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Building Manual

16-Inch Archtop Guitar Kit

MK16EN_V102.0 1

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Thank you for the confidence that you have put in my products! This is a kit for building a 16” hollow archtop guitar. It looks quite tradi onal, but there are some details that make it unusual and some among them make it easier to build than conven onal archtop guitars: The neck uses a tenon-mor se instead of a dovetail. Thus, it does not have a separate extension as most archtop guitars have. The tenon itself is unusual too: unlike most joints of its kind (perhaps all), this one does not need fi ng at its le side. The inner surface of the top has been simplified right below the braces. That allows me to supply carved braces that fit perfectly without having to spend a lot of me working on their underside. The tailpiece is a ached to the tail block through a bolt that locks into a metal piece embedded in the tailpiece. This eliminates the need for a tailpiece bracket. The volume poten ometer is disguised under the fingerboard. This is made easier using a special ebony piece that is glued to the fingerboard and to which the pot, in turn, is glued The fret ends are not visible, as the fretboard has two binding strips made from the same material as the fretboard itself. The pickup ring is ebony; it fits the top perfectly and at the right angle. This is something hard to find even in top-class instruments. Most parts are made using CNC technology. All the wooden pieces except the kerfed linings have been manufactured in my workshop in Spain. Metal parts and electronic components are all top quality, some being imported manufactured products. Please note that this kit may be slightly different from what is explained in these instruc ons. Also no ce that this is not a complete kit; below, you’ll find a list of addi onal materials that you will need for its comple on. Although the materials in this kit are all high quality, we cannot guarantee that the resul ng instrument is, as skill levels vary. If you have already worked with wood and take your me following these instruc ons precisely, you’ll end up with a quality instrument that you’ll be proud of. Good luck!


made of the same wood as the fretboard (2) 14 A Stainless Steel compression truss rod. The bag also includes the posts/thumbwheels and an auxiliary nut 18 A semi machined Ebony or Rosewood tailpiece. barrel nut and washer 27 PTFE tape. the same thickness as the truss rod channel in the neck 16 Fretwire (at least 63” or 1600 mm) 17 A bag with a semi machined bridge. Maple or some other wood. usually made of maple. quite probably made of Ebony 12 An Ebony or Rosewood fretboard. with its base adapted to the curvature of the top 20 An Ebony or Rosewood finger rest 21 An Ebony or Rosewood truss rod nut cover 22 An Ebony or Rosewood neck cap blank 23 A mold template 24 Peghead sides waste material (2) 25 A CDROM with this manual (high defini on version) 26 Truss rod adjustment nut. made of maple. with an insert for attaching it to the body 19 A semi machined Ebony or Rosewood pickup ring. which includes a morse for the neck 6 A shaped tail block made of the same wood as the neck block 7 Enough length of kerfed linings (around 110” or 2800 mm). made of the same wood as the neck block 8 Enough length of Spruce side reinforcement strips (at least 36” or 900 mm) 9 White plas c binding strips (2) 10 A semi machined neck. for the truss rod 28 Screws for truss rod nut cover (2) 29 Plas c rod for side dots 30 Pickup ring screws (4) 31 Tailpiece bolt 32 Finger rest a achment screws (2) 1 2 3 4 5 . composed of a foot with its base adapted to the top and a compensated saddle. Precut braces. 11 Peghead face veneer. Spruce (2) A carved back made of Maple or some other hard wood A set of prebent sides (2) A shaped neck block made of Sapele or Khaya.4 Introduction Check the contents of the box now. made of Ebony or Rosewood. ready to be glued to the neck and sanded 13 Strips for binding the fretboard. cut to size and threaded 15 A truss rod cover piece. They should be as follows: An arched carved top made of Spruce.

archtopguitarkits. Ques ons..htm If you find some error in the content of the package.? www.? You'll find photos at .com/Kits/Parts16_EN. with nuts and washers 43 Miniature Poten ometer for gluing under the fingerboard 44 Adhesive Felt for Poten ometer 45 Jack.. there is a very complete list at h p://buildyourguitar. please contact me at contact@archtopguitarkits.archtopguitarkits.. wiring and connectors (3) 46 Jack reinforcing plate 47 Wiring guides (2) 48 Nylon e Cannot iden fy those parts.html This kit does not contain the following: Pickup: Most conven onal humbuckers fit the ring supplied with the kit and the hole in the top Machine heads Strings Glue and finishing supplies Case You will find these parts in most lutherie 5 33 Finger rest spacer 34 Finger rest reinforcement strip 35 Blank bone nut 36 Strap holders with screws and felt spacers (2) 37 Maple veneer for shims 38 Magnets (8) 39 Cups for magnets (4) 40 Mold dowel pins (8) 41 Mold tail reinforcing cap 42 Long bolt (M8). or if you need some spares.

understand and follow the indica ons in the product MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). as the transla on error has been chosen to be below other sources of error. Previous experience with flat top or even solid guitar kits is great. This manual includes metric and inch measurements. Control the rela ve humidity at your workplace. but the same can be said of many manual tools. . understand and follow the magnet handling safety advices at the end of this manual. but no ce that in most cases it is an approxima on. Wood dust can be a health and fire hazard. Read. Try to complement it with the sec ons in the books that are referenced at the end of this manual. understand and follow all the safety advices included with both. Always wear a mask. I have followed the simple default criterion that. Keep your edge tools well sharpened. which must be between 40 and 50%. Some power tools are very dangerous if used improperly. Read. especially when sanding wood. when a measurement is men oned. Read. I use the intended value (what I was aiming at) first. Feel confident to use any of the two. This kit includes some powerful magnets that can be dangerous in many different ways. whatever its units.6 Introduction Before You Start … Don’t do anything without having read carefully the instruc ons in advance. If necessary. and use extrac on equipment. the transla on to the other system follows. Be careful with adhesives and other chemicals.

And. I didn’t find how an inexperienced maker could build a guitar like this without using one. A er giving it a lot of thought. 7 . it has some details that make it quite simple and easy to make. They are used to effec vely support the sides in the right posi on during the first stages of the building process. I have tried my best to make it one of the best molds that you can find. without compromising its func onality or toughness. However.Step 1: Building a Body Mold Molds are used extensively by guitar makers everywhere. now you know: you will have to make a mold. last but not least. its construc on may be as much fun as the construc on of the guitar itself. When I decided to make this kit. Yes. with details such as the magnets that will surely be adopted by other makers in the future. Experienced makers could do it somehow. my first worry was how to avoid the maker the pain of making a mold. but even they avoid what some call “free building”. spot bending the difficult to bend curly woods and working with a lot of care.

#39 Mold Dowel Pins. #41 Long M8 Bolt. so that it can follow a template. If the cu ng length is not enough for the material that you are using.8 Tools and Supplies Step 1 . #38 Cups for Magnets. #40 Tail Reinforcing Cap. if possible.Building a Body Mold You will need at least two power tools: a Router with a Pa ern Bit and a Jig Saw. then you will have to work in two or more passes but. I recommend that. Marker Straight Edge Saw And the following supplies: Mold Template. The Pa ern Bit has a bearing above the cu ers. I have used the following manual tools: Cabinet Scraper Chisels (miniature 2 mm and 12 mm) Clamps (at least 15) Engineer’s Square Pain ng Brush Pencil. almost any commercial pa ern bit will do. but you will need these also. apart from that. you use a Drill Press instead of Portable and Manual Drills. #23 Magnets. effec vely copying it. #42 Epoxy Glue Polyurethane Varnish Wood Glue Waxed Paper Sandpaper (P120) .

midway between both types. If you use it. but it is not as readily available as standard MDF. and permit to arrive there easily: use one ¾” (or 19 mm) and two 5/8” (or 16 mm) MDF lamina ons. but closing the soundbox using the mold is not recommended. if this construc on method was used. even using the template itself. you will have to protect it somehow. as described later. Open molds are formed by two halves that are a ached by toggle latches or a similar mechanism. If you don’t find those thicknesses. the sides and blocks (neck. . you can use some other combina on. it must not be too thin. It can be opened at the tail. we will make the mold around 50 mm thick. You can use moisture resistant MDF instead. With all this in mind. tail) will be around 10 mm less due to them having a thickness of around 5 mm each. as we will see) to the sides while these are placed inside it. I suggest that you use polyurethane varnish. there are standard thickness of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) stock that coincide more or less in most countries. and allow easy removal of complete glued soundboxes (top. Thus. but the following instruc ons describe three-layered molds.Building a Body Mold 9 Procedure The thickness of this guitar at the sides is around 66-68 mm. so that it can be used to glue the back (and even the top. Without the top and back glued. as it wouldn’t support very well the sides and it wouldn’t work well for clamping the blocks while they are being glued to the sides. Closed molds cannot be disassembled and are used to glue the back (or top) to the sides.Step 1 . the sides will be 56-58 mm tall. but not at the neck end. The mold described here is a third kind. Fortunately. The mold must be thinner than that. back and sides). Everything will be fine if the total thickness is somewhere between 50 and 54 mm. Standard MDF stock is a material that swells a lot when we ed. as there is no guarantee that the guitar can be extracted without suffering damage. Before you start making the mold I would like to men on that there exist the open and closed varie es. However.

which is the real template. Eventually you will have the three lamina ons and the template. trace the outline of the template on the board. A ach the template to one of the thin (5/8” or 16 mm) MDF boards. and leaving a li le to be trimmed by the router later. try to keep it perfectly upright (use a drill press if possible). Drill the six holes in the stock as in the template using a 5/16” (or 8 mm) pilot point drill bit.Building a Body Mold Separate the two parts of the template cu ng the tabs and smoothing them with a chisel and sandpaper. Don’t discard the three central sec ons. . inside and outside. Remove the clamps and cut it with the jig saw.10 Step 1 . using a few clamps. Using the dowel pins instead of the clamps. the inside will be used later. Work with the outside part. Do the same for the other two boards. following the pencil lines.

join the three lamina ons. This is a simple method. If you plan to rout a binding channel for your guitar with a minimum guarantee of success. my hands would be farther away from the bit! Rou ng tables are not available to everybody. It involves the use of a rou ng table where the router is placed upside down. I will show you several ways of rou ng those lamina ons to get an I have used clamps and a heavy chunk of wood to fix the laminaons to the table. so there is another alterna ve: use the central part of the template. because the narrow mold walls are not a steady base for it. on top. For the first method (first and second pictures). Screw it to one or more of the central pieces that you sawed from the boards and you will have a wider base for rou ng the outside curve. The idea here is to use the template first and then remove it. you may even find commercial units that can be adapted to a great variety of routers. using the 8 mm dowels supplied with the kit and. a rou ng table is the easiest way to go. Don’t use glue yet. I was only posing for the photo. I consider that a rou ng table is not difficult to make. the supplied template.Step 1 . in this case with a Flush Trim Bit instead of a Pa ern Bit. but you will have difficul es trying to keep the router straight. Now use the router with the pa ern bit to copy the template to the mold lamina on above.Building a Body Mold 11 accurate shape. By the way. The second method fixes that problem with the stability of the router. . Otherwise. using each routed lamina on as a template for the one below it.

leaving enough room for the router bit. and what you do depends a lot on the bit dimensions and other factors. if not. . you may cut more than one lamina on if the bit length permits it. placing and removing lamina ons similarly for the central support if you use it.12 Step 1 .Building a Body Mold Rou ng the inside will not be possible unless you make the central base smaller. This is only a guide. you may need to remove the template and use the area that has been cut on the lamina on above as the new template. Whatever the method.

using a chisel. keeping the others at a safe distance.Building a Body Mold 13 Now that you have cut the three lamina ons. but not protrude above it. Wear gloves and work with one magnet at a me. cut four recesses at the points shown. Read the important safety rules at the end of this manual! . These must allow the placement of the magnets supplied with the kit. get the middle lamina on and. Their external surface must be as close as possible to the inner surface of the mold.Step 1 . Warning: these magnets are excep onally strong and can be dangerous if your skin is caught between them.

you will need to cut two addi onal blocks that act as intermediary between the screw and the waist. but my recommenda on is that you have at least 15 – you’ll need them later. you can do this with less. using gradually more clamping force. Try not to use a lot of glue to avoid ooze-out. do it in two or three steps. There are other designs. the one shown here. as they may slip. but wait ll you see them in ac on! Step 1 . Be careful when gluing the lamina ons. clamp everything. use the dowel pins to keep the three lamina ons aligned except the pin at the tail end and. for example). . I considered that a necessity for a guitar built by someone who cannot retouch the sides in a bending iron. If you look at the photo you’ll see a lot of clamps.Building a Body Mold Now glue the three lamina ons together. However. at least in guitars with limited access (f-holes instead of round hole. spread it well with a brush. is elegant and simple. used by some makers. losing their alignment. especially around the recesses for the magnets. use wood glue (I used Titebond). neither of these designs will allow you to close the soundbox with the waist spreader inside.14 Magnets…?? The waist spreader in most molds is based on a turnbuckle screw that pushes upon the waist. To avoid that. These magnets may not be as powerful as turnbuckle screws. finally. While it is not difficult to make.

. remove the clamps and check the ver cality of the inner walls. This is very important at the neckblok area! Correct them with a cabinet scraper.Step 1 . opening a small recess for the cutaway side. Use a saw and a small chisel to shape the area at which the router bit couldn’t arrive.Building a Body Mold 15 When the glue is dry. also removing the dried glue from inside and outside.

Glue the supplied tail reinforcing cap. you may skip this step.Building a Body Mold Trim the excess off the dowel pins. If you’re using moisture resistant MDF. Trim it and then apply two or three coats of polyurethane varnish to protect the mold from water spills. Try to avoid varnishing inside the cavi es for the magnets.16 Step 1 . as MDF swells a lot when we ed. .

N face down. but it doesn't ma er). sand their S surfaces (P120) un l they are rough. working one by one. separated by plas c pieces. Work now on the remaining four magnets. sanding the N faces this me. but there will always be a wooden cup between them. Use a plas c straight edge to verify that they are flush with the inner surface of the mold. work one by one. S face down. They are magne zed so that it’s their faces that are North and South. While they are all in a row.. All the magnets in the mold must show the same polarity outside. N for example.Step 1 . the fragile magnets may s ll collide. Use a good epoxy to glue them in the mold cavi es. Again. . Epoxy them to the four supplied cups. Get four magnets and.Building a Body Mold 17 We will install the magnets now. With these precau ons. write their polarity with a permanent marker (there's a 50% probability that you get it wrong. There are eight.

Trace the center line at the neck end. Be careful to make it straight.18 Step 1 . as it is located at the center line of the instrument. especially if you need to drill from both sides.Building a Body Mold Drill a 5/16” (8 mm) hole at the tail end for the M8 bolt (#42). Use the hole for the dowel pin as a reference. . Mark it permanently making shallow cuts with a fine saw.

Step 1 . Apply glue to a half of it only. but this me cut the mold along it. Glue the correct thickness of cardboard or wood to one of the sides. install the M8 long bolt with its washers to close the mold. so that it is glued to one of the sides of the mold. again using waxed paper to avoid it gluing to the other side. draw the center line at the tail end. Avoid contact with the other side using a piece of waxed paper or similar. you’ll no ce that both halves don’t close completely. A er the glue is dry. .Building a Body Mold 19 Similarly. Now the mold can be opened at the tail end. It is me to glue the last 5/16” (8 mm) dowel pin in its hole. which you must close now. trim the glued pieces and retouch with polyurethane varnish. With the dowel pin glued. There is a narrow gap le by the saw. Finally.

the main reason being the magnets having lost their chrome pla ng due to collisions with other magnets. so try to use some so material between the intermediaries and the sides.20 Step 1 . cover them with tape whenever you place wet sides in the mold. Wet sides can damage the mold. Once dry (typically one day). If your clamps do not have so jaws. use small wood pieces in between. No ce that. work on them soon or you'll have to repeat the procedure again. as the tail area is not trimmed yet. and that's the reason why it must be varnished. wet them well inside and out. but they should stay clamped to avoid distor ons. You can leave the sides in the mold for a long me. . The oxide in the magnet will contaminate the sides and you will get a nasty black spot. If you see that the surface of the magnets is chipped. Clamp them to the mold using as many spring clamps and wood intermediaries as you need to get a good fit without distor ons or cupping.Building a Body Mold Now that you have finished the mold. The wet wood is very so and can get impressions quite easily. But the mold can cause damage to the sides too. put the sides in it. leaving more than 1/8" at some places. it cannot be clamped adequately: I recommend you to follow the order of opera ons in this manual and start working on the sides now. using a few spring clamps and the magnets. USING THE MOLD TO FINE-BEND THE SIDES If you find that the sides don't fit well inside the mold.

It is not easy for a supplier to do that. because bending curly woods is far from being a simple procedure. In fact. 21 . it can get so frustra ng that I am sure that this is one of the aspects that any archtop guitar maker with previous experience will value most for this kit. especially at the cutaway area. as supplied.Step 2: Preparing the Sides The sides. are already bent.

Saw. You will need a Drill and some Drill Bits (see details at the Procedure sec on). You will need the following supplies: Sides. described in the Procedure sec on. for gluing the kerfed linings to the sides. #4 Neckblock.Preparing the Sides Prepare to collect as many Miniature Spring Clamps as you can. P180 and P220) . some Spring Clamps and a good quality Machinist Square. #6 Kerfed linings. #7 Spruce side reinforcement strips. Some makers use clothes pins instead. #8 Wax paper Sandpaper (P80. but most mes the spring is not enough for the job. Also a Chisel. P120. Pencil. There are other more special tools that you'll probably need. #5 Tailblock. Some others use modified clothes pins (usually with a rubber band wrapped around them) that seem to work fine.22 Tools and Supplies Step 2 .

etc. unless a very thick heel cap was used. this doesn't need to be very narrow. using a machinist square and a block plane. if you don't plan to bind the back. don't make a lap joint as shown at right. . Place the sides inside the mold. I don't want to give you a heel cap that is much thicker than what is necessary. For unbound backs. and clamp them using the magnets and some spring clamps. Contrary to the tail block. sandpaper. but you can trim it anyway following the procedure shown in the pictures. Note: A er making the guitar for this kit I discovered that the neck heel was not tall enough to cover the en re joint between the sides at the neckblock. Watch the gap between them at the neck area. because the neck cap won't cover the end grain of the cutaway side completely. [See also page 94] The block plane is not included in the list of tools. it has a taller heel to avoid this problem.Preparing the Sides 23 Procedure The first thing that you will need to do is find a good flat working table. use a miter joint. flat on the table. You'll avoid tearing out the wood (end grain is frail) if you start from both ends. you may use files. so. If you look at the neck in your kit. Addi onally.Step 2 .

and then mark the center point. Addionally.24 Step 2 . Draw a line at the marks found. Do a dry run first! The blocks and the sides are both made from stock 58 mm high. . However. Use a few clamps to press the neckblock while gluing. While the glue sets. Cut the excess with a saw and refine it with a block plane (if not available. using a machinist square. You will need to sand or scrape the gluing surface at the sides. you can find the points at both sides where they will meet at the tail end. with the purpose of cleaning the quite possibly dirty maple. Do the same for the other side. we ng and hea ng the wood for bending may modify its dimensions. This is why the final thickness of the guitar at the sides may range between 56 and 58 mm. there will be some tolerances that you'll surely find a er you glue the blocks. use a file or sandpaper). keeping everything flat. Use spring clamps to adapt one of the sides to the mold without leaving gaps.Preparing the Sides The neckblock can be glued without much prepara on using Titebond.

you'll have to refine it in order to make the gap as small as possible. a small hard sanding block and a lamp behind the joint: you must not see any light through it.Step 2 . Do a dry run first! No ce that your tailblock may look different from the one shown here. Sand the gluing surface because. you may use addi onal clamps (arrows): . When sa sfied. You may damage the sides if you try to remove the tape without using alcohol or acetone! Put them inside the mold using some wax paper in between. the sides may be dirty. as before. With the basic joint already done. Note: For some tapes. join the sides with tape. when the tailblock is glued to the sides the pressure put by the clamps will cement the tape to the sides very strongly. Use sandpaper. Find the center of the tailblock and mark it with a pencil.Preparing the Sides 25 With the mold and sides firmly on the table. With the new design. When you glue the block to the sides (using Titebond). keep everything flat on the table and the center marks aligned. check that the joint is at the center of the instrument and that the gap is not wider at one of its ends. correc ng the joint with the block plane if necessary.

it is not an acceptable method. . but they don't cover all the width of the sides. P180 and P220). but this may vary. While this saves me at the factory. The rest will be approximately two lengths of 23 and two more of 20 (see diagram). enough for the en re guitar and some le over just in case. With the supplied kerfed lining.26 Step 2 . Without the side reinforcement strips. There are four lengths of this material in the kit. Some guitars have uninterrupted linings from neckblock to tailblock. Glue the linings (Titebond). ruining them. you'll install the kerfed linings. remove the glue ooze out. each 17-teeth piece will be around 113 mm. so the best solu on is to interrupt the lining strips with the side reinforcement strips. so wait un l you have glued all the 17-teeth lengths. As always. If the strips are there.Preparing the Sides A er sanding the inside of the sides (P120. the danger is s ll present. clamping them with the spring clamps. Begin cu ng 16 lengths of 17 teeth. They should be a hair above the sides. the sides would probably rip open a er a moderate blow.

When you glue the lining at the other side. As before. don't glue the reinforcement strips yet. you will have to saw the kerfings almost all the way down before gluing. If you use sandpaper alone it will be easier. use the strip as an alignment.Preparing the Sides 27 Insert spruce side reinforcement strips between the lining pieces. .Step 2 . (waist and cutaway). Otherwise. You must not glue them yet. Take each reinforcement strip and shape it as shown. At areas with high curvature. they will break.

You must make a tool for sanding the excess height at the linings and blocks. and will work well even in that situa on. and I didn't contemplate the possibility of the magnet being right below one of the reinforcement strips. as shown.Preparing the Sides Glue and clamp each strip (use Titebond). . it has power to spare. Glue a couple of teeth to each strip at each side.28 Step 2 . However. This came as a surprise. so that the spring clamps exert enough pressure to adapt the flat strips to the curved sides. It is a long piece of wood with sanding paper (P60 or P80). I hadn't used magnets in molds before. glued (I use double-sided tape) at one of its ends. You can improve it easily using hook-and-loop fastening. Do it with the sides in the mold.

This is not a big problem for later stages. you won't get a flat gluing surface for the top and back. small imperfec ons in the mold or in the gluing of the blocks). Also. This is be er and simpler than using a turnbuckle screw from block to block. It is not necessary that you use clamps. you may disturb the angle between that gluing surface and the sides. If you don't do it right. making them narrower. due to small construc on errors (typically. 2 mm. .Step 2 . When you are sanding at a certain area. press the side against the mold with your free hand. In ideal condi ons. The blocks must be sanded carefully. it is possible that you have to sand the sides. that must be a right angle. If it happens. say. just the magnets.Preparing the Sides 29 If you trace a line along the sides. try to keep the sides the same width everywhere. that will be enough. press the neckblock and tailblock to the sides using a clamp. you will probably have to make tedious correc ons to the neck angle when you glue the neck. all the sanding will be limited to the blocks and linings. If that happens. you will know when to stop sanding. at least if it is not much more than. However. To avoid that.

Preparing the Sides A er some detail sanding.30 Step 2 . this is the way the sides look inside the mold right before gluing the top and back: .

Binding and Tuning the Soundbox). and they will fit perfectly without any further adjustment. What I have done is to simplify the inner surface of the top right below the braces. most makers think that braces must form an angle with the direc on of the grain at the top. making it the same height at both sides of the brace. The braces deserve some more comments. but most of it will be done a er the soundbox is closed (see Step 7. However. Unfortunately. braces and more complex thickness gradua ons. there is an increased danger of spli ng the top along their corners. otherwise. However. they were perfectly parallel. This makes carving them quite easy. I can make them using a template. you'll s ll have to graduate the top. As the strength of a brace is highest when the grain runs straight along it. Despite these simplifica ons.Step 3: Preparing the Top Tops are usually made of so wood. 31 . especially when comparing the curly maple used for the backs. I have tried to simplify these tasks: the holes are open and the braces are extremely easy to fit. The first version of this kit had "integral" braces (carved in the top). this rules out the integral braces. That way. they are trickier to make: they have pickup and fholes.

manually or with an electric sander. you will need some other common tools such as a pencil and a measuring ruler. Steel clamps of the required throat depth are usually very heavy. it is preferable to use the lighter wooden cam clamps.32 Tools and Supplies Step 3 . but they are not necessary. le ) may have some other uses.Preparing the Top The top and back. Chisels are also great for trimming the braces to their final shape. You can exercise this ability by having some wood pieces of known thicknesses at hand. You’ll need clamps for gluing the braces. . You will need gouges and chisels. The tools described below will definitely make your work easier. A cabinet scraper with a curved shape is a great tool when you don’t have a lot of wood to remove (removing the machining marks. as supplied. for example around the gluing areas for the neck and tail blocks.. If you have built more archtop guitars. These are great carving tools that can reach inside corners. Finally. perhaps you have learnt to es mate the plate thickness with enough precision simply using your hands. You’ll have to sand also. While the “French curve” scraper (first picture. as the one to the right. The best tool for carving tops and backs is a plane with its sole curved (le ).. don't need much addi onal carving. you may also use a rectangular scraper with one or more corners ground.). carving the recurve.

You will need the following supplies: Top. le in the picture) are unnecessary because both top and back have been rough carved already. and are available from many lutherie suppliers. I prefer to use a smaller finger plane (the one to the right in the picture) with a blade width of 12 mm.Preparing the Top 33 These are mainly sold for violin builders. As an alterna ve to the method described. You will find them in many sizes. you may use a thickness caliper for measuring the thickness of tops and backs (right).P180 andP220) . #2 Side reinforcement strip material (for the pickup hole). two pieces. #8 Glue (Titebond) Sandpaper (P80.P120. #1 Precut braces.Step 3 . but the larger planes (palm planes.

all around. The other two are around 5 mm (3/16”). you will be able to locate it easily if you remember this rule. You may enlarge them either to change the overall shape or to make more room if you want to install bindings.34 Procedure Step 3 . which has the right final dimension. When we men on the bridge area (and we’ll do it a few mes). the top has three different regions. The inside of the top has been machined using an upcut bit. clearly visible in the picture. You can compare its size now with the size of the cavity in the neckblock. it is advisable to trace the outline of the guitar at the top plate. This means that the edge of all the ver cal surfaces will surely need a li le cleaning of the dangling fibers.Preparing the Top Before doing anything. The top has been cut approximately 1/8” (3 mm) bigger than necessary. Be careful not to remove more than necessary. The size and outline of the f-holes is quite tradi onal. take your me studying the top. Use a piece of sandpaper (P120) everywhere that you see them. forget the areas that show a lot of stair stepping. There is a par ally finished aperture for the neck tenon. For all that follows. There are two smoother regions at both sides of the central region. as they will be smoothed soon using other methods. These holes follow the tradi onal rule that locates the bridge approximately between their inner ps. It is undersized: 1. This can be done easily measuring 441 mm (17 23/64”) from the end of the aperture for the neck tenon: . This means that you will no ce some “stair stepping” especially where the slope of the surface is higher. Those are the surfaces where the braces must be glued. As supplied. all around. and don't sand on the surfaces where the braces will be glued. inside. No ce the following: The machine carving has been done with a square bit. about 8 mm (5/16") wide.5 mm (¼”). The central region has a uniform thickness of around 6.5 mm (around 1/16”) smaller than it should be.

I could have made it thinner but then.. if you decided to start an X-bracing design of your own.Preparing the Top 35 This distance will be measured with the top as supplied.e. In par cular. with the undersized aperture for the tenon.Step 3 . as shown. . If you choose not to modify the gradua ons that will be great for electric instruments. Fine tuning the top has to do with giving it enough structural s ffness and a long life free from deforma ons. that area would probably be weak. Removing the wood from that area is easy with a chisel. all that remains is to use the mold to trace the outline. while at the same me giving good tone and volume. but you will definitely get a be er acous c tone (and even its electric counterpart) if you modify some of them. Once the end point of the guitar at the tail has been found. i. the area right behind the bridge is thicker than necessary.

36 If available. where the braces will be glued later. Step 3 . don't carve beyond the last CNC machining mark.Preparing the Top Very important: for all the opera ons that follow. You will need to carve quite close to them now. I recommend that you mark with a cu er first and then cut with the chisel. don't remove any wood from the smooth areas to the sides of the central region. . When you work at the tail end. as shown. use a finger plane.

when the soundbox is closed.Preparing the Top 37 The final gradua ons in this area will be as shown here: There is an area of 5 mm or a li le more (“5+” in the picture). . Remove the stair stepping from everywhere inside the top. Here I am doing it with a finger plane. the final tuning will be done later. These are inner gradua ons. electric sanders being a valid alterna ve if you are good at controlling them.5 mm.Step 3 . then a transi on area and finally an area of around 6. but you may use many other things.

you will discover that grain direcon may guide the tool if the shavings are too thick. Tear-out as shown at le can be avoided simply by changing the carving angle or by adjus ng the tool for a thinner shaving. I suppose that your tool is sharp as a razor – is it? . Also. use gouges and chisels for reaching near the base of the braces (be careful) and around the neck block gluing area.Preparing the Top Don’t remove more wood than necessary. If you are new to carving wood.38 Step 3 . or if your tools are dull. Again. it is very important that you work at a safe distance from the edge of the instrument to avoid modifying the flat area that will be glued to the sides.

Check that there are no gaps at any point along the en re length of the brace. you should leave a round area below the bridge. but try not to use heavy clamps that may harm or even break the top. I have found that this raises a li le the feedback threshold but. . If you do this. Next we will glue the braces.5 mm thick. To avoid this. I have used four small and four large cam clamps. Glue them. they are ready for gluing. extending about 50 mm (2”) to both ends. preferably. a razor blade. and don’t apply full clamping pressure at first. The other brace (cutaway side) is shorter and it is marked "1".Preparing the Top 39 No ce that we haven’t thinned the top ahead of the bridge. The braces tend to slip out of place when clamped. press them in place by hand before clamping. As always.Step 3 . remove them very carefully. The brace to the right (corresponding to the non-cutaway side) is marked "2". however. one at a me. It can be done with less. using sandpaper or. Use whatever clamps you have available. Where there are faint machining marks. Don’t be afraid for the edge of the pickup hole being too fragile at 5 mm (or less a er thinning the outside): we will glue a small transverse brace there. where the top must be around 6. As men oned. if you don’t care. clean the ooze out. thin the area similarly to what you have done behind the bridge.

40 Step 3 . You can check it by pu ng pressure with your thumbs. Carve the braces so thatyou can feel more or less the same s ffness at the bridge and near the end of the braces at the tail area. where I am pressing in the picture. begin removing wood from the top of the braces with a chisel. using the mold as a support. but this picture will let you judge how the braces should look a er this ini al carving: The highest point is at the bridge area.Preparing the Top A er the glue has dried. You will feel that the bridge area deforms more under the same pressure. How much thinner is a subjecve ques on. . That means that the tail end of the braces will have to be thinner. The central area of the top must be s ff from neck to tail. the main reason being that it is at the center of the top. where their tops should be at a height of around 18 mm (11/16") above the surface of the top.

be careful with the f-holes. in fact. Almost all sanders are too big for the central secon between the braces.Preparing the Top 41 Beam theory shows that the deflec on of a beam of rectangular sec on is inversely propor onal to its width and to the cube of its thickness. P180 and P220). Our braces are tall already. giving them a somewhat parabolic sec on: You may want to remove some more wood making the braces lower. That's correct. like I'm doing here. if you have followed my recommneda ons you must have an ample safety margin. Sand the braces and the rest of the top (P80. It must go between the braces: . If you use an electric sander. P120.Step 3 . Thus thick (tall) braces are great at suppor ng the pressure from the bridge with li le weight. Glue a piece of the same material that you used for the side reinforcement strips (spruce) to reinforce the pickup end grain. so you'll have to hand sand there. so we will shape them removing material from their tops.

but only if you know posi vely that you are going to install binding at the top/sides joint. it will make the joint much more visible. .42 Step 3 . There is a situa on when sanding marks inside the soundbox may become visible. but even if they are invisible inside the closed soundbox. Note that the contour line has disappeared in many places a er sanding. Otherwise. and it is a er you seal it with shellac (we won't do this). You may trace it again. be extremely cau ous with the pencil: when you glue the top to the sides. Some makers favor this prac ce because it slows the exchange of humidity with the environment. sand the top manually (P220) following the direc on of the grain. Electric sanders usually leave very small spiral marks. a smooth surface is great at avoiding the dust s cking to it.Preparing the Top If you have used an electric sander.

Step 4: Preparing the Back The techniques and tools that you have used for the top will also work for the back. Being quite close to the final gradua ons. it will not be difficult to carve it in spite of curly maple being so temperamental. 43 .

but you can use gouges instead. we'll carve it more flexible.Preparing the Back The back (#3) should be carved to a uniform thickness of around 5 mm (3/16”). but at the neck end you'll have to measure 27.08") from the wall of the cutaway: (Note: You can use the mid line at the mold instead) The first photo shows how to mark the sides with that measurement.5 mm (1. To trace the outline of the guitar on the back. their mid point at the tail end is evident. using a machinist square. Currently. take the line where its two halves join as the reference. Curly maple is much easier to work if your tool goes across the grain. With all those references. . In case of trouble. change direc on. as in the second photo. the first thing to do will be to protect those areas from your tools. it is around 6. Here I am using a finger plane. trace the outline of the tailblock and neckblock.44 Step 4 . You'll have to remove wood from all areas.5 mm (1/4"). Thus. but be careful with the gluing surfaces for the sides/blocks. not braced. For the sides. not having to stand a lot of stress and being very important for shaping the tone of archtops. and using the sides already assembled inside the mold. Never carve beyond the lines or too close to the edge of the instrument (third photo). Being hard wood.

Step 4 . Near the neck end. crea ng an abrupt transi on. Work with a gouge at the abrupt transi ons near the neckblock.Preparing the Back 45 Near the tailblock you will have to remove more wood. round the corner of the ver cal wall at the neckblock transi on. .

46 Step 4 . following the direc on of the grain. Some makers favor this prac ce because it slows the exchange of humidity with the environment. Here you can see the carved back. a smooth surface is great at avoiding the dust s cking to it. . Sand the back. right before sanding. and it is a er you seal it with shellac (we won't do this). Its thickness is more or less constant. around 5mm (3/16") everywhere. using P80 or rougher and then going up to 220. but the last step should be done manually. Electric sanders usually leave very small spiral marks. but even if they are invisible inside the closed soundbox. You may use an electric sander. There is a situa on when sanding marks inside the soundbox may become visible. The flame is more evident now.Preparing the Back This is the aspect of the area near the neckblock a er carving it.

You may trace it again.Preparing the Back 47 This is the back a er the final sanding: The flame is less evident now. Otherwise.Step 4 . be extremely cau ous with the pencil: when you glue the back to the sides. it will make the joint much more visible. but only if you know posi vely that you are going to install binding at the back/sides joint. but it will jump again a er the finish is applied. . Note that the contour line has disappeared in many places a er sanding.

This Page Inten onally Le Blank 48 .

Necks have a lot of parts. Despite the many steps. 49 . as always. you don't rush things and read everything very well before grasping a tool.Step 5: Preparing the Neck Probably this is the part that will take more me and effort from you. and must be built under very low tolerances. you will not face difficult problems if.

Cleaning the slots a er the neck bindings are glued is a must. You may use strong tape (filament tape. regular and for dark wood) Toothpicks . A Coping Saw and Files are the tools recommended for cu ng what remains of the shape of the peghead. #35 Fretwire. #24 PTFE tape. Adhesive Tape works fine for holding the bindings in place while the glue dries. I will explain here the method that works better for the wooden neck bindings. You will need the following supplies: Neck. #13 Truss rod. fre ng) will require addi onal tools – please read the Procedure sec on below. for example).50 Tools and Supplies Step 5 . However. #10 Headplate. #16 Peghead sides waste. Gouges. #15 Plas c rod for side dots. available from some lutherie suppliers or make your own. #29 Nut blank. complete. #14 and #26 Truss rod cover. especially if you are going to need it also for gluing the body bindings. some conven onal Clamps and a few Spring Clamps. #11 Fretboard.Preparing the Neck A Cabinet Scraper is the best tool for removing the carving marks le by the CNC machine. A Center Punch made of hardened steel is the best tool for a aching the barrel nut to the truss rod. for which you will need a few meters of Cord. You will need Chisels. You may use a Fret Slot Cleaning Tool. #27 Wood glue (Titebond. Some opera ons (for example. You will need some small Drill Bits (read the Procedure sec on for details) to use with a Hand Drill. #12 Ebony binding strips.

P800. P360. P120. P220. P600. P180.Step 5 .Preparing the Neck 51 Cord. 8 meters/yards Sandpaper (P80. P1200) .

not the neck: with the truss rod channel empty. Our first task will be to install the truss rod. Its bo om is semicircular. Clamp the peghead. has not been cut. As other parts that you have seen before. Measure 1/2” (13 mm) from the beginning of the peghead (the vertex of its angle) to the beginning of the access cavity. At the heel end there is a hole for the barrel nut. This is because the design of the peghead is usually one of the signatures of the maker. due to the radius of the cu er. The kits include the two waste pieces that were cut from the sides of the peghead so that you can use a conven onal vise. The top of the peghead.e.. where the maker usually writes his name. . They represent the two faces of the nut. take your me studying the neck.Preparing the Neck Before doing anything. but I decided to drill them anyway. that become five at the peghead. it can break easily. as it is a process that can go wrong quite easily. draw two lines (the sides of the cavity) at a distance of 7/16” (11 mm). There are many designs for which the holes are not where I have drilled them. No ce also that the area right below the nut has two parallel pencil marks. It is made of three main lamina ons. the beginning of the peghead and the beginning of the fretboard. The picture also shows that the CNC machine didn't finish the peghead transi on completely. No ce the channel for the truss rod.52 Procedure Step 5 . i. but it has the same depth everywhere. it shows stair stepping. The CNC machine could not remove all the wood from the tenon. as shown in the picture.

cut the ver cal wall at the beginning of the cavity.Preparing the Neck 53 With a narrow chisel and a hammer. To check that you have reached the right depth. Use a gouge to open the rest of the cavity. but try to remove the minimum amount of wood. Be very careful: it must be normal (perpendicular) to the surface where the fretboard will be glued. brass nut and washer. Remove the brass nut and screw the barrel nut to the end of the rod with the shortest length of threads. It must be possible to insert and turn it. when you are sasfied. . Check that the access at the other end. screw the brass nut to the rod (to the side with a longer threaded sec on). This opera on and the previous one must be done in several steps. Do it at both sides of the barrel nut.Step 5 . put it in place and try to turn the nut with the supplied wrench. peen the barrel nut to the rod using a hardened steel center punch and a heavy hammer. is correct. not to the peghead. each one deeper.

If you do. . Anyway. glue it above the rod (Titebond) and press it with three or four clamps. We will use it later.8 mm) rod. Note: Although the truss rod has 10-32 threads at its ends. you won't probably find problems inser ng the rod with the tape in it. it has been made from 5 mm instead of 3/16" (4. as the width of the channel is a hair above 5 mm.Preparing the Neck Wrap the rod in PTFE tape and insert it inside the channel. Cut the cover to size. file lightly each side of the rod. for this. Do the same for that sec on of the channel that doesn't have a rod below. shape the base of the wood cover with some sandpaper un l it has a semicircular sec on (the bo om of the channel is round) Don't throw away the cover le over.54 Step 5 .

Preparing the Neck 55 Once the glue gas dried.Step 5 . . use a wide chisel and then a cabinet scraper to remove the truss rod cover excess.

so it is common that the neck is under stress while the glue dries. you will have to use a lot of clamps. The main problem to avoid when gluing the fretboard is neck distor on. this is one of the places where guitar making needs all your precision. not even inside the same box. As the gluing surface is large. Hold it with strong spring clamps. . but that must be a much less important factor. These are usually heavy. Ideally. Remove the fretboard and insert a length of toothpick inside each hole.56 Step 5 . using iden cal clamps placed to the same side. the best way to avoid this problem is to let the neck rest on its side while the glue sets. ini ally 5 mm thick. In my experience. The fretboard should align perfectly now with just the two toothpick guides and without the spring clamps. the nut should fit perfectly inside its channel.Preparing the Neck Center the fretboard and place it above the pencil mark. but they use to be a li le more than that). This is because the finished nut. Check the alignment once more. They must have a diameter a hair below the diameter of a toothpick (I use a 2 mm bit – not all toothpicks are equal. so take your me posi oning the fretboard prior to gluing it. and then drill two holes at the first and last fret. will be a li le thinner in the end due to sanding and polishing. A part of the problem can be attributed to the water in the glue (Titebond in this case).

They must be taller than the edge of the fretboard. or even make yourself (as I did). One of their sides is flat (the narrow sides. Don't use adhesive tape here: the cord is much simpler and it works much be er. you can clean some or all the slots with a small tool that you may find at some lutherie suppliers or at some hobby shops. you will be able to clean them all. so beware. in several passes. Apply glue to the binding (use preferably Titebond for dark woods. Clean the glue ooze out. as the glue makes everything much more slippery. the ones that should be glued to the neck.Preparing the Neck 57 Try to ghten the clamps progressively. the other may or may not be. not to the fretboard). Use a wet piece of cloth and then a chisel. While the glue is s ll wet. but not much more than 1 mm. or add two drops of black water dye to some of your regular Titebond) and use a length of cord (8 meters/yards should be more than enough) to clamp the bindings in place. If you are careful placing the cord over the frets.Step 5 . even with the toothpicks. Check the two ebony binding strips. Do it very well while wet and a er it has dried: the binding must sit on flat and clean surfaces. applying a firm constant pressure. Scrape them if necessary. .

9. . You may use a radiused sanding block (12" curvature radius) or a straight wooden block. 5. Before sanding the fretboard. Then sand the en re fretboard surface un l you cannot see any router marks. draw a line along it and locate the center of frets 3. Always watch the ends of the fretboard at the first and last frets: it is easy to sand them more than necessary. Fret #12 must be marked with a double dot. 7. 15. but it surely would show up a er the fretboard surface was polished. With a pencil. it wouldn't be very no ceable now. avoid using any so backing.58 Step 5 . 17 and 19. remove the cord and clean the slots again if necessary. These must be marked with single side dots. If that happened. check its straightness with a straightedge and correct if necessary with a cabinet scraper or sandpaper (P80 or P120). Sand the sides of the fretboard so that the transi on between the fretboard and the main body of the neck is smooth.Preparing the Neck A er the glue is dry.

Chisel out the ends of the binding strips at the nut. Wrap some tape around your fingers to aid holding it against the sandpaper. always try to keep its faces well squared. file them even with the fretboard surface.5 mm) bit at a depth of around 3 mm (1/8”). Use superglue for gluing enough length of the white plas c rod. and P1200. but it will shine if you sand it following the grades: P220. The bone is probably rough now. Now you will sand and true the bone for the nut. P600. This is the first step for preparing the gluing of the headplate. P360. using a 1/16” (1. P800.Step 5 . . A er the glue sets.Preparing the Neck 59 Drill the holes (hand drill!) at the points marked.

You can do it a er it is glued. and that's what I will supply with the kit. I have an easy method for which you will need just a little white paint.Preparing the Neck Sand one of the face-grain edges of the headplate on a flat table un l you get the same angle as the peghead. the loca on of the other hole depends on your design for the headstock. but the wood may get damaged especially where you have to cut along face grain. Before gluing the headplate it is advisable to open the access hole for the truss rod nut in it. There will be one near the nut. This is important. as shown. This is not enough for most archtop headstocks. that you will apply to the corners of the hole. Use toothpicks as you did when you glued the fretboard. . The two faces of the nut should fully contact the end of the fretboard and the end of the faceplate. Note: Most commercial headplates have a width of 3½”. I have enough stock of 4” wide peghead veneers. as shown. but you cannot be very wrong if you place it at the upper corner. so many makers need to “cut and paste” peghead material. as you won't make any further adjustments to the nut channel. that are a li le wider.60 Step 5 . Hold everything with strong spring clamps and drill two holes (2 mm).

Use a flat block above it to even up the clamping pressure (some MDF le over from the mold. You don't want a lot of glue inside the tuner holes or the truss rod access cavity: use as li le as possible and.. it is be er to use many clamps with a moderate pressure at each one. Now you can glue the headplate. .?)..Step 5 . using Titebond.Preparing the Neck 61 Plug the veneer into the guiding toothpicks and you will have the reference of where to cut. Don't clamp too strong or you may break the peghead. Drill some holes and then work with files and chisels un l you get the access right. clean the ooze out. as always.

but there are other concerns. you may download it here: www. perhaps it will not be possible if there are.62 Step 5 . . if you want to use it as it is or modify it somehow. It is not easy to find something really new that doesn't look odd. If that's your decision. if you don't want to spend a lot of me working on the We'll cut the peghead shape with a coping saw and then refine it with files and sandpaper. most of which have been used already.jpg The real dimensions of the rectangle that encloses the drawing are 140x230 mm. think very well how you will manage to rout the peghead binding channels. for example. ght curves.Preparing the Neck Now it is me to decide your headstock design. In the end. it will be easier. For this guitar. study how you will rout the peghead shape using a template. cut it and then glue it to the back of the peghead. you will arrive at some simple designs. I have chosen a very simple design. I suggest that you try to refine their propor ons un l you make them more personal. if you are going to use the same design in the future. for example. Also. If you print the peghead shape. You have an obvious size limita on.archtopguitarkits.

remove as much wood as possible at the end of the peghead where the bit exits the wood.Step 5 . preferably using a drill press (10 mm bit). you may want to use a router with a template. you may use a spiral bit and a rou ng guide (these bits are too thin for using them with bearings). don't rely on your own strength alone: use some kind of clamping between the peghead and the backing. Unfortunately (for this opera on). To avoid that.Preparing the Neck 63 I am sure that you will prefer to use some kind of sanding drum instead of doing it all by hand. if you decide to use the same peghead design. Or. and this makes it much more probable that you get chipping problems where the bit exits the wood. Saw off the end of the neck and refine it with sandpaper using a hard sanding block. use coping saw. In the future. I have cut almost the en re peghead shape. if you use a pa ern bit. If you want to reduce even more that danger. chisel. cabinet scraper and sandpaper to trim the ebony headplate to the peghead shape. Next. drill the tuner holes for the headplate. It is very important that you use a backing for the peghead and press firmly to avoid chipping the ebony. A er that. .

64 Step 5 . smooth the end corners to around a 1/4” (6. . Use a chisel and a mallet and remove the wood gradually as shown in the first two photos.5 mm) curvature radius.Preparing the Neck Now you will have to cut the corners at the tenon that the CNC machine couldn't finish (there are three). This is the tenon a er cu ng the three corners. Finally.

Finally. Watch the ends of the fretboard at the first and last frets: it is easy to sand them more than necessary. but you may do as you like: there are many good sources on the subject of fre ng and there is not a best method yet. Many makers will polish it a er the frets are installed. In fact. Cut each individual fret so that you have an excess of around 5 mm (3/16”) at both sides. The finished fretboard. polish it to give it a high luster. You may use some kind of wool pad and work manually or even Micromesh to get the same result. . Go gradually through the sandpaper grades un l you arrive at P1200. probably because they use some kind of glue for the frets that will mess up the polished wood.Preparing the Neck 65 Before installing the frets. should look like the picture. The fretwire in the kit is already curved to match the curved fretboard surface. I use a small co on buffing wheel on the drill press. The fretboard should be already sanded to P80 or P120. compressed air is great. we'll sand and polish the fretboard. and I've never had any fret li ing problems.Step 5 . without any polishing compound. because that helps the fret ends to seat be er. always using a hard sanding block. right before installing the frets. it is curved more than necessary. but you can do it with a brush. Clean the fret slots again. I don't use any glue.

so you must remove a small length of the tangs there. Try to keep as much length of tang as possible.66 Step 5 . If you don't have one. there is a great tool for this at Stewmac. . shown at le . but not so much that the binding may break or unglue when the fret is seated. This is correct.Preparing the Neck The fret ends must fit over the bindings. you can s ll trim the tangs with a file. I like to use a file anyway to remove the small burr le by the tool.

Finally. bend down a li le its ends with the hammer. cut the excess using the end nippers.Preparing the Neck 67 The most conven onal tool to seat the frets is a nylon or brass hammer. Work on a sturdy table. Hand press the fret at its posi on and then pound it with a few sharp blows.Step 5 . This can be done in many ways. file their ends with a long metal file. working from the center to both edges. Wri ng your name on the headstock should be the next step. Do it at a slight angle. This will definitely avoid any end gap between the fret and the fretboard. preferably right above one of its legs. . I use mostly inlaid mother-of-pearl. A er all the frets are installed. There must be a wooden block below the pounding area. CNC cut. For each fret installed. If you find problems using the hammer (I don't think so) there are other alterna ves (fret presses) at affordable prices. you know that it has bi en the fretboard. Don't over bend: the moment that the fret starts to bend.

S ll. this is the way the neck should look: . A er all these opera ons. you may use a white-ink pen for signing the headstock – if you do it well. I agree that this is an incomplete descrip on: whatever I could say in a reasonable amount of space would be incomplete. sand the neck with P120. and cut it with a jeweler's saw. Use a half-round file for shaping the small area at the peghead that the router could not reach. it can be very attrac ve.Preparing the Neck I did that manually in the past. I glued the pearl in the cavity with a glue capable of filling the voids (I s ll prefer pigmented superglue instead of epoxy). P180 and P220. I used (s ll use) 1. if you don't feel confident. and you would like to consult other sources anyway. Finally. When you don't see them anymore.68 Step 5 . The cabinet scraper is the best tool for removing the CNC machining marks. Then I traced the contour of the sawn pieces on the headstock and used a small bit in a small router (Dremel) to open the cavity.5 mm thick pearl.

typically.Step 6: Main Assembly By Main Assembly. Hopefully the mold design. will help you avoid these problems. 69 . irregular or not quite ver cal sides. It is not uncommon to have some problems a er doing this. with its unusual magnets. I mean closing the soundbox.

Tools and Supplies

Step 6 - Main Assembly

Archtop guitars are difficult to assemble because of the arching itself. You'll need to make a flat base like this, using MDF:

No ce that it is a li le bigger than the outline of the guitar. I recommend that you make it without a cutaway, as shown. The legs (the three rectangles inside it) raise the plate about 2 inches (50 mm). My main flat base has a cutaway, but it would be be er without it. It can be used for guitars up to 18 inches. Instead of three it has two legs, glued and screwed, but is equivalent to what I have explained.

Step 6 - Main Assembly


I used a different flat base for the photos that follow, shown at right. Despite the holes, it is the same idea. Apart from that, you must also have four wooden blocks to be used as legs to raise the mold around 2 inches (50 mm). You will need as many clamps as you have (plus two more), a machinist square, a calibrated ruler and a pencil. Also chisels, cabinet scraper and saws, as always. You will need the following supplies: Wiring guides, #47 Jack, #45, and Jack reinforcing plate, #46 Back, top and sides Glue Thread Adhesive tape


Step 6 - Main Assembly

The width of the neck where it joins the soundbox (14th fret) is 55 mm. Thus, its mid line is at 27.5 mm (1.08") from the wall of the cutaway, as it was men oned when we carved the back plate. Trace it, if not already traced, using a machinist square.

Place the flat plate on the table, and then the mold with the sides inside. Place the magnets and a wooden s ck of 389 mm (15.31") to press the end blocks apart.

Align the back using the line that you have traced and the middle lines of the sides and back at both ends. Watch the inside o en, especially if you have carved the back very close to the end blocks. When sa sfied, clamp the back temporarily.

Glue a few stop pieces like these around the back, using superglue.

extract the sides from the mold and clean the glue excess with a chisel. Use glue very sparingly. Learn as much as you can now: when you glue the top. on top of the scraper there is a small wooden s ck that I use to push them against the side. pressing directly upon the back. I have used a con nuous block around the contour of the back.Main Assembly 73 For gluing them. No ce that there are a couple of clamps out of the con nuous block. When the glue is dry. Now you can glue the back (Titebond). you won't be able to clean the excess.Step 6 . These are necessary to guarantee good gluing pressure at the neckblock and tailblock areas. you won't need as many. I use a base (a cabinet scraper) with which I push the pieces up against the back. Be careful to glue the pieces only to the back. If you use small wooden blocks under the clamps. . It is more difficult to make. to avoid excessive ooze out. This is the back with the glued stop pieces. however. that is faster to set than individual lengths. If the amount of glue was right. you shouldn't clean much more than what's shown in the picture.

but not as much for the piece. As you know. hand held routers must be fed against the piece ("conven onal cu ng"). This is safe for you. The second is tear-out. Don't leave this step for later: if you do. with its bit protruding through it. Don't use old/bad quality bits either. you will have to take into account two very important things. while s ll keeping the conven onal cu ng direc on. that may suffer tear-out. . but I should). The simplest way to avoid this is to not let the bit reach full depth at first at the problem areas. The soundbox is kept parallel to the table by means of three "legs" (modified spool clamps) that can be adjusted to any soundbox depth. then I recommend that you remove the overhang using manual tools. It cuts the overhang fast and cleanly. so take every conceivable precau on.74 Step 6 . If you use a rou ng table. The first is safety: the bit is exposed.Main Assembly A er removing the stop pieces you'll have to trim the overhang from the back plate. I use a long Flush Trim bit (bearing above the cu ers). you will not be able to remove the soundbox from the mold a er gluing the top! A rou ng table has a router below. If you don't have a rou ng table or a similar jig. They keep the guitar above the table at a height a li le higher than the maximum arching of the plates. including a hood for it (that I don't use.

It will be more effecve if you manually remove as much wood as you can from the areas marked "!": The diagram represents the guitar on the rou ng table. No ce that he rota on of the bit is an clockwise. If you want to avoid any possibility of tear-out. especially with spruce tops.Step 6 . Rout first the "!" (climb cu ng) areas. as seen from above while rou ng the back. as corresponds to a router that is upside down. follow the feed direc ons given by the arrows. that show li le cohesion parallel to the grain.Main Assembly 75 This may not always avoid tear-out. but be extremely alert and prudent: climb cu ng is not safe for the operator. try the alterna ves explained above. I don't think that you have problems now with the maple back. . If you feel uncomfortable doing this. at least.

Shape and glue (Titebond) the jack reinforcement plate. perhaps because you sanded the neck end differently. It must be around 91 mm (3. Draw the mid lines inside the neckblock and at the edge of the top.76 Step 6 .58"). Glue it so that the grains of the three lamina ons involved (the side and the two lamina ons of the plate) alternate direcons. Pass a thread through them and e and tape the end securely near the pickup area. Drill a hole in it for the jack. using superglue.Main Assembly Glue the wiring guides at the places shown. No ce that it is a laminate of two veneers with their grains at right angles. instead. Preparing the top for gluing will be a li le more complicated. but it may vary. Don't use a bit of the final diameter. The first thing to do will be to measure the length of the neck extension. This thread will be used to pass the wiring through the guides. it may become extremely dangerous if caught while rou ng the binding or buffing the finish. use a smaller bit and finish the hole with a circular file or a reamer. if you don't tape it well. . as shown.

Instead. be sure to sign the top and/or glue a label to the back (usually visible through the bass-side fhole). Make a stack as you did for the back. Insert the sides in the mold again. .Main Assembly 77 Align the midlines at both ends of the instrument and adjust the distance from the edge of the pickup hole to the outer surface of the sides. Glue a stop piece. to freeze the correct loca on of the top rela ve to the sides. around 96 mm. as you did for the back. It should be the length of the extension that we found plus 5 mm (3/16"). Before closing the box.Step 6 . Align the top again and glue the stop pieces around it. In this case. but this me don't use the wooden s ck from block to block. The magnets must be in place. put some wooden blocks under the mold so that the back doesn't touch the table. with the magnets. but this me don't use the flat base. as we did before for the back.

you will be able to extract the soundbox quite easily.78 Step 6 . This is the new feed diagram: . This me you don't have a flat base below. especially with the two clamps that press directly on the soundbox. When the glue has dried. No ce that I have used again the "con nuous block". Follow the direc ons given above for rou ng the plate overhang. Recover the magnets through the f-holes. remove the clamps and the end bolt of the mold. so you´ll have to find a way of not marring the back. now for the top. A er that.Main Assembly Glue the top the same way as the back.

Remove also the excess at the cutaway side. Be very careful with the edges of the top.Step 6 . Finally. especially at the bass side. No ce that the tenon is slightly narrower than necessary. use the rou ng table to remove the top overhang inside the mor se. you'll see a guitar emerge for the first me. so you'll probably need to shim it. Use a fine-toothed file to finish the cut areas. Work with a scraper and sandpaper un l you feel (touch them with your eyes closed) that they are smooth and regular. If you join the neck now (don't insert it fully though).Main Assembly 79 It is very important that the sides are true. Remove the side wood at the body mor se. .

This Page Inten onally Le Blank 80 .

Unfortunately.Step 7: Binding & Tuning the Soundbox Far from being a purely cosme c add-on. I don't believe that there is a magical "best" method for this. Each one has a concept of how a carved plate should be and work and. Tuning the soundbox is one of the most ethereal steps at making a guitar. given the great results of so many personal approaches. 81 . binding a guitar is not easy. leading to different final gradua ons. is made of a so wood such as spruce. You'll find makers favoring a lot of different techniques. the binding has a purpose protec ng the edge of the soundbox from small dents. This is more probable if the top. even less an archtop. as usual.

If you are going to rout just the top and back of this guitar. provided that it is big enough for the job. you can use a rou ng table with similar results. P180 and P220) At the end of this sec on you will find the procedure for drilling the hole for a aching the tailpiece bolt. As for the cu er. as they limit the damage if you don't keep the guitar horizontal above the table (see the following sec on).82 Step 7 . you'll see me use the one from Luthier's Mercanle. sandpaper.11 instead. which comes with many different bearings (Stewmac sells a similar one) . . These machines are quite popular now. Apart from this. you may use it for other tasks. You will need the following supplies: Binding. If you have problems. Small diameter bits like this are great for this. there is a simpler solu on using a ½” flush trim bit. Nothing new at this phase of the project. for example the CMT 806.060" binding that I supply with the kit. It has a diameter of 1/2" and a cutng length of 1/2". 1/2" outer) with one of 3/16" ID and 3/8" OD.11. If you replace its bearing (3/16" inner diameter. you will need chisels. you may use the CMT metric bit 906. usually involving the use of a router that slides on a ver cal support while the guitar is kept horizontal by means of some kind of adjustable carriage. and you may purchase one of them at some lutherie suppliers. subs tu ng its 19mm OD bearing for a 16 mm OD with similar results. P120. Inch bits are harder to find in some countries. There are several methods for doing this correctly. The necessary tools and supplies are explained there. Addi onally.Binding and Tuning the Soundbox Tools and Supplies Opening a channel for the binding in an archtop guitar is more difficult due to the greater arching of the plates.190. However. you'll rout a 1/16" channel which is perfect for the 0. cabinet scrapers and a small finger plane in case you have one.128. #9 Closed soundbox Glue (read the discussion below) Tape Sandpaper (P80. as explained in the previous chapters.

you'll get the (for me) best glue for gluing white bindings. The third support will be the ring that surrounds the router bit. as explained in the previous chapter. you will have to move the legs as you progress rou ng the contour. for example) dissolved in acetone un l it has the consistency of glue.Binding & Tuning the Soundbox 83 Procedure As I said before.5 mm) thick binding. you should have some of this mixture to join white bindings.060" (1. Obviously. the channel may show a small step if there is some error in your tool. When you do this. Given that the third support is the ring itself. I personally don't find it necessary to climb cut to avoid tear out. for example. and you will surely remove them with a second pass of the router.Step 7 . but take your precauons. the table not being flat or something similar. Don't disregard these small errors: they are the difference between first and second-class jobs. If you use cyanochrylate (super glue). . Do it so that the surface of the triangle defined by the two legs plus the ring is as big as possible. glue lines will be visible most mes. and purfling lines won't be as sharp and uniform as if you use a solvent-based glue. except that here we will use only two. be warned that it is not as easy to use as the slower glues. these discrepancies have a very limited effect. unless noted. I use the Binding Cu er/Bearing kit from Luthier's Mercan le. using the correct bearing for the supplied binding: the kit. The cu ers must project around 6 mm above the surface of the ring (a li le less than 1/4"). I rout the en re contour changing three mes the posi on of the legs. I will use another alterna ve: plas c (from the same bindings. but you may use UHU Hart (similar to Duco). has . Even if you use some other thing. The guitar is kept horizontal above the table using the same supports("legs") that we used for rou ng the top and back overhang. With it. Weldon 16 must the most common these days. as you can get completely invisible glue lines. If you make a 50/50 mixture of UHU hart and this plasc solu on. the legs not having the same height. You have several alterna ves for gluing the plas c binding. even in spruce.

and even at that thickness a heat gun is unnecessary. and clean the excess thoroughly before taping the binding in place. a heat gun is not necessary. The bindings are long enough to avoid using a joint at the tail. Use a good amount of glue. Use a strong one. as shown. work the binding with your fingers un l it has the correct curvature.090" binding here. No ce that I am really using . but I don't recommend it: it is very easy to heat the plas c more than necessary. pull strong and then press it against the top or back. This is the top a er binding it. When you arrive at a curved area like the waist or the inside of the cutaway.060" thick. for example filament tape. . Press it against the side. You may be tempted to use a heat gun to soften the plas c. With the binding in the kit.Binding and Tuning the Soundbox Use tape for holding the bindings in place while the glue sets.84 Step 7 . .

but you have a joint at the cutaway corner. A er the glue has set (a few hours should be enough). . you no ce that the surface of the binding gets rough. If. remove the tape. Treat it the same way as the joint between the wooden sides. A rounded cabinet scraper is absolutely the best tool for removing the binding excess. Start installing the binding from the non-cutaway side and trim the excess before gluing the other side.Step 7 . while using it. you may s ll do a lot of damage. alterna vely. wet the joint with acetone before gluing. Do this carefully. at an angle. Try to use plas c dissolved in acetone or.Binding & Tuning the Soundbox 85 The back is bound similarly. it is probable that the glue is not completely dry. to avoid pulling wood fibers with the tape. while you don't have to be as careful as with flattops (you'll be carving a recurve later anyway).

Check the thickness near the f-hole: you'll be able to es mate how much wood you are removing from other places. there won't be a general agreement on the tone of your guitar. Start scraping the recurve for the top. the ones that tune the plates while they are not glued to the sides. and are easily impressed with other things not related to the tone of the guitar: learn from that too. Do the comparisons again with different strings. You'll have sympathy and probably will adhere to some (or all) of the tribes in this field: those that work mostly feeling the vibra on with the p of their fingers. Make guitars.86 Step 7 . you'll develop an objec ve sense for evalua ng a guitar. as many as you can. whatever. guitarists or not. the chemists that try to find the composi on of the varnish. Be concerned that. you will have to learn to isolate it from other sources of vibra on. there are two ways to see the tuning of the soundbox. Listen also to what good musicians. Humans don't agree even with themselves at different moments or situa ons. You will get a great sounding guitar. I could tell you many stories about it. a rounded cabinet scraper or a finger plane. feel free to listen to all of them: most mes there's something interes ng there. have to say about your guitar. those that mainly put pressure with their thumbs. alone or with your friends. as I am doing here. as shown. Don't remove wood from above the neck and tail blocks or from the central area of the instrument. especially the back and the main resonance of the air in the box. for example bronze. ge ng familiar with the change in tone as you progress. those that tune the closed soundbox..Binding and Tuning the Soundbox For you that have purchased this kit. Compare it with others. You can do it with a gouge. the botanists. The first is to simply follow the guidelines here or at some other place. Tap the top at different places as you carve the recurve. I am sure. but try to take it with a grain of salt. Be ready to hear contradictory opinions from respected makers or musicians. those who tap the plates.. Try to listen to what other makers have to say about your work or theirs. even dissimilar: flat tops. even the mys cs. Submit them to all those tests. bigger archtops. You'll start to discover that you may have been biased. For that. those who excite modes with pure tones. and be happy. With me. somemes a lot. and you'll start to hear things in your unfinished soundbox. Play it. The second approach is not as easy. . Skip the following paragraph and enjoy. quite probably. but you are not the only one. those who analyze the impulse response.

so you must learn to start hearing that change in the sanded top. The top will lower its pitch.5 mm. . Stop when its thickness is around 3. Do the same with the back. You won't hear this dullness here. you'll hear that the tap tone starts to change: instead of ge ng more musical. trying to keep it at a minimum out of the recurve area. If you go below 3 mm or so. Remove wood un l you can feel it flexing with a moderate pressure. and it will get definite.5 mm. as you remove wood from the recurve.Step 7 . ini ally a very s ff area that doesn't deform no ceably under the pressure of your thumbs. Sand the whole top from P80 to P120. You must stop the carving before ge ng there. That's why you must switch from edge tools to sandpaper when the recurve is at about 3. so work feeling the change in s ffness at the recurve.Binding & Tuning the Soundbox 87 Working on a so pad will make it easier. more musical. as checked through the f-holes. it will start sounding dull.

bridge and neck. No ce that it will be a ached to the guitar by means of a bolt that screws through the top and into the tailblock.Binding and Tuning the Soundbox Now it is me to drill a hole for the tailpiece at the tail end. around 45 mm (1 3/4").5 mm (7/32") drill bit to make a hole in a piece of flat hardwood. Use a 5. Ask someone to hold it firmly while you drill the hole for the bolt with the same 5. The bolt must be approximately perpendicular to the tailpiece as the strings pull towards the top of the bridge saddle. Thus. The depth must be enough for the bolt. Do not sand too hard where the pickup. Finally. around 1/2" (13 mm) thick. sand the en re soundbox to P220 un l you see no scratches le by the previous grades. Otherwise. res ng both on the edge of the guitar and on the former piece of wood. you will be able to correct the top for any gaps that you no ce between it and the bridge foot and pickup ring. Use double sided adhesive tape for s cking a small piece of wood taken from the truss rod wooden cover. Place it at around 50 mm (2") from the edge (this is not a cri cal distance). If you threw it away. . you'll have to spend more me to get a no-gap joint for the pickup ring. Start marking the loca on of the bolt: draw a point on the top at the central line of the instrument.88 Step 7 . At this stage of the construc on. it is necessary that the hole for it is drilled at an angle. Place it as shown. neck joint and bridge will be.5 mm bit. 22 mm (7/8") from the edge. Place the piece so that you can see the mark on the top while looking through the hole. use a piece of wood around 5 mm (3/16") thick.

so this must be the one of the main milestones. you won't be working on a neck or a soundbox. When you are done.Step 8: Joining the Neck A good neck-to-soundbox joint is a combina on of precise woodworking and careful measuring: don't forget any. 89 . but on a guitar.

That side will separate from the soundbox. as shown in the following page. you'll no ce that the underside of the tenon is about 1 mm above the bo om of the morse. For the dry adjustments that follow. keep those gaps. give or take 1 mm.Joining the Neck A good chisel sharpened like a razor is the best tool for shaping the neck surfaces where they contact the soundbox. You must remove wood from the neck sec on that projects beyond the tenon un l you get a decent fit between both parts. get some sheets before they don't make them anymore. The bass side is adjusted to the top. as shown here. There you will find more informa on on the rest of the tools and supplies. The photos explain well the first adjustments. Confirm that the mid lines for the top and the neck are the same. Carbon paper is a must. if it takes more. Procedure It has been already men oned that the neck tenon is a li le narrower than necessary. but read the procedure sec on first. If you plan to make more guitars. No ma er the adjustments that you do. This is a work of half an hour at most. If you haven't sanded the top in excess. . but sandpaper will do fine. You will need a long straightedge and a small ruler. There is a similar gap between the end of the tenon and the back of the mor se. use cardboard or paper to shim the joint temporarily (at the treble side of the joint). The first photo above shows the removal of wood from the treble side of the neck. which you s ll don't need at this stage. then you are probably trying to get a good fit.90 Tools and Supplies Step 8 . You may use a riffler at the latest stages of the adjustment.

modifying the neck contact surfaces both under the neck extension and behind the heel. The height of the projec ng piece is 1" but. If it is smaller. The second thing that you must check now is the alignment of the neck with the axis of the instrument. . I use a jig similar to the one that Benede o describes in his book. If you find a discrepancy of more than 2 mm. removing wood from the neck extension.Step 8 . For that. However. If that measurement is greater than 23 mm. you'll have to lower the neck. for this model. but don't come to think that you'll find many problems here: if you have built using the mold as described and followed all the advice given in this manual. The center line of the instrument must be midway between both. which is the value for which the kit was built. 23 mm (29/32"). you'll hardly find large mismatches. Use a long straightedge resng on the fingerboard edges and extending to the tail end. you'll have to set a new angle between the neck and the soundbox.Joining the Neck 91 Now it is me to check a few things. This is more difficult. as before. you'll have to modify the tenon. don't expect this to happen. and mark two lines there. The height of the bridge above the top is one of them. I prefer to set the bridge at slightly less height. It is a straightedge that rests on the top of the frets and has a projec ng piece at the end right where the bridge must be located.

Carbon paper is the best thing for the final adjustments. subs tute the temporary shim for a permanent one. but later you will have to switch to sandpaper or use a riffler. Before doing that. but you must realize that it's the lateral surfaces of the heel that will keep the neck glued. both from the surface that will be above the top (picture) and from the surface behind the heel. For that. when you have a big gap. Use it as shown. This will leave small empty cavi es between the neck and the soundbox. you may use the chisel to remove the excess. . A common technique that facilitates the job of reducing the gaps is to work on smaller surfaces.92 Step 8 . if ever necessary.Joining the Neck Once sa sfied with the adjustments. using the maple veneer that comes with the kit (#37) and se ng its thickness with a scraper or a sander. remove a small amount of wood from the inside (closer to the tenon walls) of the neck contact surfaces. you'll have to refine the joint un l the gaps are minimal. Working hard to get a good fit on other surfaces do not add to the quality of the joint and will in fact make it harder both to glue and to unglue the neck.

finally clamping the work with one or two cam clamps. use some masking tape as shown.Joining the Neck 93 At some point you may have to remove wood from the underside of the tenon to keep an appropriate gap there. but be sure to wet both the tenon and mor se. Use only enough glue (Titebond) for the lateral surfaces of the joint. Work fast in any case. Press the neck un l you don't see any gaps. Before that.Step 8 . When you are sa sfied. carefully sand out the stains from the carbon paper and then prepare to glue the joint. . Once the glue is dry. it avoids the glue ooze out reaching the sanded top and the neck. but have long and short clamps at your reach just in case you need to push on some part of the neck: ght joints behave badly when they have liquid glue inside. remove the tape (be careful with the top: you may need a heat gun to avoid damaging its fibers).

using a coping saw and sandpaper un l it has the required shape and thickness. If you didn't bind the back. as men oned in the note in page 23. using two clamps to push it against the two surfaces involved. a er the glue has set. otherwise. This has been corrected in produc on kits. No ce that the guitar in this manual has a visible lap joint because.94 Step 8 . as we said in page 23. as shown at le . . Glue it. Finally. Measure and shape the heel cap (#22) as shown. sand the heel.Joining the Neck The thickness of the heel cap must make the binding at the back totally visible below it. because there must be a miter joint. its cap and the inside of the cutaway un l all the transi ons are smooth. There shouldn't be side wood visible between the neck cap and the back binding. this end grain shouldn't exist. its heel is not tall enough. the end grain at the lap joint between the sides will be visible.

Step 9: Finishing Guitars are not as sensi ve to the type of finish as other stringed instruments seem to be. A good finish should help you create a uniform. 95 . my objec ve is more trying to help you decide what to use and give you some general rules than explaining in detail some of the alterna ves. repairable and durable coa ng. smooth. transparent. you will understand that there is not a perfect finish. With so many requirements (and the list is not complete). thin. In this sec on.


Step 9 - Finishing

There are a lot of finishes that makers and factories use for guitars. These are all common: Nitrocellulose lacquer Waterbase Shellac Polyurethane (two-component) Polyester Conversion Varnish (Acid Catalyst Lacquer) What follows is oriented to finishes that coat the wood completely, either with a shiny or sa n look. There are oil finishes that are more or less absorbed into the wood and which many players like, but I won't talk about them. Ideally, the finish must have the following characteris cs: Transparency.- All the finishes men oned above rate very high, including the best modern waterbase (not so for the old formula ons). Repairability.- Nitrocellulose and Shellac are repairable as they harden by evapora on of their solvents instead of through a chemical reac on. The new coats of finish fuse with the old, forming a single thicker coat. The other types of finish are difficult to repair without leaving telltale marks. In general, the more resistant a finish is to chemicals, the harder it is to repair. Low Toxicity.- This is desirable for you and for the environment. Waterbase uses mainly water and Shellac uses ethanol as its only solvent, so these must be the least toxic finishes in the list. The other finishes are all dangerous for your health or the environment. Some finishes have a greater solid content than others, so they will emit less vola le compounds per finished instrument. Polys and Conversion are like this. Nitrocellulose is exactly the opposite. HVLP guns can be used to improve this aspect. Low Flammability.- Among those men oned, Waterbase is the only finish that is not flammable. Ease of applica on.- Shellac is usually applied with a pad, but it is not a technique that you'll master easily. The other finishes are usually designed for spray gun applica on, but you can try

Step 9 - Finishing


brushing at least some of them. Waterbase can be applied carefully with a foam pad, trying to avoid any bubbles. Nitrocellulose, if thinned with an adequate thinner, may be applied with a conven onal brush, but be warned that it won't be easy. Some finishes require expensive guns. Conversion uses an acid catalyst, which will probably require a stainless steel gun (or, at least, stainless steel fluid passages). Some finishes, especially the polys, cover the wood very well to the point that pore filling is unnecessary even with porous woods such as mahogany. Short drying/curing me.- Nitrocellulose and Conversion varnish rate low here. They need at least three weeks, although Nitrocellulose will keep shrinking for years. Most waterbases are ready for buffing in less than two weeks, while polys may be ready the same day. Tradi on.- Nitrocellulose is by far the most tradi onal finish for archtop guitars. Shellac has been used tradi onally for the best classical guitars, but it doesn't have a tradi on for archtops. All the other finishes can be considered as non-tradi onal, modern alterna ves. This is not related to the quality of the finish, but it may be important for some players. Good Adhesion.- I have had problems with Waterbase finishes, reac ng to the perspira on of some players and then peeling off. This may be a thing of the past (I am talking of waterbase finishes designed around 2002 but sold specifically for guitars). Polyurethane and Conversion may also suffer adhesion problems, but most mes that seems to be related to excessive film thickness. Some finishes may show incompa bility issues with some other products. For example, Conversion varnish shouldn't be used over Shellac. This is surprising, because Shellac is the first product that finishers think of when they suspect adhesion problems. The moral is: always refer to the technical documenta on. Good Durability/Resistance to Chemicals.- Shellac is by far the less durable. It doesn't have any resistance to most common chemicals and is very prone to abrasion. Consequently, it needs maintenance to the point that some players even learn do it themselves.


Step 9 - Finishing

Nitrocellulose is a tougher finish, more resistant to chemicals than Shellac (not much, though), but it loses plas cizers with me, becoming very bri le and cracking easily ("cold checking"). This can happen to almost any type of finish if applied too thick, but nitrocellulose alone without its plas cizers is extremely bri le . Take this into account when choosing the right Nitrocellulose lacquer: those designed for furniture are too bri le, even when they are young, and are not adequate for guitars. Some waterbase finishes are tough, some are not. There is a lot of varia on in the formula on of waterbase finishes. Most have fair resistance to most common chemicals. The other finishes are tough and have excellent resistance to most chemicals. The bad consequence of this is that they are very hard to strip. Some finishes tend to yellow with me, but most modern formula ons don't suffer that problem. Good Sandability.- Some finishes are easier to sand because they are scratched more easily. This is not a good thing, as that means that they can also be easily scratched in use; however, some finishes sand easily because the dust doesn't s ck to the sandpaper so easily. Some finishes are be er than others in this aspect. Easy to use.- All the finishes men oned must be applied within certain margins regarding temperature and humidity. Waterbase, Conversion varnish and the polys are the most sensi ve, but you will have to be careful with all of them. Some finishes come in two parts that must be thoroughly mixed before the applica on. Conversion varnish is like that, but it is not difficult to use because the ac vated lacquer will remain usable for more than one day ("pot life"), which is enough for finishing a guitar.
There exist precat single-component lacquers, where the catalyst starts the reac on a er reaching a given concentra on, i.e., when enough solvent has been released, but we won't men on them here anymore.

Polys are different: it will be a ques on of minutes before the mixture becomes unusable, especially for Polyester. To avoid this, there are Polyester lacquers that are ac vated by UV-light. The

. and finishing many guitars will help. and less with Polyurethane. This is a common problem with Nitrocellulose. Long Shelf Life . Smoothness. it must have enough thickness that must be built coat a er coat. Fusing . Polyester and Conversion varnish. Few players will complain. Once dissolved in alcohol. though. Uniformity is hard to achieve. If you use a spray gun. and that is complicated even more when they have a very short life. Only evapora ve finishes fuse perfectly.Most Nitrocellulose lacquers specify a shelf life of around 1 year. coa ng some areas less than others. Cleaning the spray gun or brush may be awkward for some finishes. If the guitar has white bindings. but most makers will tell you that it can be used a er many years without any problem. much be er than the transparent look or the bluish hues of some . of course. Sanding right before applying the following coat will help exposing fresh finish and improving the mechanical bond between coats. The other finishes must be used as indicated in their technical documenta on. you will discover sooner or later that you are not being uniform. so another technique is to nt the lacquer (a drop of concentrated dye will be enough for 1 quart/liter) if it is totally transparent. staying gummy. as most polys. There are ways to improve on this.Some finishes feel a li le s cky. ::: A good finish is not complete without a good finisher that achieves uniform and thin coa ngs. This may not be very useful if you plan to make a few.As the finish will be sanded and buffed. The coats must fuse together or you may get a nasty effect that is known as witness lines.. though. but all the other will fuse enough if you apply each coat within some me window.Finishing 99 drying cabins are expensive and out of the reach of most small makers. it will be easy to discover thinly finished areas before you get a sandthrough. it will be suspect a er six months: old shellac doesn't dry well. Finishes look more natural when they have a slight amber hue. and will ruin any other finish if used as a sealer below it. and it can be controlled be er using a brush or a pad.Step 9 . Shellac has an indefinite shelf life when undissolved.

which may be severely weakened. the dust must be removed. Aim at around 150 microns (6 mils) before sanding. A er sanding. ::: You will find a lot of informa on on finishes. especially nitrocellulose lacquer. if you use a spray gun. If you used an orbital sander. a general purpose high solids (45%) low odour conversion varnish. and using reflected light to discover the possible marks before it is too late. Sanding by hand may also leave marks. I recommend that you place some cardboard under the pickup and f-holes. you may have spiral marks that are almost invisible un l a er the finish is applied. I will show you a different alterna ve. but if you have a warm ven lated place it is a great finish and very easy to use. Check with a caliper from me to me. it must be below 100 microns (4 mils). The solu on is to make the last sanding by hand. The guitar must be sanded very well to P220. No ce that this finish has acid in its composi on. so it must be a gun with stainless steel fluid passages. at many places. Also. A HVLP gun will save lacquer. Few use it. However. Tone is nega vely affected by thick finishes. A er this. try to find small holes or dents. You will discover and then correct any thin area while the finish is fresh (at a me when the coats will fuse even for reac ve finishes) instead of finding it a er a month's drying (too late for invisible repairs in reac ve finishes). working methodically. The thickness of the film must be kept at an absolute minimum. For applica on. For this. It must . The parts of ebony and other oily woods must be sanded to P120. Mask the fingerboard and nut channel with masking tape. partly because it has the disadvantage of emi ng formaldehyde while it hardens. made in UK (so it should be called acid catalysed lacquer instead). with a 1.Finishing waterbases. you may find adhesion problems.6 mm p. I use a mid-priced conven onal gun.100 Step 9 . for example around the mother-of-pearl inlays. conversion varnish (called acid catalysed lacquer in UK). otherwise. for which a compressed air gun is a great tool. but they also affect the integrity of the coa ng. no ma er if the finish needs it or not. buffing and polishing. as the finish droplets will not bounce back as much. Drop fill them with some superglue. no cing that the finish will shrink more if it is totally or par ally evapora ve. Another technique is to lightly sand between coats. I use Morrells 5901/450.

examine the guitar for possible sanding marks that went unno ced. Without it. This finish is extremely easy to sand dry. and then use a drill with a foam polishing pad and liquid compounds of different grits. coat a er coat. the last step being a swirl remover. When totally cured. sand and apply the last (sixth) coat. the lacquer remains usable for around 36 hours. this is a simple and effec ve method for avoiding lacquer into the soundbox. if you have a buffing arbor. sand with P800. Alterna vely. The wood species tradi onally used for archtops don't need any pore filling. if you find some. this finish is absolutely colorless. sand with P600 and then turn to the following sec on and do what must be done before polishing and buffing. so we will simply spray the same finish on the guitar. especially near the frets. Use a piece of drinking straw to cover the threads of the truss rod. A er around one hour. Start early in the morning. Wait two hours. sand again and apply the fi h coat. and place some cardboard above them. use a drill with a foam pad to apply swirl remover.Step 9 . Micromesh). machine buff with Menzerna 38. You'll need around 600ml (conven onal gun) to which you must add a drop of ColorTone Vintage Amber dye or equivalent. Prepare the lacquer by mixing the two components. wai ng around 2 hours and sanding between them. Micromesh pads will be helpful. finally. as it doesn't clog the sandpaper (I use 3M Gold). 16 and 6 (in that order) and. inflate some balloons inside the soundbox through the f and pickup holes. Purely manual methods are hard work. this is your last opportunity to sand them. Once mixed. Two or three days later. Wait five or six hours. spraying a light first coat of finish. when the finish is hard enough but not totally cured (it needs about three weeks). Apply three more coats.Finishing 101 be fi ed without leaving cavi es. Finally. otherwise. if you prefer them. . the lacquer may get inside. That cardboard can be used to measure the thickness of the coa ng as explained above. Sand with P1500 (for example.

in my experience. it will be easy with a commercial stripper. being high. Morrells 5901/450 can be applied the same as nitro. absolutely best product for finishing guitars. but this one is amazingly flexible. of course: it must be applied with a more expensive stainless steel gun. but if you find a way around. 102 . and using a similar schedule. it will fuse perfectly without leaving any telltale mark! Regarding flexibility. oil) in the compressed air and it emits formaldehyde while it cures. I have tried other conversion varnishes and they are not flexible enough to be applied on guitars even in very light coats. This is good news for a reac ve lacquer. you'll use the. but that's not all: if the finish needs repair. Sanding is easier. It has some nega ve characteris cs. it is more sensi ve to contaminants (water. is not as high as in polys: if you need to strip it. and the coa ng is more resistant in all aspects.Summarizing. but its chemical resistance.

any player will dismiss a guitar if it has problems with ac on or intona on. Even having a fine tone. Try not to rush things now that it is almost finished: give all this the me that it deserves. 103 .Step 10: Fittings And Final Adjustments This chapter will cover the main items that make the guitar playable and useful for a musician.

#44. if you have one. P120. as always. For details.Fittings & Final A djus tments There are lots of tools for doing fretwork. chisels. I will also use masking tape. P800. #45. scraper. these are tools that many old. Super glue) Naphta (lighter fuel) Sandpaper (P80. #21 and screws. check its straightness. as files are not precision-made to be straight. Here we will use a long flat metal file to level the fret tops. #31 Pickup ring. P180 and P220) .me makers don't use. #36 Electronics (#43. #32. but it is much easier to use a few nut files. #28 Strap holders. You will need the following supplies: Bridge. #20 and its parts. etc. #19 and screws. sandpaper (P600. refer to the Procedure sec on. 3 mm) for opening a small window at the pickup ring for the wiring. a good thin straightedge and the Dremel tool with the accessories 414 (felt polishing wheel) and 421 (polishing compound). #17 Tailpiece. I will use a fine diamond fret file and a triangular file with smoothed corners. You may use Micromesh abrasives or a small cloth wheel in a drill. You'll need a small round file (1/8" diameter. You'll also need screwdrivers drill bits in different diameters and. The channels for the strings in the nut and bridge saddle can be done with a miniature saw. a permanent marker. You'll need to polish some wood (ebony) parts.104 Tools and Supplies Step 10 . #48) Glue (Titebond. #33 and #34 Truss rod nut cover. sandpaper. P1200). #30 Finger rest. #18 and bolt.

Install the truss rod nut and washer and ghten it around a quarter turn. Once removed. Check with the straightedge if you have some fret or group of frets higher and use the file to correct it. Some of them may scratch the finish. Put masking tape between the frets and draw a line on top of each fret with a permanent marker. pressing on the file always above the fretboard. an error with bad consequences. remove it carefully with a razor blade. far from the first fret.Step 10 . Dressing the Frets Scrape or sand the edges of the fretboard to avoid the lacquer coming off the fretboard edge when you remove the masking tape. so doing them now should be the rule. Both the straightedge and the file must be used more or less parallel to the axis of the instrument or more or less following the lies of the strings (the difference between both methods is ny).Fittings & Final A djustments 105 Procedure These opera ons can be done before the finish is ready to be sanded and buffed. Check frequently with the straightedge un l all frets have been at least touched from side to side. to avoid that. no ce that you may have some lacquer over the fretboard. It is easy to file it too much. and watch closely the first fret. be very careful when you get close to the nut. Do not try to use the file without measuring first where to file. .

this will be easier if you use a rectangular fretend dressing file instead. rounding the faceted edges at the ends of each fret. . The two images show a fret end before and a er being dressed with the triangular file. Then use the fret file to recrown the frets. Some makers round the fret ends completely.Fittings & Final A djus tments When you are sa sfied with the leveling.106 Step 10 . Four or five strokes at each side of the fret are enough. Stop when you see a thin line untouched by the file. Use the triangular file to smooth the fret ends. use a wooden block and sand (P600) to remove the nibs of lacquer that adhered to the fret ends.

Be warned that the #421 compound is not very fine. Fi ng the Bridge to the Top Before star ng this procedure. It is be er to work with a group of several frets. star ng at P600 and ending at P1200. If you use finer compounds they will give an even be er mirror-like finish. Its center will be at a distance of 322 mm (12 11/16") from fret #12: . mark the bridge posi on on the top. Clean all the frets with a piece of cloth and naphta (lighter fuel).Fittings & Final A djustments 107 Sand the frets.Step 10 . Polish each fret with the Dremel felt wheel #414 and #421 polishing compound. going from one to another cyclically. as they can heat in excess. do not spend a lot of me at each fret. Remove the masking tape and con nue cleaning everything un l you don't get any more polishing residue on the cloth.

but you'll easily no ce that an inverted bridge will be very poorly fi ed to the top. Remove them with a scraper un l you have a good fit everywhere. use the acorn nut and the thumbwheels as . the foot of the bridge must be very close to its final shape. There are marks on it that will help you determine its correct orienta on. The bridge posts must be sawn off to around 22 mm (7/8").Fittings & Final A djus tments If you have followed the instruc ons. Sand and polish the bridge foot (except its base) and saddle. as shown. File the sawn ends un l rounded and smooth. Place the bridge foot at its loca on. from P120 to P1200. To screw the posts to the bridge foot.108 Step 10 . Mark its center for reference and then use carbon paper to determine the high spots. well centered and oriented. then buff them as you did for the fretboard.

Fittings & Final A djustments 109 shown. Use a small circular file to. in some cases. but you will find some resistance.8 mm 55.Step 10 .5 mm 22. the fi ng of this part must be great already. .8 mm 33. with them. otherwise. the top) when you ghten the screws.5 mm Fi ng the Pickup Ring to the Top If you didn't sand the pickup area in excess. as shown.9 mm 44. Don't go too deep: it is enough for the string to be buried down to its center. The wood is threaded. use carbon paper the same as you did for the bridge foot. if you find a lot. Check that the posts are ver cal and parallel. Use the following distances between the string slot centers. It is very important that you file at an angle. the strings may ra le. more or less following the line from the saddle to the tailpiece. It will be easier if you use nut files. which is fine. open a hole of around 1/8" (3 mm) diameter at the treble side of the pickup ring. However. It will be used to pass the wiring from the soundbox to the finger rest. unscrew the post and make it shorter (it should protrude around 1/2" (13 mm) above the foot). Then as with all the ebony parts. turning the acorn nut to screw and the thumbwheel to unscrew. there's a real danger of breaking the ring (or. sand (P120 to P1200) and buff as you did for the fretboard. Otherwise. Open the channels for the strings in the saddle. it's the space between each pair of adjoining strings that is constant (these numbers are valid for the most common string gauges found in jazz guitars): 6th to 5th: 6th to 4th: 6th to 3rd: 6th to 2nd: 6th to 1st: 11. but you may use some miniature saw and even guitar strings. Try to get at least a decent fit here. Otherwise.

You may also file the hole for the pickup in the top of the guitar.Fittings & Final A djus tments No ce that the ring has not the holes for the pickup height screws. as shown in the figures. using the pickup as a template. which also has a rounded edge. Drill the four holes (1. so don't forget it. you may have to cut the solder at the back of the pickup. Don't drill without clamping a wooden base to the ring. . The reinforcement strip will avoid fractures like the one shown in the diagram. Then mount the pickup in the neck ring. drill them from below. clamp it to close it and then resolder it. as shown. 1/16") to fix the pickup and its ring to the top. you will probably discover that the pickup cover is wider near its bo om. A straightedge following the two edges of the fretboard will be very helpful. With this new version.5 mm.110 Step 10 . but it is not important for most solid guitars. you'll have more room between the poten ometer and the guitar top. in some cases. Pickups in archtops are considerably higher above the top. which have them buried. Many pickups with metal covers have this problem. No ce that the finger rest shown throughout this manual is shorter than yours. the reinforcement strip (#34) and the poten ometer (#43) under the finger rest. Posi on the pickup centered in its hole. At this stage. Fi ng the Finger Rest Trim and glue (Titebond) the ebony spacer (#33).

.Fittings & Final A djustments 111 When the glue has set. posi on the finger rest as shown. as if it was an extension of it. With the pickup ring s ll screwed to the top. It must have the same angle as the neck. and its top must be in line with the top surface of the pickup ring. I use a miniature drill (found in hobby shops) with an extension a ached and then inserted into a bigger manual drill. Drilling the holes for the finger rest at the side of the neck is easy with a long drill. Mark the loca on of the holes at the neck (you'll need a thin and long marker for this). but leaving enough room for the screw heads. drill two holes for the installa on screws (1/8". you may compromise the room for the poten ometer.5 mm (3/32") bit.2 mm diameter) as close to the finger rest surface as possible. Cut the corners of the notch for the pickup ring that the router couldn't reach due to the radius of the cu er. 3.Step 10 . Use a 2. If you fail doing these adjustments.

If you find some misalignment. Remove the finger rest and the pickup. Finally.112 Step 10 . sand and buff the surface and edge of the tailpiece the same as you did for the other ebony parts. next page). Use a miniature file to correct that (first photo. Soap the threads if you find the screws are too hard. Preparing the Tailpiece The underside of the tailpiece has recesses for the string ball ends. as shown.Fittings & Final A djus tments Use a long screwdriver to a ach the finger rest to the guitar. but the channels for the strings on the other side are not deep enough to reach them. . Sand and buff the surface and edge of the finger rest the same as you did for the other ebony parts. enlarge one or both finger rest holes with a miniature file. Don't let the dust reach the poten ometer: protect it with tape.

Step 10 - Fittings & Final A djustments


Preparing the Nut In a previous step you thicknessed and polished the nut sides. Now you will trim the nut to its correct height and width, which you'll do with the help of a half pencil. This is built from a pencil cut lengthwise so that its base is flat, using it as shown.

Cut and sand the excess leaving some material above the pencil line. At the 6th string, that excess (A in the figure) must be around 1 mm; at the side of the 1st string, it will be around 0.5 mm (B in the figure).

The top of the nut must be more or less at a plane parallel to the peghead, and its upper corners must be rounded slightly. The ends of the nut are cut flush with the neck surfaces.


Step 10 - Fittings & Final A djus tments

I recommend that you open the string slots using nut files. If you use a miniature saw, try to keep the bo om of the slots round. There are two principles that are generally accepted for determining the posi on of the string slots: 1.- The outside edges (not the centers) of the 6th and 1st strings must be at around the same distance from their corresponding fretboard edges. As for most common string sets the sixth is around 1 mm thicker than the first string, the center of the slot for the first string must be around 0.5 mm closer to the edge of the fretboard. 2.- It is the space between each pair of adjoining strings that is constant, not the distance between their centers. Thus, the centers of the thinner strings are closer than the centers of the thicker strings. The following procedure fulfills those requirements for 1 3/4" nuts and the string gauges most commonly found in jazz guitars: - Mark the slots with the thinnest nut file at the following locaons: From fretboard edge to center of 6th string: 4 mm From center of 6th to center of 5th: 7.8 mm From center of 6th to center of 4th: 15.5 mm From center of 6th to center of 3rd: 22.8 mm From center of 6th to center of 2nd: 30.0 mm From center of 6th to center of 1st: 37 mm -Widen each slot using files increasingly thicker. For example, use the file for the 2nd string to widen the slots for the 2nd to 6th strings. This will give you more control and the ability to correct the misplaced slots. And remember, don't file deeper than half the diameter of the string. Polish the whole nut (except its base) the same as you did when you polished its sides.

Step 10 - Fittings & Final A djustments


Preparing the Electronics Clamp and then solder two terminals to the single-conductor shielded wire. It must have a length of around 50cm (20").

Insert the terminals into the small connector, ground (jacket) terminal at le .

Do the same for the large connector, using 15cm (6") of two-conductor shielded wire. Posi on the ground (jacket) terminal at right, and the other two wires (dark and clear) as shown.

The pickup must be connected to the male plug. The hot from the pickup is connected to terminal #2. The ground from the pickup is connected to both #3 and #4. Addi onally, there is a wire connecng #1 and #5 together.

116 Step 10 . Anyway. No ce that the poten ometer will work opposite as usual: seen from above. the pot won't mar the top if the finger rest is bent excessively. The jacket up. Given the side that is glued to the fingerboard and its logarithmic taper. Remember that it must reach the hole in the pickup ring. the dark wire at the center and the clear terminal down. players don't find it wrong. this is the way to go. . the volume will increase when turned counterclockwise.Fittings & Final A djus tments This is the way to make the connec ons inside the guitar. Screw the wheel and glue the self adhesive piece of felt. With it. Put two or three drops of super-glue between the wire and the finger rest. The short two-conductor shielded wire must be connected to the poten ometer. as it is different from conven onal pots.

file a small channel in the top for the wire to pass more easily. . It must protrude around 10 mm (3/8") above the guitar top. pu ng some soap on the threads. If necessary. as shown. Install the tailpiece bolt. Pull the thread and the wire will pass through the guides. The following opera ons must be done a er the finish has been sanded and buffed. Reach the thread that passes through the wiring guides and superglue it to the bare end of the single-conductor wire.Fittings & Final A djustments 117 Check that everything fits well.Step 10 .

the other. as shown. The machines can be installed two ways..Fittings & Final A djus tments Solder the female jack and use a piece of wire to guide it into its hole.. you may find that Frank Ford's "Jack The Gripper" is the tool to use. In any case. you can install the strings. but don't glue it yet.118 Step 10 . With the bridge more or less in place. Stringing up the first me This is an electric jazz guitar. Tightening the jack without having access to the guitar inside can prove impossible. Tune the guitar. Install the nut. Do it symmetrically (1st and then 6th.). Always drill pilot holes for the screws. always drill a pilot hole preferably using a manual drill and a 3 mm (1/8") drill bit. as shown. the tailpiece on and a er ghtening a quarter turn the truss rod nut. either at the heel or at the back of the guitar. 2nd and then 5th. Now you can screw the finger rest and pickup in place. . A medium gauge common for jazz is 13-56. Install the strap holders. set the strings at a height of no more than 1/8" (3 mm) above the last frets. Whatever you choose. With the bridge thumbwheels. Make the connec ons and secure the wires with a nylon e. keep them symmetrical. but feel free to experiment. One of them must be placed at the tail where the sides join. and as such it should be equipped with flat-wound electric guitar strings. If this happens.

To measure it.Step 10 . always check the bridge height. Use a couple drops of Titebond on each contact surface (fretboard and nut bottom).25 mm). it should be around 0. press one of the middle strings simultaneously at the first and fi eenth frets. loosen it. loosen it. If it is greater. If smaller. Get the help of someone to measure the gap between the bo om of the string and the 7th fret. You can measure this using a guitar string as a feeler gauge. Measuring while fre ng takes the ac on out of the equa on. and measure the distance between it and the first fret with a feeler gauge while having it fre ed at the sixth fret. and many jazz players like to have high ac ons. A er se ng the relief. near the bar of the fi h fret. A er having done this.010" (0. Always that you modify the bridge height. The measured distance should be less than 0. sand slightly some of its polished surface. However. adjust the bridge compensa on. They must show a concavity that is deeper more or less at mid length (around fret #7). To improve adhesion. ghten it again at or near its tension. I would recommend you to take some risks here.Fittings & Final A djustments 119 Trimming the Nut Slots Guitarists enjoy guitars with nuts as low as possible. if you place the bridge so that the second and fi h . so that the strings don't buzz when the player uses the strongest a ack in his playing. you can glue the nut in place.004"). the thickness of a piece of paper. Work carefully: two or three file strokes may separate you from having to make a new nut. it's well worth it. Adjus ng the Bridge Compensa on Wooden saddles don't give perfect intona on for all the strings. changes are slow but develop for days or even weeks. there is a ny difference between a comfortable nut and one that makes open strings buzz. However. A general rule says that it must be as low as possible. ghten the truss rod. Checking and adjus ng the Relief Necks work be er when they have a slight relief instead of being perfectly straight. Anyway. Always do it a quarter turn at a me and then let guitar rest: a er a guitar is stringed up for the first me. file the slot.1 mm (0. For each string. this is extremely up to the individual. not only because they are easier to play but because they tune be er at the first frets.

but this should be done only if you find some strings louder than others. touching the nut and. but this me don’t move the whole bridge. as you must not modify its posi on for the second string. Keep it in a good hard case.120 Step 10 . Otherwise. then the others will be very close to being perfect too. Truss Rod Nut Cover When the neck has stabilized. which you must have sanded and polished as usual. for example if you are using bronze-wound strings. Congratula ons! By now you probably have a guitar that you are proud of. move it further away from the tailpiece. This must be set with the height screws. as always. open pilot holes for the screws. Place it centered. far from temperature and humidity extremes and enjoy it for years to come! . the bridge will have to be moved closer to the tailpiece.Fittings & Final A djus tments strings tune perfectly. you can install the truss rod nut cover. A general rule for neck pickups says that there must be a distance of around 3/32" (2.5 mm) from the bo om of the strings to the top of the pole pieces when the strings are depressed at the last fret. Check if the natural harmonic for the second string in fret 12th is the same as the fingered note in that same fret. Pickup height Humbuckers can be placed between ample distance margins relave to the strings. If the tuner (or your ear) finds that the fingered note is higher than the harmonic. Check the same for the fi h string. the pole pieces can be adjusted individually.

Bibliography There are many books on the subject of guitar making. but you'll find a lot of helpful informa on in it.Benede o.KitGuitarManuals.Hoadley. but I consider that you'll benefit mainly from these four: . The book by Erlewine. Understanding both in printed and e-book forms. setup and fre ng. available at www. that will be great too. Dan.. will answer a lot of your ques ons. It deals with flat-top acous c guitars. Centerstream Publica ons. . 2000. 1996. Backbeat Books. a master archtop maker. a master repairman. Michael. The New Woodfinishing Book. If you want to complement the book with his DVDs. Bruce. there is a collec on of DVDs that is a great complement to the book. 2000. Taunton Press. Guitar Player Repair Guide.Erlewine. . . is the only one describing the construc on of an archtop guitar. 2007. but I strongly recommend them: a thorough knowledge of wood and finishes is paramount when it comes to avoid future problems. The book by Benede o. Complete Guide to Building Kit Acous c Guitars. Robert. especially those related to guitar electronics. Finally. there is a book by Bill Cory. 121 .Dresdner. The two other books are not guitar related. Taunton Press. Making an Archtop Guitar. Again.

122 .

drilling. television and computer monitors. Keep them out of the reach of children. Keep the magnets away from open flames and any heat sources. exercise cau on. Nickel is a metal which can cause an allergic reac on in some people 123 . the magnets will break. First. hearing aids and loud speakers. Danger of breaking or chipping NdFeB magnets can break. Remember: always wear gloves. It is also conceivable that chips of the magnet will fly due to such a collision. This includes. The most common cause of breakage is when two magnets are allowed to collide. You should wear gloves and protec ve glasses when handling magnets.danger for appliances Keep a safe distance between the magnets and all appliances and objects that can be damaged by magne sm. you confirm that you have read and understood the following warnings. You should always handle magnets with cau on and never let them collide together.Safety Issues . fire Never a empt to cut or drill into a magnet. The magne za on of neodymium magnets reduces quickly at temperatures of more than 80 degrees Celsius. credit case of doubt. diske es and other data devices. fingers can be quickly caught between them causing blood blisters or cuts. Processing. mechanical clocks. Second. Nickel allergies These magnets are nickel-plated.Read First Magnet Safety Liability we do not assume any responsibility for damage that has been caused by the improper handling of magnets. video tapes. Crushing When these magnets are brought close enough together. With the purchase of these magnets. sawing. Danger for children These magnets are not toys and can be dangerous in many ways. Magne sm . Pacemakers can be disturbed by large magnets . amongst other things. this cu ng or boring will produce a dust that is easily flammable.