Self built and self assembly ;)

Moderators: Slowy, Capt. Black

BY Jehu
#824775
Hey folks,

This is not a new build, but I had some questions about it on another thread, and rather than ruin Bg's thread I thought I would start a new one.

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This was my first attempt at a guitar build a few years back; I've made a number of others since then. Some people start with a ukelele kit, but I've always wanted to hand-carve an archtop from scratch, so I thought, "go big or go home!"

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It is an almost all (top, back, sides, and neck) Macrocarpa build, and all of the darker bits are Puriri. As my first build I wasn't about to ruin a bunch of expensive tonewood, so I went for a less pricey, local option. But it was well-seasoned and nicely quartered stock from a timber merchant, so I wasn't exactly resawing sleepers.

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It actually worked out surprisingly well for my first crack, and over 5 years later it still plays beautifully.

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BY WellyBlues
#824776
stunning. How long do you think it took in hours and over what time frame?

nice headstock and logo as well.

P.S. by the look of the bowls in the background you must have an enormous dog!
Last edited by WellyBlues on Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BY Jehu
#824777
clubhouse wrote:Beautiful! Well admiring of your skills, application and aesthetic. :thumbup: Love the headstock. Is the build Benedetto inspired by chance?


Yes, the Benedetto book was my guide for this one and I stayed fairly close to it. But I did need to use other resources as well; Benedetto doesn't exactly give away all of his secrets!

clubhouse wrote:What does it sound like? Did the mac bend very easily for the sides? What are the other timbers used? I'd be keen to learn how you carved/tuned the top. Is it X-braced or "parallel" bracing bars. What's the size of the lower bout? To be honest, I'm surprised that mac works for the neck. I didn't realise it has good beam strength/stability.


It actually sounds pretty decent. It is warm with quite a bit of low end and the mid-range honk characteristic of a carved archtop. It's lacking in top end, but that is probably more to do with the craftsman than the materials; I've been able to get much more top-end bite in more recent builds, and I'm confident I could bring it out in macro as well if need be. Not my ideal tonewood by any stretch, but fun and easy to work for a first attempt.

This one is 17" and x-braced (another reason for the above tonal characteristics). I've done parallel braced as well and if I were to use macro for a top again (which I probably won't!), I'd go parallel for a brighter, punchier sound. I wouldn't make a habit of using mac for a neck, but this one has stayed strong and straight. It was a nice, dry and perfectly quartersawn piece.

clubhouse wrote:I have a couple of old Hofners (one's a carved Committee with rosewood back and sides, the other's a steam/pressed top) and a 1937 Gibson L-12 so I'm pretty keen on arch-tops :D


Wow, a '37 L-12... nice! I also have a nice '56 Hofner 459 with a carved spruce top, as well as a newer Jazzica Custom. Nice to see more archtop love around here!
BY Jehu
#824779
WellyBlues wrote:stunning. How long do you think it took in hours and over what time frame?

nice headstock and logo as well.

P.S. by the look of the bowls in the background you must have an enormous dog!


Hey, thanks man! I hacked away at it in my spare time over about 8 months, I believe. I was pretty well using hand-tools exclusively, so it wasn't a quick process by any means.

Ha, no, not a terribly huge dog... She was an Australian Shepherd, and she sadly passed away a couple of months ago after 15 incredible years.
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BY jvpp
#824790
Very nice. I too used macrocarpa for my first archtop. Sadly mine had plenty of knots which made the carving a rather time consuming exercise.
BY Jehu
#824815
jvpp wrote:Very nice. I too used macrocarpa for my first archtop. Sadly mine had plenty of knots which made the carving a rather time consuming exercise.


Cool! Any pics?
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BY jvpp
#824835
Jehu wrote:
jvpp wrote:Very nice. I too used macrocarpa for my first archtop. Sadly mine had plenty of knots which made the carving a rather time consuming exercise.


Cool! Any pics?


Search for gretsch copy and that should lead to the build thread somewhere

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=35127&hilit=Gretsch+copy
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BY jeremyb
#824843
Beautiful work man, amazing for a first attempt!!
BY Jehu
#824904
Lostininverness wrote:Thats an excellent first build. Do you have pics of your other work?


Thanks! Sure, here is a small smattering for ya...

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BY codedog
#824915
Sweet baby Jeebus on a Harley... I'm constantly blown away by the talents being displayed all over this forum...