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Author Topic: Guitar Tops  (Read 1847 times)
aarra
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« on: July 26, 2012, 10:31:50 PM »

This may be a question with an obvious answer, but I am totally ignorant about how guitars are made.  I would like to build my own, if I had the time, the tools and the ability, but I'm batting 0 for 3 there.
Is there a standard in making the top from one piece of wood or seaming two, or does it depend on the wood, size of the guitar, or on other factors?  I have seen the same model where one guitar appears to be a single-piece and the same model guitar with what looks to be two pieces seamed together and is clearly (by the grain) two different, but similar pieces of wood.  Same brand, same model, same price.
Thanks for any responses to what may be a dumb question. 
 
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ffinke
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 01:57:23 AM »

I've got limited knowledge re: older model of guitars but I don't think any modern guitars are made with one-piece tops. Backs and tops are usually made from book-matched, quarter sawn blanks. This gives roughly the same grain pattern on both sides. The reason for this is that the parts can be cut from a log maybe 20" in diameter. If they were one piece the log would need to be 32" or better and the grain would be different side to side. If you think the top is one-piece it's probably because the grain was very even and the seam was almost invisible. The more experienced techs on this forum should comment on this post.

Good luck with your guitar building!

f
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Larrivee L-03 w/Gotoh 381 tuners (African Mahogany/Sitka)
Collings OM2Hc (EIR/Sitka)
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aarra
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 01:43:21 PM »

Thank you for that explanation, makes a lot of sense.  And thanks for not pointing out how stupid my question is.  I have been playing guitar for 47 years now and I've always wanted to build my own.  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no skills  in that area.  I'll probably put the neck on backwards and upside down and lose a few fingers at the same time.  Fortunately I have a great luthier nearby to help.  The challenge will be to get the instrument done before I die.
Thanks again for the response. bowdown
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 01:48:22 PM »

Thank you for that explanation, makes a lot of sense.  And thanks for not pointing out how stupid my question is.  I have been playing guitar for 47 years now and I've always wanted to build my own.  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no skills  in that area.  I'll probably put the neck on backwards and upside down and lose a few fingers at the same time.  Fortunately I have a great luthier nearby to help.  The challenge will be to get the instrument done before I die.
Thanks again for the response. bowdown

Look at LMII for materials, tools and help including kits. Lots of help there for what you have in mind. You can do as much or as little as you want.

http://www.lmii.com/
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 02:01:12 PM »

There are lots of books and info on the net to help,plus there are some short coarse available were you are to build a guitar.I remember a couple of the forum members taking thse coarse.Don't sell yourself short after 47 years I'm still learning even though I've been servicing guitars and repairing for the same lenth of time.
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 02:03:53 PM »

Yes, the LMI or Stew-Mac kits are a great place to start; see if you want to go further afterword with minimal tool expense, and they are quite fine guitars when done.
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Danny
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2012, 03:52:16 PM »

If you only go with a book and lack any experience or talent, PRAY for a lot of patience.
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Too many guitars... But I keep thinking one more may just do it.
aarra
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 07:01:39 PM »

Let me clarify.  I had a contractor install my home theater but I decided that I would put the endpieces on the wire myself.  Make myself feel useful.  Nine speakers, 2 wires each, 4 ends, total 36.  The end clips are in 2 pieces that have to go on the wire in the correct order.  Only 2 pieces.  36 times I put the wrong piece on first and had to redo it.  Each time you could hear me scream s**t, I did it again.  I changed a light switch in my daughter's apt.  Not only blew out the lights, but all the sockets in two rooms of her apt.  So I know my limitations.  I'm fine with book learning, have an MD and a JD, practiced medicine and law, but when it comes to reading assembly instructions, I can stare at the same sentence for an hour and not get it.  This may be the world's first jigsaw puzzle guitar.  Thanks for the helpful suggestions, I do appreciate it.
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Danny
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 08:32:20 PM »

Let me clarify.  I had a contractor install my home theater but I decided that I would put the endpieces on the wire myself.  Make myself feel useful.  Nine speakers, 2 wires each, 4 ends, total 36.  The end clips are in 2 pieces that have to go on the wire in the correct order. Only 2 pieces.  36 times I put the wrong piece on first and had to redo it.  Each time you could hear me scream s**t, I did it again.  I changed a light switch in my daughter's apt.  Not only blew out the lights, but all the sockets in two rooms of her apt.  So I know my limitations.  I'm fine with book learning, have an MD and a JD, practiced medicine and law, but when it comes to reading assembly instructions, I can stare at the same sentence for an hour and not get it.  This may be the world's first jigsaw puzzle guitar.  Thanks for the helpful suggestions, I do appreciate it.
And you write a good story.
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Too many guitars... But I keep thinking one more may just do it.
Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 10:23:09 PM »

So tab "A" into slot"B" would be a problem....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
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 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
One By One The Penguins Steal My Sanity*Eat The Rich*, Keith and Barefoot Rob on youtube
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Danny
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 10:26:11 PM »

So tab "A" into slot"B" would be a problem....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  Yup, sounds like it, and he better stay away from electric guitars altogether.
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Too many guitars... But I keep thinking one more may just do it.
aarra
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2012, 12:10:02 AM »

It's really more sad than funny.  I bought a corner exercise station for the gym in my basement.  26 pages of assembly instructions.  No exaggeration, one week and I couldn't get past page 1.  A friend came over, never looked at the instructions, looked at the picture on the box and had it together in 2 hours.  I wish that I could do what he does and he wishes he had my education.  I have a lot of pieces of paper on the wall, but he builds the walls that hold my diplomas and to me, that's a real talent.  I guess the other side of the grass does always seem greener.   crying
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Danny
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2012, 12:22:13 AM »

  My older brother is a PHD in education and I have a G.E.D. His body is still capable of playing lots of sports and I can barely play my guitar some days.  It's all relative, I suppose.
  It's nice to see someone with many degrees and much education, admit their shortness in other areas.
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Too many guitars... But I keep thinking one more may just do it.
broKen
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2012, 06:19:54 AM »

It's really more sad than funny.  I bought a corner exercise station for the gym in my basement.  26 pages of assembly instructions.  No exaggeration, one week and I couldn't get past page 1.  A friend came over, never looked at the instructions, looked at the picture on the box and had it together in 2 hours.  I wish that I could do what he does and he wishes he had my education.  I have a lot of pieces of paper on the wall, but he builds the walls that hold my diplomas and to me, that's a real talent.  I guess the other side of the grass does always seem greener.   crying


Thank you sir, your statements have warmed my heart. I wish I could make a living with my brain, but most of my living has been by brawn and poor boy ingenuity. I have drilled oil wells in Texas, built hundreds of homes, climbed trees in Fla. and still do sometimes, was a paramedic for a while, and now do anything that needs doing to residences, and I tell my wife anybody can do what I do, it's all so elementary. She flatly refutes that. Maybe she's right. I'm only 55 and wore out.

If I were you, I'd keep playing the guitar and leave the building to the Larrivee family.
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aarra
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2012, 04:47:20 AM »

No, not everybody can do what you do.  It's talented people like you who built this country.  I couldn't build a doll house, let alone a real one.  I am good at memorizing books and I am a good test-taker.  BTW, my guitar playing is nothing great either. 
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broKen
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2012, 05:32:49 AM »

It takes a lot of folks with different talents to make it work. Thanks
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A Hebrew, under the Spell
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ffinke
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2012, 08:54:50 PM »

aarra, I just hope you're not an orthopedic surgeon! There might be some "unusual subjects" running around if you are.  

I've lived by the slogan: Know thyself (but push the limits). Sounds like that's what you're doing and that's to be admired.

f
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Larrivee L-03 w/Gotoh 381 tuners (African Mahogany/Sitka)
Collings OM2Hc (EIR/Sitka)
Schenk Ophirio (Sapele/Cedar)
Bourgeois 00 Custom (Mahogany/It. Spruce)
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« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2012, 05:59:29 AM »

No, not everybody can do what you do.  It's talented people like you who built this country.  I couldn't build a doll house, let alone a real one.  I am good at memorizing books and I am a good test-taker.  BTW, my guitar playing is nothing great either.  

Hi aarra  
The mentioned courses sound great. Another option would be to have a guitar built for you? Choose a builder like Daniel Roberts, Cornerstone's Peter Merreiros  or Michael Bashkin (those are but a few of many great builders that I can think of), and be part of the building process in that way. Many builders will share just about every detail with their cutomers.

Oh and there's no such thing as a stupid question. I have learned a great deal on forums such as this, the key for me is to always remain teachable.
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"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
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