- My method is an inward subtraction of density from the top that is then tied into the much thicker edges via my own lattice-like bracing. I find this balances the efficiency of both light and heavy strokes, giving the player a “quick attack” without sacrificing depth, warmth and power.
Back and Sides
- I normally laminate the back and sides. The sides are laminated with the goal of increasing weight and the back is laminated with western red cedar. I highly recommend this to players looking for a very focused, salient projection and excellent separation between voices. What one sacrifices in feeling the body vibrate against the body, one gains in tone quality and salience.
- When I first started using a bolt on neck I was merely fastening the heal. Beginning with Guitar No. 31 I began using a bolt under the fingerboard as well. This makes the entire neck removable, seriously facilitating finish work and any restoration that might be required as the instrument ages.
- Fantastic guitarist and teacher Stanley Yates first encouraged me to try out "Jumbo" frets and I have been using a large fret width and height ever since. Overall, this is a major improvment in the playability of a guitar and the sustainability of the instrument's setup, preventing string ware in the fretboard and ensuring that minimal effort is required for the player to fret a string.
- The elevated fretboard is now a standard in the classical guitar world. I use only a minimal elevation (1/2") that gives players an easier access to the frets over the guitar body. This is acheived by increasing the neck angle 1/2 a degree and lowering the upper-bout so the string distance from the top remains in a traditional range.
French Polish of Shellac Finish or Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Although it's quite labor intensive, French polishing shellac is a great solution for small shops and is remarkably easy to rejuventate. I have enjoyed using polishing touch ups as an excuse for building stronger friendships with my customers and it's a great way for me to check in on how my older guitars are holding up. I have recently developed a spray booth where I can apply nitrocellulose lacquer and I highly recommend this finish for those players in hot climates and/or those with hot, oily, sweaty bodies that tend to degrade shelllac very quickly.