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  • Writer's pictureZarahn Southon

Making a 19th century romantic guitar

I've played guitar on and off for some years, and had a custom classical guitar made by the late Luthier Antonio Aparicio jr. He sent me many progress pictures and encouraged me to study the history and building methods of Luthiery. I relished it, and in the last 18 months started research into a 19th century guitar by Paris luthier Pierre René Lacote (c1785-c1868). I found a great plan from the Japanese luthier Makoto Tsuruta

I encourage any student of drawing to try their hand at making an instrument. The attention to detail and the use of woodworking tools like chisels and planes is liberating.

Sound clip Example of finished guitar:

For more in-depth images of the build:

Joining, scrapping and sanding the boards. The spruce was 5mm thick to 3mm in the centre and 2mm to the sides. The centre join was the hardest join since you need to be able to hold the boards up to the sun with no light seeping through the centre seam at all. I joined the two halves using the traditional tie method.

Reverse binding and ladder bracing harmonic bars.

Reverse binding and ladder bracing typical of this epoch of guitar making.

Homemade spool clamps. Gluing and clamping the front, back and sides

Homemade spool clamps. Gluing and clamping the front, back and sides

Chiseling the binding and purfling channels.

Gluing in the purfling and binding with the spanish method.

V-joint for the neck and head.

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