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Sheet Number

Revisions:
Date: Feb. 2010
Unless Noted Otherwise,
These Plans Are Drawing
Full Scale. They Are
Labeled in mm and
Fractional Inches
This Drawing or Drawings Are To Used For One
Use Only And Not Reproduced For Any Other
Purpose Than Construction Of This Particular
Instrument, and a One Time Reproduction Only is
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8.13°
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Classical Guitar Bridge Complete
With Tie Block, Saddle Channel And
Either Bone Or Ivory Saddle. Center
On 660mm Scale Length Both
Vertically and Horizontally.
Fret Wire Detail
Dashed Lines Indicate Outline Of
Neck Block Where It Meets The
Top.
Rossette - Usually
Prefabricated. But You Can
Make Them Yourself.
Dashed Lines Indicate Outline Of
Neck Block Where It Meets The
Top.
Dashed Line Indicates Rossette
Reinforcement Extends Beyond
Rossette Approx. 5mm.
Depth Of Holes For Rollers Can
Vary With Tuning Machine Mfr.
String Ramps
Re-Constituted Ivory Or Excellent Quality
Bone For the Nut.
F
A
B C
D E
L
G
M
H
N
O P Q R
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
K
H
S
U
V
J
M
N
W
P
Q
J
K
L
O
R
S
S
T
U
V
W
Brace Key Numbers. Refer To
Brace Diagram Plan For
Bracing Layouts
Center Bridge Brace On
660mm Line For Scale
Length.
Certain Luthiers Tune The Top By Making The Top
Progressively Thinner As It Reaches The Guitar Edge
And Remain Full Thickness At The Top. If You Do
This Do Not Reduce The Edges Below 2.2mm And
Make The Center Slightly Thicker.
Re-Constituted Ivory Or Excellent Quality
Bone For the Nut.
This Light Line Is The Neck Splice
Joint. There Is A 8.13 Degree Angle
From The Neck To The Headpiece
The Top Trim For The Headstock Is Traditionally Made From
The Same Wood As The Back And Sides. It is Usually
Leftover Stock And Is About 2.2mm Thick. Glue Maple Or
Maple/Ebony Veneer Beneath For Additional Detail - This Is
A Personal Preference. Glue These Pieces Before Any
Headstock Work Is Started.
Laminate Spanish Cedar Left Overs From The
Neck Blank (Before You Rip The Blank Down The
Middle). Make Sure To Glue Enough For The
Continuous Neck Block And Foot At The Guitar
Interior As Well.
Either Extend The Back Material Over The Heel
Or Place A Piece Of Ebony Trim Over The Neck
Heal. Both Practices Are Used And Traditional.
Extension Of The Back Plate Over The Heals
Gives The Guitar Additional Strength.
Many Classical Guitars Built In The Spanish
Tradition Shave The Bass Side Of The Fretboard
Down Gradually From The 12th Fret To The
Soundhole To Give The Bass Strings Additional
Room To Oscillate.
Shaping The "Foot" Of The Guitar Is One Of
The Most Demanding Operations. The Foot
Give The Neck And Body A Lot Of Structure
And This Joist Should Be As Perfect As
Possible.
Kerfed Lining Made From Either Basswood Or Cedar.
Many Spanish Classicals Use Solid Kerfing For The
Back Plate Attachment. If You Choose To Do That
Make Sure The Kerfing Is Pre-Bent Prior To Gluing. Do
Not Introduce Stress Into The Guitar
Note: Most Luthiers Make A Template From Either Wood Or
Plastic With The Neck Profile, Heal Shape And Interior Neck
Block And Foot Profile - All In One Template. Make Another Copy
Of This Plan To Make Your Own. Just Use Spray Adhesive To
Attach The Pattern And Cut It Out With Your Band Sand. Cut A
Little Big (Away From The Line) And Finish Sand With A Spindle
Sander Right Down To The Line
Back Braces - Vertical Grain Minimum 20 Grain/In.
Cedar Or Spruce #1 Quality. Cope Out Ends Of
Bracing And Fit Into Channels Cut Into The Lining (Do
Not Cut Through The Sides.
Side And Back Material: Many Different Woods Can Be
Used. For Bright Tones Go With One Of The
Rosewoods Such As Indian Rosewood or Brazialian
Rosewood. Koa Is Bright As Is Zircote And Madagascar
Rosewood. For Warm Tone Use Walnut. Most
Traditional Classical Guitars Are Constructed From
Indian Rosewood.
Back Block or Butt Block. Vertical Grain Cedar Or Spruce
Minimum 20 Grains/In. Some Luthiers Shave This Block or
Angle It Away From The Top As This Block Often Gives A
Guitar A "Hump" In The Top And Can Cause Cracking.
1
2
th
F
re
t
12th Fret
Back Block or Butt Block. Vertical
Grain Cedar Or Spruce Minimum
20 Grains/In. Some Luthiers Shave
This Block or Angle It Away From
The Top As This Block Often Gives
A Guitar A "Hump" In The Top And
Can Cause Cracking.
Guitar Top Plate. Usually Braced Dead Level (No Arch) Use Only #1 or AAA Top Materials -
This Is The Single Most Important Piece Of Wood Used In A Guitar.
Materials Vary Quite A Bit, But Usually Consiste Of Spruce Or Cedar From Many Different
Regions. Spanish Cedar, Canadian Red Cedar And Many Others. Must Be Vertical Grain
Wood With No Run-out, Even Grain Across The Top And 20 Grain/In Minimum.
Top Thickness Varies As Well. From A Minimum of About 2.5 to 2.8mm Up To 3.5mm,
Depending On The Strength Of The Wood.
Tone Bracing For Top. Spruce Or Cedar. Vertical
Grain, No Run-Out. Min. 20 Grains/Inch.
Drill These Holes Only After You Have
Purchased Your Tuning Machines. Make
Holes About 1mm Larger Than The Roller.
Drill These Holes First To Minimize Tear-Out
Of The Tuner Slots.
#1 Quality Cuban Mahogany Neck With
Ebony Reinforcement Strip Down Center
(See Detail Above). Select Only Vertical
Grain Wood For Your Neck.
Longitudinal Section
Lateral Section
Back Block or Butt Block. Vertical Grain
Cedar Or Spruce Minimum 20 Grains/
In. Some Luthiers Shave This Block or
Angle It Away From The Top As This
Block Often Gives A Guitar A "Hump"
In The Top And Can Cause Cracking.
Classical Guitar Bridge Complete
With Tie Block, Saddle Channel And
Either Bone Or Ivory Saddle. Center
On 660mm Scale Length Both
Vertically and Horizontally.
Methods:
Start by sanding your top plate, back plate and sides to rough thickness (within 1mm of final
thickness). Carefully glue the center joints of the back and sides together. When gluing the back,
you will want to insert your decorative center strip at the same time. This should be pre-assembled
if you have multiple colors.
To prepare the joints, sand carefully with sandpaper glued to a perfectly straight edge. I like to use
adhesive backed sandpaper in rolls and stick it to the side of a 24" metal level. Trim the sandpaper
carefully. Use 120 grit paper and do not use a lot of force. The plates are joined most easily with a
cam-action jig while using a piece of wood on the top to keep things in alignment. Of course use
waxed paper wherever you risk having your wood stuck to the jig - or coat the jig with wax.
Once glued (If you use Rosewood, or one of the other exotic woods mentioned here, be sure to get
all of the resin out of the wood with acetone before you glue anything. Trace your top and back on
the wood - use a white pencil for dark wood. Then run the top and back through a wide stationary
belt sander - or use scrapers and hand sanding methods. Be careful with the use of acetone also.
Use rubber gloves and a resperator. You may also need to use a resperator for exotic wood dust as
many people have allergic reactions to the sanding dust (including myself).
When I started out making guitars, I couldn't afford all the expensive stationary sanders etc,,
that makes the work so simple now. I used to get one side of the plate completely flat, then I
would chuck up a small bit in the drill press and set it to stop at the desired thickness of my
plate. I would then drill dimples over the entire surface of the unfinished side and simply
sand until all of the dents were gone - pretty slick!
After you have your thickness completed on the top plates. trace the guitar contour and carefully cut
the outline out. Make the cut line at least 1/8" outside the line to give you some give.
Get your sides bent, either with a bending jig or on a bending iron. You can also boil the sides and
clamp them to an outside form for a few days to a week. Be sure to overbend a bit to allow for
springback.
While the sides are curing, rout the channel for the rossette and insert and glue that. I use a dremel
router with a steel stud sticking up through the center of the soundhold (the sound hole is not cut
out at this point. Once the rossette is installed, rout out the soundhole with the router too.
Now is the time to install all of your bracing on the top and back. As I mentioned I use a dowel jig. I
plan on detailing these jigs in an upcoming book on guitar construction, but do not have plans on
the jig at this point. It works fast and really secures the bracing evenly and uniform.
Now is the time to install all of your bracing on the top and back. As I mentioned I use a dowel jig. I
plan on detailing these jigs in an upcoming book on guitar construction, but do not have plans on
the jig at this point. It works fast and really secures the bracing evenly and uniform. It also gives you
a lot of fingerspace to allow gluing all of the braces in a single operation without a lot of clamps to
work around.
Typically the braces are only roughed-out for their final shaping is done after they are glued. After
the glue is mostly dry, remove the plate and get all of the glue squeeze out off the bracing and plate
with a sharp small chisel. The glue should be dry enough to not be liquid but not fully adhered to the
wood.
Once the braces have had at least a couple of hours to dry, shape them and round them with small
planes, finger planes, chisels and sanding sticks. Final shape and sand them with 220 sandpaper
until satin smooth.
Methods - Continued:
Now you should assemble the guitar neck. I recommed Cuban Cedar because it is light and strong.
Cut the Head scarf joint with a band saw first. Prepare this joint so it is perfectly tight. Next, cut the
blank to size and capture any blocks you can to glue to the heel/foot assembly. Now cut the neck
blank right down the center and flip the grain so it is opposed and working against each other. Slip a
6mm strip of Ebony between the halves and prepare all pieces in a similar manner to the plate
joints - or if you have a stationary drum sander, just run all the pieces through that. Prepare the
other half of the scarf joint so you will have a good joint for the headstock trim.
Glue the heel/foot block on the neck - all the while checking with your neck template. Once the neck
has dryed, do a final sanding on a stationary belt sander for the headstock and double-check the
thickness of the head. Now glue the headstock trim and purfling and set aside to dry.
Next rough-cut the heel and foot/endblock shape of the neck on the bandsaw, keeping things true
and plumb. Remember to always cut a bit outside the lines to allow for slight error. Now rough cut
the head after tracing with your headstock template. Sand the sides to final shape and size and drill
you machinehead roller holes of each side of the head. You can now drill your holes for the string
slots - being careful not to get any drill runout or tearout. Now cut the remainer of the slot out with
either a router or a jigsaw. Cut outside the line and finish the slots with sanding stick.
Cut your string ramps in the string grooves with a round rasp and finish with sandpaper wrapped
aroung a dowel. This can be a dowel section about 8" long with a slot cut in the end, right down the
center of the dowel for about 1/2 the dowel length. Insert the sandpaper in the slot and wrap around
the dowel.
Next rough-shape the neck with a 4-way rasp, using the rough cut blade. Get the neck to within
about 1/16" of final thickness and width. Now cut in the guitar side slots in the sides of the neck. Do
this very carefully and make sure you have good joints. I like to use dovetail saws for this operation
and g--o s--l--o--w. Thick the fitting often with your guitar sides clamped in the inside form.
Once the neck fits in the sides precisely, trim the butt joint of the sides and glue the butt block on
the bottom of the sides. Make sure to carefully fit the butt block the ot contour of the sides and
make sure the block is vertical grain. Once the butt block is in place, final fit and glue the neck. It is
essential that the side channels in the neck and the sides are trimed to match each other exactly.
Check the latteral and vertical positioning of the neck as this is extremely important at this time.
The foot and top of the block may need some additional trimming when the back and top are fit. You
also want to make sure that the sides are perfectly plumb in the form by using stretcher clamps.
With the sides rough-cut to contour, glue in the lining to receive the back plate. This lining can be
either kerfed lining or solid pre-bent lining. Glue with wooden clothespins with rubber bands
wrapped on them to strengthen their tension or use mini spring clamps. Make sure you have even
glue squeeze out and clean it up as you did on the braces. I like to elevate the lining slightly above
the sides while gluing (about 1/16" inch). This will allow you to easily sand down the lining only to
completely level the top.
Now fit the back to the sides and neck with the side following the contour of the inside form. Since
the braces for the back are slightly arched (about 1/8 to 1/4" ) carefully mark the trim marks for the
sides. This will vary with every aspect of the guitar beause the inherent nature of it's shape. Do
NOT glue the back on at this time. The top must be secured to the sides first.
Materials:
Assemble the proper materials before you begin your project. If you don't have your tone wood
already, there are several great suppliers including LMI (Luthier's Merchantile) which has a wide
range of top and back and side wood available. If this is your first guitar, you may want to try wood
that is a bit less expensive for your first try, such as mahogany for backs and sides or walnut, which
is about 50 to 33% of the cost of the Rosewoods etc. If you want an easy build guitar for your first
try, go with the Honduros Mahogany. It works easily, sands nicely, and finishes quite easily too. You
don't have to deal with exotic resins in the wood like you do with Rosewood, Cocobolo oand some
of the the other exotic woods.
When you order wood make sure you order wood that is at least 1" oversized in each direction so
you can eliminate splits etc. 2" is even better and quite often accomodated with tone wood. Make
sure the tops and backs are bookmatched for grain pattern.
Neck blanks can be Cuban Cedar. This is a very lightweight but very strong wood. Fretboards
should be clear Ebony, solid and you will have to buy 2 of them to allow you to add the Ebony
reinforcing to the center of the neck.
Most suppliers will have brace wood available, which is split from to log so there isn't any runout in
the wood - look for this in the literature.
You will also need additional wood to make up the purfling around he edges and you will need
maple or some other type of white wood if you want white stripping accents at your purflings. For
the dark wood use Rosewood veneer.
We did not get into the details of how purfling is put on this guitar as that is more of a construction
issue and not a guitar play issue. Any number of guitar construction books will guide you in the
proper techniques of installing purfling, where it should be and how to laminate it and bend it.
Buy good fret stock with at least 18% silver content. Steward MacDonald has a good assortment of
fretwire as does LMI.
Rossettes are best purchased already made unless you are determined to complete that difficult
operation. Many of the supply housed carry a great assortment of prefabricated rossettes.
Buy good tuning machines. Make sure they have good plating on them and the metal is a heavy
gauge. Buttons can be pearl, pearloid or ebony on many good quality machine heads.
Interior blocking for the butt blocks can be either Spruce or Cedar or even Mahogany or Cuban
Cedar. Just make sure it is free from knots and is striaght grained. Optain this at specialty lumber
yards or instrument supply shops.
Tips and Techniques:
Always make sure your tools are razor sharp and not dull. Buy good sharpening stones or
sharpening grinders such as the Tormek sharpener. It is also important to knock off the burr on your
chisels and other hand tools.
If you use stationary tools, make sure the blades on your bandsaw, tablesaw, jointer etc. are also
very sharp and you do not have to force wood through the machines. If given a choice, always use
carbide-tipped blades. Some of these hardwoods are tough to cut without a good carbide blade.
Setup of power tools is extremely important too - follow included direction or obtain good books on
proper setup of bandsaws, table saws etc. You can't believe what a difference this will make.
You can never have enough jigs, templates etc. in guitar-making. If you plan to continue beyond this
guitar and make several others, templates and jigs are a must more making your work a lot easier.
If you are starting from scratch, building guitars, make sure you make excellent quality forms for
your guitar. Both inside and outside forms for the body assembly. Look at LMI's side bending
machine. It works great and you can pump out a lot of bent sides in a short time.
Put together the templates we have shown here at a bare minimum. You should have a template to
trace your basic guitar boddy shape, your top and back brace locations, Your neck and foot profile
and the headstock layout, showning all the drilling locations for the tuning machine rollers and string
slots. Also it comes in handy to have back brace curvature templates, brace scalloping patterns, fret
slot location templates and bridge templates.
There are a lot of great little tools and gadgets available for Guitar Lutherie - Here are a few:
Thumb Planes - Available from Luthier supply houses - they are primarilary used for violins.
Spindle Sander - This is a tabletop stationary tool.
Dremel Router with roller bearing bushings - or other small hand-held mini-routher.
Note Stewmac has a lot of adapters available for the Dremel such as purfling routers, bits
etc.
Fret cutting jig - this is available from Stewmac also. Give you precise control over fret sawing.
Make a jig to glue your bracing. This consists of 2 plywood plates with dowel supports at each
corner. The braces are glued using bent dowels that span between the two plates.
Make sure your shop is held an a very constant humidity level all year long. Never vary more than
5% between 45 and 55%. This will minimize cracking, shrinkage and give overall durability to
guitars you plan to sell or gift.
Some of the other great little tools I love are:
Japanese Saws that cut both ways
Lots of the German Cam Clamps - both 6" and 8"
1" Spring Clamps - A whole 2# coffee can full of these
A great set of instrument maker's chisels in 1mm 2mm 4mm and 6mm sizes
Fret file, dovetail saws, fret end dressing tool, fret rocker etc. see my fret repair series for
detail on these and a lot more tools
Look at www.ultimate-guitar-online.com/woodworking-hand-tools.html for hand tools required and:
www.ultimate-guitar-online.com/woodworking-power-tools.html for stationary tools recommended.
Above all else make sure everything fits together perfectly before gluing. Do not force anything as
stress is a guitar ruins the tone. When in doubt take a few extra hours of sanding trimming and pre-
assembly to get everything as perfect as you can.
A
B
C
D
Side Reinforcing Braces. Profile, Size and
Amount Vary Greatly With Guitar Makers.
This One Sits On Top Of The Scalloped
Portion Of The Top Plate Braces And
Extends Down The Side About Half-Way.
They Are Typically Installed After The Top
Plate And The Sides Have Been Joined
For Easier Building You May Use Side Braces
That Are Disconnected From The Top Bracing As
Indicated On The Opposite Side Of This
Section.Side Space These Around The Sides Of
The Guitar Evenly (Between 6 and 8 Braces) The
Height Varies With The Sides. Place Them Into
Their Correct Location And Shape Them
Afterwards. They Are Glued In Place Just Before
Gluing The Back Plate To The Sides.
Optional Independent Side Braces - Refer To Latteral
Section For More Info. Spread Evenly Around The
Sides Of The Guitar. Refer To Section For The Exact
Profile. Usually Between 6 and 8 Are Used. These
Are Shaped Similar To A Brace Out Of The Same
Material As The Top Braces. Put In Place Just Prior
To Glueing The Back Plate To The Sides.
Optional Independent Side Braces - Refer To Latteral
Section For More Info. Spread Evenly Around The
Sides Of The Guitar. Refer To Section For The Exact
Profile. Usually Between 6 and 8 Are Used. These
Are Shaped Similar To A Brace Out Of The Same
Material As The Top Braces. Put In Place Just Prior
To Glueing The Back Plate To The Sides.
Butt Rossette Reinforcing Into
Side Of Brace.
Lining Made From Either Basswood Or Cedar. Many
Spanish Classicals Use Solid Kerfing For The Back
Plate Attachment. If You Choose To Do That Make
Sure The Kerfing Is Pre-Bent Prior To Gluing. Do Not
Introduce Stress Into The Guitar
Scale Length
Note: Arch This Transverse Brace Over
The Tone Brace So The Tone Brace
Runs Through. See Detail On Top
Brace Plan
Tone Brace
Tone Brace
T
ra
n
s
v
e
rs
e
B
ra
c
e
Kerfed Lining Made From Either Basswood Or Cedar.
Many Spanish Classicals Use Solid Kerfing For The
Back Plate Attachment. If You Choose To Do That
Make Sure The Kerfing Is Pre-Bent Prior To Gluing. Do
Not Introduce Stress Into The Guitar
Note: Bracing Shown Here Is The
Actual Placement Of The Bracing
On The Interior Side Of The Top
Plate. This Bracing Is Not Shown
In Xray Mode.
Note: Bracing Shown Here Is The
Actual Placement Of The Bracing
On The Interior Side Of The Top
Plate. This Bracing Is Not Shown
In Xray Mode.
T
The Soundhole Reinforcing Plate Is Made From The Same
Material As The Top Plate (i.e. Cedar) And Is Slightly
Larger Than The Rossette Size (About 1/8"). Glue It So
That The Grain Runs 90 Degrees To The Top. Fit It After
The Top Bracing Is In Place, To Fit It Perfectly Around The
Braces.
Side Braces. Set On Top Of Top Braces And Extend Down
Sides Of Guitar - See Latteral Section For Profile.
X
X
1 3/8"
1 3/8"
1 11/16"
4 1/16"
13/16"
5 3/32"
3/4"
5/16"
3
/4
"
7"
3/16" 13" 13"
25 31/32"
9
/1
6
"
1
/4
"
5
/8
"
5
/1
6
"
5
/8
"
5
/1
6
"
2
7
/8
"
2
9
/1
6
"
2
3
/3
2
"
7/32" 27/32"
5 1/16"
13/16" 3/16"
1 5/32" 3 3/8" 1/2" 1/32"
1 15/32" 1 3/8" 1 3/8" 27/32" 13/16" 3/16"
1
2
5
/3
2
"
1
4
1
/2
"
9
1
/1
6
"
3
1
1
/1
6
"
4
1
/3
2
"
4
5
/3
2
"
7
1
/3
2
"
1 11/32"
2 1/16"
1 23/32"
5 1/16"
1 7/16"
1 23/32"
1 7/16" 2 15/16"
15/32"
11/32"
1 17/32"
1 5/32" 3/32" 1"
1 15/32" 1 3/8" 1 5/16" 1 7/32" 1 5/32" 1 3/32" 2" 29/32" 7/8" 13/16" 25/32" 23/32" 11/16" 21/32" 5/8" 19/32" 17/32"
1
3
/1
6
"
3
1
/3
2
"
2
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
2
3
/8
"
2
"
1
1
/2
"
3 25/32" 2 9/16" 3 1/4" 4 1/2" 5 13/32"
184 1/2"
19/32"
3
3
/3
2
"
2 13/32"
7/32"
1 21/32"
25 11/32"
1
3
/3
2
"
1
/8
"5
/1
6
"
6 27/32" 1 3/16"
1
/1
6
"
1
1
/3
2
"
7
/3
2
"
3
/1
6
"
3
/1
6
"
3 25/32" 1 11/16"
1
/1
6
"
3
/1
6
"
3
/3
2
"
1 15/16" 19/32" 3/32"
2 21/32"
5 1/2"
8 1/16"
1
/1
6
"
1
/4
"
3 17/32" 13/16"
4 11/32"
7
/3
2
"
1
/8
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/4
"
1
/4
"
3
/1
6
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/1
6
"
2 3/4" 11/16"
3 15/32"
2 5/16" 21/32"
2 31/32"
5
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/4
"
5
/3
2
"
3
/3
2
"
2 1/16" 19/32"
2 11/16"
1
/4
"
1
/8
"
3
/3
2
"
1 7/8" 15/32"
2 11/32"
3/32" 9/16" 2 13/16"
3 11/32"
1
/4
"
3
/1
6
"
1
/8
"
1
/8
"
7
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
1" 3 13/32"
4 13/32"
23/32" 4 11/32"
5 1/16"
7
/3
2
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/4
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/3
2
"
1
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
3
/1
6
"
1
/8
"
1
/1
6
"
23/32" 3 11/16"
4 13/32"
21/32" 3"
3 21/32"
11/32" 1 17/32"
1 29/32"
19/32" 2 15/32"
3 1/16"
7/16" 2"
2 15/32"
5
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
1
/1
6
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/8
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
0
"
5
/3
2
"
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
1
/3
2
"
1
/8
"
1
/1
6
"
1
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
9
/3
2
"
1
/8
"
1"
1 13/32" 9 3/8" 1 13/32"
12 3/16"
1
5
/3
2
"
3
/1
6
"
1
/8
"7
/1
6
"
1
3
/3
2
"
1 21/32" 7 17/32" 1 21/32"
10 27/32"
1
5
/3
2
"
1 5/16" 6 11/16" 1 5/16"
9 11/32"
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
1
/8
"
1 9/16" 1/2" 0"
1
/3
2
"
7 1/32"
25 11/32"
1
/4
"
1/2"
17/32"
1
/4
"
1 23/32"
2 29/32"
1
1
/2
"
2
"
2
2
1
/3
2
"
2
1
/2
"
3
7
/8
"
1
/4
"
1 9/16" 5 9/32" 1 9/16"
8 13/32"
3
/3
2
"5
/1
6
"
1
3
/3
2
"
5
/1
6
"
1
/3
2
" 3
/1
6
"5
/1
6
"
9
/1
6
"
5
/1
6
"
1
/3
2
"
7
/3
2
"5
/1
6
"
9
/1
6
"
5
/1
6
"
1
/3
2
" 7
/3
2
"5
/1
6
"
9
/1
6
"
5
/1
6
"
1
/1
6
" 7
/3
2
"
9
/3
2
"
9
/1
6
"
3 1/4" 7 7/8" 3 1/4"
14 11/32"
14 11/32"
2 9/32" 6 5/16" 2 9/32"
10 29/32"
3/16" 10 9/16" 3/16"
10 29/32"
10 1/8"
1/8" 9 29/32" 1/8"
10 1/8"
2 5/16" 5 1/2" 2 5/16"
2 5/16" 6 1/4" 2 5/16"
10 29/32"
1/32" 10 27/32" 1/32"
10 29/32"
2
5
/3
2
"
3/16" 2
1
/3
2
"
1
3
/8
"
3
/3
2
"
3
/1
6
"
3/16"
3/32"
3/4" 3/16"
13"
1 1/2" 11/16" 11/16" 1 1/4"
1
/4
"
1
/4
"
3/16" 8 15/16" 3/16"
1 1/2" 11/16" 11/16" 1 1/4"
9 11/32"
7
/1
6
"
1
1
3
/3
2
"
19 15/32"
Methods - Continued:
Now fit the top to the sides. Trim the top to fit exactly inside the inside form. Drop the sides on top
and glue the sides to the top with individual blocks. These should be about 1/2 to 3/4" long
depending of the contour they encounter and should be only set into place by hand and not
clamped as this adds undue stress to the guitar top plate. The line from the neck to the tip should
be perfectly level and even or you will be in trouble. Check, double check and triple check that the
neck centerline aligns with the top centerline before gluing. Get everything perfect at this point.
Now you can glue the back plate to the sides by using 3/4" elastic upholstery tape, rubber bands or
spindle clamps. Get even pressure, but DO NOT FORCE anything - no stress here either.
Next is the time to trim the plates, rout purfling groove around the edge of the guitar and fit the
purfling. With groove cleaned out, nice tight fit and everything cut to length, glue on the purfling.
Rough sand the sides, back and top plates and round the edge of the purfling.
Next sand the fingerboard to thickness, cut to correct width and final sand the edges on a stationary
belt sander. Cut the fret grooves and locate the fretboard on the neck. Lightly clamp it and drill 2
small holes down through the fret groove at the body and nut ends of the fretboard. Place small
locator nails in the holes and double check the fingerboard location before gluing. Double check all
the latteral and vertical locations with a precise straight edge. Glue the fret board in place.
Final shape the neck to the fretboard size, shape the heel and finish sand. Place a heel trim on the
bottom of the heel. Dry-fit the tuning machine and make any adjustments so there is no binding or
forcing in place. Fit the nut and bridge. Check the action, bridge location and after verifying glue the
bridge in place.
Give all wood surfaces a final sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, install the frets and prepare to install
the finish.
There are many different opionions on finish material from french polish to varnish to lacquers and
urethanes. Do your research and decide on what suite you best.
Finishing is a whole different operation in and of itself is too lengthy to discuse in this format. I
sugguest you get a good book on instrument finishing from one of the suppliers.
This was a quick overview of guitar construction and I have not had the room to go into any great
detail on anything. At Ultimate Guitar OnLine, we plan on publishing an ebook on guitar
construction in the near future, so watch for that.
Good Luck and most of all HAVE FUN!
Check Us Out At:
www.ultimate-guitar-online.com
http://ultimate-guitar-building.com
david@ultimate-guitar-online.com
Our sites have a LOT of tips on such things as fret installation, neck adjustments and
recommendations etc. Check out the articles and come back often as we are adding content all the
time.
Scale Length
25 31/32"
Solid Ebony Fretboard.
Spanish Cedar Neck Material. Select
Vertical Grain - As Shown Here. Split
The Neck Blank Down The Middle
And Reverse The Grain So The Grain
Is Opposed - Gives Much Greater
Strength To Your Neck And Prevents
Warping.
Vertical Grain Ebony Center
Reinforcing Strip Down Center Of
Neck.
2
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
2 3/8"
1 1/16"
1/4"
1 1/16"
Neck Section At 7th
Fret
Brown Shaded Area Indicates Area
Of Head Block To Be Shaved Down
For Soundboard Thickness
2
3
/3
2
"
1
/4
"
Neck Section At
12th Fret
2 1/2"
1 1/8" 1/4" 1 1/8"
Guitar Sides "Let-in" Neck &
Head Block
Outline of "Foot"
Outline Of
Head Block
Dashed Lines Indicate Heel
Outline At Backplate
Side "Let-In" At Heel
Side "Let-In" At Top Of
Head Block
Guitar Sides "Let-in" Neck &
Head Block
7 5/32"
The Red Dashed Line
Indicates The Cut Of
A 10" Table Saw
Blade
Top of Head Block
Looking Down
Back Braces - Vertical Grain Minimum 20
Grain/In. Cedar Or Spruce #1 Quality.
Cope Out Ends Of Bracing.
Back Material: Many Different Woods Can
Be Used. For Bright Tones Go With One
Of The Rosewoods Such As Indian
Rosewood or Brazilian Rosewood. Koa Is
Bright As Is Zircote And Madagascar
Rosewood. For Warm Tone Use Walnut.
Most Traditional Acoustic Guitars Are
Constructed From Indian Rosewood Or
Mahogany.
Dark Line Indicates Outside
Perimeter of Guitar. Light Line Is
Inside Of Sides.
Back Block or Butt Block. Vertical Grain
Honduras Mahogany. Some Luthiers
Shave This Block or Angle It Away
From The Top As This Block Often
Gives A Guitar A "Hump" In The Top
And Can Cause Cracking.
Foot and Neck Block This Is A
Very Important Structural
Element. Construct From Vertical
Grain Cuban Cedar
A B
C D
Note How Sides Fit Into A 'Slot" In The Neck.
Forming This Slot Is One Of The More Difficult
Tasks In Classical Guitar Construction. The Slot
Follows The Profile Of The Heck/Heal All The Way
To The Fretboard. Also Notice How the Neck/Heal
Is One Piece.
This Is The Outline Of The Heal At The Back Plate
Of The Guitar.
Dashed Lines Indicate Back/
Side Lining. 2.4mm Wide. Bend
With a Side Bender To Match
Sides and Eliminate Stress.
Dashed Lines Indicate Back/
Side Lining. 2.4mm Wide. Bend
With a Side Bender To Match
Sides and Eliminate Stress.
Neck Block Profile At Top
Plate
Scallop The Brace Ends As Shown
This Is Not An Exact Science And Varies
Greatly From Luthier to Luthier.
To Cover Up The Center Seam Inside The
Guitar Body And Give The Joint Additional
Strength Use A Strip Of Maple 3mm Thick. Run
Betwen The Braces And Round-Off As Shown.
The Best Way To Install This Is As One Long
Piece And Carefully Cut And Chisel Out The
Channels For The Back Braces.
Arch The Back Of The Guitar For Sound
Reflectance Quality And To Allow Some
Tollerance For Humidity Changes. This Arch
Should Be Approximately 2mm to 3mm Across
The Wide Part Of The Back Plate
1 7/16"
Note: You Should Make All Your Bracing Longer Than It
Needs To Be, Or As Shown In The Bracing Diagrams Above.
Leave Each Brace At Least 3/8" Long And Trim Back During
Fitting Of The Back And Top Plates To The Guitar Sites.
Note: You Should Make All Your Bracing Longer Than It
Needs To Be, Or As Shown In The Bracing Diagrams Above.
Leave Each Brace At Least 3/8" Long And Trim Back During
Fitting Of The Back And Top Plates To The Guitar Sites.
Cut Slots Into Headstock After Drilling Holes For
Machine Head Rollers. Make A Template To
Locate Holes And Drile Precisely With A Drill
Press. Cut String Ramps In With A Round Rasp
and Final Shape With Sandpaper Wrapped Around
A Dowel.
Note: Be Sure To Check The Actual Roller Spacing
For Your Tuning Machines Before Making The
Template and Layout. They Vary Slightly From Mfr.
To Mfr.
Back Plate Layout & Brace Layout
C1
Classical Guitar Plan #2
Ultimate Guitar OnLine's
Guitar Plan View