After the many experiences through the repair work I wanted to for the first time build a whole acoustic guitar. Since I had never before built a guitar myself, I needed a lot of information, I was surfing the Internet, asked befriended instrument makers and mostly reading to English literature. In the US, the "private" Gitarrenbauen widespread as here, besides that, the knowledge about the profession of the instrument maker is not relayed as ours on vocational schools but in many cases on their own initiative, "training on the job". This produces very good advice and books. One can argue about the principles of the German and American type of vocational training Although, instructions have simply the better. I got hold of Amazon the book "Guitar Making: Tradition & Technology" by William Cumpiano (Link to Cumpiano's homepage). It is the most detailed and most comprehensible Gitarrenbaubuch that I have ever met. It describes the construction of a steel-string guitar and a classical guitar and was a model for many other Gitarrenbaubücher. Because it assumes that you can dispense with large machine Anrichtungen (because you will not have), the interested novice can get from this book valuable guidance.

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This article is for me the first time, my pictures, which at first made only to their own memories, compose a review and to provide in's Internet. I do not have to enter the claim, a guide to replica, but rather to encourage the indecisive reader, but even to build his own guitar. Should anyone but toying with the idea of ??saving through the self-made money over a new purchase, then he should buy what finished rather equal. Of course, cost the crude tone wood, hardware and paint a few hundred marks, but one expects that time to prepare the devices, reading the books and artisanal implementation, the hourly wage is just EUR - man because it takes quite patience. To build only out of curiosity something is ehrvoll, I think that you're either so excited and is depending on the project or allowed to stand in the middle of the work and the use scruffy. So you have to be duly crazy to do that (it was me, still am, and I am thrilled - (;-))) So there you go).

The photographs have been largely developed with a small camera and viewfinder after scanned, according to the quality - but the total distance is still good to understand it. It breaks down as follows:

To after a long study of literature I began, my first to get or recreate the woods, then the hardware and the levels recommended by Cumpiano devices. Tonewoods you get in Germany of the highest quality for example by the company Kollitz in Weisendorf (Link to Kollitz) of Theodor Nagel GmbH in Hamburg (Link to nail) or Woodland GmbH. My advice is: start with simple and cheap materials

designation Quantity Dimensions [mm] material
Ceiling material 1x 3x550x430 Spruce
Back / Sides 2x 2,5x120x870 mahogany
Fretboard 1x 6x60x510 Ebony
neck 1x 100x75x590 Mahogany, 5x locked
web 1x 11x48x175 Ebony
Bracing 1x 20x50x510 Spruce
Fret 8x 5x15x400 Slotted Mahogany
Neck Klotz 1x 95x70x33 Spruce
Endklotz 1x 120x80x19 Spruce
Soundhole rosette 1x - Herringbone
Binding   1,5x7x800 Herringbone / flamed maple
Floor-decoration 1x - Zipper Stripe
Tuners 1x 3 L / R Kluson
paint - - Filler Water-based, high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer
glue - - Hide glue
Fret Wire - - Dunlop Medium Wire
Inlays Fretboard - D45 style Abalone

Tools I additionally required:

  • Bending Irons electric
  • 1 piece of spring steel 100x800x0,15 (eg Hasbergfolie stainless steel) to protect against Zargenbruch
  • Glue pots for hide glue
  • Kreisfräsvorrichtung for Dremel (soundhole rosette)
  • 2 piece Flexible steel ruler to gauge positioning
  • Board with sandpaper 120'er 80x60cm
  • Worktop about 5 cm thick guitar-shaped plywood
  • Ceiling Plan 1: 1 glued to pressboard
  • Leimzwingen small for Fret
  • Klemsa clamps (12 pieces and 4 pieces 200'er 120'er) for bracing

The blanket

The top I bought already glued and sanded to the correct strength, so I bypassed the tedious and lengthy planing. A thus prepared ceiling will cost about 8 EUR more and what reason there is to it not easier to make in such a simple manner? I had created myself a ceiling plan on pressboard, now I taught this from the midline of the ceiling wood and positioned the outline so that I had the most uniform possible annual rings. I then transferred the positions of the beams, the sound hole center and the outline gently with a pencil on the ceiling. Since the bending of the frames is somewhat imprecise without From, you should let the outline well 15-20mm larger than desired and then saw out of this offset line on the band saw the shape.

I picked fine wood year for bracing and discovered that there are very low in sawmills gating pieces of logs. This outermost boards of the tree, called "Schwartlinge" with us, have almost completely lying, narrow growth rings. Outside you have to expect something to waste because there attaches the bark and the wood is not so good. For dry, seasoned wood I cut the strips for the ceiling (and of course the soil) deal with planning. The large bars are curved on the glue side of the whole length of about 3-5mm. This gives the ceiling a certain bias, by the resulting dome-like structure is the ceiling stiffer and tonally appealing.

Before starting on the ceiling inside the soundhole ornamentation is attached on the outside, then cut out the sound hole. To this end I have my Dremel Multi used. In soundhole center I drilled a hole Ø6mm for a 30mm long cylindrical pin. This Dowel I let into the guitar backing. The ceiling with the Ø6mm bore I positioned on the pin, this pin is then the center for the Dremel Kreisfräsvorrichtung. The soundhole rosette I surveyed and then milled the channel so that about 0.3 mm oversize supernatant. Now I leimte the chips a, she worked up, and then I put the router so deep that he separated out the soundhole (terminals entire ceiling, since the cylinder pin then holds nothing more in the center!)

Glues you to the bars, the X-braces are the latest to gluing. First, the smaller 6, the upper cross bar and reinforcements come off. The 6 bars are 2-3mm pockets left and worked out at these locations fit with the carving tools are in the X beams inside. Because dieBalken overlap somewhat, expected to lead to better Klanübertragung and a stiffer construction. If one has the ceiling beleistet, it reinforces the underside of the bar with a piece of hardwood (maple, 2mm thick). Martin Guitars altered the end of the 60 the size of the "bridge plate", because this allows the risk of the ceiling collapse reduced by string tension. I held on to the original specifications of the plan and made a small gain and had no problems so far. To support the glue line of blanket, three small pieces of wood (spruce, ca. 12x12mm) are glued across the grain of the wood ceiling below the web doubler. For me they are a bit too big, but have on the sound imperceptible influence.

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-Always A soft mat under the ceiling of wood, making sure that no chips, etc. hide. Marks and pressure marks are visible after painting. (Cedar is particularly bad)

-The Curvature of the big crossbeam (about the sound hole) must be such that the resulting gap is closed by the neck angle between the ceiling and the underside of the fingerboard. Otherwise you have a sloping fretboard on the ceiling. I sell finished and suitable Holformen for ceiling (01-010-0002) and floor (01-010-0001). This allows the dome precisely customize and glue.

-First, The X-Bracing was prepared and glued, then the rest. All strips are first mounted in a rectangular shape and subsequently top and sides carved (scalloped bracing).

-The Carving and setting the ceiling ("tuning and tapping") to a harmonious sound is not rocket science. Initially, the ceiling sounds dull and deep, with the lateral planing the ceiling moldings increases and the sound is clear. You can on the area between the big finger strips recognize a triad. Just make the bracing not too thin, because otherwise they can not withstand the string tension (unfortunately you realize only after some time)!

The Zargenkranz, bending and gluing

The bending of the frames went as follows:

In the bath or a flower box that worked on strength Mahogany let soak for 5-8 minutes with lukewarm water, then the bending process can be started. The bending iron must already be so hot at this time that wegplatzen water drops. I have used as fracture protection 0.15mm thin and 150mm wide and 1000mm long stainless steel foil (Hasberg). If one you when bending the wood, one supports it and prevents Zargenbruch and excessive evaporation of moisture.

Because this guitar is not built on a solid form, the outer contour had to be maintained and checked during bending against a template repeatedly. With a tape measure I have taken the highest points of the sides of the From, these points I have then drawn with pencil and angle on the frame. These lines were then clue when applying the bugs on the bending iron. Overnight the frames go back on something, but you can easily reshape the contour on the bending iron without water.

If you have both sides, to build the Zargenkranz on the neck and Endklötzen. It is important that the blocks are glued at right angles to the ceiling, as these afterwards determine the position of the neck. Then you draw the contour of the ceiling according to plan in order to obtain an orientation where the fret need to be glued. The linings serve to enlarge the adhesive surface to the ceiling and floor. The Zargenkontur is pre operates by planing and sanding board. A little fine-tuning with the emery board and you have the support surface for the ceiling. Are the Zargenkranz and the ceiling far, can be glued.



  • The gluing surface at the neck and Endklötzen may not be quite right angles to the sides, but should have a slight curvature in the transverse direction because the ceiling has an equal and opposite curvature and a straight face after painting looks like a broken, twisted ceiling.
  • Even with the use of hide glue it is funny for large areas or intervals. One has very nimble fix the clamps, because the glue cools gelled within minutes split and no longer adheres properly. Some dry laps without glue and preheating of the gluing surface with an iron or hairdryer and a high ambient temperature is strongly recommended.

The floor:

Again, the mahogany had been sanded and glued on strength. On the back I've centrally inserted a zigzag strips of wood. To this end, I have led the Dremel along a straight wood and milled according to the strip cross-section of the channel. Again, I leimte a the strip with hide glue and worked the supernatant with planer, scraper and sandpaper flat. Once the outside contour has been penciled stencilled, I cut with enough safety distance out the guitar shape.

After recording and fix up the three bars these were glued, the glue seam between the strips was reinforced with a 20mm wide pine strips (residual from the ceiling, annual rings crosswise). The strips were pointed carved tapering at the end.

The floor with inlaid trim

The sound body

Since both ceiling and floor with Zargenkranz is done, they have to be glued. With the emery board to set up the Zargenkranz ago precisely. The gluing with hot glue is a real challenge and can go wrong. It may happen that the glue cools, before you have set all the clamps. Although it is possible to use a flat iron or other heat source to melt the glue again, but this should be the exception. So what is to be done:

  • Position ground
  • Ceiling position so Mark, that you can check the position marks the lines with scheduled ferrules
  • Distribute forcing and start without glue, possibly Mark positions
  • Checking the air gap and fit of the Fugue
  • Perform Verleimvorgang twice without glue as testing and improving processes
  • Go drink tea and think through the process
  • Prepare and warm glue
  • Enough Apply glue quickly onto the fret
  • Laying on floor
  • Check position
  • Preparation of the first ferrule to end and neck Klotz
  • Check position
  • Uniform fix the remaining ferrules
  • Check glue line
  • After 10min remove glue residue
  • Let sound corpus stand overnight

Is the body the next day completed, is trimmed with a router and a trim bits ceiling and floor. At the corners of the body trim are inserted. I turned to her curly maple, on the ceiling is on the inside of a herringbone stripe to on the floor a black / white / black stripes. The milling path I have worked out with the Dremel. With hide glue and strips of a not too strong adhesive cover tape the trim were glued. Per Zieklinge and sandpaper the binding is processed first, afterwards the entire outside.

The connection to the neck is made with a dovetail. I had an old Martin neck, from which I took the measurements and made me with this, a template made of Plexiglas and the associated apparatus for milling. Here it is important to accurately aligned to the center line to mill both the Klankorpus and the neck, as is only guaranteed that the strings behind also meet the designated position on the saddle.

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The neck

The crude form is composed of two main parts. Once the base projection and then the boom. For better stability I locked the boom with two 2mm thick maple strips. Are these main parts glued to each other, I had to cut out on the band saw the rough contour. With the router, I worked out a channel of the steel rod. If you draw from 14.Bund (corpus transition) back to the saddle and it now expects to 6mm, you get the point at which the top plate tilts backwards. On the headstock I have a Ebenholzfunier glued 2mm and inserted into this my sign from Abalone.

The fingerboard I bought finished sawed, it was made of ebony. With the Dremel and a few small mills I have used the abalone inlays. This is done so that you einpinselt to the places where hinsollen deposits, first with a bright, water-soluble paint (Plaka) an area. After drying, the adhered deposits with a period of super glue to the correct position. Then you go with a sharp knife at the outer contour along so that the track pulls the trigger in color. You Levers now insert again, you only need to mill along the track. Fits the deposit at depth, it sticks again with a drop of super glue the floor. The lateral gap to be closed with a mixture of epoxy and ebony dust. Grinding may be the deposits easily with the file or sandpaper

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The position of the land

The whole effort for such an instrument can only be justified if it hinerher sounds beautiful and pure. Extremely important for this is the exact position of the land. After the neck and body adapts to each other and the fingerboard is glued, the position has to be constructed. Left and right of the fretboard I put two steel rulers with the "0" on the saddle. This can be seen on the one hand the distance from the saddle and the exact direction. Brought up on an old tailpiece and the outermost strings I simulated also the string height. Careful now to draw the point with a pencil. Since the ceiling is slightly curved and the dock bottom just, it must be adjusted. For this one puts a piece of sandpaper on the spot and moving the bridge back and forth. Colors are the bottom with white chalk, one can easily see the Vortschritt. If everything fits, you drilled in two places by the side bracket holes and you can fix the position for later gluing with small, tapered plastic cylinders.

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The assembly and the coating

At this point I had strung the guitar. This is important for the control of single function. Adjusts the string height in the height of the strings over the course of the fingerboard right (distance left, right), the fingerboard on the piece of blanket now?

If this is true, it goes on for surface treatment. In addition to painting the preparation for this is very important. With a lot of attention and in several stages all outer surfaces of the guitar must be sanded. Especially now it is important that one grinds the wood grain, has any irregularity eliminated and any impurities removed. I wanted the mahogany sides and top pickling dark, while leaving the Binding and the stripes on the floor light. For this I used Wasserbeize. Thus, the stain does not put on the light, I have this painted over with clear lacquer. Perfect fit you have before painting with a special Curve tape (3M) covering the strip, as well as the ceiling with paper. Was the stain on sides, back and neck applied, I had to fill it with a sealer pores. After a final grinding operation I had taping at neck and bridge the subsequent gluing surface.

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Since I had the opportunity to work in a professional spray booth, the paint job was not an option with a brush for me. With 6 layers Hochglanzklarlack a good piece was painted and then hung a good 14 days to dry. Then I cut the paint with water sandpaper wet and polished lacquer with sanding and polishing paste (3M also here mad stuff, Autolackierer has questions). Nowadays I polish easier with the polishing machine!

Both the neck and the bridge I leimte with hide glue. and then nothing could stop me. The holes were drilled for the hardware before painting. I freed them from the varnish and screwed the parts at all. The tailpiece holes had to be drilled and reamed, are filed and polished the bones for nut and saddle. And before rearing the strings, of course, my name plate must be attached in the soundhole.

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The finished instrument

Since I was secretly photographed my wife. But then one looks halt when after good work 100h a good piece for the first time alludes. As soberly considered this instrument has simply become great. The many fears and thoughts that you had set out to afterwards proved to be too theoretical and I'm glad that I did it and now can say. I still have the doomsday predictions in the ear: "you prefer to buy a Gibson, because you know what you hat". So nothing against Gibson, but the money would make me regret today. Sonically, the guitar is a good-natured, class Dreadnought: lots of bass through the volume, much Brilianz by the solid spruce top and beautiful straight through the middle of the mahogany. It is purely bund clean, has low string action, responds quickly and continues to this day.

The guitar is recorded for the first time