In the Jay Rosenblatt Guitar Workshop, Spring/ summer 2014

It has been 3 months since my last big post. Catching up here are works in progress, finished guitars and instruments.

My latest instrument in the works is this Maple OM sized guitar. This build is getting lacquered at this time. This is a steel string acoustic guitar with curly maple back and sides and a Bearclaw Sitka top.

This guitar has a black and white color scheme. The rosette is ebony and maple, the binding ebony with a herringbone purling. Ebony fingerboard with arrowhead inlays and an arc shaped ebony bridge design. The back of the head plate has a steam bent quilted maple veneer and the headstock head plate is Ebony. The JR logo (not shown)  is of white pearl.

The photos below show some of the building process from this maple guitar.

 

Assembly of the geometric rosette on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Assembly of the geometric rosette on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Geometric Rosette is assembled ready to be installed around the sound hole.
Geometric Rosette is assembled ready to be installed around the sound hole.

 

X-Brace being attached with go bars on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar.
X-Brace being attached with go bars.
Back braces being attached
Back braces being attached
Hand Carving the x braces and tone bars on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Hand Carving the x braces and tone bars on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Low angle of carved x- braces on a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Low angle of carved x- braces on a J R Guitar
Bending maple sides for an acoustic guitar by Jay Rosenblatt © Jay Rosenblatt photo.
Bending maple sides for an acoustic guitar © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Back attached to sides
Back attached to sides © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Neck carved and headstock shaped.
Neck carved and headstock shaped for a Jay Rosenblatt Guitar.
Ebony Binding attached and roped in place on Jay Rosenblatt Guitar
Ebony Binding attached and roped in place © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Fingerboard gets inlay
Fingerboard gets inlay

 

After body assembly the neck is fitted for proper angle and playability.
After body assembly the neck is fitted for proper angle and playability.
Rear view of Laminated Neck, heel joint. Neck is fitted for proper angle and playability.
Rear view of Laminated Neck, heel joint. Neck is fitted for proper angle and playability.
The bridge is hand made
The bridge is hand made © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
The bridge position is marked.
The bridge position is marked.

 

 

Headstock before JR Logo inlay.  © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Headstock before JR Logo inlay. © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars

This guitar is currently in the finishing process. I hope to have it ready for the Woodstock Luthiers Showcase in October.

 

Maple guitar in the spray booth © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars
Maple and bear claw sitka spruce guitar in the spray booth © Jay Rosenblatt Guitars

In a previous posts I showed a small walnut parlor guitar just before it went to the finisher, well this is now complete. The finish of Nitro Cellulose has been done and the guitar is strung up.

Hand built walnut Parlor Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt Luthier.
Hand built walnut Parlor Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt Luthier.

In the images below images you can see some of the final steps building process after the finish was applies. Its at that point I permanently attach the bridge and do a final set up for playability.

This guitar who’s body is constructed from a piece of wood that came from a 50 year old American Walnut tree that was felled in the late 60’s. I cut the back and side set from it for this instrument, joined with a red spruce (Adirondak) soundboard. This guitar features a 24.9 scale length fingerboard in ebony with a rosewood  bridge and head plate. A mahogany neck with slotted headstock, bone nut and saddle and a classical style rosette. This is a steel string guitar with a clear and light tone.  The inlays are of mother of pearl and abalone. The neck feels nice with its slightly wider fingerboard and shorter scale length making it a really nice finger style guitar.

Bridge test fit prior to gluing on Parlor guitar © Jay Rosenblatt
Bridge test fit prior to gluing on Parlor guitar © Jay Rosenblatt
Bridge being attached with hide glue on parlor guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Bridge being attached with hide glue on parlor guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Walnut Back on parlor guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Walnut Back on parlor guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Classical Rosette on Parlor Guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Classical Rosette on Parlor Guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt
Cedar Slotted parlor guitar headstock © Jay Rosenblatt
Cedar slotted parlor guitar headstock with Waverly tuners © Jay Rosenblatt
Adirondak "Red Spruce" soundboard on parlor guitar by Jay Rosenblatt © Jay Rosenblatt
Getting ready to glue the bridge to the Adirondak “Red Spruce” soundboard on this parlor guitar. © Jay Rosenblatt

 

 

 

Another instrument I completed is a tenor Ukulele. This small instrument is constructed of ribbon striped mahogany for the soundboard and back. The sides are quilted mahogany. The fingerboard is ebony with MOP position markers as is the bridge. The headstock features my wave design and is of book matched Koa. The binding is maple with a black white fibre and the rosette is a chevron design. The neck on this is laminated with 40 year old mahogany which was repurposed from old Martin guitar neck blanks and has a maple center strip. The interior braces are lutz spruce with cedar kerning and a rosewood bridge plate. The tuners are Waverly with ebony knobs. The instrument is finished with a traditional hand rubbed shellac (french polish) which brings out the shimmer in the mahogany. This is a delightful instrument.

Ribbon striped Mahogany Ukulele by Jay Rosenblatt Luthier © Jay Rosenblatt
Ribbon striped Mahogany Ukulele by Jay Rosenblatt Luthier © Jay Rosenblatt
Parlor Guitar on workbench © Jay Rosenblatt
Ukulele on workbench © Jay Rosenblatt
Ukelele getting hand rubbed French Polish shellac finish  Jay © Jay Rosenblatt
Ukelele getting hand rubbed French Polish shellac finish Jay © Jay Rosenblatt
Handmade Ukulele bridge of ebony and bone © Jay Rosenblatt
Handmade Ukulele bridge of ebony and bone © Jay Rosenblatt
Binding attached with traditional rope system on Ukulele by © Jay Rosenblatt
Binding attached with traditional rope system on Ukulele by © Jay Rosenblatt

 

 

 

About my work shop. My workshop is in a single small room. Here is a panorama. Although this photo makes it look grand it is only about 20 feet x 20 feet wide but offers me enough room to work and display my instruments.

Panoramic photograph from the luthiers workshop of Jay Rosenblatt 2014. © Jay Rosenblatt
Panoramic photograph from the luthiers workshop of Jay Rosenblatt 2014. © Jay Rosenblatt

 

 

Recently I received another instrument back from my finisher. The guitar is a new design for me. It’s body shape is smaller than my standard large bodied guitar. (see my large body guitar “Big Maple” in a previous post). Closer in size to an OM model instrument. The specs.

  • Back and Sides: East Indian Rosewood
  • Soundboard: 40 year old Alaskan Sitka
  • Fingerboard, bridge and head plate: Ebony
  • Scale Length: 25.4
  • Neck Wood: 25 year old African Mahogany
  • Rosette: White fible with Abalone ring
  • Headstock Design: The Big Wave
  • Tuners: Sterling Silver
  • Fingerboard Inlay: White Gold Mother of Pearl geometrid pattern
  • Binding: White Ivoroid with Coral Purfling.
  • Endpiece and heel-cap: Ebony
  • Nut and saddle: Bone

 

This guitar is constructed of East Indian Rosewood back and sides and a 40 year old Alaskan Sitka Spruce soundboard.

It is my understanding that soundboard came from log that was salvaged from a bridge stringer that crossed an Alaskan river before it became soundboards. I purchased one soundboard in 2010 and I wish I had bought more. It is a beautiful loosely grained top with an amazing natural color and wonderful tone. Next time I come across these special woods I will have to get a few extras as now I see and hear how wonderful this guitar looks and sounds. This is truly special.

This guitar which I have named “Prima Fino” is named for my mentor and guru, Luthier, Frank Finocchio. I built a guitar with Frank 5  years ago that was his design, The “Prima”. Frank has helped me greatly and so I named this build “Prima Fino.  Frank builds and repairs guitars for over 30 years now in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. He also teaches instrument building in week and two week long courses.  Find out more about frank here; http://www.finocchioguitar.com/2014/

The finish on this instrument was done by Tony DiDomenico, htttp://www.DiDomenicoguitars.com, Tony is a great luthier and finisher.

Inside label
Inside label

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by © Jay Rosenblatt guitars

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt

© Jay Rosenblatt guitars

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt

 

Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Rosewood and Sitka OM Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt

 

This instrument will be available for purchase at the Woodstock Luthiers Invitational and Showcase in Woodstock, New York, October 25th and 26th., 2014. I hope to see you there.

Come see Jay Rosenblatt Guitars in Woodstock, NY in October.
Come see Jay Rosenblatt Guitars in Woodstock, NY in October.

Thanks for reading my blog and happy picking!

Jay

 

 

 

 

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On guitar building, a productive year

Looking back at 2013, it has been a very productive year in the guitar workshop and other areas of my luthier business.

Brace shavings
Brace shavings

Most recently I completed the closing of a new guitar body. This one is constructed of East Indian Rosewood. The soundboard is from a 40 year old Alaskan Sitka Float Log  felled in the 70’s that I purchased from Alaska Specialty Woods in 2010. It has been on my shelf seasoning. The Braces are Sitka from the same supplier. This instrument will be less ornate than my previous builds without to much pearl or embellishments keeping my focus on the sound of this instrument.

Top, back and sides ready to be assembled in this East Indian Rosewood Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt
Top, back and sides ready to be assembled in this East Indian Rosewood guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo

The bridge-plate is Rosewood that matches the sides. The center strip is also cut from the remains of the back. The x brace has an ebony inlay into the joint for added stiffness at the center.

Ebony Inlay at "X" for added strenght and stiffness
Ebony Inlay at “X” for added strenght and stiffness. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
Sitka Spruce Top being attached to body. Abalone rosette installed.
Sitka Spruce Top being attached to body. Abalone rosette installed. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo

This newer body style is smaller and a little more rounded than my large body instruments.  It sits comfortably in the lap and has enough body depth to provide a good bass  response.

Finished body ready for binding. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
Finished body ready for binding. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo

In progress right now is another parlor guitar. This instrument is about 2/3 through the process.

This instrument is constructed of 50 year old American Walnut back and sides.  I received an 8 foot by 12″ x 5/4 board as a gift from a friend. There were long checking about a foot into each end of the board. After resawing the boards I was able to salvage 4 sets of backs and sides.

50 year old American Walnut used on this parlor guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
50 year old American Walnut used on this parlor guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo

The wood was not quarter sawn but being such an old age is  very stable and went together beautifully.  The top of this guitar is Red Spruce that I acquired from Carl Barney. The rosette is a classical style, handmade rosette, of wood fiber and very beautiful from LMI. Currently the body is complete, the neck is done a temporarily installed. It needs the nut, bridge, saddle tuner and strings and an initial set up.

Walnut Parlor JR Guitar, Jay Rosenblatt luthier
Walnut Parlor JR Guitar, Jay Rosenblatt luthier
Walnut Parlor Guitar in progress. guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
Walnut Parlor Guitar in progress. guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
Walnut Parlor Guitar, Classical rosette detail. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo
Walnut Parlor Guitar, Classical rosette detail. © Jay Rosenblatt Photo

Another instrument almost near completion is this quilted maple large bodied guitar.

Maple guitar under construction. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple guitar under construction. © Jay Rosenblatt

This one has a Lutz spruce top, ebony geometric rosette, ebony bindings, ebony fingerboard with maple strip inlay, hand cut mother-of-pearl maple leaf position markers, Chippendale headstock design and an ebony bridge.

Detail of Ebony fingerboard with Maple inlay strip and Ebony and maple geometric rosette. © Jay Rosenblatt
Detail of Ebony fingerboard with Maple inlay strip and Ebony and maple geometric rosette. © Jay Rosenblatt
5 Piece mahogany laminated neck with maple and mahogany strips. © Jay Rosenblatt
5 Piece mahogany laminated neck with maple and mahogany strips. © Jay Rosenblatt

These photos show it in a test assembly for preliminary setup and is now being spray finished by my good friend and luthier, Tony DiDomenico. This  should be completed early 2014.

Maple big body in test mode waiting to go to finish. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple big body in test mode waiting to go to finish. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple leaf fingerboard top detail
Maple big body guitar fingerboard detail with Maple leaf motif
Maple Leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple Leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and Luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and Luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and Luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt
Maple leaf Guitar waiting for final buffing. Photo by finisher and Luthier Tony DiDomenico. © Jay Rosenblatt

Earlier this year I finished this beautiful Quilted Maple parlor guitar.

Amber Quilted Maple Parlor Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt
Amber Quilted Maple Parlor Guitar by Jay Rosenblatt. © Jay Rosenblatt

This has a Lutz spruce top, AAAA Quilted Maple back and sides, hand carved mahogany neck with slotted headstock and Schertler tuners, hand made geometric rosette, hand toned back and sides with a golden amber stain. Ebony fingerboard, bridge and headstock, domino dot position markers, Ebony end-graft and ebony bindings .

Quilted Maple Parlor Guitar with hand toned amber stain and Nitro Cellulose lacquer. © Jay Rosenblatt
Quilted Maple Parlor Guitar with hand toned amber stain and Nitro Cellulose lacquer. © Jay Rosenblatt

You can see a full gallery of photos of this beauty here,   http://jayrosenblatt.smugmug.com/Handbuiltguitars/Quilted-Maple-Guitar

I have other guitars and projects in the works. This year was also a good year for my repair business. There have been many repairs I have made to keep guitars playable for other musicians. Add to that the addition of the LR Baggs line of pickups and installations and having the Phil Jones line of amps available for sale and I think 2014 will continue to show growth in guitar building and repairs as well.

Showing my instruments and selling LR Baggs Pickups and Phil Jones Amps at the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase in Woodstock, NY this past October, 2013.
Showing my instruments and selling LR Baggs Pickups and Phil Jones Amps at the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase in Woodstock, NY this past October, 2013.

I want to thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoy these posts.

Wishing you all a Happy New year, a great year for playing, music and song.

All my best to you for peace, health and prosperity.

Sincerely,

Jay Rosenblatt.

In the guitar workshop this month.

August kept me busy in my shop. Although there were a few days I should have enjoyed a little sun I found my self inside on various tasks.

I decided to add a falling maple leaf motif to a fingerboard for a quilted maple  guitar under construction. It began with lamination a .20 white maple fiber and an ebony binding to the fingerboard. In this shot you can see the fibre and ebony being clamped up and the finished result below.

Clamping binding onto fingerboard
Clamping binding onto fingerboard

IMG_4265

When that was complete I cut a series of gold/white Mother of Pearl maple leafs in progressively smaller sizes.

Hand cut MOP maple leaf
Hand cut MOP maple leaf
Finished leaf, needs stem
Finished leaf, needs stem

Those were inlaid into the fingerboard in a random falling leaf pattern as per suggestion by my friend Tony DiDomenico Luthier, builder of fine instruments and  finisher,  http://didomenicoguitars.com.  The stems pieces were then cut, no small task for such small pieces, and the fill was added.

Finished maple leaf and Ebony fingerboard board sm

The body of the maple guitar will get some herringbone binding. The overall look of this instrument will be black and white.

Jay Rosenblatt JR Guitar in progress
Jay Rosenblatt JR Guitar in progress
Bending purfling on a light bulb
Bending purfling on a light bulb

IMG_3656

I have also continued work on a Walnut parlor.  The woods in this are from and 50 year old piece of american walnut that someone gave me and I re-sawed. The Red spruce top is 3A, very clean, and Im using a hand made Russian traditional rosette.

Thanks for reading!

Walnut Parlor JR Guitar, Jay Rosenblatt luthier
Walnut Parlor JR Guitar, Jay Rosenblatt luthier
Classical rosette detail
Classical rosette detail

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