Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Multi-skill craft

I was thinking about how making guitars requires many different crafts, from carpenter, wood-carver, precision machinist, detailer, finisher, audio engineer (of sorts), guitarist, and some I can't think of.  Yesterday, after trimming an ebony fretboard and cutting a strip from each side to serve as invisible bindings on the fretboard, I spent a good portion of the day wood carving on the heel of the neck.  This detail is often problematic, because it must be symetrical, perfectly centered and attractive, as well as comfortable to the hand when you slide into the upper positions above the 12th fret.  Here are a couple of shots to illustrate:

Fretboard trim.  Strips will serve as bindings.

Half carved heel in the Burns style
Although binding the fretboard on a classical guitar is not traditional, I like it because it provides a cover for the ends of the frets and I find it much more attractive and comfortable to play as well as easier to dress the frets.  I have a nifty little gadget that trims the tang off each end of the fret to allow it to overlap the bindings.  You end up with nice rounded fret ends, no tang showing and a nice smooth feel to the freboard.  I like it.

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