Apr 6 2011

Understanding acoustic wood, visualized…

by Josh

Thanks to Flipboard, I found this great visualization of the tonal characteristics of back and side wood found in acoustic guitars over at Breedlove Guitars.  They also do a great job of talking about how each different type of wood contributes to the tone of an acoustic guitar.  I have heard this information in many different forums as I am learning more about instrument building, but the way they graphed this data on a chart really helped me to understand better.  Also, I was not aware of the similarities between some of these woods, so I found it a very interesting read.


Sep 19 2010

Acoustic Guitar Building…

by Josh

For the last few months, I have been cultivating an interest in the construction of acoustic guitars.  This started simply enough this summer once I finished my ukulele kit and continued after I saw Andy McKee perform in Denver.  After some research into his Greenfield guitars, I got interested in figuring out what it would take to start building acoustic guitars on my own.

I found a myriad of different kits, and this led people to send me links of other fingerstyle acoustic players including this one by Antoine Dufour.  Dufour plays guitars by Mario Beauregard, who apprenticed from a man named Ervin Somogyi.  As I investigated further, several other luthiers have apprenticed and raved about the abilities of Somogyi so I headed over to his website and found this excellent video.

It seems that Somogyi has written some of the best books available on the topic of acoustic guitar building, but they are very expensive.  After thinking it over for a few months, today I ordered my book and DVD set.  I plan to read them over the winter months and select a project next year to begin.  I plan to start with an acoustic guitar kit or two so I can get some of the mechanics of assembly down, and then attempt hand-building a guitar myself if that goes well.

I am excited about this new hobby, expect to see more here over the coming months!


Aug 22 2010

Instrument building…

by Josh

As I mentioned previously, I am cultivating some interest in learning how to build instruments.

This all began innocently enough… several years ago, my Dad purchased a tenor ukulele kit from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. for me, which unfortunately sat on a shelf for a number of years.  At the end of May, I began constructing the ukulele kit. Over the course of nearly a week of evenings, I built the kit and finished it. Shortly thereafter, I became dissatisfied with the friction pegs and ordered and installed some Grover ukulele tuners, along with some Aquila strings. This made my ukulele complete, and it looks and sounds pretty good for a first try.

You may have noticed by now that I documented this process over at my personal blog. Frankly, I anticipated this project to be a one-off that I just got done because I had the kit handy, but by the time I was finished with the ukulele I enjoyed it so much that I began to think that I should look into trying an acoustic guitar next.

Over the course of several months, I have been investigating possibilities for someone with very little actual woodworking experience to build an acoustic guitar. I found that several companies have acoustic guitar kits of varying degrees of difficulty, the highest rated of these is the StewMac Dreadnought Guitar Kit. This kit comes highly recommended because of the superior instructional guides that come along with it. Several websites have denoted this kit as a good one for beginners, and it produces a very nice guitar as well.

The biggest limiting factor for me right now is tools. The StewMac kit comes with a recommended tool list that is fairly long, so I am going to save up some money over the winter months and begin this endeavor in the Spring. I have already stockpiled a great set of links, reading material, and videos that are further encouraging me so I will share those as time permits, in addition to our regular content about learning the guitar.


Aug 18 2010

What’s been going on lately…

by Josh

Happily, a lot of guitar practice. I’ve been alternating between my Gibson Custom and my Seagull acoustic, mostly practicing songs that I am familiar with. I’ve been continuing on lessons over at Totally Guitars and slowly making progress.

I got the opportunity to travel back to my hometown thanks to my job, so I got to hang out and jam with my two cousins. It’s always cathartic to get to practice with family, and I always find it to be much more relaxing.

In the process of learning more about the guitar, I am also cultivating a strong interest in learning to build guitars myself. It will likely be next year before I execute on this interest, but we might end up with a new section at The Guitar Zero to focus on instrument building for the absolute beginner. I am still in the information-gathering phase, but luckily the Internet is filled with information from both amateur and professional luthiers. As the weeks progress, I will explore some of the more interesting websites that I have discovered lately.

In the meantime, I will get back to posting more about my guitar practice and some recent discoveries that have made playing more easy. More soon!