All Blog Posts (140)

Have you ever seen something like this, or do you know what it is?

My father-in-law gave this to me back in the 80's, and I never had time to do much with it. It was in extreme disrepair at the time, but he recognized it as a unique and lovely piece of work. I don't know where he got it. Probably in a second hand shop of antiques up in the gold country between excursions prospecting or treasure hunting. I certainly think he found a treasure in this.

But, try as I might, I've been unable to find anything similar,… Continue

Added by Mark Riess on December 6, 2009 at 3:37pm — No Comments




Guitar Heroes of the 1980s+

Added by ralph brill on December 3, 2009 at 10:58am — No Comments

Quilted tops

I am about to try to veneer a contoured top, Got no idea how this is done so far... any help?

Added by Dan B on November 12, 2009 at 2:30am — No Comments

Calling Frank Ford

Hi Frank,

Thanks to you, my banjo is now more famous than I am.

There seems to be no e-mail address for you, so I'll try the forum instead.

Can you tell me when you expect that Whyte Lady to be ready for pickup?



Added by Peter Feldmann on October 29, 2009 at 12:34pm — No Comments

Finished...been too busy playing it to post the finished product photos...

It has met and exceeded my hopes and expectations. It actually has better intonation and pitch accuracy in all positions and tunings than any guitar I've ever owned or knowned. I first strung it up 2 days after gluing on the bridge, using D'Addario phosphor bronze light guage strings, then after a day or two, unstrung it and compensated the saddle. Played it for a couple of weeks just to let it sink in that it was done and that it sounded as good as I… Continue

Added by Mark Riess on October 25, 2009 at 8:40pm — 2 Comments

Gluing on the bridge

I french polished the body with shellac using the Milburn tutorial. Thanks! you guys.

Then, after buffing out with Meguiar's #7, I carefully positioned the bridge using Mottola's guidelines...(what a great website!). I taped the bridge down and scribed around it with a fine pointed tool. Scraped off the shellac and, using liquid hide glue, glued down the…

Added by Mark Riess on October 5, 2009 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Custom mandolin

I have been designing a mandolin and I finally got up the nerve to try to make it. It will be tuned one octave lower than the common mandolin, with a classical size body and 14 frets to the body, with a 25.5 in scale. The whole thing will be made of mahogany, top,sides,back and neck. The top and back will be a laminated wood (2.5 MM) that I use for a hollow body electric that I make, and I must admit that this material has a nice ring to it all by its self.

I will post pics as I get… Continue

Added by Donald A. Fortune on September 22, 2009 at 6:39pm — 9 Comments

"Uncorked - Al Stewart Live with Dave Nachmanoff" has arrived!

"Uncorked" has arrived!

Over the next week, we'll be turning around pre-orders (at, concerts, and mail order) for 'Uncorked', which should be available at other retailers in a few weeks. A few have already received their copy.

Haven't ordered yet? Go to



Added by Dave Nachmanoff on September 20, 2009 at 4:13pm — No Comments

Beginning the finish, part 2

Decided to french polish shellac the body, the head stock veneer and the heel cap, and use wiping oil varnish for the neck. After sanding everything to 1500, I've applied first coats to everything and it's looking great to me.…


Added by Mark Riess on September 7, 2009 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Guitar is progressing

Added by Mark Riess on September 7, 2009 at 9:29pm — No Comments

Fretting over frets

I found my slots too narrow for the fret tangs...was banging too hard on them to drive 'em in. So I chucked in a dental bit into the dremel that was slightly larger than the slot width, yet still narrower than the fret tang. It was nerve-wracking to turn on the dremel and then insert it carefully into the fret slots and run it along the channel, widening the slot. I didn't widen the entire slot. I left small parts of the slot alone and that seemed to work best for allowing the fret to seat… Continue

Added by Mark Riess on September 7, 2009 at 9:24pm — No Comments

Fingerboard glued to neck, neck shaped, fitted to body

Added by Mark Riess on August 20, 2009 at 6:40pm — No Comments

beginning the finish

After much inner debate and consideration I've decided to french polish the guitar with shellac. I like the hands-on approach, the old-world technique, the non-toxicity, the fast drying, the ease of being able to work in my restricted space, etc. After several "spit" coats of 1/2 n 1/2 shellac and alcohol, I'll fill pores using the pumice method. I tried to find paste wood filler locally, but no one even knew what I was talking about. Then I discovered this method described by Milburn Guitars.… Continue

Added by Mark Riess on August 20, 2009 at 6:37pm — No Comments

Pre-order "Uncorked - Al Stewart Live with Dave Nachmanoff"

Listen to samples:

Well, I can finally share the good news! Al Stewart will be releasing, "Uncorked - Al Stewart Live with Dave Nachmanoff"! If you have ever wanted to have a live album of "Al and Dave" - an official, live release - then this is your opportunity. This CD is no bootleg or "Board Tape". Over 70 hours of work went into mixing and editing the tracks, and many more…

Added by Dave Nachmanoff on August 16, 2009 at 5:30am — No Comments

How to make a charango (2)

With a wide chisel and a spokeshave roughly shape the body:

While hollowing the charango body in the following steps, tiny cracks may begin to appear and open more and more at the end grain (near the neck and at the end). To avoid this, moisture the wood in the critical areas regularly with a wet rag (especially when you note opening cracks - they will close again completely later on, so don't worry too much about this). Keep the…


Added by Markus Schmid on August 14, 2009 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Adding an inlayed end piece of abalone...

I decided to run a strip of abalone down the seam where the sides meet. I glued the abalone onto the surface of the sides with "amazing goop", a fast-setting flexible adhesive, scribed the sides of the abalone when the goop was dry, removed it and began carving out the slot. First, using a razor knife I cut down the scribe lines, then I angled the razor knife from the inside area to carve out an edge. Then I chucked in the dental burr to the dremel… Continue

Added by Mark Riess on August 11, 2009 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Mark binds up the edges

So I ended up using the rosewood with basswood accent binding for the back edge and the ebony/basswood binding for the top trim. Wanted to use ebony for all, but only had 2 pieces, enough for top OR back. So I ordered more ebony from LMI, but when it came, I realized that they don't make it the same thickness anymore, and I'd already routed the rabet on both edges. So I used the rosewood binding I already had for the back, and the ebony for the top.…


Added by Mark Riess on August 8, 2009 at 11:00pm — No Comments

part two

Update/ blog 2

It's not just difficult to build a guitar, it's also difficult to make an accurate progress-report...

There are so many stages in building, so it's easy to forget to “archive” one.

For those who wonder how I assembled the sides:

I cut 2 pieces off a “spare” sideboard, bent them to the right contour and making sure the grain of these pieces doesn't run parralel to the grain of the sides, for extra… Continue

Added by Bart van Weperen on August 5, 2009 at 4:50am — No Comments

My first...

This is why I started "working on"guitars.

The picture shows my old “Morris” classical, that I once mistook for a chair (I sat on it...).

You can see the cracks in the top (most on bass-side), but there's more damage to it...

I was told that repairing this damage was a waste of time and money so I tried to keep this instrument as playable as I could. I just used a sports-tape (the kind that is also used by athlets) to cover… Continue

Added by Bart van Weperen on August 4, 2009 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Inlay on fingerboard and routing a rabet for the binding...

Once I scribed the abalone diamonds, I removed them and, with bits donated by my dentist (!), chucked in my dremel, I hollowed out the cavities for them. Then I dropped a bit of superglue into the cavity and tapped the diamonds home using a wood tapping block. After the superglue dried, I sanded the fboard down flush.

I did the same with the plastic position markers for the side of the fingerboard.…


Added by Mark Riess on July 31, 2009 at 9:46pm — No Comments

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