04:12 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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After installing the head and tail blocks, I shape the sides to my arched workboard. Then I install the kerfed liners. I like to use reverse kerfed liners to stiffen the sides. Usually I use Spanish cedar, because it works easily and smells great. In this case when I reached for a board to saw for the liners, an old piece of mahogany I've had for almost 40 years called out to me. So I compromised and made them half mahogany and half Spanish cedar. I want it to have that smell.

Gluing in the liners:



Next, putting in side braces. I sometimes use cloth reinforcement, but on this one I'm thinking to stiffen the sides as well as reinforce against cracks. Wade wants the guitar to project well, and stiff sides add something to a guitar's forward projection, IMO.



Meanwhile, I've inlayed my logotype in the headstock:

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  #80  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:29 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Moving along:

I've sanded the braces and prepared recesses in the liners where the brace ends fit. Ready to close up the box; the rims, top, and back will turn into a guitar body.

First I glue in my label. When I started building I thought you weren't supposed to do this until the guitar is completely finished. I was wrong.



The back is glued.



Now gluing the top.



We have a guitar body. Binding is next.

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  #81  
Old 01-26-2011, 10:59 AM
Rod True Rod True is offline
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This is looking awesome, Howard!
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  #82  
Old 01-26-2011, 11:32 AM
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murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Looking beautiful.

If it's not too intrusive a question, Howard, am I correct in thinking that you increase the width of the back braces incrementally from neck to tailblock ?

It looks that way in the pic, and I can see how it would make sense, but maybe it's an optical illusion ...
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  #83  
Old 01-26-2011, 11:57 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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The lower two are wider and less tall than the upper two. I want more stiffness from the braces in the upper bout, and less stiffness but more weight from them in the lower bout. I'm trying to get structure and reflection in the upper bout and resonant support for bass in the lower.
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  #84  
Old 01-26-2011, 01:14 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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It's looking great, Howard. And watching this build thread is an educational process for me, too.


whm
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  #85  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:19 PM
Billy Boy Billy Boy is offline
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Wade, Your guitar is coming along BEAUTIFULLY! I'm loving this thread! Thanks for sharing all along the way.
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  #86  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:48 PM
WhistlingFish WhistlingFish is offline
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Looking great Howard. Not a dovetail in sight - you must be suffering withdrawal symptoms!
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  #87  
Old 01-26-2011, 10:26 PM
longdrive55 longdrive55 is offline
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Hi Howard,

This build looks is looking great. Thanks for the pix and build notes.

Was that extra brace in front of the bridgeplate necessary because of the greater angle in the X and the smaller bridge/bridgeplate or did you have another thought in mind?

I was also wondering if you would share how you handle the neckblock/tailblock radius and gluing.

Do you radius the blocks to your top/bottom radius? And, do you glue the entire top/bottom of the blocks to the top/bottom plates? I've been told some will taper a portion of the tail blocks away from the plates and only glue a surface equal to the depth of the kerfing. Do you do this or have any thoughts on it?

Thanks Again,

Erik
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  #88  
Old 01-27-2011, 08:09 AM
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Spieler Spieler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhistlingFish View Post
Looking great Howard. Not a dovetail in sight - you must be suffering withdrawal symptoms!
Alternatively, maybe it's like Natalie Portman doing a string of lighter movies after finishing The Black Swan-- breathing room. :-)

~ S.
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  #89  
Old 01-27-2011, 08:21 AM
kirkham13 kirkham13 is offline
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Beautiful box-
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  #90  
Old 01-27-2011, 09:59 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Originally Posted by longdrive55 View Post
Hi Howard,

This build looks is looking great. Thanks for the pix and build notes.

1)Was that extra brace in front of the bridgeplate necessary because of the greater angle in the X and the smaller bridge/bridgeplate or did you have another thought in mind?

2)I was also wondering if you would share how you handle the neckblock/tailblock radius and gluing.

3)Do you radius the blocks to your top/bottom radius? And, do you glue the entire top/bottom of the blocks to the top/bottom plates? I've been told some will taper a portion of the tail blocks away from the plates and only glue a surface equal to the depth of the kerfing. (4)Do you do this or have any thoughts on it?

Thanks Again,

Erik
1) I don't know about necessary. I wanted more structure there.

2), 3) I don't use a radius (another term that is being abused so much as to now mean "curve" to a lot of people). I use a spline curve and arch laterally only. The blocks get the same curve. I hand plane or rough on a belt sander and then sand to fit a curved workboard.

4) I do that with the tail block.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spieler View Post
Alternatively, maybe it's like Natalie Portman doing a string of lighter movies after finishing The Black Swan-- breathing room. :-)

~ S.
It is a pleasure to do a simple, straightforward guitar like this one. I can only get up the patience to do a Dovetail Madness about every two years or so. This is pretty much my Performance (basic) model with a wood and fretboard upgrade. These remind me that I usually work too hard.
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Last edited by Howard Klepper; 01-27-2011 at 10:05 AM.
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