Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Northwest Guitar

  I recently finished with this one.  It's a ladder braced parlor guitar, based on a circa 1910 Washburn.  I built it a bit sturdier than the original to hold string tension better.  It is made completely of woods local to the Pacific Northwest.  The sound is large, with clear treble and full bass.  Being a finger picker myself, I love how it sounds for fingerstyle rags and country blues.  I've been playing it and bringing it to festivals a bit this summer and also got to back up some fiddle tunes and hear others on it, and boy is it a sweet sound.  Punchy yet warm.  One of the best times I got to hear it was W.B. Reid (of Seattle's Tall Boys and The Todalo Shakers among others) playing it and joyously thumping out the bass runs on a Gus Cannon song. 

  The top is Western Red Cedar.  The back and sides are Pacific Madrone (some call it Madrona).

    Curly Maple for the binding.

Here's a full sun view of the Madrone back.

            That's a three piece neck of Poplar (a great stable neck wood!) and Walnut.  
                                          Golden Era tuners on a solid peghead.

Walnut for the bridge and fretboard.

Rain drop style mother of pearl inlay to go with the Northwest theme.

  The braces (not pictured) are made of some nice tight grain Yellow Cedar.  The Madrone was a joy to work with.  I had some nice straight(!) and seasoned boards that Doc of Doc's Banjos had given me 5 years ago.  I wasn't sure how it would bend up, but it was smooth and easy going.  I didn't stain the body other than a light base coat of garnet shellac.  I did stain the neck a reddish brown.  The whole thing is finished with an oil based varnish, and then french polished with blonde shellac.  Overall it is still a very light finish, so I added the pickguard to help protect the Cedar top. 


  1. Nice article. i like to play guitar and i feel good when i play it. I have a great collection of guitars . Many of them i buy from

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