I recently unearthed a set of Brazilian rosewood I had stashed away in the early 90's. I was going to build a J-200 with it, but on closer inspection, I realize  I could easily make an 18 inch body. Is that too much of a good thing? Anyone have plans for a flat top steel string that large? The matching sides are 4-7/8" tapering to 3-7/8" (34" long). When I google !8" lower bout, I get a lot of discussions about arch tops which is expected, but little on flat tops. Suggestions?

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Don't quote me on this but I think that Prairie State made a huge flat top this size. That's a LOT of guitar to reach around. With archtops, the sides are relatively narrow and the gradual arching of the top makes it more comfortable than the square edges of the flat top guitars. For myself, with premium material, I would be more concerned that I make what I do best even if it means that I have some wider scraps left. Just my opinion.

Here is a fun piece. This Harwood is the largest flat top I have ever seen. Lower bout is twenty-two inches, tenth fret at body, nylon strings. My friend found it in the trash. Pretty wild. - Tom

Tony Klassen at New Era Guitars makes fantastic replicas of a lot of the Larsen Brothers guitars, including a 19-incher:

I've played a couple and found them to be really impressive guitars, great details, great sound. I wouldn't waste the rosewood if you can make a bigger guitar.

This one had koa back and sides, but rosewood would be great.
Before you build the 18" you should try to track one down to play. For years I thought my dream guitar was a 17" L7, but when I got my hands on one it was just too much body for me to deal with.
maybe 2 parlor guitars would fit?
2 Parlor guitars was my thought as well.
Hey, more of a good thing will be better. It's just logical!
Thanks to all that responded (and to those who perhaps are about to.)

I think Ned Knepp's advice deserves repeating; Walter Lipton used to advise his wood buyers to refrain from using his master grade tops on their first guitars; any project that uses premium wood should have a reasonable expectation that the project will maximize the material's potential, tonally and aesthetically.

I can't use the material to make two parlors.The math doesn't work out for this set. In any case, I think there is still BR available in parlor sizes and God knows there's a lot of restoration work to be done on the vintage stock.
I do appreciate the suggestion, however.

Tom, Thanks for the photos of the Harwood; I laughed out loud so hard, I won't abbreviate it:)
Maybe that is too much of a good thing.

Paul, Thanks for the photos and info about the Prairie State.I haven't seen one of these in years.
(Is that you holding the New Era by the wood stove?)
I followed your link to Tony Klassen's website (pretty impressive)
He also posted a YouTube of him playing a maple version:

I'm still looking for building plans and I'm still interested in hearing from anyone with experience in building this size and can address such issues as:
scale length, soundhole placement and diameter, depths of sides, brace design.

Thanks, Robert
Yeah, that's me holding th New Era, it belongs to a friend. There is not a huge history of guitars this large, so looking for plans is probably quixotic. One could make an 18" or 19" J-200, just blow up the plans a little larger and employ the principles so your bracing is adapted to and framed the desired bridge position. With regards to scale, there is a range of feasible scales for standard pitches, basically 24.75" up to 26.4". Beyond this, you get into other lower pitches for the strings, or odd gauges if you want to keep to the normal E-to-E. I have large hands and am quite comfortable with 25.75" and 26.4" scales.

I have played several guitars in the zone, including the even more ginormous Big Boy like that Harwood. It's counter-intuitive that grotesquely larger guitars could still sound good, but I think they do. Every one I have played really sang—had balance, delicacy, richness, and balance.

If you decide against making a very large guitar, contact Klassen and see about swapping some wood. He could really use the extra-large set for something good, and could probably offer you something in exchange that would fit your tastes better.
Guild's F-612 twelve string had an 18" lower bout with 5" depth.

Those Guild 6-12's are mighty fine guitars! I have been lucky enough to own two, over the past 50 years

One thought I have, if I may be frank: if you are not comfortable building without a plan drawn by someone else, save the set and use it later. Also, some of the commercially available plans in various sizes are not very well-designed.


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