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.
Busy, Busy Busy, Thats all I can say. The past three months have been work in preparation for my exhibit table at the Woodstock Luthiers Showcase in Woodstock, New York. October 24th, 25th and 26th,. I will have several guitars on display there. All are ready for sale with custom fit Ameritage cases. One just back from finish in the final stages of set-up. (second from left in photo) Hope to have that ready at showtime. The guitars that will be for sale at Woodstock will include a quilted maple parlor, a OOO sized curly maple and lutz spruce guitar, a alaskan sitka topped jumbo with Rosewood back and sides, an all Mahogany Tenor Ukulele and a Bearclaw and curly maple 00. (still under construction). Other items for sale will include LR Baggs pickups and pre-amps and Phil Jones Acoustic amplifiers.
About the guitars in the photo above, here are their ingredients.Maple Parlor Guitar. (far left in top photo)
AAAA Quilted Maple back and sides
AAA Lutz Spruce soundboard
Lutz spruce carved bracing
Rosewood bridge plate
Spanish Cedar Neck with ebony head plate
Ebony fingerboard, 12 fret to body, 24.9 scale length
1-3/4 nut width, 2-1/4 width at 12th fret
Cocobolo and Ebony geometric rosette
Ebony wave design bridge
18% nickel fret wire
MOP position markers
Abalone JR logo
2 way truss rod
Ebony bridge pins with Abalone dots
Bone nut and compensated bone saddle
Hand toned amber glow with Nitro Cellulose lacquer exterior
Shellac finished interior
Schertler tuning machines
Ameritage custom case
Bearclaw Sitka with Maple back and sides OO. (Second From left in top photo)
AAAA Curly Maple back and sides
AAA Bearclaw Sitka Spruce soundboard
Lutz spruce carved bracing
Maple and mahogany 9 piece laminated neck
2 way truss rod
Geometric design ebony and maple rosette
Ebony arc design bridge
Curly maple back plate on headstock, steam bent to match curve
Ebony binding with coral design purfling
Rosewood bridge plate, Cedar kerfing
Ebony fingerboard, 14 fret to the body, 25.4 scale
Abalone JR logo, Ebony bridge pins with Abalone dots
Fully compensated saddle
Gotoh 510 Tuning Machines
Ameritage custom case
The guitars above when purchased will all come with custom fit Ameritage Cases. These are beautiful and Durable!
Currently on the workbench; In the works. I am currently working on a Mahogany and Sitka venetian cutaway acoustic model. This guitar features Honduran Mahogany back and sides matched to a light curly sitka soundboard. A maple and mahogany geometric rosette adorns the sound hole , curly maple binding with Rope purling and B/W fibre pull it all together. The back bracing is of mahogany with a hybrid X/ladder pattern. The soundboard bracing is forward-X pattern, scalloped and hand tuned sitka. Neck block and tail block of aged mahogany. The neck will be a 9 layer lamination with 40 year old Mahogany and maple strips.
Guitar Building class and Instruction. In the next few months I will be setting up a shop where I can teach guitar building and construction. Group classes of two people per class or individual instruction will be offered. Topics covered from bending sides to carving braces, fretwork to final assembly will be taught in the classes. You can build a guitar too! More information will follow. Getting out to play a bit enjoying the fruits of my labor playing my hand built guitars with some friends at Hat City Kitchen’s All Acoustic Open Mic, Orange, NJ
Below are some links to the fine vendors who have provided parts, woods, jigs, cases or finishing.
In conclusion; I hope you can make it up to Woodstock to see these instruments first hand. If you are a player, picker, professional musician or just like to have fun and enjoy music, please come up to Woodstock, New York next week. It will be a great day of music, musicians, and guitars, built by hand and being displayed by their builders. For moder details go to http://www.woodstockinvitational.com
Looking back at 2013, it has been a very productive year in the guitar workshop and other areas of my luthier business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another instrument almost near completion is this quilted maple large bodied guitar.
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.
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.
Earlier this year I finished this beautiful Quilted Maple parlor guitar.
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 .
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.
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.
On October 25th, 26th and 27, 2013 the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase will take place in Woodstock, New York.
This is an event where the finest in hand-built acoustic guitars and acoustic stringed instruments displayed by their builders and daily performances by many talented musicians come together. http://woodstockinvitational.com/about2013.html
I will have LR Baggs Pickups for sale at my table including the M1-A, The Lyric, The Anthem, Anthem SL, I-Beam and I will also have the Gigpro, Para DI and Venue DI pre-amps for sale. If you need a great acoustic pickup or pre-amp I recommend LR Baggs. You can find me and my exhibit in the Vendors Annex.
I will also have some of my guitars on display to play and to check out the pickups and amps.
Pictured here are some of the LR Baggs products I will have on sale.
In my opinion LR Baggs makes the best acoustic pickups and Phil Jones make the most natural sounding amps for Guitars, Basses, and Violins. combine these two together and you have the best acoustic sound available from your instruments.
I recently became a distributor of Phil Jones Pure Sound Amps . I will have the CUB II AG 150 on display at my table and there will also be one in the main building amp room for testing and listening. You can order them from me at the show or by email or telephone. Please look for my information on my “About Page” on this blog.
Pictured here is the Phil Jones CUB AG-150 two channel amp. This is a sweetie of an amp, 100 watts in a very portable package weighing only 15 LBS. 6.8kg. Perfect for the musician that needs portability, great tone and the ability to plug a guitar and mic in when playing small clubs and gigs. It comes with a padded gig bag and an optional stand is available.
Last year at the Woodstock Invitational I made good friends with many of the other builders and also the vendors who will be providing tone woods and parts for the luthier. I got to personally meet John Sebastian who delighted me by playing one of my guitars. I listened to some great performances and was totaly inspired by the great and talented luthiers who participated in the event. Here are some of last years photos.
I hope you can make it to this wonderful event. Please stop by and meet me in the Vendors Annex. Happy playing. Enjoy!
Maplewoodstock 2013 was this past weekend. I want to thank all of my friends and musicians who entertained us and all the folks that came out Saturday and Sunday to visit my booth. Both days were filled with great music and people. Everyone was having a great time.
My tent was slightly rained out on for an hour Saturday, but Sunday, although hot, was dry. The tent looked great and because I was under a tree in the shade many people hung around. It didn’t hurt to be under the tree on Saturday either when it rained as it kept people around helping sales too. I received many inquiries about repairs and requests to commission me to build acoustic guitars.
On the day of the event I was displaying a Joe Mendel 5 string banjo. I will have it in my shop for about two more weeks before I send it back to Joe. This one has a Padauk tone ring, maple neck and brushed brass hardware. It’s a beautiful instrument with a deep, rich tone. If you are interested in this banjo please get in touch with Joe or myself. Joe can be found at http://www.jmendelfrets.com
Keep in mind I have and install LR Baggs pick-ups and pre-amps . Drop me a line to find out more about pricing and such.
On May 8th., 2013, I held a presentation on how I build my JR Acoustic Guitar at the Central Jersey Woodworkers Associations monthly meeting. http://www.cjwa.org. I was assisted by my friend and right hand man John Grunberg, and Frank Sole’, musician, who helped me set up and video taped the presentation.
My exhibit included six completed guitars, one of which Frank built, guitar bodies under construction, forms, woods, templates, materials, and about 250 images in my powerpoint presentation. I spoke for almost two hours. I am pleased to report the the interest and admiration of the audience was outstanding. I was told by many that it was the most informative and interesting presentation they have have had at their meeting in a long time.
To wrap up the show Frank Sole played finger-style on my recently completed Redwood and Cocobolo guitar to a huge applause. He was great! It was great!
I was very pleased to represent some of the companies who generously provided woods or from whom I purchase parts and materials that I use in my building process.
I have completed a new instrument that I have been working on for a while now. It is stunning.
This acoustic features a Redwood top, Cocobolo back and sides, Bloodwood purfling with a coral and BW/WB purfling, 24.9 scale, hand carved mahogany neck with chippendale headstock, ebony fingerboard with hand cut and inlayed white/gold mother of pearl vine with abalone leaves, white gold MOP vine inlay with abalone leaves and white/gold pearl JR logo on headstock, hand cut ebony and cocobolo geometric rosette with black/brown fillet and binding, ebony w/w/b/w endpiece, rosewood heel-cap, herringbone back centerstrip and ebony bridge with bone nut and saddle. This has a varnish finish.
Although I have not had the time to properly photograph it I am posting some quick photos here. Enjoy!