Friday, 27 January 2012

An evening with Antonio Torres

It was busy in the workshop last Thursday evening. Fellow guitar maker Pete Beer was down in Sussex and took the opportunity of calling in to talk about guitar making (and bread making) and to see a guitar made by Antonio Torres. This particular Torres (FE 18) is a very small, 5 fan strutted model with many of the distinctive decorative features for which Torres is known. I have seen and heard this guitar many times over the years and it is one of the nicest Torres guitar I have played. I have some good pictures of the guitar and I will post them here in the next few days, but the picture below is a tantalising taster of the delights this guitar has to offer.
The picture above shows Pete playing the Torres, whilst Jim Westbrook continues with some restoration work. Max, on the right is busy on his latest guitar ( his third) which demonstrates just how addictive guitar making can be.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Adam's guitar - setting the neck

We are well into 2012 and the first cold weather of the year is upon us. I am in a nice warm workshop and the cold winter sunshine looks lovely through my workshop window. The year has started with a flurry of minor repairs to run along side the guitars I am making.

The picture is from the end of last year and shows the neck being fitted to Adam's cedar topped guitar. On this particular model I used a dovetail join, rather than the more traditional integral neck. I do this because it gives me more control over fitting the top and also makes it easier (as the top is fitted after the back) to clean up the inside of the box.

Fitting a neck is a complex and at times frustrating process. The angle of the neck in relation to the body is crucial, as an incorrectly angled neck will throw the bridge off centre. The uplift of the neck must be correct too, as this determines the bridge and saddle height. Finally, the fit and appearance of the join must be good as well. In the picture I am using a simple and wonderfully simple tool that I designed and made myself. A straight and stable baton of Douglas fir fitted with 3 screws; one at the nut, one at the twelfth fret (both set to the anticipated fingerboard thickness) and one at the bridge. It makes aligning the neck pretty much foolproof and gives me great pleasure to use.