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  #1  
Old 12-06-2018, 09:09 AM
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Max Spohn Max Spohn is offline
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Default Spohn guitars Scandinavian design guitar

Hi Guys,

I am proud to present you a new and special project.

All of my guitars are based on a concept I develop before starting the build. Usually it includes the model, the players needs in term of playability and the amount of inlay, as well as the choice of material and color. But this time I had a particular theme in my mind, that I wanted to put into the concept of this guitar.

As some of you may know, I have always been interested in industrial design and one of my all time favorite design movements is the Scandinavian design of the 1950s and 60s, especially the work of Arne Jacobsen. So I've had the idea of building a themed guitar in my head for quite a while. When I had a very interesting talk to Jamie Gale at the Guitar Summit about guitar design, tone and bracing patterns, I knew that it is time for the Scandinavian design theme idea to get realized in my next guitar.

My research started with spending hours looking for as much input as possible on the internet and in various books.

Some characteristics of this style are:

- Clean lines

- The importance of the material

- Function as the most important criterion

So here are some pictures of the designs that inspired me the most. More of the story and some pictures of the actual guitar will follow in the next days.

I hope you are enjoying this project as much as I do.

room 606 by Arne Jacobsen (http://thenorthelevation.blogspot.co...-room-606.html)

AJ handle by Arne Jacobsen (https://www.lauritz.com/de/auktion/a...g-5/i3134337/#)

Textile design by Arne Jacobsen

FD-136 chair by Finn Juhl (https://www.lauritz.com/de/auktion/f...teak/i2814101/)

PH 5 light by Louis Poulsen (https://www.davincilifestyle.com/wp-...e-1040x544.jpg)
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2018, 09:50 AM
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That Juhl chair is gorgeous !!! So much creativity going on in that sector.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:35 AM
H165 H165 is offline
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A few of Sam Maloof's designs may fit into your research model.

Looking forward to seeing your progress. I just met a man who builds these; another "departure" from traditional:

http://www.oakesguitars.com/Models.aspx#Mikazuki
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Simon Fay View Post
That Juhl chair is gorgeous !!! So much creativity going on in that sector.
It is! I am curious to hear your thoughts on my design once it is done.

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Originally Posted by H165 View Post
A few of Sam Maloof's designs may fit into your research model.

Looking forward to seeing your progress. I just met a man who builds these; another "departure" from traditional:

http://www.oakesguitars.com/Models.aspx#Mikazuki
Thank you for this tip, I just fell in love with his rocking chair design.
The guitar is a crazy design, but where is a soundhole? I will post some updates soon.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:56 AM
runamuck runamuck is online now
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With the exception of the rug, I find all that you post here inspires me too.


Looking forward to seeing where you're going with this.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:41 AM
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This will be a fun guitar to watch come together ... looking forward to it!
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by runamuck View Post
With the exception of the rug, I find all that you post here inspires me too.


Looking forward to seeing where you're going with this.
Thank you! I am glad to hear that it also inspires you.
The rug is mostly about the proportions of the segments. It is very well balanced and pleasing to my eye but it is not spectacular at all.

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This will be a fun guitar to watch come together ... looking forward to it!
Thank you David! I hope you will enjoy it.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:29 PM
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Good evening, it is time for part #2!

Only a few things were decided from the beginning. The body shape, the wood, the neck profile and the bracing pattern. Everything else got questioned during the design process.

To visualize the design process for you, I want to write about a few of my thoughts and ideas of different parts of the guitar. In this post I want to talk about the body shape, the materials and the rosette design.

Body shape:

For the body shape I decided to go with my OM shape without a cutaway as it is the best fit for the sound I had in my head. I want to achieve a bit of a mellower sound with this guitar, more like a classical guitar. Also I thought that the curves and proportions of it will give the guitar a modern yet classic look that will fit the theme nicely.

Materials:

For the wood I decided to go with an almost white Swiss moon spruce top, to have a lightweight and stiff tonewood with a pale color so I can use it as a blank canvas for my inlay work. Those tops are also nice to work with and great sounding.
For the back and sides I chose a nice set of flat sawn santos rosewood for the classical 1950s cabinet look. It has a glass like tap tone what I think is unusual for santos rosewood, especially if it is flat sawn.



As I wanted to keep things simple, the busy figured back made the decisions for the other materials hard. What inspired me the most in terms of materials was Arne Jacobsens room 606. The combination of the flat sawn rosewood with the turquoise fabric and the stainless steel really cought my eyes. So I decided to go with some turquoise recon stone for the inlays to complement the rosewood.

The neck and the interior will be mahogany as usual, the fretboard, bindings and bridge will be ebony.

Rosette design:

One year ago I stopped making round inlays around my soundhole. I can express myself better on my guitars with the freedom of not needing a round inlay. As the round rosette on a guitar is to prevent the top from cracking, I started to reinforce the top from the inside so I don't need the function of a rosette anymore.

As I still wanted to add some inlay close to the soundhole, I had to find a theme that is only decorative but still reflects the fundamentals of the Scandinavian design. So I started to look at the proportions of faces of buildings. but I still couldn't come up with any design that I thought would complement the guitar better than no inlay. This went on and on until I found the piece of fabric design by Arne Jacobsen. I instantly fell in love with its proportions so I started to extract them into a small theme that could work for a rosette.
After some back and forth I came up with six different patterns that are all based on the same proportions and chose one of them for this guitar.





One of the most important things for me was not to exaggerate with the inlays, so I decided not to fill every segment with a material. Most of them will just be defined by their outlines.

This picture shows the first part of inlaying the rosette. I do all my inlays without cnc machines as I enjoy the process of doing it by hand as well as the flexibility I can have with my designs.



You will see the result of it in my next post.
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:09 AM
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It is time for another update!
First of all, here is a pic of the finished rosette. The soundhole itself is bound with a thin ebony veneer. I also added a turquoise inlay to the back to tie it all together.





Side construction:

The construction of the sides I use is very rigid for quite a while now. I want the sides to work like the ones on a drum, so the loss of energy will get reduced and the two plates can work more efficient. To realize that I've used double laminated sides in the past with mahogany kerfings to support the top and back. As most people don't like heavy guitars I tried to reduce the weight on them. Around a year ago I started to use a triple laminate technique. To keep the stiffness up but reduce the weight, I used Paulownia for the middle layer. That works pretty good, but bending a 3mm piece of Paulownia is a bit of a pain.
For this current build I used Balsa wood for the first time. It bends way better than the Paulownia and is even lighter. Though you have to be careful to laminate it. Too much preassure and you will compress it. So I've used a vacuum bag to laminate it and it worked just right.

Bracing:

All of my guitars are build with an active back to achieve a warm and colorful tone. I've experimented with different back bracings but the one I have the best control over my backs is a usual ladder brcing. So I used my standard ladder bracing with three braces on this guitar as well.



But the top bracing on this guitar is different than what I usually use.
During my studies at university I started to experiment with falcate top bracing, invented by Trevor Gore and described in his two piece book. I got good results with it. I especially liked the more mellow but still clear sound of the mids and trebles but the bass was always lacking and they've never been as responsive as I wanted them to be. So I stopped using that bracing pattern for a while.
Now that I have some experience with the voicing method of Somogyi style guitars I thought that I should combine my knowledge of it with the pattern of the falcate bracing.
My top construction is different than the one Trevor Gore uses. As his tops are pretty thick for that bracing style, mine is a bit thinner. He uses carbon fibre to reinforce his bracing, I don't. The reason why I don't want to use it is simple, I want to control what the top is doing with removing wood from the braces. If the braces are getting their stiffness with the carbon fibre after I can carve them, I loose my control. To be allowed to keep up my usual voicing method but still keep the stiffness, I increased the height of the braces. It worked really good and the top has a very responsive tap tone.

Here is a picture of the bracing pattern. I will post more updates soon.

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Old 12-17-2018, 12:15 AM
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Fantastic thread Max! I am really enjoying your narrative and the images of what promise to be a beautiful instrument.

Col
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  #11  
Old 12-17-2018, 10:15 AM
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Fantastic thread Max! I am really enjoying your narrative and the images of what promise to be a beautiful instrument.

Col
Thank you, Col! I am glad you're enjoying it.
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  #12  
Old 12-20-2018, 05:45 PM
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Here is the next part for you.

Binding:

To remain loyal to the original concept of keeping it simple, I decided to keep the bindings as simple as possible. It was a pretty hard decision but I thought it will be the best for the instrument to go with ebony bindings and no purflings. Also no purflings around the top.
To enhance the comfort of the guitar I decided to add a micro bevel/double binding.
It came out beautiful and I am glad that I made those decisions.

The end graft had to match the back inlay so I inlayed a segment of the turquoise colored reconstone with some simple black lines around it.











Headstock/Fretboard

As with all my other guitars, the composition of the headstock and body combined with the fretboard in between is very important.
I have never seen a spruce headstock veneer before and was wondering why no one has done it before. It ties the headstock and body together like nothing else I could imagine. I decided to give it a go and since I had already designed this destinctive pattern for the rosette I wanted to reuse it on the headstock. After discussing the design with Ray Kraut, he had the idea of changing the colors on the segments. I emidiately loved the idea and after playing around with it I came up with the final design. To complement the body, I've decided to add an ebony binding around the headstock.



When deciding the material for the fretboard purfling, you have to think about colors and thicknesses. Usually I use the same thickness and color that I used for the purfling around the body, which most of the time would be a 0,3mm maple veneer if the body wood is dark or a 0,6mm maple veneer if the body wood has a lighter color.
On this guitar my decision felt more important for the overall look than usually. On one hand with no purflings around the body, I could easily make a fretboard without any purfling. This would devide the headstock and body and would make the distance inbetween feel bigger. On the other hand there is this hard contrast between the ebony bindings and the almost white spruce top. Using that would keep it more together.
I've decided not to use a purfling line which really lets the guitar look longer than it actually is but I am really happy with how the proportions appear.

More pictures are coming soon!
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  #13  
Old 12-20-2018, 06:03 PM
Nemoman Nemoman is online now
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Looking great so far, Max.

Really love the body shape and the appointments you've chosen!
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Old 12-21-2018, 02:31 AM
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Love the slim waist; it looks good and should make the guitar more comfortable to play as well. What is the lower bout dimension?
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  #15  
Old 12-21-2018, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemoman View Post
Looking great so far, Max.

Really love the body shape and the appointments you've chosen!
Thank you! I am glad that you like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colins View Post
Love the slim waist; it looks good and should make the guitar more comfortable to play as well. What is the lower bout dimension?
Thank you! It indeed feels very comfortable. The lower bout width is 15,25"
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