Saturday, 24 December 2011

Building an Acoustic Guitar

The guitar bug seems to have taken hold as I have recently bought a copy of Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar by Jonathan Kinkead.  It includes full size plans for a steel string acoustic.
Already feverish thoughts are coursing though my brain about what guitars I'm going to build and in what order.  A Spanish classical guitar in the style of Torres or, better, a 1937 Hermann Hauser (as played by Segovia himself)?  Perhaps a Panormo or other early 19th century guitar as per my previous post?

Going through the book, which gets good reviews, is clearly written and has nice colour pictures in it (check out the preview on Amazon), I could possibly tackle the Kinkade Kingsdown Acoustic (a Martin OM variant) to start with, which is the one he builds in the book.  It's actually quite a handsome guitar although I do lean towards the classical and therefore nylon string guitars, which are of course different in style and in details of construction (having a integral neck for one thing).  By the way, his guitars are called 'Kinkade' rather than 'Kinkead', so it's not a typo.

Having gone through the book a few times it all seems very straightforward - all I need to get are some (more)  tools and I'm off!  I've even found myself looking at second hand bandsaws and routers on ebay.... OK, maybe that's going a bit far.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Panormo Guitar

One of these days I'm going to make a classical guitar and if I do it may well be one of these, a Panormo guitar.  Louis Panormo was a guitar maker active in London in the 1840s and 50s.  His instruments are actually based on earlier Spanish designs.
This one happens to be in the collection of Edinburgh University and I think that it is one of those on display at St Cecilia's Hall, an 18th century concert hall in Edinburgh's Old Town (in the Cowgate, just off Niddry Street).  We went to a guitar concert there during the 2011 Edinburgh Festival and were amazed to see all these early guitars on display in the area that they served coffee in at the interval.  They were in glass cabinets, mind you.

Actually, I've no idea how to make one but did come across a luthier (a maker of stringed instrument, especially guitars) called Gary Demos who had made one and shows how on his website. Another interesting website that discusses many 19th century guitars can be found here.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Admira Malaga

I've always loved classical guitar music and after my son was given a guitar and started lessons I thought I'd learn too, so I bought a guitar.  It's an Admira Malaga and I think that it is a beautiful instrument.
It has a solid cedar top and the sides and back are made from a wood called sapelli (a tropical African wood similar to mahogany).  The neck actually is African mahogany and the bridge and fingerboard are made of mongoy (another hardwood from west and east Africa).

I'm still learning and try to play every day (using Frederick Noad's Solo Guitar Playing (Vol 1)) which I think is excellent.   A long way to go yet but I'm enjoying it!