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Finished! A Guitar Bouzouki (don't you know what one of THOSE is?)


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The conversation went something like this:

Him: "Loved that video of Matt Marriott playing the dreadnought acoustic you built for him"

Me: "Why thank you!"

Him: "I was just wondering.  Could you make me a guitar bouzouki? Presumably you could use the same general arrangement but with a bouzouki neck and joining at the 16th"

Me: "Absolutely.  Yes - of course.  Same principle.  It's all just wood, after all, haha.  And strings...it does have strings doesn't it...and...frets, hmmm, presumably and..well... well yes, yes, yes of course!  Yes - the answer is yes!"

Him: "That's great"

Me: "It's been a pleasure talking about this.  Have a great day.  Bye!"

Him: "Bye then."

Me: (Thinks) What on EARTH is a Guitar Bouzouki???????

 

And so over the next couple of days I will bring you all up to date of what one is :) 

Best to treat this as a voyage of mutual discovery...  ;)

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And so, as a post-script. P and his delightful wife arrived last weekend to pick up the Guitar Bouzouki.  And I think he would be happy in me saying he loves it        For me,  that is a great pl

One of the reasons for the detailed threads is to remember what I did last time. Like thicknessing the sides from 4mm to 2mm. Clearly not the block plane.  But was it my No5 Bailey plane?  O

Anyway, a few more arty f**ty photos  

Posted Images

once I watched a short film about japanese instrument makers.  it was quite interesting how they revere certain very old woods.  I think that film was about bouzouki but I could be wrong... no idea what a guitar bouzouki is but I suspect it must be similar to a guitar banjo.  should be some interesting things happening.  good for you you brave sum gun!

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P and I are still pulling together the spec and I am still clambering up the learning curve using every crampon, piton and googlon at my disposal but it is basically going to be a guitar body with a bouzouki neck and bridge.  

The body size we are going for will be the OM/Concert - 15" across the lower bout and around 110mm deep at the tail (you can see I spent my formative years in transition between SI and Imperial!).  25.5" scale length.  Four pairs of strings, the bottom pair octave like a 12-string and the top three pairs in unison like a mandolin (you see, getting the lingo already! :) ).

The main difference to the body is that it joins the neck at the 16th fret, as opposed to the 14th fret of a standard steel string acoustic.  However, the bridge position, bracing and sound hole broadly remain in standard position, and so the upper bout shortens by around 30mm.

This is the shape we are toying with.  You can see in light relief the outline of a standard OM acoustic:

_MG_1262.thumb.JPG.e16a1c2b50a69453d8c37dff2055a4e8.JPG

The sound hole will be wider than the norm and may well be shaped.  It will have a standard-style guitar bridge with a compensated saddle.  

The construction and internal bracing design will be very much based on my own OM build:

OM.thumb.jpg.0d8ecb9a6adace38f179f7ac4b3136bf.jpg

The top timber, some lovely AAA spruce from David Dyke is already here.

The back and sides is on its way from Schroter in Germany and is Red Gum Satin Walnut.  I've ordered two sets - P will decide which one he wants when I am able to see them in the flesh and made sure they are both OK to use:

222277108_Ordered1.thumb.jpg.f00a3abb11f6b4047c8679c70d8c7f38.jpg

263458853_Ordered2.thumb.jpg.5f88c11ef75d52e75b2622552f86de34.jpg

 

Bit of an understatement that I'm quite excited by this build :)

 

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A bit more progress.

Having winged it for the past 4 acoustic builds, I finally invested in a proper long-reach dial gauge:

_MG_1265.thumb.JPG.afac71a7ff9eb427261d96275a5b16a6.JPG

 

The top wood is a lovely tight-grained piece of spruce - already ringing like a bell before thicknessing.  However, for the actual bookmatched side, the grain tightened right on the edge and darkened, so I looked at the other side and that, ironically, was much more even across the two sides, other than this half-knot which would be where my preferred join would be:

_MG_1273.thumb.JPG.7fe4a578bc0884d2504a3d4ae98fd7d3.JPG

Happily, it would fall where the sound hole will be so I firmed on that way round with the join on that edge.

_MG_1274.thumb.JPG.6fc5a64ec0f1c35933827b247979d19f.JPG

 

So join levelled off, roughed up and joined:

_MG_1279.thumb.JPG.f143d0c4eec7065f840435eba59d5c94.JPG

 

Next was getting down from 4mm thickness to 3.0mm.  That leaves 0.1mm for the final sanding once the top has been braced and glued on the sides.  For this, I used my trusty Stanley No.80 Scraper Plane, perfect for the job - and always remembering to scrape in opposite directions to suit the grain direction of each side:

_MG_1296.thumb.JPG.9997f720e27d8885730aec55a75b6fa3.JPG

 

Took a while, but it now is between 3.0mm and 3.07mm thick and already rippling with a pleasing chatoyance and ringing with encouraging multi-harmonic tap tone :)

 

Finally, after a few backwards and forwards of ideas, P and I cam e to an agreement about the soundhole.  Trying to sort a rosette out for this might be interesting!

 

_MG_1294.JPG

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

I finally invested in a proper long-reach dial gauge:

I made one of those when I was building a mandolin. It looks remarkably similar to that. Perhaps I actually did it right.:)

SR

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1 hour ago, Workingman said:

If you go to the forums at mandolincafe.com you will find a decent number of people have built these.  Did you ask if he was going to use Greek or Irish tuning?

Irish :)

Thanks for the tip.  I'll follow it up :)

 

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The proposed soundhole reminds me a little of the Selmer-Maccaferri D-shaped soundhole, only pointing in the opposite direction.

I assume this will also have the same double-course stringing used on a traditional Bouzouki too?

10 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

_MG_1274.thumb.JPG.6fc5a64ec0f1c35933827b247979d19f.JPG

Looks like you might just about be due for a fresh set of drawings too. They're starting to look like the've been...ummm... "well loved"...like a comfortable pair of slippers?

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3 hours ago, curtisa said:

The proposed soundhole reminds me a little of the Selmer-Maccaferri D-shaped soundhole, only pointing in the opposite direction.

We looked at a rounded D, but this one looked better, reflecting the straight sides between the heel-side bend and the waist.  Doing a rosette will be a challenge, though!

Yes, 4 double strings like a mandolin.  Irish string gauges and tuning (as opposed to Greek) and the bass pair octave tuned (like a 12 string) and the three higher pairs in unison (like a mandolin).

And two weeks ago, I didn't know ANY of that ;)

 

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40 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Doing a rosette will be a challenge, though!

I'm guessing you'll be doing this the manual way then. Circle cutting jigs ain't going to be much help here!

 

40 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And two weeks ago, I didn't know ANY of that ;)

You can teach us all as you go ;) Isn't that what management might call "synergistic knowledge transfer"?

Lots of newfangled terminologies going on with this build of yours. Irish bouzouki tuning appears to be G2/D3/A3/D4? So the lowest string appears to be the same as the fretted G on the 6th string/3rd fret on a standard guitar; voiced somewhere in the middle of a guitar but the tuning intervals spread much wider.

 

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39 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Lots of newfangled terminologies going on with this build of yours. Irish bouzouki tuning appears to be G2/D3/A3/D4? So the lowest string appears to be the same as the fretted G on the 6th string/3rd fret on a standard guitar; voiced somewhere in the middle of a guitar but the tuning intervals spread much wider.

Well, from what I understand, there are two tunings common for an Irish Bouzouki - the one you mention, which is a four string version of DADGAD and is used more for strummed accompaniment, but also commonly used is GDAE, which is the same tuning as a mandolin / violin / etc.  I think that is used more by traditional jig players.  

An 8 string (4 pairs) Greek Bouzouki is tuned to CFAD, has a longer scale and uses lighter gauge strings.  And a 6 string Greek Bouzouki (3 pairs) is tuned to DAD!

Then there is scale length...and there, the Guitar Bouzoukis tend to be different to both the Greek (not as long) and the Irish (longer).  Quite how that fits with string gauges, lengths, etc, is something that presently completely escapes me ;) 

Happily, P already has a Guitar Bouzouki so that gives me at least half a chance :)

 

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And so to the rosette.  This has to be done (for reasons that will become clear) before the soundhole is cut out and before the top is dished and braced.

This is the design:

479387386__MG_1327(2).thumb.JPG.99a9eaad47ef96902392c06fae26b684.JPG

 

And - plus a Dremel to fit to the Dremel radius jig - these are the essentials:

_MG_1309.thumb.JPG.6b5fe1a89c5ff1d6812fb0a81b795f47.JPG

After marking the curve centre-lines and outline with the compasses and ruler, I then drilled holes for the radius jig spike to push into:

_MG_1315.thumb.JPG.2e6af7da7944fe1aff3aa70b390aecb5.JPG

_MG_1316.thumb.JPG.be616dcdf2d47c52996614bcbb3c4efe.JPG

 

Then, with all the curves done, joined up with some straight routs:

_MG_1318.thumb.JPG.e6a5bb35984e09f14388203f3f85d261.JPG

These then form the channels that the purfling will push into.  I will use a 'standard' black/white/black:

_MG_1314.thumb.JPG.bdfe1e504911e4d532fe349274d7554a.JPG

And here it is waiting for the next stage, all the slots that the purfling will fit into cut (with a small piece of purfling pushed into the slot here to make sure the sizing is right):

_MG_1329.thumb.JPG.9be77a8139f4253334bfa6d907941be6.JPG

Next stage will be:

- routing the area under the two lines

- filling that area with bookmatched offcut from the back wood

- re-slotting the join for a clean purfling boundary

- MoP Swift in the middle.

 

Essentially, it should look like a triangular version of this:

1LiqYkNl.jpg.6d10fb696c48913e16606b3b2f1ebaf0.jpg

 

Last job of the day was joining the back ready for final thicknessing:

_MG_1328.thumb.JPG.257cc5cc309ecb7ef0b4b8fc53688e43.JPG

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So the next step is routing 'between the lines':

_MG_1333.thumb.JPG.149894d7edda349bbe7b911698652643.JPG

 

And then cutting out some book-matched back/side wood to approximate shape ready for sanding to fit:

_MG_1339.thumb.JPG.a3175b0a3010ba4154480bb0f91d5550.JPG

And glued, ready to plane/sand flush and then re-establish the purfling slots:

_MG_1342.thumb.JPG.25e180f0b9a1ecf9bd711a465a0f87a8.JPG

 

And while that was gluing, I made a start on the body mould:

_MG_1334.thumb.JPG.caadd8408e76db5d1b6acfdf9d21c06c.JPG

It's not fragile, it's plywood ;)  Just ran out of the other tape to hold it all still and together while I cut it through the bandsaw :)

 

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10 minutes ago, ScottR said:

You are running at warp speed Andy.

And churning out lovely work as you go.

SR

Thanks :)

Trouble with acoustics is that in the early stages a significant bit seems to be happening - but actually there is always so, so much still to do.

That said, I'm please how it's going at the moment :)

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It's about time I won that damn lottery so that we could finance some sort of residential lakeside summer guitar-cobblers camp. That said, seeing your work improving build-by-build "over the shoulder" is the next best thing, bar the lack of sauna and beer.

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1 hour ago, Bizman62 said:

At this point it looks like an alien with a fake beard to me...

Well, they do say that we build instruments after our own image...

 

And from which, I can only presume that @ScottR is very red, exceptionally shiny but very good looking - in a wooden sort of way ;)

 

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6 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Well, they do say that we build instruments after our own image...

Hmm... wasn't it your last build that had a face of a bear in the rosette? So an alien fake bearded bear is what to look for should I ever visit your whereabouts...

Re @ScottR, comparing his looks to his guitars made me think about Rosacea and that is not a nice thing to think about someone building such beautiful instruments!

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