Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mandocello and the Next Build

I'm still tweaking the Mandocello I have some new strings on order for it and in doing some careful examination it looks like the saddle could still use a bit of work as the stings are not quite contacting it right in a couple of places. So I'll try and get on with that in the next couple of days.. Hopefully the strings arrive soon.

The next Build is going to be a parlor guitar sort of a Martin size 2 guitar.. It will have a Western Red Cedar top, which I just glued up yesterday, and Wenge for the back & sides as well as the fingerboard. Trim is flamed maple and Paua Shell, first time I've used that in such quantity.

I'm debating the arch for the top and back, right now I am leaning to 20' for the back and perhaps just a true flat top.. I'm trying to coax as much volume & base out of a small guitar body, so perhaps that might be a good way to do it?

We will see..

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Ok strung this up tonight and it sounds pretty good, decent volume and good sustain... IMHO.. I did end up making the low C pair and Octave pair, we will see if I change that in the future.. Not sure if the action is still a bit high but going to play it for a bit and  see..

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting Very Close

So the finish is done a satin sort of French Polish, not too shiny, I like it.. The tuners are on a nut & Saddle are made and tonight I glued on the bridge... Should be making music with this Mandocello pretty soon..

I think at least for the start I'm going to string it up with the C string pair as an Octave pair its easy to change if I don't like it.. But harder to go the other direction...

French Polish so far my favourite finish

Front view

Back view

Tuners front

Tuners back

The only way I could set the intonation was to actually string it up
with a temporary tailpiece and just fiddle with the bridge position...
actually 2mm of compensation came out pretty close

Gluing on the bridge

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pore Filling

I'm still not 100% sure I personally like a pore filled instrument but it is pretty much the standard for instrument building these days..

Typically I use z-poxy to pore fill & it works well enough. For this instrument it left it a bit heavier than I have in the past in the hopes of getting a better French polish on top of it.. We will see how that works..

Now on to the French polish...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Intonation & Bridge position

So intonation, a bit of a black art to say the least, how do you get it right? I have some ideas for 6 string guitars pretty much based on the work done by others and some trial & error but for a fanned-fret Mandocello I have no idea how to calculate that.. But luckily there is a low tech way to do this..

I take no credit for this method, I saw Dan Erlewine doing this in a guitar bridge replacement video.. Basically you make a temporary tailpiece to allow you to string up the guitar and just adjust the bridge by trial & error until the instrument play in tune up and down the fretboard.. Not really a fast process but it works.. So that is what I did.

Of course once I am finished French polishing I'll have to do it again to get the final bridge placement before I drill  holes etc but this was good practice any way and now that the bridge position is masked off I can start finishing. First z-poxy pore filling, then some sanding & on to French Polish....

Monday, January 6, 2014

Carving the Neck

I always enjoy this part of the build process even if it is a bit nerve racking trying to get everything even and symmetrical.

Typically I use a spokeshave for most of the work and various rasps & files for the heel area..

Turned out pretty good on this one..

Now just a lot of sanding and oh yes the fret work to finish...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Attaching the Neck & Fretboard

Things are moving along and really starting to look like an instrument now, the neck & fretboard are attached to the body (bolt on mortise & tenon joint) and the next step is to carve the neck.

The bridge is also made but will not be permanently attached until after finishing the Mandocello..