Friday, December 27, 2013

I Made The Acoustic Leap! -- Part One

To me there is a giant crevasse on the journey of making cigar box guitars and transitioning to dreadnaught acoustics, but I made the leap.  Nearly four years to the day since creating my first CBG, I received a Martin 14-fret dreadnaught kit for Christmas.

Needless to say, I am very pleased with the gift, but I'm also paranoid about screwing up the makings of a really cool guitar, to say nothing about the expense associated with this experiment.  But, I'll do my best to create something worthy of melody making, and if the past is any indication of the future, things will go well.

It is a D size guitar made of solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides, and solid Sitka spruce top. The grain and color of the sides match the 'book matched' back perfectly.  And, the two pieces of the Sitka spruce top are so well matched that you cannot tell where they are joined in the middle. But, that's why Martin guitars are some of the finest in the world, and it seems their kits are of the same quality as their finished guitars.

The  25.4" scale mahogany neck with rosewood headstock veneer comes with a truss rod to fit the channel, and unfretted rosewood fingerboard, which is slotted and radiused, and position markers are pre-drilled.

The kit also comes with rosewood bridge and bridge plate; tortoise pick guard; dovetail mortise and tenon neck block; end block; traditional 5/16" X-pattern spruce top bracing blanks; spruce back brace blanks; binding; purfling; bone nut and saddle blanks; and medium gauge fret wire.

The kit is great!  But, there are a few things that need attention before commencing with the build.

TOOLS and JIGS!  Yes, there are numerous special tools needed.  And, there are choices to make -- buy or build?  Or, both?

I chose the latter, with a bunch of 'build' tossed in, and I'll post photos soon of the tools I built, which will bring this kit to life.

But, in the meantime, I plan to read the plans several times, and to familiarize myself with all the nuances of building a full size acoustic guitar from nearly scratch.  My plan is to replicate the pre-war Martin D-18 guitar, which is one of the finest sounding instruments ever made (in my opinion).

I'll keep you posted throughout the building process.

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