The classical guitar: wood

My second guitar is going to be a Spanish classical guitar. I’m building it for my dad. For his 70th birthday (this year) I told him I would build him a guitar. I already had the top: a great piece of spruce that I got from the workshop where I do my guitar building. They had it lying around after someone glued it together over 20 years ago, but never did anything else with. You can see yellow gloop running down the middle. That’s hide glue. While some people claim hide glue does good things to a guitar’s tone, I use white wood glue for all my work. The white wood glue vs hide glue debate is one of those great guitar building discussions. I might write more about that when I’ve got more experience using the two types of glue. For now though, here’s the spruce top I’m using:

The top of my classical guitar.

The top of my classical guitar.

For the backs, sides and neck, my dad and I visited a local guitar builder (Van Bergeijk Guitars, http://www.gitaarbouw.nl). He had a number of sets of book matched rosewood sides and back plates for us to choose from. It was hard to choose, as all the wood was properly quarter sawn and flawless. Eventually we just chose the set that we liked the look of most. For the neck and heel block, we got two straight grained, quarter sawn pieces of Spanish Cedar. I love the smell of Spanish cedar. This guitar is going to smell great.

Here’s what we got:

The rosewood back and sides and the spanish cedar neck blank for my classical guitar

The rosewood back and sides and the spanish cedar neck blank for my classical guitar

Having seen tropical jungles first hand, I find it hard to use tropical wood, even if it’s sustainably sourced. Even though rosewood backs and sides are a  gold standard for many guitar builders, I think there are plenty of alternatives that are perfectly acceptable. I made an exception with this guitar because the stock is old (at least 20 years) and because my dad really likes the look and feel of this wood. This will be a one-off, custom made guitar!
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