New article about buying wood

Today I have posted a new article on buying wood for building guitars.  This is based on my experience of trying to find nice wood, and discovering that it’s not particularly easy to find.  The article describes my progress so far, and includes some tips on where to look for wood.

I’ve managed to acquire a small stock of attractive woods, enough for about half a dozen guitars, which should keep me busy for a year or two!

A spalted maple top that I bought recently

Crimson Guitars video montage

A few weeks ago in May, my son and I went to Crimson Guitars to build a guitar each, which is documented here in my Crimson Guitars 2017 Build pages.

I took quite a few photos during the week and gave copies to Crimson, and their media team has made a video montage as an example of a couple of student builds.  Many thanks to Shaun for creating the video, and to Master Luthier Christopher for guiding us through this process!


Woods for a new build!

I went mad this week.  Inspiration struck, with the evolution of an idea I’ve had in mind for some time, and I drew a design for a rather ornate bass guitar top using several types of wood and several techniques to put them all together.

Since returning from my second, and more successful, Crimson Guitars course, I’ve been mulling over what to do next.  This idea has made the decision for me, and I’m going to at least start working on this build at home.  I could return to Crimson to finish the build, but I’ll take that decision later and at the moment I’m thinking that I should be able to do it all at home.

I’m going to start documenting this build with a series of pages on this website very soon, but for the moment I’ll just leave you with a couple of pictures of the woods that I’ve ordered.  These pictures were taken from the websites, and post my own pictures when the pieces arrive.  They are in two batches, because I found different wood suppliers with strengths in different areas.

I bought the main body and neck woods from Espen, a German supplier that has a great selection of blanks.

Then I bought some other pieces from Edelholzverkauf, also in Germany.

Because I have never done much woodworking before my Crimson builds, I don’t have a lot of equipment at home and so I’ve also ordered a number of tools, such as a router, making this a rather expensive build, but hopefully the first of many!

More information to follow…


Tips for your first guitar building course!

Based on my experience of my two guitar building courses, I have compiled some tips on how to approach your first guitar build with a luthier.  This is based on a course where you have a limited time for your build, such as a week, which may force you to make some compromises.

There is also a second page discussing some design considerations and their complexity and amount of time required.  You probably won’t be able to include all possible elements, so it’s worth thinking about which ones to include in your first build.

I hope that these pages will be useful!

Finally, Day Six of our Crimson Guitars build has been posted!  Take a look and see if we managed to finish our guitars on time.

Below you can see the machine room in Crimson Guitars, where a lot of the heavier and dustier work was performed.  This was taken sneakily from the window next to Ben’s desk, when he wasn’t around!

Thanks again to Crimson Guitars for a great experience – I can certainly recommend going there for a course.  More on this subject, possibly, in a future article…

More pages on our guitar builds

I’ve updated the website with days Four and Five of mine and my son’s guitar builds from last week.

The page for the last day will go up very soon – probably tomorrow – and I may end up doing a couple of videos on this, although we didn’t actually film very much of the process and so most of the prospective build video will just be a montage of pictures.

I’d also like to do a short video demo of the two guitars, but I’ll have to persuade my son to bring his guitar round for that, so it might take a bit of time to organise!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about the latter stages of the course.

Crimson Guitar Build

Last week, my son and I went to Crimson Guitars in England for a six-day guitar building course.  For me, this was a repeat of my previous guitar build, but it was the first time for my son.

Some pieces of wood on a workbench…can you guess where this is going? 😉

Due to the intensity of the course (nearly 10 hours per day) and the almost non-existent Internet connection at our hotel, I’m still catching up on the pages showing our builds on this website.  Currently, the pages for days One, Two and Three are available, and the remaining days will be up soon.

Come back in a day or two to see how we got on in the second half of our course!

Crimson Build 2017

A New Guitar Build

In late 2016, I attended a six-day luthier’s course at Crimson Guitars – the full story can be read and watched here.  Even though this build didn’t fully work out (or at least not yet), I will return to do another course in May 2017 – and this time my son is coming with me (the one who made the Cigar Box Guitar).

This is just a brief introduction, and I’ve made a separate introduction and index page which you can find in the menus too.  Look out for more on this new build soon!


Spotlight on Luthiers: Valenti Guitars

This is an unusual spotlight piece, because I think it’s the first non-UK luthier that I’ve featured – although I met the luthier in question in England.  Luigi Valenti is Italian, but he was working at Crimson Guitars when I did my guitar build there in November 2016.  Since then, he has moved back to Italy and started his own company, Valenti Guitars.

Luigi has developed three main models, the Nebula, Callisto and Pulsar.  They all look rather stunning, and he will customise them according to your wishes when you order one.  These are early days for Valenti Guitars and so he has only recently finished the prototypes, but they look very promising.

I wish Luigi every success for the future, both with his luthiery and with the other reasons for his return to Italy!

The Valenti Guitars ‘Pulsar’

Finishing my Crimson Guitar Build

It’s been several months since I completed the course at Crimson Guitars, although the guitar itself was not finished.  I had some work to do at home, and that turned into a lot of work because of a number of issues that I had to solve.

Sadly, the process came to a premature end – at least for now – when the truss rod broke through the back of the neck while trying to correct a neck bow.  I think that I will have to take the neck out – not easy, as it’s glued in – and make a new neck (I’d like to recover the fretboard although I don’t know if that will be possible).  That will have to wait until I have a suitable opportunity, which will probably not be in 2017.

I did a lot of other work on the guitar before that happened, though, and so all of that is described in my final article on this guitar, and in my last YouTube video about it, as you can see below.

I will be returning to Crimson Guitars in May to do another build, this time with my son (the one who build the cigar box guitar), so expect to see more information about that next month!