When you make your first guitar, the important factors are cheapness and availability of the materials, as well as a clear sequence of actions, or so called “road map” of the process.
Today, the variety of proper materials for guitar building is available, but even the simple kit still has a certain price. And the farther away from the guitar wood suppliers you are, the more difficult and expensive to become this starting kit.
I would like to bring to your attention a simple source of suitable wood and describe the main steps of making a master classical guitar.
Some points of general guitar wood theory before starting the description
The guitar wood must be properly seasoned, preferably in natural conditions, so that after making the guitar is not cracked. At the same time the wood should be relatively “acoustic” or “musical”. Long time “seasoned” boards from the fence will not work for many reasons. The wood must be properly stored and properly cut (or at least to a certain acceptable level for the first time). You should also take into account the quality of the wood itself.
The main objective of the first experience of guitar making is to master the woodworking process. But still, as a result you definitely would like to have not a box in the shape of guitar, but a complete instrument. Which brings us back to the proper selection of the material. Any special material will cost something, and spoiling it due to inexperience would be a pity. Moreover, I would suggest to avoid overconsumption of the wood - the forests should be protected and let the special guitar wood be your choice for the second instrument. Although, I have to admit that this “rule” is successfully “violated” by our forum members that are making excellent guitars of rosewood straight from the first time. But still I think that they, nevertheless, are often having breathtaking moments during that work.
It's time to move on to the heart of the matter
Where else you can find a well-seasoned material? That’s right, re-use wood products that have been stored in good conditions. Maestro Torres used this technique by making guitars of rosewood furniture. As for us, to hesitate with the first guitar - it is absolutely unnecessary. Well, of course, in modern world the abandoned rosewood cabinets are rather hard to find, as it does with any kind of excess furniture from solid wood. But again I delay.
Now attention! Drum roll!
Beams from the old door frames, which are made of pine or even spruce! Door or window frames is the source of dry and well-seasoned material.
All right, I can take a sip of tea while skeptics are relaxing their wrinkled faces.
Threshold of entry
In any case, there is a threshold of entry. Often this threshold seems even greater than it actually is. If on the path to result there are many different kinds of ambiguities, the ascent of that route scares or even repellents. People are different, some are attracted by difficulties and others are frightened.
This project reduces and makes more transparent the threshold of entering the guitar making skills. You will be able, using real solid wood, to work out all the operations necessary for making a classical guitar, collect the necessary tools and develop your first preferences.
From a psychological point of view, risking a neighbor's door jamb found around the corner, is incomparably easier than to risk even the cheapest kit of materials for making a classical guitar. Eventually, you will get absolutely functional instrument, with which you can do almost anything, even study at the college of music. It will be certainly better than any plywood guitar of mass production, especially of average quality.
“Musicality” of the pine and hardness of the oak
Pine (Latin: Pinus): it may sound very trivial, but this is, in the absence of western cedar and spruce, the most suitable wood for making the top of classical guitar - the most important “musical” part of the instrument. Pine is inferior to the spruce and western cedar, but still remains a good option. From publications about acoustic constants we can find that this constant is 12 units for the spruce and 11 units for the pine (I write from memory, but the meaning does not change), which means the difference is very little. For the guitar top you will have to look for the best possible specimen of wood quality and cuts. Seasoning is also important, but in our case it is sufficiently long.
For the fingerboard and bridge you will need a hard wood. In our latitudes – such as hornbeam, ash, acacia, walnut, beech, maple, but the most interesting is oak (Latin: Quercus), which is somewhat darker and visually suits better, not to mention its density. You can also stain the oak and it will become even darker.
Beam from a door frame
Nowadays, people are replacing all the time their old wooden door and window frames. This material is very good for us, as the dry beams are very suitable to do many types of structures in guitar making. I am not sure about window frames, but the door frames – especially of the inner doors – are certainly not exposed to extreme weather conditions. It is important that the wood is not damp or rotten. In normal houses this does not happen.
One day I could not pass few discarded door frame beams. They were stored at my place for a year, until I came up with a project to make the guitar. And as it is well known “the ball comes to the player”: literally, one floor below my neighbors have discarded some oak frames. The fate somehow urged on me, it was impossible to resist.
The scheme of work, step by step instruction
The aim of the project “Guitar made of pine” – is to get an idea about woodwork component of classical guitar making. After all the material is, though not common, but the right one, and the woodwork is absolutely true. The result is very good. So, lets walk successively trough the main stages and compile a step by step instruction of work on the classical guitar. We omit many details, as they are discussed up and down on the pages of the forum and articles of MasterGitar.com.
P.S.: More about causes of the project: it was very interesting to me what, at the end, will come out of “jambeau pinus”. And I was pleasantly amazed by the result.
P.P.S.: : Unfortunately, many photos and videos are not of good quality and cameraman skill. I photographed with whatI have, and so as I could.