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  #16  
Old 01-09-2022, 04:48 AM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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This is fascinating. I love the idea. Looking forward to following along
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2022, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by morgankelsey View Post
Thanks, John! I must say, I loved "Kalamazoo Gals".
Thanks for the kind words!
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  #18  
Old 01-14-2022, 07:04 PM
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This week I made some progress on the internal part of the tongue drums. I've been sitting on a large chunk of Khaya for a while that is thick enough to accomplish this. I haven't literally been sitting on it, it's just been in my stash.



The top curve matches the inside curve.

Here it is with one of the drums cut out and near final thickness. It's already making a good sound, even without the guitar chamber to resonate in which is very promising. This will get glued to the inside of the side with hot hide glue. I'm careful when installing these that they don't encroach on the vibrating area of the front and back plates.



I also made progress on the rosettes as it's getting near time to start working on the bracing. This is the one for the myrtle guitar, the background is some myrtle cutoffs from the back and a piece of koa. I'm also planning on doing koa bindings and accents on this guitar.



If anyone is interested, here is how I make these.

First I make a small kumiko screen from basswood. Once I have a pattern I like I attach the background pieces. This is the one for the ebony guitar, and I've used snakewood and some ebony off cuts from the back. (The fingerboard on this guitar will also be snakewood).



Next I glue a piece of plywood to the face, sandwiching the kumiko between the background and the plywood. I do this so the little pieces of kumiko don't go flying around during the next steps. We all have our favorite tools, and I'm using one of my favorite clamps here:



Then I flip it over and cut the rosette ring from the back.



This is the worst part, we have to now cut the plywood layer off and see what we got! Like lots of things in guitar making, you spend a lot of time getting to a crucial step where everything can go really wrong. This isn't the best blade for this but it's what we have. I wish I had a video of the cut happening because when it's going well (like it did for these) the blade sits flush against the plywood and slowly cuts through the kumiko.



The resulting carnage ain't pretty!



Here is the ring cleaned up a bit. It doesn't look that appealing here, but will once it's dressed up a little.



I cut the rosette channel into the top and bound it with a thin piece of basswood to match the kumiko and a single .010" strip of black. Here it is after being scraped flush:



And a closeup at this stage:



It will get a lot shallower as the top is brought down to final thickness, and I will fill the voids with resin. I really like how well the basswood matches the spruce. While it's tempting to leave it unfilled it would be a dust nightmare and hard to finish well.

Thanks for reading!
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  #19  
Old 02-17-2022, 05:27 PM
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Here are some progress photos on these guitars, the myrtle guitar's sides are nearing completion, with the blocks and drums installed. Next up the linings and then it's ready for the top:



The ebony guitar's sides have been bent and laminated, here they are looking like elephants at the watering hole:



The neck blanks are also done, here is the neck for the ebony guitar.

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  #20  
Old 02-17-2022, 06:01 PM
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Color me skeptical, but I can't wait to hear what they sound like!
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  #21  
Old 03-28-2022, 06:31 PM
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Building two guitars at once seems to take more than twice as long, at least for me.

The rims are done on both guitars, solid linings in, and tops and backs radiused. Ready for tops!



The backs are also almost ready, the ebony one is a little farther along than the myrtle:



One of the rosettes wasn't sitting quite right with me, so I made a new one and resized the kumiko to fit better in the prescribed ring. I'm much happier with this one.





On to bracing the tops!
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  #22  
Old 04-05-2022, 01:03 PM
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Iím waiting on more pics. I like what I see so far and am anxious to see whatís next.
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2022, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j. Kinnaird View Post
Iím waiting on more pics. I like what I see so far and am anxious to see whatís next.
Me too, John, this guy is soooo slow!

Tops and backs are braced and I fit them to their rims today. Should be gluing the tops on soon. With them fitted, I can clamp the whole thing shut with cam clamps and get a good sense of how the drums sound. So, I may spend tomorrow carving and tuning the drums some more...
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  #24  
Old 04-14-2022, 05:28 PM
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Got some braces glued on tops



Got some tops glued on rims



Voiced the top, and spent a few days messing with the drums.



Messing with the drums entails tuning them and getting them to sound good, which are two different things that are interlocked with one another. A little surprising was the drums drop in pitch by about a major 3rd when the box is closed. I made a dummy back and top with a cork rim so I could keep closing it up and testing. In general you can raise and lower the pitches by either taking material away from the top or the base, but that also changes how they sound. Removing mass from a trench in the middle of the drum is a way to lower the mass while keeping the stiffness, but with all things wood technology there is some mysteriousness at play (or variables I don't have a grasp on).

Finally, I acquiesced, and put the back on too.



Behold, we have a birdhouse, ready for binding.



It's got a very nice tap tone, and I'm very happy with how the drums sound. I may make a video tonight or tomorrow of the drums.
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  #25  
Old 04-21-2022, 06:13 PM
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Got the binding, purfling, arm bevel and rib rest just about done on the Ebony guitar. I'm going to carry this one through to the end and then return to the myrtle guitar.

IMG_20220421_180024_628.jpg

The purfling is basswood, the same as the kumiko and matches the Adirondack spruce top really well. I'm keeping it simple as this guitar is going to have a snakewood bridge, fingerboard, and end wedge, and I don't want it to be too busy.

IMG_20220421_180025_266.jpg

Here is the rib rest:

IMG_20220421_180025_930.jpg

I've been making arm rests smaller than I used to, I find you don't really need much and the less it encroaches on the soundboard the better (of course)

IMG_20220421_180025_770.jpg

PXL_20220421_212103653.PORTRAIT~2.jpg

End wedge coming up next!
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  #26  
Old 04-22-2022, 12:03 AM
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looks very nice and theres a lot of creativity behind that guitar!
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  #27  
Old 04-22-2022, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
looks very nice and theres a lot of creativity behind that guitar!
Thanks, gitarro, the drums were a lot of work but I'm very happy with how they are sounding. The rest of this build is standard operating procedure so it should go quickly from here.
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  #28  
Old 05-15-2022, 06:04 PM
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Getting into the home stretch on the ebony drum guitar!

The endgraft is snakewood, to match the fingerboard and bridge:


Here is the fingerboard bound and ready for frets.


Got the neck set, not shown I also installed a fingerboard extension. My necks use a mortise and tenon and the fingerboard extension, and are held on with four bolts, no glue.


Here it is all put together with the preliminary carve on the neck done.




Last to do is finalize the neck carve and clean up all the details. Then onto final sanding and finishing!


I'm pretty excited about this build, the drums really sound great. I'm working on a percussive guitar arrangement to give it a proper demo, stay tuned!
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  #29  
Old 05-15-2022, 06:45 PM
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Stunning, wonder what a guy like Thomas Leeb would think of this!
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  #30  
Old 05-16-2022, 12:05 AM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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Beautiful guitar regardless of the remarkable innovation. I am really interested to hear the end result.
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