Whenever I can I like to use reclaimed or salvaged wood. Currently I am joining up a soundboard purchased years ago from Alaska Specialty Woods.
This set was reclaimed from a bridge that spanned Bear Creek River in Alaska in the 70’s. Its stringers were made from two 60” logs.
After 10 years of service the bridge was dropped to the forest floor and a new metal bridge installed. The logs were reclaimed around 2000. It was cut into sound boards that are stiff, with a beautiful loose grain and a naturally aged color that can’t be sanded out. I have used this before in a guitar called “Bridges”. This set exhibits a bit of bear claw and a warm amber rose color. Beautiful!
On October 21, 22, and 23, 2016, The “Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase” will commence again in Woodstock, New York. The dates are October 21, 22, and 23, 2016. The event is held at The Bearsville Theater and Utopia Sounstage on Tinker Street.
This will be a three day exhibition of hand-built acoustic guitars and instruments exhibited by by their makers.
This show is always an amazing opportunity to see, hear and play some of the finest instruments on this planet. The show has exhibitors from around the globe. Daily and half hourly performances by some of the finest musicians playing these hand made instruments happen on the main stage. There are lectures workshops and demonstrations. I suggest that you make this a go-to event if you love guitars and can make the trip. Find out more at The Woodstock Invitational Website Page http://www.woodstockinvitational.com.
I am excited to be exhibiting there and am pleased to be included as an exhibitor with all the other fine builders. This year I will be in the main room rubbing shoulders and hob knobbing with other masters of this craft who’s work I admire greatly.
The instruments below have been built over the past year and will be on display; A Kasha Classical, an experimental guitar design of mine I call “The Arches”, A 7-string Baroque transitional guitar built to the exact measurements of a the original created over 200 years ago, and my PF model in Quilted maple with a Moonwood soundboard and Mahogany neck.
I hope to see you in Woodstock. This will be an excellent to own a Jay Rosenblatt Original guitar if that is your fancy. Please stop in to say hello.
In January, 2016 I bagan a project to build Two Kasha Classical “sister” Guitars. They are being built built with my friend Frank Sole, musician and student Luthier. This project was inspired by Frank. This instrument differs greatly in the bracing design of typical classical guitars and was developed by Dr. Michael Kasha in cooperation with luthier Richard Schneider. The instrument features a bracing design by Dr.Richard Kasha which is star patterned rather than ladder braced and the back braces are arched allowing the back to float independently and act more like a from that moves with the vibrations and air movement in the guitar ,rather that being fixed by rigid cross bracing. The soundboard is designed to increase the energy of the strings as they affect the soundboard and provide an increased bass response.
It began with a paper plan from Luthiers Mercantile, the construction of a Solera ( the building form) is based on a design by John Bogdonavitch, luthier. (see his book “Building the Concert Classical Guitar”) The set up on the solera allowed a 2 mm forward tilt in the neck and a ramp of 3 mm built up from the bridge location to the end of the guitar to create the proper string geometry. (now that one guitar is fully complete, that set-up worked perfectly. The strings are at the proper height and has excellent playability.
Both guitars are rosewood with rosewood sides, western red cedar tops, Spanish Cedar necks with Mahogany neck blocks. One instrument was constructed with cedar bracing and the other spruce. (these are the only two principal differences between theses instruments. The end port is constructed to allow access to the inside of the instrument for stringing as this guitar uses a through the soundboard string design which differs from traditional classical guitars where the strings on the bridge on the top of the soundboard.
The saddle design here is a three part configuration of American Walnut, Figured maple and bone. It has a bone nut and medium fret wire. The back “floating brace design” is constructed of maple and mahogany laminations.
Both instruments were hand finished with French polish. These instruments will be on display and for sale at the Woodstock Luthiers Invitational October 21, 22, & 23, 2016. Inquiries about pre-purchase can be discussed.
Hello. welcome to the Jay Rosenblatt Guitar blog. My last post was mid-February. Now its the end of September 2015. Time flies.
I currently am preparing to exhibit my guitars at the Woodstock Luthiers Invitational Showcase in Woodstock, New York, on October 23rd., 24th., and 25th., 2015. I will have a table there exhibiting my instruments and will also have my guitars played in performance by Frank Sole and Henry Nerenberg. Two excellent musicians who will perform onstage at 4:00 pm., Saturday, October 24th, 2105.
The Woodstock Luthiers Showcase is a feast for the eyes and ears and displays the works of over 60 talented luthiers, makers and instrument builders. Friday is the day to see the instruments and marvel at the guitars on display. Saturday and Sunday feature full day performances by the best pickers and musicians performing on the handmade instruments being exhibited. A must attend event if you love guitars and guitar music.
My last blog post detailed construction of a Weissenborn Lap Steel guitar. This instrument has been completed and delivered to its new owner. Since that posting I submitted the photographs of it construction to Guitarmaker Magazine along with an article on how I built it. “Guitarmaker Magazine”is the publication of A.S.I.A., The Association of Stringes Instrument Artisans. The publisher, Alton Acker, reproduced the images and article as the featured story. The magazine can be purchased through the A.S.I.A. web site where you can also sign up for a membership which includes 4 yearly publications and information about seminars and luthier events and other services they provide to the guitar builder and entheusiast. http://asiartisans.org/content/.
The A.S.I.A symposium 2015 .
The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans trade and lecture symposium, held bi-yearly was held this past June at East Stroudgberg University in East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania. This years lectures by many top builders included topics on the business of the guitar business, repair techniques, building tips and tricks, jigs and fixtures, soundboard replacement, finishing techniques, voicing the instrument and historical presentations. The event also featured the vendor area where you can purchase woods and supplies. The evening held other lectures with social and musical gatherings. More info at http://asiartisans.org/content/
A previous post highlighted a Mahogany Venitian Cutaway guitar. on-the-guitar-building-workbench-2015. Since that post that instrument has also been completed. The finish was a hand rubbed French polish. I used a medium-dark amber on the back, sides and neck and a light blonde on the soundboard. The finish produced a wonderful sheen on the African Mahogany back and spruce top and enhanced the organic feel and look of it. This instrument will be exhibited for purchase at The Woodstock Luthiers Invitational.
Recently of the bench and completed is this Rosewood and Sitka PF model. The photos below show it just after it came out of the finish shop. This guitar features a beautiful set of reddish brown rosewood matched to an Alaskan Sitka soundboard. The neck is laminated from 40 year old mahogany with a maple center strip. It has an ebony fretboard bound in maple with triangle position markers and my geometric rosette in ebony and maple. The head plate is Cocobolo with a maple binding and the first guitar to have the Rosenblatt name inlaid into the headstock. The guitar has had a shellac tone coat and a lacquer finish applied. This instrument will be featured at The Woodstock Showcase and is for sale. Please inquire!
The guitar that Jack Built.This summer I had a young guitar student take a class with me to learn guitar building. He preformed all the steps necessary with my guidance and constructed a beautiful Mahogany and Sitka guitar. Having never used woodworking tools before he did quite well and had the dexterity of a future woodworker. The guitar featured a mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and a rosewood bridge. He also cut and installed a whale motif headstock inlay. The instrument was built over a month, two to three 5 hour classes per session. At this point the guitar is at the finisher getting a Notrocellulose finish. Should be a beauty that he will enjoy for many years to come.
The guitar that Jack built at Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Other projects around the shop include two sister Kasha style Classical guitars. Working with Frank Sole, musician and builder to construct these instruments, we have completed all the building forms and have crafted and carved the neck, heel and headstock . The soundboard bracing is in progress. Ill update as it moves along.
A little experimentation. I have been playing with some experimental bracing patterns on a cutaway in the works. Inspired by the Arches in Utah I will assemble this in a manner where no two braces actually touch each other, yet pass through and over/under each other allowing more flexibility through the top. This will not be available currently on any model untill it is time tested and proves to be a worthy design. This is an experimental design.
Please look for my next post. I will be highlighting and describing the guitars I will exhibit and have for sale at The Woodstock Luthiers Invitational Showcase.
This week began a Weissenborn project. Based loosely on a style 3, this page I will highlight photographs of its construction. I will update it as I move along its completion. This is a special build with a delivery date of Mid April.
About the woods: This was constructed with Koa back and sides and an Alaskan sitka soundboard. The fingerboard is Macassar Ebony and came from LMI. The headstock is Mahogany which came from a 3×3 billet from Hibdon Hardwoods. The bridge of Honduran rosewood was also from Hibdon. The binding is a traditional Rope design made from scraps of maple and mahogany. The head plate is Koa. The pearl rosette was from the Duke Of Pearl. Ebony bridge pins with Abalone inlays were used and the position markers are Abalone too.
The Koa back and sides came from Notable Woods in Lopez, Washington. These are age dried pieces of Koa with a nice tone and appear to be very stable. The Sitka soundboard is of salvaged wood from Alaska Specialty Woods, Craig Alaska. The story behind the soundboard is that it came from a bridge stringer that once spanned over Back Bear Creek. It was a 63″ diameter log that was aquired by the mill in 1998, about 2 years after the bridge was pulled to be replaced replaced with steel bridge. The wooden car bridge was installed when the road there was used for logging in 1984-85. Now that road is used for recreation and to get to a hydro electric generator were water falling off the mountain from black bear lake is run through a turbine. The build is based on a template from Waldon Instruments. I have modified my braces to suit my building style.
The headlock, which is actually the neck block too was fabricated from a solid piece of mahogany
When I removed this guitar from the form I noticed something unique to the instrument. When I tapped on the center of the soundboard, sort of a thump with my thumb, I was able to hear the sound that produced come out not only from the sound hole but I also heard it way up in the headstock. The vibrations traveled straight up through the hollow neck and emitted at the top of the guitar.
I have a little music box mechanism that plays a simple tune very quietly when you crank the handle. Barely audible without something to amplify its sound, like a wooden music box. I place it where at the bridge position to test the guitars responsiveness to a very quiet sound, essentially making the guitar the music box. (try it one day) The sound is greatly amplified and comes through the sound hole. When I put the mechanism at the top of the neck the sound transversely traveled down and out the sound hole almost as loud as from the bridge position. I am certain that the energy from the nut will also travel through the guitar and add to the sound of this instrument. Perhaps thats is little secret behind the Weissenborn’s unique sound.
The initial stringing sounds awesome. I used John Pearse Weissenborn strings, 80/20 bronze, 15 to 60. A final adjustments for string height and level across the tops will be performed, but as it is this Weissenborn has a rich tone, a beautiful natural reverb, good presence and response, and a lovely character.
Thanks for looking. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed building it!
Its been about three months since the Woodstock Luthiers Invitational. I had a great time exhibiting my guitars there. I was well greeted by all the attendees and the other exhibitors and luthiers. It was a great event and I formed many new alliances. Many musicians stopped by to ask questions and play my instruments..
I was fortunate to have Kinloch Nelson stop by and play one of my guitars. Kinloch is an amazing and talented musician who has a unique open tuning style that is all his own. Kinloch Nelson is a true master of the acoustic guitar. www.kinlochnelson.com. Kinloch, it was a pleasure to listen to you and have you play my guitar.
Mr. John Monteleone stopped to chat for a moment. A thrill to pose in the photo with him. Monteleone’s work represents the finest in arch top guitar design and construction in the 20th century. His work embodies the marriage of traditional and contemporary arch top guitar design and stands as a benchmark for his craft. His work has been exhibited in the metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Guitar Heroes” exhibition in 2012 and his instruments are highly prized and desired by jazz musicians worldwide. http://www.monteleone.net. Thank you for the time John.
J.R. Rogers, creator and founder of the Acoustic Guitar Forum stopped by to talk and play for a while. JR’s online web site and forum is a premier site devoted to helping guitar enthusiasts, players and luthiers to join together share ideas and information. Currently there are 25,000 subscribing members to his forum. Thanks for stopping by JR. http://www.acousticguitarforum.com
The show itself was packed with attendees and exhibitors. It was probably the busiest to date.
A project I started in late 2014 is in its final stages.
This Cutaway model made of Honduran Mahogany with an Alaskan Sitka Top is ready to go to the finisher. Many steps along the way to makes this baby come to life.
Here are a few photos of the work. I am very pleased with how this turned out as it represents many fine details of my woodworking and guitar building ability. Each instrument I make is a lesson in patience and each one progressively teaches me more about this craft.
This guitar features; Honduran back and sides, Alaskan sitka soundboard, Quilted maple binding with rope purfling, a Macassar ebony fingerboard, ebony bridge, cocobolo head plate with maple binding, a maple burl backplate, arrowhead fingerboard markers with MOP side dots, bone nut and saddle and will have a lacquer finish applied.
More photos to come soon.
Thanks for reading and keep playing your guitar. For information on how to contact me go to the “about page”.