Guitar Building Class 6      November 16, 2017

Class Overview

     Challenges of teaching a guitar building class
     Final Joining of the Neck to the Body 
     Truss Rod Layout and Installation
     Installing the Fretboard, Bridge and Tuners
     Set up  

The Box and the Stick... Joined​

Overview:     The final class of this semester's Guitar Building course was held at the Woody Strings shop. Final comments on the challenges of teaching a guitar building class of this type are noted below.

    At the final class we joined the neck to the body of the guitar. Also explained was setting the final neck angle and the tolerances involved which impact the height of the bridge and the break angle.  All of these elements have a significant impact on the playability of the guitar.

     Also discussed was the inlay of the truss rod into the neck and several options in that regard. Specifically, we discussed the types of truss rods available and strengthening the peghead joint when the truss rod is adjusted from the nut end.

     Now, all that is left to complete guitar is to attach the fretboard, the bridge and tuners.  We then discussed the challenges of setting up the instrument for the individual who will be playing it. Variables include string guage (light or medium) and string spacing at the nut and saddle. The action and neck relief are also variables that are impacted by the style of play. 


     Woody believes that the teacher learns the most from preparing and sharing information and knowledge. This is true. I enjoyed the teaching  (6 classes; 90 minutes each), had fun and also made a few friends. Each week, I prepared a slide show of 30 minutes or so to start off class. Then a luthiery demonstration of some sort for the last 60 minutes.

     I kept thinking that 'luthiery is not a performance art'.  Still,  all enjoyed... and we learned much. 

     The classroom projector was more than adequate for my needs. The classroom, however, was on the east side of the building with 8-foot windows to the ceiling... morning class. High-contrast schematic diagrams were the best slides to introduce the novice to the machines, tools and techniques of guitar making. The students asked great questions.

     The  in-class demonstrations were a bit of a challenge because each week I had to carry and set up the tools, fixtures and wood to be used in that week's demonstration.  This requirement began to get tedious after a few weeks and so it was decided to hold the last two classes at the wJs workshop.  (d.g.)         

     The next time I do this (spring 2018), I will have ALL of the demonstration classes at Woody's shop. It's only a couple of miles from the school and should not be an inconvenience to the students. Having demo classes at Woody Strings would also allow for more comprehensive demonstration as all tools and equipment are within easy reach. Questions too, are easier and quicker to answer. It was clear that the students preferred to meet at wJs. The wJs shop, however, is not large and has space enough for only a limited number of visitors.  We'll see how that works out next semester.


     After the final meeting, the students were very gracious and thanked me for putting together the class which all found unique and informative. This was very gratifying to hear and my main objective was achieved; i.e. there were the same number of students (three) in the class on the first day as there were on the last. Smiles all around.

     Below are posted some photos and comments from the last class in which a new guitar was born.


     This concludes Woody's journal entries for October and November (the LLI Guitar Building class).  Have a wonderful holiday and remember_ when going home after a dinner party, rarely does one complain of having eaten too little.

     Stay healthy and Woody will be back after the first of the year with the December journal.