View Full Version : Guitar (pics)

Bruce Taylor
05-08-2002, 02:19 PM
Back and sides aren't polished yet, but I strung it up this morning.



I built it this month from stuff I had around the shop -- leftovers from other projects. It's loosely based on a Martin 00, w/ a red cedar top, cherry sides, & walnut bindings. I lifted some rosewood from an old stereo to make the rosette and tail inlays. Quick n' dirty lutherie...but it sounds pretty good!

[ 05-08-2002, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Chadd Hamilton
05-08-2002, 02:21 PM
Great work, Bruce. If it sounds as good as t looks....

Ian McColgin
05-08-2002, 02:27 PM
Damn long bowsprit.
Pretty obtuse prismatic.
And the partners look a bit large.

Otherwise quite nice.

Alan D. Hyde
05-08-2002, 03:13 PM
Since no one else has deigned to notice, I will have to react to the pun in Bruce's thread title.



Scott Rosen
05-08-2002, 03:44 PM
It looks like a classical guitar to me--gut or nylon strings, not to be played with a pick. Plus, Bruce is a good speller. He wouldn't spell Pick like "pic."

Beautiful work, Bruce. Is it as fun as building boats?

Tar Devil
05-08-2002, 03:47 PM
Damn! Is there anything you guys can't build?

I'm never letting my daughter in this forum... right now she thinks ole Dad is pretty talented with his hands. Little does she know....

Looks great!

Bruce Taylor
05-08-2002, 04:21 PM
I plead "not guilty"...didn't notice that awful pun till you pointed it out, Alan. Wish I'd done it a' purpose, though.

Scott, it looks like a classical because the fingerboard is wide (for my clumsy fingers) and the neck joint is at the 12th fret (as on Martins of yore). The body size is close to classical (in fact, I built it on my classical workboard) but much deeper, narrower in the waist, and x-braced. I strung it w/ light steel. You're right about the picks tho'...I play with my bare hands.

Yeah, guitar-making is as much fun as boatbuilding. I prefer sailing to plucking, though.

Memphis Mike
05-08-2002, 04:39 PM
Nice lookin geetar thar Bruce.

Roger Stouff
05-08-2002, 07:07 PM
VERY nice sir.That's on my list of things to do one day, but I imagine I'll start with a kit.

05-08-2002, 07:10 PM
beautiful, bruce, absolutely beautiful...

05-08-2002, 08:40 PM
Well done. I have built an electric before, but never an acoustic. Mine is too nice...

I hope you have many enjoyable hours making music with it.


Don Olney
05-08-2002, 09:12 PM
Nice work Bruce. What kind of finish will you put on it?

Peter Kalshoven
05-08-2002, 10:24 PM
Is this a good use for CPES? And what's all the fuss about...you can BUY a Taylor guitar almost anywhere!

Seriously, Bruce, I think you made my dream guitar. I have big clumsy fingers, so I like a wider fretboard, I love 12 fret to the body guitars, and I really like the sound of a small guitar with some depth. Did you scallop the X braces? What finish do you use?

Thanks for sharing the pic(k)s.


Wild Dingo
05-09-2002, 01:14 AM
Excellent Bruce!! Its surprisin what we can create out the "bits and pieces around the shop"! :D

But... :rolleyes: when you start on mine :D ... I have this penchant for a narrow body with a nice thin neck... maybe some mother of pearl inlay... nice gold tuners... oh! and a cutaway so I can get up to those real high notes... just so as I can show off when I feel the urge :D ... sigh okay enough dreaming! ;)

Well done mate!
Taylor Guitars??..... mmmmm will have to take a wander and see if I can find them :cool: Maybe I can find one around this town somewher to replace the baby that went missing awhile ago... thought I had found one the other day but... missus got antsy at the price of a new Martin!... oh well back to boats!

Take it easy

[ 05-09-2002, 02:17 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Art Read
05-09-2002, 01:53 AM
"Quick and dirty" my ass! Wow! Got any pictures of her under construction? Now I know how people who don't "know" boats feel when they look at a finished project. I'm amazed at the end result, but now I want to know how you did it!

John R Smith
05-09-2002, 05:30 AM
Nice looking guitar, Bruce. I like the idea of a steel-string which is almost a classical.

Now then, you can satisfy my curiosity. When you apply the finish (lacquer, I presume) will it change the sound?


Bruce Taylor
05-09-2002, 06:21 AM
Not lacquer, John (I'm not set up for spraying). I use French polish (shellac, oil, pumice). The finish doesn't make much difference to the sound, unless it's caked on so thickly that it raises the tap tone (and some factory guitars do carry enough lacquer to alter the sound). Guitar makers don't usually fret (sorry, Alan) about finish, as violin makers do. When I make a classical I keep the finish quite thin (a couple of thousandths of an inch), simply because that's how Romanillos does it.

Art, I mean it when I describe this as a quick n' dirty project. I normally make mosaic rosettes and fancy purfling and use the best materials I can afford. It's kind of liberating to put a guitar together from scraps.

I don't have construction photos, but there are several books that show how it's done. It's easier than it probably looks. Building Piccolo was harder for me.

Peter, I did scallop the braces -- first time I've done that. If the top bulges up and the bridge patch comes loose, I'll know why!

[ 05-09-2002, 07:49 AM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

05-09-2002, 06:31 AM
Bruce that surely is a work of art.

About the finish. I was looking at guitars back before Christmas and they had one on the rack, I believe it was a Martin, that had no finish. The salesman said it really had a big effect on the sound. He said it was a beutiful sounding guitar. Now I try to play but ain't got no ear for it so I can't vouch for how much difference it makes.


Bruce Taylor
05-09-2002, 06:45 AM
Chad, salesmen say the darndest things. I overheard one the other day telling a customer that mahogany was seldom used for guitar tops because it's rare and expensive (in fact, it's cheaper than a good Adirondack or European spruce top). Most factory guitars -- including new Martins -- have too much lacquer on them. This does affect sound, but only a little.

[ 05-09-2002, 07:50 AM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Peter Kalshoven
05-09-2002, 07:47 AM
Those Martins that look like they are unfinished actually have a satin finish on them. Why satin? The way I understand, it's a whole lot cheaper, and it's a no worry finish, as opposed to trying to apply a perfect gloss finish. (If there's an imperfection in a satin finish, how would you know?) You'll notice that that finish is mostly availible on Martin's lower end guitars.

How many guitars do you have, how often do you make new ones, and what do you do with the leftovers? Like I said, I think you just made my dream guitar, so if you find it cluttering up the shop, let me know, and I'll pay for shipping to help you clean up! ;)

Matt J.
05-09-2002, 07:53 AM
Well, Bruce, what more could I add? beautiful. Wouldn't want to sell it would you?
Really pretty job.

Scaps? those ain't scraps! Those was pieces of a puzzle waiting for you to assemble 'em. Wish I could do that.

Ken Hall
05-09-2002, 08:21 AM
I had the privilege of playing a Taylor recently. Don't know the model, but the owner told me it was a "lower-end" model. It was terrific, I'm really not worthy.

Another guy at the camp (my wife's cousin's husband...say it in your best Dark Helmet voice :D ) had a Yamaha that he picked up somewhere for $150. Overall it warn't as nice as the Taylor, but the sound (particularly the bottom end) was HUGE! Booming, that is....

Great value for money, and I've got to pick his brain about where he got it. I'm on a budget, y'know....

Ken, only needs a guitar to thrash Neil Young songs on Ken

Bruce Taylor
05-09-2002, 03:37 PM
Peter, I've been seeing a lot of that satin finish around. I think it's probably a catalyzed polyester, or something of that kind. All of the makers are trying to get away from nitro, because of health/environmental problems. Some have dabbled in water-borned lacquers, but I think the future is in high tech light-cured finishes, like the one Bob Taylor uses.

His stuff is all built with CNC routers, which give tolerances somewhere on the order of a couple of thousandths of an inch. Those are extremely well-made instruments.

Ken, Selfsinking Ken, those cheapo Yamahas can be amazingly good. Hand builders sometimes get pretty snobby about their craft -- refusing to use abrasives, or selecting tonewoods from the north side of a tree grown on a certain mountain, or whatever -- and at the end of the day, their instruments can still be blown off the stage by an ugly-ass factory guitar that just happens to sound great.

Oh, well. It's a good hobby.

[ 05-09-2002, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Jeff Robinson
05-09-2002, 05:52 PM
No spruce, Bruce? Its still a very beautiful thing.


Bruce Taylor
05-10-2002, 06:42 AM
Top braces & linings are sitka, Jeff. Bottom braces are made from a Spanish cedar post I found in a derelict playhouse I tore down. Scraps from here and there.

05-10-2002, 10:09 AM
Is the back cherry also? Is the cherry an experiment or do you know of its use by others?

Bruce Taylor
05-10-2002, 11:57 AM
Yeah, back and sides too:


Small builders sometimes use cherry. I used it because of a handmade cherry/cedar instrument I played last year -- a cute little guitar with a very sweet voice, patterned after a Martin 0-28. Cherry's considered a good tonewood (as is white oak, incidentally) but the large makers don't usually mess around with non-traditional woods. They've spent a century building a marketing mystique around mahogany, koa and rosewood.

If there's a problem with the wood on my new guitar, it's not that it's cherry. It's that it's slabsawn cherry. I should know by next february whether this was a stupid gamble!

The last classical I made had solid ebony back and sides...lovely, but real expensive. I really broke into a sweat bending that stuff.

Sorry, guys...I'm not trying to turn this into the WoodenGuitar forum.

Peter Kalshoven
05-10-2002, 05:24 PM
Bruce, don't worry about it. This thread, hidden in the middle of the WoodenBoat forum, is more enjoyable and more civilized than some of the guitar forums I look in on. (By the way, I wasn't kidding about being willing to take that guitar off your hands if you're getting crowded. :cool: )

To stay on the topic of music, if anyone saw the "Death of Dr. Green" episode on "E.R." last night, then you heard the haunting medly of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow / It's a Wonderful World". I've heard it before, but hearing the whole thing was too much. Thank heaven's for the internet. A little Google searching, and I found the artist, the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, otherwise known as Bruddah Iz. The pictures of this 750 pound ukelele player are awesome, but the tracks of his albums are more so. I recommend checking it out at http://www.mele.com/Farewell/tribute.htm


[ 05-10-2002, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: Peter Kalshoven ]

05-10-2002, 06:23 PM
Great job Bruce.

I probably shouldn't ask but.. how do you start building a guitar. Where did you begin?

Bruce Taylor
05-10-2002, 08:30 PM
Tom, I got started a long time ago, because I needed instruments for a travelling marionette theatre. I chopped up my living room furniture to make an Arabian oud and a North African gourd "banjo." I use to mooch animal skins from a kosher butcher to make drums and banjo heads. Real hippy stuff!

Later, when I was studying 19th cent. poetry I made some Aeolian harps -- just to see what Coleridge meant by "Such a soft floating witchery of sound / As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve / Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land."

Then about ten years ago my wife's Dad, a onetime harpshichord builder, showed me a guitar he'd made, and I knew that was something I had to do. (Come to think of it, he was the guy who took me around to the WoodenBoat works in Maine & got me hooked on boats!)

There are several good books on the subject, but the only one you need is Bill Cumpiano's Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology.


Pete -- Great song! I'm going straight over to Elderly to order the CD. One day I've gotta make a uke.

[ 05-10-2002, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Wild Dingo
05-11-2002, 12:54 AM
Well I dont know from Brudda Iz... but Bruce you done good considering what you say you made her out of... excellent in fact. :cool:

Tom if my memory serves and Bruce will probably tell me Im wrong its been a bloody long time... you start at the back... errrrrr I fink??? maybe???.. Good grief!! :eek: maybe I better go back a few years and try to remember!!! only made one then made an electric "something"... and both of those are long long gone... I just buy one if I need one... well I gots other things to build aint I??

As for your father in law... now hes got some answering to do!! :eek: ...First he ties you up with his daughter and if that aint enough causin your addiction to both woodenboats and buildin geetars??? man hes sure an cruel guy!! :cool: Now my father in law on the other hand... tossed me his daughter and then buggared of sailin!!! :D

mmmmm something tells me hes smarter than me??

And you just ignore that Peter Kalshoven fella! if you dont want it... wouldnt that be weird??? building her then not wanting her?? couldnt do it meself... but anyway you just send it on down thisaway mate! ;)

Okay gotta go watch hoons number 4 & 5 play soccer in the pourin bucketting down rain!!Yeeeeeeeha!! :rolleyes:

Okay just to amend that first comment... I just went and had a listen... man!!! whew! beautiful... mmmm wonder if I can get any of his albums down this way??? this should be an interesting experience!!

Take it easy

[ 05-11-2002, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Ron Williamson
05-11-2002, 06:10 AM
Nice work.
I wish that I had the patience to build and learn to play.Small fiddly stuff is NOT my forte.(Maybe I should work on that.)

Matt J.
05-13-2002, 07:56 AM
Seriously, wouldn't want to sell it would ya? 'd like to learn, and would prefer to buy one form a forumite than some store brand... I promise to take good care of the guitar :D

05-13-2002, 08:18 AM
Bruce, I thought oak had a problem with dimensional stability or is this just bad press?

Bruce Taylor
05-13-2002, 09:25 AM
Andrew, white oak is, indeed, treacherous; but when quartered it's certainly no worse than flatsawn maple, which you see on many fine guitars (bird's eye and flame are typically cut on the slab). Proper humidity control in the shop is far more important than the hygroscopic properties of the wood itself. That said, if I were building a guitar for sale under warranty I'd want to use the most trustworthy woods I could get my hands on.

Matt, it wouldn't be ethical for me to sell this one (too "experimental"...I used slabsawn cherry, for god's sake) but drop me a note offline.

05-14-2002, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the pleasant thread. Bruce. Boats and musical instruments are two things that we need to save our great wood for. Houses and furniture can be made of anything. Ferrocement, anyone?

My experience with instrument building is that the scale of the project makes the precision much easier to deal with. Guitars and their cousins are lots of fun. If you want an interesting project, build a fiddle or an arch-top cutaway jazz guitar. Shaping the top and the back and getting the thickness right takes some fussing, but it sure is fun to do. Real fun comes in building the mechanical bits in a clavichord, virginal, or harpsichord. THAT'S fun!

I don't know what's up with new guitars. I've been disappointed with every new Martin I've played lately. A friend just got a new D-18, and alongside my prewar D-18 it's like they were built on different planets. The sound is okay, but that's about it. Just okay. Size and shape are right--it feels familiar. But that satin finish needs to go. Mine got some repairs about 25 years back, and the stain and nitrocellulose lacquer came from Martin. The top wasn't touched with new finish--just buffed it to get the shine back. Only problem with owning this oldie is that I don't dare take it anywhere. First is the theft issue, but I have to fend of offers to buy the damn thing off'n me. I refer them to my daughter, who will get it when I'm dead!

Here's a boat/guitar finish connection for you. I new a fellow years back who built custom, mostly for jazz musicians. He'd worked for Fender when a youth, and told me the secret to the feel of a Fender neck is Man-O-War spar varnish! If the D-18's neck ever needs refinishing, I'm tempted to give it a try. Heresy, no doubt.

[ 05-14-2002, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: Kermit ]

Peter Kalshoven
05-15-2002, 01:53 PM
Don't mean to overdo this, but the link for Iz' song I posted above only gives a little of it. I found a different link on mudcat.org that plays the whole thing as part of an NPR archived program. If you want to hear, here it is.

05-15-2002, 02:08 PM
Kermit, your comment re old/new guitars reminded me of a company that "ages" acoustic guitars in a matter of hours. They drive it at high decibels with large speakers while analyzing the guitars response.

Peter Kalshoven
04-25-2003, 11:02 AM
Bruce, I was searching for something else, and came upon this thread. It's been almost a year now, how does that guitar sound?

(I'm still willing to help you clean up! :D )

04-25-2003, 11:59 AM
Pete thanks for pulling up this thread .I thought my computer was goin crazy because I saw the may dates and thought I was lost or some thing.

Wood and wire ...what else can you say, beautiful job Bruce..I've got about a dozen guitars but none made by me.My Guild is my favorite,my yamaha's are my work horses( one is a six string ,thinbody w/piazo pick-up , a cut away and no pick guard,Shane come by and try it out) and my Early Winter is my backpack guitar.

It's a pleasure meeting all of you...even the ones with the foul mouths and personalities .Perhaps we'll see you change for the better..Strum on smile.gif DAN L.

[ 04-25-2003, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: R.I.Singer30 ]

Wild Dingo
04-25-2003, 12:16 PM
Okay Bruce!!... Wheres me flamin geetar mate!!! :mad: ...mmmmm??? and here Ive been waitin watchin mutterin cursin the poor flamin posty out every day for loosin me geetar from the legendary luthier Taylor of Canukaland... its 6 flamin months late mate!!! :eek: sheeesh aahhh well I guess your enjoyin it eh?! :rolleyes: :cool:

ah well best get over it I suppose and go buy anothery eh? sigh... :D

Maybe when all this wood dries I'll make me a Tuart one!! ...gawd on second thoughts that would be one heavy sucker!! :eek:

oooh and thanks for bringin this back up again Peter :rolleyes: ...gawd some of yous fellas have a cruel streak half a mile wide!! ;)

Matt Middleton
04-25-2003, 01:39 PM
Just wanted to bump this back into view, to ask:

So Bruce, how did the flat-sawn pieces fare?


Bruce Taylor
04-25-2003, 02:19 PM
It's been almost a year now, how does that guitar sound?Thanks for asking, Peter.

It still sounds pretty good...considering. A houseguest left in on the floor, last summer. That night, I was groping around in the dark and put my foot through the soundboard!

I repaired the break and repolished the top, but the accident seemed to destabilize the top a bit. A few months ago, I replaced the bridge w/ one of a larger, more conventional design, and everything seems normal again. The bass seems a bit less strong (not surprising, given the greater mass in the bridge and the "buttons" I used to repair the cracks)...but I changed strings when I did the last repair, so that might be the problem.

I love playing it. That cedar top really rings. Next year I plan to build another on the same design, using more conventional construction.

So Bruce, how did the flat-sawn pieces fare?No cracks, despite spending the winter out of its case (didn't feel like coddling it, after that accident!). In the humid months last year the back swelled a bit (I could detect the movement with my fingers). If I use slabsawn boards again I'll build at slightly higher r.h. (%50 should do it).

Bruce Taylor
04-25-2003, 03:01 PM
Maybe when all this wood dries I'll make me a Tuart one!! ...gawd on second thoughts that would be one heavy sucker!! I doubt it'd be heavier than the ebony guitar I made a few years ago!

What is this "tuart" like, when it's seasoned?

04-25-2003, 03:10 PM
That's beautiful Bruce. You are such a valuable member here; a regular renaissance figure. Thanks for the pics, they're inspiring. Just a little something knocked together out of stuff you had laying around. :rolleyes: smile.gif

Peter Kalshoven
04-25-2003, 03:10 PM
Thanks for the report, Bruce.

A houseguest left in on the floor, last summer. :mad: :mad: :mad:
I trust the guest is not invited back?

Next year I plan to build another on the same design, using more conventional construction.
What will be more conventional, the method or the material?

One more question. I've looked at the reviews of the book you mentioned. (Looks like everyone loves it.) Now my son wants to build a guitar with me. Any other suggestions for useful references, to supplement? All and any help would be appreciated.


gunnar I am
04-25-2003, 04:56 PM
Beautiful Bruce!! My sister Rose wood love that guitar! I get sitka see'n all the crap around that passes for a musical instrument. Nice work indeed. :D

Bruce Taylor
04-25-2003, 06:00 PM
I trust the guest is not invited back?Hehe. He's a good buddy. I haven't even told him what he did.

What will be more conventional, the method or the material?Both. I made that one with a Spanish neck & heel (classical style...I had some old cedrella blanks I'd already laminated) and a fixed truss rod (as on the older Martins). When I build another to this design I'll drop in an adjustable truss rod and make a bolt-on neck. I'll install a wider bridge. And then there's that slabsawn cherry... smile.gif

I'll put together a bibliography, if you like Peter. IN the meantime, pay a visit to the Guild of American Luthiers: http://www.luth.org/index.html.

You might also stop by at Kathy Matsu****a's amateur Luthier page: http://pweb.jps.net/~kmatsu/ . There's a feature on her in this month's edition of American Lutherie. A very nice woman.

Oh...and talk to forumite Tim Diebert. He's a pro.

Jack & Gunnar -- thanks for the compliments (& godawful puns).

[ 04-25-2003, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Wild Dingo
04-25-2003, 09:56 PM
Bruce... Im racking me brain trying to remember if someone posted a link to a site that gave samples of timbers?... anyway Tuart is otherwise known as Eucalyptus gomphocephala

And from an email from the legendary Mike of Field comes this info...

But checking out my trusty TEDH, I find that it's right up there with ironbark, woollybutt, and grey gum for weight. Going from green to 12% moisture content, expect shrinkage of 3% radially and 7% tangentially. It's classified as Strength Group B (second-highest,) and its "principal structural uses" are shown (forty years ago) as "heavy structures, building scantling."
So, taking it all round, I'd say it would be most suited to keel, stem- and stern-post, and horn timber. Once it's cut, I'd seal the ends and then sticker it to air-dry for at least three years. (But that's only IMHO, of course.)
I wouldn't know what it would be like to steam, but if you were to use it elsewhere in the hull you could wind up with a *very* heavy boat. (Think of how heavy the all-jarrah pearling luggers were -- and jarrah's *lighter* than tuart.)
So I wouldn't worry about getting the logs ripped up too small -- 3" minimum I should think.. And I'd keep some timbers up to 9" or 12" if you can get it that big.( Any boat that sits out on the mud like Sanderling does likes a nice wide foot to rest on, and you can always rip it up smaller later if necessary.)
>Maybe you can sell a bit of it too. And if you stick to large sections you can always use it for
>door-sills at your new house if all else fails.

Soo thats about as much as I know other than whats sitting on my front lawn just now :D I seem to remember someone flipping a site that gave timber examples like little cards of finished timber so one could see grains and such... buggared if I can find it though :rolleyes:

Edited to say thanks to Mike!! :cool:

[ 04-25-2003, 11:08 PM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

capt jake
04-25-2003, 10:08 PM
I am a little late in this, but I must say, that is a fine looking guitar!! You make the 'other' Taylor shiver!! :D :D

04-25-2003, 10:49 PM
My heart bleeds when I hear of damaged instruments.It sounds like the doctor did a pretty good job putting her back together .Like nice cars they're never the same after an accident. :( My Yamaha FG-410 has this big ding where the back meets the sides from an x girl friend who tended to get a bit loco with the pull of the moon.It was the only way she could hurt me and she did .It was my first decent guitar.I've still got her(the guitar not the girl)and she still sounds good ding and all.Thanks for the links every night I learn something new here. smile.gif Dan L.

04-26-2003, 12:00 AM
Hey Bruce; You being a luthier and being reasonably close to the factory, do you have any comments about Seagull guitars - the upmarket LaSiDo product? As it happens, I have an "Artist Rosewood Cedar Cutaway":
Solid Cedar Top
Semi-Gloss Lacquer Finish
Solid Rosewood Back
Rosewood Sides (laminated)
Mahogany Neck
Indian Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
It was more than I wanted to spend and far less than retail due to a couple of tiny dots on the top (not dimples - color dots, that seem to have faded in the past year - it's getting hard to find them) but it had such presence compared to the $300 ones I was looking at (including a Baby Taylor) and sounded (to me) better than the $1100+++ name brands (Martin, Taylor) in the shop at that time. Rich, full, deep presence. Gave me goosebumps. $900 list for $500 as a factory second, so I wasn't too unhappy at spending almost twice what I planned and it just sang to me when a couple of people played for me! Hope one day I'll be able to make her sing too! smile.gif

04-26-2003, 12:49 AM
Hey Kat,You did it right.I was told from the start to buy the one that sang to you.Be patient and you'll be rewarded.Start with some songs you like and play em till your sick of them ,then they'll be easy.Have you ever heard of OLGA( on line guitar archives)and Harmony Central,These web sights have an imense amount of songs posted in either chord or tab form. These helped me with my repetoire.

As for seagull guitars ,I believe they're made in Canada(that doesn't make them a bad thing) He likes it ,but I haven't seen it yet.BOL DAN L.

[ 04-26-2003, 02:29 AM: Message edited by: R.I.Singer30 ]

04-26-2003, 04:27 PM
I play a 1956 Martin D-18 that I bought from Ray Wylie Hubbard. He recorded his last few albums with it. Its really beat up but the sound and tone is incredable. I wish I could post a pic so you guys could see how nasty it looks. Awesome action but I need to get it set up a little better. My B string is a bit dead sounding.

Nice guitar Bruce. I,d love to hear how it sounds. Someday Im going to build one. Maybe a White Falcon type hollow body.

04-26-2003, 04:44 PM
If your b string sounds dead check to see if it's to close to the fretboard.If it is you may try a slight shim under the nut just on the g,b,e side .Or have an new nut set.you could order it your self through Stewart McDonald catalogue.

Think of Willie Nelson's martin.It sounds great even with a hole worn in it. smile.gif

[ 04-26-2003, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: R.I.Singer30 ]

Bruce Taylor
04-26-2003, 05:09 PM
do you have any comments about Seagull guitars The ones I've played have been great...light and lively & nicely set up.

The right guitar is the one that pleases your ears and fingers. Great makers can produce dull instruments, and makers of shoddy brands sometimes produce an axe that, for no discernible reason, sings out.

Peter Kalshoven
04-27-2003, 10:34 PM
Hi, my name is Pete, and I'm a guitar addict.
(Hi, Pete!)
Anyways, I love this thread. Had a double dip of guitar heaven tonight, so I thought I'd share. Had the Tele out tonight (SRV would love this axe, strung with .14s thru .58s... the rhythm guitar from hell) as I've been helping some kids at church put together a band. One kid started playing a new song, and for the first time, I found myself improvising the perfect lead part. Sounded great, felt great, never wanted to stop. Did that ever feel good.
Then when I got home, my son got out his Squier Strat that I gave him when I bought the Tele. SWMBO saw it, asked the dreaded "Where the hell did that come from" question, and I gave the stock answer..."That old thing, that's just a cheap guitar I gave Number 1 Son when he wanted to play." Bless his pointed little head, Number 1 Son said, "Come on Mom, you've seen this before, I've played it next to you before." (He shoots, He SCORES!!!) She bought the story! :D This means that there's only one more guitar hidden in the house that she doesn't know about, and once I expose her to that, it's time to get another one! :cool:

I can't afford a mistress, I have too many guitars!

Bruce Taylor
04-28-2003, 05:56 AM
It's one thing to hide a guitar, but have you ever tried to conceal a boat? My first one was half built before SWMBO knew it existed. All the kids in the neighbourhood were in on the conspiracy, and not one of them ratted me out. smile.gif

Peter Kalshoven
04-28-2003, 07:49 AM
You win. :D

[ 04-28-2003, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: Peter Kalshoven ]

Peter Kalshoven
04-18-2006, 08:15 AM
I was looking for an old thread, and I found this one instead. So, rather than just bump it up, I'll ask:

What have you built lately?
Show us some pics.

Bruce Taylor
04-18-2006, 12:22 PM
Peter, I spent most of the lutherie season (winter) building a hot-tub deck in the side of a hill. The upper level does have a rosette, though:


There's a zebrawood and sitka spruce steel string on my bench, waiting to be assembled. All the parts are there...but the humidity is already too high, so I'll probably put it together in the fall.


04-18-2006, 01:22 PM
Bruce, can I convince you to try your hand at a cello? Not so exquisite in the marquetry rosettes etc., but carving the arched top and back plates would be exciting, no?


04-19-2006, 06:46 AM
OK..... Now I have to build a guitar.... Mahogany back and sides? White Cedar top?

04-19-2006, 07:03 AM
Bruce, I remember when you first posted this. Now that it has been a while how does it sound?


Bruce Taylor
04-19-2006, 07:03 AM
Doug, I've always wanted to try white cedar, but I've never run across a board that would work. If you find a slab of perfectly quartered white cedar, with fairly tight grain and no runout, 8" wide or better...try it.

Mahogany's a good lutherie wood. Hard to bend by hand over the hot pipe, though (bitter experience, there). I'd use a silicone heat blanket, or "Fox-style" bender.

Tom, I don't know about a cello, but one of these days I want to try a viola da gamba.

Chad, I'm afraid that guitar has been retired. It still sounds fine, but after the top repair and bridge replacement the action was never the same. Easier to build a new one than to fix the problems on the old one.

04-19-2006, 07:12 AM
My first woodworking teacher built Viola da Gambas. Beautiful instruments. I never understood the movable fret thing though. BTW his name was Taylor too, Gib Taylor. Maybe you're related.

Bruce Taylor
04-19-2006, 07:32 AM
Doug, the fixed frets we're used to are a compromise, allowing the instrument to play slightly out of tune in any key. Before "equal temperament" and "the rule of 18" became standard, it was common for fretted instruments to have gut frets that could be moved around for perfect intonation in different keys. We're all used to equal temperament, so it doesn't offend our ears, but guitars really don't play in tune. Serious players of early music often choose other tuning systems (right temperament, well temperament, etc).

Memphis Mike
04-19-2006, 07:50 AM
So what would it take to obtain one of these fine hand crafted "Taylor" guitars?http://www.woodenboat-ubb.com/vbulletin/upload/images/icons/icon10.gif

04-19-2006, 08:23 AM
Maybe I'll ask George Younblood if he has a piece of Spruce that's not quite up to his standards..... My Cedar is pretty wide grained.....

John Bell
04-19-2006, 08:35 AM
I play a 1956 Martin D-18 that I bought from Ray Wylie Hubbard.

If "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers" isn't part of your repetoire, you should be ashamed.

Too cool!

My only guitar is a cheap Epiphone, all this talk makes me want more.

J. Dillon
04-19-2006, 08:51 AM
Beautiful work and I know it sounds great !!


Peter Kalshoven
04-19-2006, 09:07 PM
Bruce, please show some more pics of your handiwork. Most of these guys have never seen them before.

04-20-2006, 07:46 AM
... We're all used to equal temperament, so it doesn't offend our ears...Ahem.

One of the great pleasures of playing string quartets, is the chance to play the intervals and chords perfectly in tune (no "beats"), and the 3rds and 7ths high enough to be real leading tones. And for that to be true no matter how many key changes the piece goes through.

Bruce Taylor
04-21-2006, 08:42 AM
Bruce, please show some more pics of your handiwork. Most of these guys have never seen them before.

Well, since you're twisting my arm ... ;)

Some stuff from my Imagestation albums:

A classical:




A simple steel string:



A mandolin:



John Hastie
04-21-2006, 10:57 AM
Bruce - This is gorgeous. It kind of reminds me of the Martin "New Yorker". I played one (Josh White's), and it was a great blues guitar.

I wish I had never gotten rid of my 1915 Washburn.


Bruce Taylor
04-21-2006, 02:13 PM
I wish I had never gotten rid of my 1915 Washburn.
I used to have a Washburn potato-bug mandolin from that era. The quality of the original workmanship was top-notch (I wish I could say as much for the "repairs" I did to it :().

Can you give us a quick and simple explanation of how the circular inlays around the soundhole are made?
The mosaic part of the top rosette is done with stacks of veneers -- ebony, satinwood and holly -- glued up in "sandwiches," then sliced with a small saw to make mosaic "tiles," which are then glued around a circular form. The process is a little hard to describe without pictures, but not that hard to do.

The decorative "slash" pattern involves more stages (and the lines have to be bent to shape around a hot pipe), but uses similar tricks: basically, a lot of stacking and slicing of veneers.

These days, I make simpler rosettes, and I do have have some pics of one under construction.

I started by gluing some holly and ebony together:


Sliced it like bread:


Glued up some veneer lines, and bent them around the hot pipe:



Assembled the rosette around a circular form:


Bruce Taylor
04-21-2006, 02:58 PM
Cut a slot, w/ a homemade circle tool and a Dremel:


Inlaid rosette, and levelled with scrapers:



And that's about it. The raggedy stuff at the top is hidden under the fingerboard.


Bruce Taylor
04-23-2006, 12:11 PM
Maybe I'll ask George Younblood if he has a piece of Spruce that's not quite up to his standards..... My Cedar is pretty wide grained.....

Don't forget about red cedar. I picked up some cheap fencing from the Home Depot a couple of days ago (for an outdoor bench) and without really trying I pulled several good mandolin tops out of the pile...nicely quartered and fine-grained (some of the growth lines were literally too tight to count). Colour was pretty wild, but I happen to like that.

Those tops will be less than four bucks each.

04-23-2006, 12:17 PM
I have an 1956 Martin D 18. I bought from Ray Wylie Hubbard. He recorded several albums with it. Its a very cool guitar and its beat up, but sounds unreal. I had it at the 12th Fret in Toronto to get it set up the way I wanted and they said it was one of the sweetest sounding D 18s they have ever heard. :cool:

I,ll post a photo some day.

Paul Girouard
04-23-2006, 12:24 PM
Don't forget about red cedar. I picked up some cheap fencing from the Home Depot a couple of days ago (for an outdoor bench) and without really trying I pulled several good mandolin tops out of the pile...nicely quartered and fine-grained (some of the growth lines were literally too tight to count). Colour was pretty wild, but I happen to like that.

Those tops will be less than four bucks each.

Bruce do you sell these instrumnets you make ??

I've repaired one guitar a year or so ago for my pastor he dropped it and cracked the edge . No big deal really,,, he says it plays and sounds just as good. The music store told him it was a total loss , repair cost would be more than a new one :eek: Not sure that was true but could have been. ;)

One day I should build one for fun , I can't play and don't really have any interest in learning . My hands work enought now without added that to the mix.

You seem to make quite a few , so is that part of your income , carpenter / luther??

On a side note do you read Fine home building ?? Good article by Tedd Benson in the annual issue this month sort of related to the carpenter trade . Any thoughts on what he said ? I think you are a carpenter from what you've posted , is that right?


Bruce Taylor
04-23-2006, 04:40 PM
Paul, I'm just a hobby luthier. I keep meaning to do a production run of mandolins to sell on spec...I've made the jigs, but other projects keep getting in the way.

If you have a hankering to build a guitar, go for it. It's no harder than the stuff you already do (maybe easier, in some ways). As a pro, you'd approach it in a sensible, organized way.

I haven't seen the Benson article, but I'll pick it up if I see it. I'm not a carpenter, but I'm interested in the subject.