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So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

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So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:02 am

I haven't posted in a long time. I just finished this parlor guitar for my wife. She picked the woods before she started taking guitar lessons a couple years ago. It has a number of interesting things going on so thought it was worth posting. Specs are:

Top Alaskan yellow cedar
Sides East indian rosewood
Back Spalted flame maple
Binding and armrest Mahogany
Neck Mahogany
Fingerboard and bridge East indian rosewood
Inlays Abalone
Finish Padded on liberon oil finish on the body and tru-oil on the neck (I ran out of liberon)
Shape approximate copy of an unplayable garage sale parlor guitar I was given years ago - similar-ish to a Martin ooo

In addition to the odd wood combination and the armrest, it has a carbon fiber flying buttress supporting the neck block and a fully adjustable neck. The neck adjusts via a stove bolt that goes through the strap pin on the neck heel. If you dindn't know, you would just assume it is a regular strap button. I drilled it out so the bolt would go through it instead of using the screw that comes with it. The bolt threads into a t-nut in the neck block (no effort was made to hide it inside - I never look in there). The fingerboard floats over the body and has carbon fiber rods epoxied to the bottom to stiffen it. This is the first one I've done this way and am already totally sold on it. Within a minute of bringing it up to pitch for the first time, I had the action dialed in better than most of my electric guitars. It sounds good too which is an added bonus.

I took lots of pictures during construction (400+) and kept track of my time. 41 hours in total (less than I expected) spread out over a full year of tinkering (I only worked 42 days on it). If anyone is interested in any parts of construction, I'd be happy to post more.

Enough rambling. Onto pictures.
Attachments
maple rosewood parlor front.jpg
maple rosewood parlor front 2.jpg
maple rosewood parlor back .jpg
maple rosewood parlor back 2.jpg
maple rosewood parlor neck.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Brian Evans » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:29 am

Lovely job! I do love a 12 fret parlor guitar. I wonder about the details of the neck joint - is it fastened at the upper part of the joint? Did you recess the heel into a mortise to get the seamless look?

Brian
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:14 am

Looks great. You don't see a lot of back and sides using different woods so I wasn't sure what to expect when I got down to the pictures. They came together nicely.

I've never kept track of my time "tinkering" but my estimates are WAY over 41 mins. Perhaps I should keep track next time I start one. Maybe I'll surprise myself.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Jim Hepler » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:23 pm

That does look really nice John. I always knew you worked a lot faster than I do, but 41 hours is really amazing. On my latest guitar I'm sure I spent 41 hours looking for stuff I had just put down on my workbench a minute before. Guess I should clean up my shop.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Alan Carruth » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:56 pm

With all of the 'different' stuff on it, I'd hesitate to attribute the sound to any one thing. It's a nice looking instrument, though, and it's good that it sounds nice. I have a student who's just finishing a 14-fret 00 with walnut sides, maple back, and a white pine top. He's used the pine before, but not on that size box.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:06 pm

Thanks for the kind words so far. The neck is just held on by the one bolt. It should be more than strong enough to hold everything together. It will be a bit loose and floppy when changing strings but no big deal as I will expect that. The only other hardware in the neck joint is two small round head wood screws which act as pivot points. It feels rock solid when strung up. The neck extends into a pocket in the body maybe 1/4 inch. From the playing position, it looks seamless. I took my time trying to get it perfect so even if you look from the head stock down the neck, the biggest gap can barely fit a piece of paper. I used to spend just as much time flossing the neck joint as making the pocket on this one so I don't think it takes all that much more time.

Saying it sounds halfway between maple and rosewood was a bit of a (lame) joke on my part. I couldn't attribute the sound to that feature alone for sure. it definitely doesn't hurt the sound though.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Peter Wilcox » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:32 am

Very nice looking guitar. Please post construction pics of the neck joint.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby Alan Carruth » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm

I've used a similar neck joint a few times. One minor 'improvement' is a setscrew in the pocket at the bottom as a stop for the neck angle. If there's space back there it's easy to pull the neck back and have the strings bottom out; a setscrew obviates that issue.
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:47 pm

Here is how I did the adjustable neck.



Here is a picture of the hardware I used. A standard strap button drilled out for a 3/16 hole, a 2 ½ inch 3/16 stove bolt, a 3/16 t-nut, and two round head wood screws. total weight is quite small (19 grams)
Attachments
hardware on scale 2.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:48 pm

First thing to do was drill the neck. I marked where I wanted the strap button.



Then I use the strap button to pick the best drill bit.
Attachments
01 mark bolt location on heel.jpg
02 pick the right drill bit.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:50 pm

Drill a countersink the button will fit into. Followed by a picture of the button in the hole and beside it.
Attachments
03 drill countersink.jpg
04 button in countersink.jpg
05 button beside countersunk hole.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:51 pm

Then drill through with a 3/16 bit. The heel has a ½ inch dowel installed top to bottom so I’m minimizing the amount of wood I’m removing from the neck. It should be plenty strong.
Attachments
06 drill through neck.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:51 pm

Then I placed it on the body and used a transfer punch to locate the hole in the body. This was done before I had finished carving the neck or buffed the body - you could wait until after those two steps are done as you don’t want to route until everything is finalized. Drill a ¼ inch hole (The size of the outside neck of the t-nut).
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:53 pm

I skip ahead now to after the body is buffed, and the neck is carved. The t-nut goes inside the body and the neck is bolted on. Carefully scribe around the neck (just like you would do around a bridge before gluing one down).
Attachments
11 scribe around neck.jpg
13 heel scribed onto body.jpg
13 heel scribed onto body.jpg (27.04 KiB) Viewed 286 times
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:55 pm

I measure how deep I want to go. Then with nerves of steel, freehand route close to the line as you dare (I stayed about 1/8 inch away). Go a bit deeper than the minimum you need to. Last picture is the rough pocket. The tape is just a visual reference for me to not go too near.
Attachments
12 minimum depth to route.jpg
14 routing neck pocket.jpg
15 neck pocket rough route.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:56 pm

Refine it with chisels, rasps, sandpaper until you like the fit. Use chalk or carbon paper or just eyeball it. The edge is slightly undercut so it won’t hang up anywhere.
Attachments
16 refine with chisel.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:57 pm

A clearance pocket is routed into the top. I’ll use a jig next time. To install the fingerboard supports, use a long aircraft drill bit and drill into the neck under the fingerboard. The CF rods get epoxied in.
Attachments
17 FB support clearance routed.jpg
18 drilling neck for CF rods.jpg
19 CF rods under FB.jpg
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Re: So that's what halfway between maple and rosewood sounds like

Postby John Cross » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:05 am

I don’t have a picture but I installed the two round head wood screws (pre-drilled of course) on either side of the CF rods. On this guitar I put them on the neck. They could just as easily go on the neck block in the routed pocket. To set the lateral yaw adjustment, just turn the screws accordingly. If your compensation is out a bit (i.e. you glued the bridge 1/8" too close to the sound hole), you can move the whole neck deeper or shallower pretty easy. I didn't need to but you could.

Back when I was planning/over-thinking this, I thought about putting in a set screw in the heel to keep it you from being able to pull it back like Alan suggested. Then I remembered there is 135+ lbs of tension holding the neck on. I’d need to eat more Wheaties for me to be able to pull it back under tension (I just tried it and can’t do it). The set screw would only make it less floppy when changing strings and could limit how much adjustment you can do.

Let me know if there are any more questions.
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