Thursday, November 3, 2016

Get Acquainted With 'Raffaella'

'Raffaella', the latest creation to escape the workshop, is a six-string acoustic guitar.  I chose the Italian female name because it seemed appropriate at the time . . . and, it means 'God has healed'.

The only way I've managed to maintain my sanity the last couple weeks, while painters have taken over our home, is to spend as much time as possible in the shop working on the guitar.

It is pretty easy to craft an acoustic guitar now that I have experience under my belt, but I'm not into simply creating a guitar.  I want each creation to be different and unique, so I try to spice things up with a little unusual treatment.

The mahogany one-piece neck has a rosewood/mahogany combo headstock overlay; bison bone nut; and, cocobolo rosewood fingerboard with maple position markers on the edge.  You'll notice the tail curvature of the fretboard matches the shape of the headstock.

The Wenge (pronounced WHEN-gii or WHEN-ghay) body is a very dark, distinctive straight-grain Central African wood, which is heavy and hard.

Many guitars makers use wenge because of its natural beauty, which is often referred to as African rosewood or faux ebony, and because it is easy to shape and finish.

The bookmatched walnut pieces used to enhance the Sitka spruce top and to surround the multi-piece rosette inlay are highly patterned, and the color works well with the highly figured cocobolo rosewood fretboard and bridge.  My granddaughter Maggie thinks it looks like melted chocolate.

Black Grover tuning machines and ebony bridge pins finish off the overall appearance.

The headstock is a simple curve of mahogany to match the other elements. And, the head on the reverse side is rolled to add a different, but pleasant, effect.

The rosette inlay is created from 17 individually fitted pieces of mahogany, rosewood, zebrawood, walnut, yellow heart, and maple.

You will notice the absence of a logo on the headstock, which was replaced with a piece of cocobolo inserted into the internal vertical back brace, on which I painted the 'T' logo.

This photo shows the maple/ebony backbone stripe, which is inlaid into the vertical center of the back.

The heel cap is a combination of spruce, mahogany, and cocobolo rosewood, and the body binding is Indian rosewood.

Wenge is a medium brown wood, sometimes with a reddish or yellowish hue, with nearly black streaks.

However, the photo above of the interior of the guitar gives a better idea of how dark this wood can be. Photo flash brightened this shot.

This photo really demonstrates the beautiful grain of the cocobolo rosewood bridge, and the ebony bridge pins with abalone inlay.  And, the fretboard is exactly the same.  Both pieces were cut from the same stick.  Notice the maple position markers on the edge.

Internal bracing for the top and back is hand shaped and scalloped from mahogany stock

The 'X'  and 'ladder' brace patterns follow the Martin guitar layout from the pre-war (WWII) manufacturers design.

Some experts judge this style to be the 'best'.

Wenge Custom Acoustic Guitar

Body             14-fret dreadnought
Sitka spruce top w/custom inlay rosette – w/book-matched walnut overlay
                        Wenge back and sides
                        East Indian rosewood binding
                        Cocobolo rosewood bridge w/ bison bone saddle and ebony pins
                        Hand-rubbed satin finish
                        Custom scalloped mahogany ‘X’ top bracing
                        Custom scalloped mahogany ‘ladder’-style back bracing

Neck                One-piece mahogany, standard ‘C’ profile
                        Dual-action truss rod
                        Custom mahogany/Indian rosewood headstock overlay
Cocobolo rosewood 14-inch radius fingerboard w/custom maple position markers
                        25.4-inch scale
                        1-11/16 bison bone nut
                        Grover black enclosed-gear tuners recessed into headstock overlay
                        Hand-rubbed satin finish

Extras              Elixir extra light 010-.047 strings
                        Inlay hand-cut and assembled from exotic wood
                        Mahogany/Indian rosewood tailpiece w/ebony strap button
                        Maple/ebony centerline backbone insert
                        Cocobolo heel cap

                        Handcrafted in Mansfield, Ohio (USA)

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