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Guitar Building in Spain

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Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:49 am

My son, Evan, graduated from Culinary School last spring but wasn't sure he really wanted to get into that field. So he spent most of last summer working odd jobs here and there while considering his future.

He has had a bit of exposure and experience building electric guitars with me in my shop - and we decided together that we were going to tackle building a couple acoustics together.

Well then on Facebook I saw a post from The European Institute of Guitar Making that, due to a cancellation, they had one spot available in their Fall 2015 course. The school is run by Stephen Hill.

So long story short, we talked, we contacted Stephen, we booked Evan a flight and away he went off to La Herradura, Spain to learn to build a classical guitar.

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(This is the view from his apartment.)
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:58 am

The course ran from mid September to mid October. Students had a choice of a classical or flamenco guitar. Evan chose a Classical. He picked padauk for the back and sides and cedar for the top.

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I'll just post some progress photos without a lot of commentary. I'm sure most everyone here knows what's going on (better than I do...)

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:06 am

Here's some work on the rosette.

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:16 am

The class having a break at a local watering hole. Stephen Hill is 3rd from left with the bag over his shoulder.

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Back to the shop...

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:44 am

Progress...

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:06 am

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:20 am

At the end of the course they had a little concern where a professional guitarist played all the students' guitars.

Here are links to a couple youtube videos that you may find interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkB309uUs0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1sgSg7-AWQ

Evan went with a very modern head shape and as such it has received a lot of attention from some of the local musicians. Several people have played it and a couple have asked him if he wants to sell it.

Obviously, he doesn't want to. ;)

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Bill Raymond » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:54 pm

I rather like that rosette, though the "modern" headstock is not really to my taste; however, I'll have to admit that he did an admirable job with it--it's very tastefully done. Overall, really good job. Congratulations to your son.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:18 am

For Shame! Leading your son down the path to addiction! :lol:
Nice looking and sounding guitar. Now he will have to teach you all he has learned.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:13 am

Evan really hit it off with the instructor and when the course was completed Evan swung a deal to stick around and build a second guitar on his own. He bought materials and rented "bench space" from Stephen and tackled a Flamenco guitar. He's still there and wants to stay even longer.

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:23 am

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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Bill Raymond » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:19 pm

very, very nice, John.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Beate Ritzert » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:32 pm

Maybe he should have sold the first one?

Number two is a lot more appealing (to me).
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Randolph Rhett » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:03 am

Idle curiosity, but I am confused by the Spanish heel. I've only seen it done with a thin slot between the neck heel and the head block just wide enough to insert the sides. That seems to have a 1/2" dado. How does that work?

Also, no bridge patch? That I've seen before, but I thought only on less expensive guitars. Never seen a luthier made classical guitar without the patch. Is it common to skip it?

I'll add that I am NOT a builder of classical guitars, so it really is just idle curiosity.

Thanks!
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:05 am

I don't know enough about classical guitars to really answer your questions Randolph... but of Stephen's website he says he builds in the "traditional Spanish method". So I can only assume that's how it was done way back when.

Perhaps someone here with more experience with this can pipe in and clarify.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:30 pm

The wide slot is fairly common. It is not a parallel sided slot but is tapered. A separate wedge of wood is placed in the slot (along with the side) to lock it in tightly.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Greg » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:30 pm

I can wholly endorse this course. I did it May 2015 and without a doubt one of my best vacations ever.
The wedged neck joint is extremely strong. Wedges are made to firmly lock the sides into the Spanish heel. I have many pics of this process and have done 2 more classical and 6 ukuleles since returning home.
If you get the chance to go to La Herradura and do this course you too will love it.
Both Stephen Hill at European Guitar Institute or Pablo Requena in Malaga con enhance building skills to master level.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Dan Smith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:17 pm

Wonderful story John!
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby John Kingma » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:20 am

Beate Ritzert wrote:Maybe he should have sold the first one?


:?:

Why...??

If I was in his shoes I would never sell my first one.
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Re: Guitar Building in Spain

Postby Brian Evans » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:58 am

It seems kind of 50 - 50 if a classical guitar builder uses a bridge plate or just bracing under the bridge. I see no reason to use one if your strings don't go through the top and you have your fan bracing under the bridge transferring the bridge stress to a large area of the top.
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