Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Planning it Out

Guitar #3 is going to be an OM-style body. This is a Martin Guitar style originally called Orchestra Model but now just referred to as OM. It's a smaller body than they typical dreadnought that is very popular. It has a narrower waist and the body is not as deep, but the scale length (the length of the string from the nut to the saddle--the two white things at the top and the bottom where the strings cross) is the same as with a dreadnought, 25.4 inches.

An OM is typically not as loud or as bassy as a dreadnought, and tends to be preferred by fingerstyle guitarists more than bluegrass players who do a lot of strumming and need to emphasis the bass notes.

Like in many things, designing the guitar is the first step. Since this is a custom guitar, the OM serves as the basis, but there is a lot of freedom to change things. We're not going to deviate from the basic OM design, but Clark wants a cutaway, and the OM plans don't include the shape of the cutaway. I could have drawn the cutaway freehand like I did the last guitar, but this time I decided to go with a tried and true design. Not having access to a cutaway OM so I could trace the shape, I borrowed Chip's cutaway Taylor Guitar, traced the body shape onto poster board, and then transferred the cutaway to the OM design.

Here's the OM body shape in plexiglass. The lines show the bracing pattern that will go under the soundboard (also called the top.)

Traced that onto posterboard, then added the Taylor cutaway and cut the whole thing out. Here's the shape that Clark's guitar is going to have (the perspective is off a little because of the angle of the camera. The lower bout will be more round than it looks in the picture):

There's a friendly rivalry between Martin players and Taylor players, so this mixing of elements from both may be sacriligious to some, but, hey, I'm all about bringing people together, you know?

Since this guitar will have the same scale length as the last one I didn't have to design a new fretboard. I'll simply use the same posterboard template. The left side starts at the nut and ends where the saddle will be. You can see the bridge template that is also attached.

I'll work off of these templates throughout the process, referring often to the OM plans:

1 comment:

  1. cool!

    p.s. u should update ur profile... ur now the father of angela 24.5 and austin 20. :-D