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Guitar 005. A new home for the sound hole?

As I was still building guitar 001, I was processing a ton of info through books and videos. One luthier that caught my attention was making guitars with the sound hole in other locations than the typical middle of the waist under the strings location. From the beginning, I’ve had the intent to make nylon string guitars, but not with the stodgy old classical guitar look which is dime-a-dozen to me (just talking about the look, not what’s underneath). That is to say, classical guitars all look the same from 15 feet away, pretty much. Think about a house you really like the look of near or in your neighborhood. It may be more appealing to you than the home beside it. But, underneath the contractor and skilled labor had to follow certain construction codes. The guitars I’m making are classical guitars inside, following the “codes” of the trade. But on the outside, I’m aiming for something a little different. If you buy one fo my guitars, you’ll definitely have something nobody else in the world has.

On the left, 005 and on the right, my beloved 001, the Binah guitar.

The reason for placing the sound hole in the location you see it in with this new guitar: the normal location of guitar sound holes (in the middle of the guitar’s waist) is a very active part of the soundboard. When you cut a hole in that particular piece of the wood, you take away a large portion of potential sound. On the contrary, the lower side of the upper bout is a relatively inactive part of the soundboard. Moving the sound hole to that area frees up a lot of the guitar’s waist for midrange activity. Does that mean that guitars with the sound hole in the “normal” location sound inferior? Absolutely not. It’s simply a tweak on your stereo EQ (remember those?).

Guitar 005. All mahogany with maple fretboard. Kasha-style bracing. Offset sound hole. 630mm scale.

In summary, this guitar 005 was sort of an experimental one. In a way, they all have been. But, with this one, I changed the sound hole placement and I made it to a shorter scale of 630 mm (usually 650 mm). That’s a change from 25 1/2″ down to 24.8″ which is 24 51/64ths (or about 24 7/8″). If I make a guitar for you, I will ask you to measure the distance between some of your fingers and with that information I can make a comfortably playable instrument for your personal hands, something that is almost impossible to find in a music store.

A pic of my guitars made so far, all together last week at a handcrafts exhibit in GA.
In this pic of my information table at the craft show, I have an “in progress” guitar 006. Stay tuned for more.