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Old 01-19-2019, 09:59 PM
Jphb77 Jphb77 is offline
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Default Nylon string cutaway w/ a spanish heel

I'm looking for some information on the details of construction of a cutaway body using a spanish heel for the neck joint. I've done several searches online and have found only a few things about the subject ,but nothing very specific. I have seen a few different profiles of the cutaway transition into the spanish heel, but I can't find details on how it's executed. Mainly curious how the sides slip into the heel or maybe just one side? Any thoughts, links, or knowledge on this would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:28 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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There are a number of ways of making a cutaway. The easiest, and, perhaps, oldest, type to make is to have a discontinuity where the body meets the neck, like this:



That is, there is a vertical corner on the treble side of the neck/fingerboard, where the hand bumps up against the corner. This is accomplished by making the side proud of the edge of the fingerboard and was done to accomodate the dovetail joint that was used. There's nothing "special" about the construction. Regardless of neck juncture, a short piece of side is used between the neck block/interior of the Spanish heel/foot and the heel. The cutaway abuts the short side piece at a corner. If the heel shape is heavily (traditionally) contoured, much of the short piece of side is visible.



Many more recent designs have the cutaway side flush with the fingerboard at the neck/body juncture, like this, but the vertical corner of the cutaway still exists:




If the heel is the same width as the fingerboard for the entire depth of the heel, none of the short piece of side is visible under the heel, as shown below and is often more forgiving to make than some other options. https://www.guitarfromspain.com/6232...nco-guitar.jpg

A more difficult, still, approach is to have the cutaway match the contour of the treble side of the fingerboard as well as the (traditional) contour of the heel. It requires the end block or Spanish foot to be undercut the thickness of the side so that the exterior surface of the side is flush with the fingerboard and heel. The side must then be bent across its width - to match the contour of the heel - as well as length. One example is shown here: http://charlestauber.com/luthier/Home.html.


More "modern" cuttaways involve having a cutaway that does not extend the full depth of the side, such as shown below. As far as the interior block/Spanish foot is concerned, it is built the same way as a non-cutaway.

https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...1493939946318/

Probably, the starting point is to decide what sort of cutaway design you want to make. The details of how to accomplish follow from that. Unless you have a specific reason for wanting to use a Spanish heel/foot, I'd suggest using a separate-neck construction.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 01-20-2019 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:51 AM
Jphb77 Jphb77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
There are a number of ways of making a cutaway. The easiest, and, perhaps, oldest, type to make is to have a discontinuity where the body meets the neck, like this:



That is, there is a vertical corner on the treble side of the neck/fingerboard, where the hand bumps up against the corner. This is accomplished by making the side proud of the edge of the fingerboard and was done to accomodate the dovetail joint that was used. There's nothing "special" about the construction. Regardless of neck juncture, a short piece of side is used between the neck block/interior of the Spanish heel/foot and the heel. The cutaway abuts the short side piece at a corner. If the heel shape is heavily (traditionally) contoured, much of the short piece of side is visible.



Many more recent designs have the cutaway side flush with the fingerboard at the neck/body juncture, like this, but the vertical corner of the cutaway still exists:




If the heel is the same width as the fingerboard for the entire depth of the heel, none of the short piece of side is visible under the heel, as shown below and is often more forgiving to make than some other options. https://www.guitarfromspain.com/6232...nco-guitar.jpg

A more difficult, still, approach is to have the cutaway match the contour of the treble side of the fingerboard as well as the (traditional) contour of the heel. It requires the end block or Spanish foot to be undercut the thickness of the side so that the exterior surface of the side is flush with the fingerboard and heel. The side must then be bent across its width - to match the contour of the heel - as well as length. One example is shown here: http://charlestauber.com/luthier/Home.html.


More "modern" cuttaways involve having a cutaway that does not extend the full depth of the side, such as shown below. As far as the interior block/Spanish foot is concerned, it is built the same way as a non-cutaway.

https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...1493939946318/

Probably, the starting point is to decide what sort of cutaway design you want to make. The details of how to accomplish follow from that. Unless you have a specific reason for wanting to use a Spanish heel/foot, I'd suggest using a separate-neck construction.
Great information. Thanks for taking the time to explain various approaches. The only cutaway I have built was where the fret board and heel block were the same dimension and the heel is not contoured, so it's a flush surface where the side and heel meet. I don't really have a specific reason for using a spanish heel, besides the fact that I want to have all the characteristics of a classical guitar, aside from having a cutaway. Although I doubt having a bolted joint would have enough of a difference in tone for me to notice ...I am curious because when I have looked at some nylon string guitars with a cutaway(name brand), the specs called out the use of a spanish heel. I can't see how the treble side would slip into a slot on the heel like the non cutaway side ...is it just glued to the side of the heel?
Anyways ,I've only been building for a couple years but I am a cabinet maker/millwork fabricator by trade, and so far my guitars have turned out pretty decent, but I refer back to your "Guitar Set Up 101"pdf all the time. Setting up the guitar is my weakest part of the process. So I appreciate that as well. Thanks again
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Old 01-20-2019, 03:06 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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Quote:
is it just glued to the side of the heel?
Yes. That's the way it's done on guitars with a separate neck block.
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