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Guitar Building – Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our Guitar building series.  This feature is inspired by the guitar currently being built in Brian Dubbleldam’s repair shop.  To find out more about guitar, or string instrument, repair, at the Ottawa Folklore Centre, contact Brian.

A good guitar starts with good tone wood.  While many species of wood can be used to build a guitar, a few select trees (or, tone woods) have become guitar making favourites. Cedar, Spruce, Mahogany, and Rosewood are all popular (or poplar? ha!) choices for building acoustic instruments.

Tone woods common for Guitar Building


Spruce and Cedar are preferred for the sound board (or top) while Mahogany and Rosewood are commonly used for the back and sides of the instrument. Stiffer woods make a crisper sound while softer woods tend make a warmer or more diffused tone.  Spruce tops are bright and punchy while cedar is a bit more intimate.  Similarly, for back and sides, Mahogany has a lot of kick while rosewood provides a much softer edge to the sound.

Another consideration pre-string is the body type of the guitar.  Different body shapes affect the voice and feel of the guitar.  Larger body shapes create a bigger sound (more room for resonance) but can be harder to hold.

Guitar Body Shapes

The actual construction of the guitar starts with the front of the instrument.  Commonly referred to as the “sound board” this piece has the most to do with the voice of the instrument.  Two pieces of wood are  matched and book ended ,and then cut into shape.

Guitar with Plans

The sound hole is our next cut.  We’ll use a Dremel to cut the sound hole and rout the rosette for inlay.

Routing the Sound Hole in a Hand Built Guitar


In the Next Episode:

We’ll talk about creating braces and then affixing them via a go-bar deck.

Up next | Prochainement

  • 1 Jan 2015 OFC School of Music - Ottawa Folklore Centre School of Music
  • 1 Jan 2015 Winter 2015 Programming is Coming… - Ottawa Folklore Centre School of Music
  • 11 Jan 2015 Play O Canada at an Ottawa 67’s Game - Arthur McGregor

See complete calendar »

Friday Featured E-Store Item

Friday Featured E-Store Item: Washburn B7 Banjo Package Holiday Banjo Pack

This is a great package for anyone looking for a banjo. The Washburn B7 openback banjo has an unusually warm and balanced tone. It’s a lightweight, no frills banjo that’s perfect for beginners and also as a travel instrument. It features a geared 5th string tuner, which makes for easier and more accurate tuning, coated Remo Weatherking head, cast aluminum tone ring, frailing scoop and a chrome standard tailpiece.


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  • Ottawa Folklore Centre
    1111 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3X4
    613.730-2887 | 1-800-385-FOLK (3655)

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  • Monday-Friday  10 am to 9 pm
  • Saturday  9:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Sunday  12:00pm-5:00pm

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