No Parlour Tricks

While the lacquer is curing on the Telecaster, I’ve been turning my thoughts to the next guitar build. This build is based on a dinky little 19th century parlour guitar which came into the workshop in Totnes for repair. Compared to Esmerelda the parlour is quite tiny;  the widest measurement across the lower bout coming in at 304mm compared to Esme’s shapely 412mm. The delicate feel of the parlour guitar is accentuated by a period correct 12 fret neck to body join.

I started this build in a previous workshop before the summer-of-whiskey-and-tears (an actual period of time) prompted house moves across 3 cities and put all woodworking on ice for a spell. So now that the Telecaster is done save for levelling and polishing the lacquer and final set up, it is high time that I press on with the parlour guitar.

Given the delicate proportions, the parlour guitar is going to be a finger picking guitar, and I have selected timber for a warm but clear and balanced tonality. The back and ribs are a lovely set of American Red Gum (a member of the eucalyptus family, I beleve) which I bought from the very nice chaps at Brook Guitars (by any reckoning one of the best acoustic guitar workshops in the UK). Red Gum has a very clear sound similar to maple, which will be complimented by the warmer overtones of the yellow cedar soundboard.

The neck is a nice, straight grained piece of steamed pear. Ordinarily I would plumb for mahogany for acoustic necks, but the pinkish hue of steamed pear was a better match for the Red Gum back and ribs, and as neck timber contributes very little to the sound of the instrument I decided to go with what looked best.  It is the neck I have been working on recently, and which I will be blogging about in the next couple of days. But before diving into documenting this build, I thought it would be useful to introduce the instrument and outline initial design choices.

Image

Yellow cedar soundboard and American Red Gum back, photographed in my grandfather’s shed, several years ago.

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