The Components of a Classical Guitar

I am building Classical Guitars. These are light-weight nylon-string guitars that follow the instrument design as it evolved from the Spanish builders of the 19th and early 20th century. I closely adhere to shape, dimensions and appearance of these guitars, but I am using state-of-the-art building methods and modern materials (such as carbon fiber reinforcements in the neck and bracings) where appropriate. These guitars typically have 6 strings (E330-B247-G196-D147-A110-E83), but they can also be built with 7 strings by adding an additional bass string, generally tuned to D74. The neck has 20 frets with the 12th fret at the edge of the body of the guitar. Default string length is 650mm, but string lengths between 630 and 660mm are used.

My knowledge about building the Classical Guitar comes from many sources, but the most valuable and important were papers published in American Lutherie, the quarterly journal of the Guild of American Luthiers dating back as far as 1985. There are also two excellent books that have helped me much in understanding the many steps and critical processes in building the Classical Guitar. These are Guitarmaking - Tradition and Technology by William R. Cumpiano and Jonathan D Natelson and Classical Guitar Making - A Modern Approach to Traditional Design by John S. Bogdanovich. I am much indebted to these luthier-authors for the effort they have gone to to explain their methods to the public.

Below I will show how I build the components of the guitar and how I assemble them into a complete instrument. I need to point out that this is not intended to be a course on building guitars. I provide many highlights of processes and fixtures I use, but there are many details that I don't go into here. At this point I should also point out that I am using metric measurements which is the tradition on Classical Guitars.

The Neck

The Head

Shaping the Neck

The Body

Bending the Sides

Making the Rim

Bracing the Back

Making the Rosette

Bracing the Top

Making the Bridge

Assembling the Guitar

Gluing the Back to the Rim

Gluing the Top to the Rim

Installing the Lining

Gluing the Neck to the Body

Gluing the Fingerboard to the Neck/Body

Gluing the Bridge to the Body

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