Some years ago my guitar teacher at the time ended our lesson by allowing me to play his brand new electric guitar as a treat. He brought out one of the most beautiful instruments I’d ever seen, a sort of sea blue, if I recall correctly, with a highly figured maple top. It was light, smooth, it felt and played like a dream. A special sort of dream, if you get my drift. It was gorgeous and I was inspired. And I have been inspired ever since to try to replicate that guitar and that feeling of playing it. It was an early version of the Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro range. Eggle Guitars went on to be renowned for beauty and quality.
Well, the temp jobs have not come through this year so I am starting some new projects and one of them is an electric guitar which leans heavily on the influences from this lovely instrument.
I have a block of Swamp Ash and a figured Maple top which started out as a carved ES335 top some years ago but was never finished due to life and proper jobs taking over for a while, so I’m going to use it.
Ordinarily, the Swamp Ash block would be enough and is indeed cut to facilitate a single block instrument. But why make it easy for myself ? So, I’m going to sandwich a piece of mahogany between the maple top and the block – and then split the whole thing and shape it. Nope, you wouldn’t normally do it this way but with the oddments of wood which I intend to use it’s probably the safest.
The mahogany filler in the sandwich is a hand-me-down acoustic top from another era, too. The gluing to the ash block is shown below.
As can happen, wood is a moving beast and here the mahogany has lifted slightly at the edge due to some curling as a result of too much glue, hence too much moisture, (it’s a fine line). However, I’m not too worried since I think this will be outside my guitar body shape and shouldn’t therefore be included in the final build carving.
So now the maple will be glued to the ash and mahogany block to create the final piece for cutting/carving. With a little care I should be able to split the ash block to leave enough spare to replicate this process with another top. Fingers crossed – take it slowly.
With an acoustic guitar and two coffee tables in elm to add to my woodworking list I’m going to be creating some dust. The constant hum of machinery, the radio, the drone of the dust collector ……….. I won’t be able to hear the phone ringing when someone does offer me a job ! I’ll keep you posted.