Work in Progress


A Norwegian curly maple classic guitar, Hauser-inspired design, in the making, shown after the rosewood bindings have been applied.

Immediately below the same guitar next to a Brazilian rosewood classic, Aguado-inspired design. Both instruments were being made concurrently during a tutorial.

Here's the same curly maple classic shown above, but strung up in the white. I often do that to test the success of the results. This gives me the opportunity to make changes or improvements to the finished product before applying the finish coats. After I OK everything, I remove the strings,  bridge (only partially glued on at this point), nut, saddle and tuners, mask the fingerboard and take it to the finishing room.

Same guitar three weeks later. Six coats of McFadden's lacquer, two weeks drying, and two full afternoons of laborious polishing and fussing.

Polished-rosewood-back.jpg (17901 bytes)
A curly koa classic that's just gotten the final polishing. Nope, it hasn't been stained that color. That's all natural color, save for the natural amber tint of my finish. Tomorrow it gets strung up, set up and shipped to Modesto, California. Koa classic back 1.jpg (74953 bytes)
Wedge 12 in process.jpg (388632 bytes) My partner Harry prepares a wedge twelve string for the spray booth. That's fairly rare beeswing mahogany and a cedar top. UPS eventually trashed this guitar--but eventually repaid us in full.
This 7-string is an illustration of what you call Making a Virtue out of Necessity:  I have a friend who works for a large Connecticut guitarmaking company, who is always coming by and laying on me discards that they're not using any more. This time it was a stack of 4" wide slats of purpleheart (Peltogyne paniculata). Very dense and resonant. So how else do you make a 16" wide back for a guitar out of 4" strips that looks like it was planned that way? I've been making purpleheart guitars this way for the last two months! Purpleheart 7 assy 2.jpg (34857 bytes)
Purpleheart-requinto-back.jpg (13405 bytes)


Another Purpleheart project (the one above sold this one), and an unusual configuration: a 2/3 size requinto cutaway body with a full length scale on a nylon string guitar...with a graphite top. My customer took a very active part in designing this one. He saw a poster of a nineteenth-century Martin/Stauffer parlor guitar and loved the "Persian slipper" headstock--and insisted on one on his guitar. Note the (laborious) compound cutaway...very comfortable!

See the other side immediately below.

Purpleheart-requinto-front.jpg (39772 bytes)

Front of the above nylon-string requinto-bodied graphite- top cutaway... That's a graphite- topped charango in the background. No, I'm not a madman! Graphite makes a lot of sense for thin-topped high-strung small instruments. On this one, the original paper- thin top had eventually flown off due to its string tension.


Irizarry-graphite.jpg (30208 bytes)


Three weeks later: same guitar, hanging on the rack, soon after polishing; waiting for bridge and strings...
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One of my tutorial students left the guitar he completed behind for us to finish. This one's still warm from rubbing...
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I've been holding on to this brazilian rosewood set for 30 years, waiting for the right time and the right commission to use it. And here it is, on a jumbo cutaway built for an obviously pleased Kevin Curran immediately below, after having waited over a year for it.

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