Viewing entries tagged
classical guitar

The Wave Mosaic

The Wave Mosaic


I have been making this simple wave mosaic for my rosettes for some years now.  I occasionally contemplate changing it to something more elaborate or making copies of historical rosettes but I find myself coming back to it enthused.  I think the reason I keep it is all the myriad of things I think about when I think about waves.


I personally think about going to the ocean and staring at the Pacific and being enamored and frightened all at once at the magnitude of the power in front of me. Living in western Oregon, I often drive to the coast where I commonly stop at these vistas many hundreds of feet above the water with a panoramic view of the Pacific where all you see are sets of waves going out to the infinity of the horizon.  It gives you the significance of being insignificant. I also think of happily running from the waves on the beach as a kid in Hawaii and then not paying attention and being knocked down and pounded by the oncoming surf. Then, I think about the footage of the tsunami that hit Fukushima. It’s just water, but there is so much of it and it’s always in perpetual motion. It is one of those basic building blocks of life and maybe the defining element of our planet.


I’m making my final wave motif in the bloodwood and blue colors from a layup I made years ago.  I think I got about forty rosettes out of that layup. I’ve been making the same wave mosaic with pearwood and green dyed maple.  I was am still toying with the ideas of some new rosette designs but I think I will make some more layups of the wave ...maybe in a few different color combinations.  

I spent a couple days putting together some more rosettes. Here are some pictures:

I was just told about some of this wonderful artwork that is public domain on the web a few days ago and thought it fits with this post perfectly. It wasn’t the original inspiration for the wave mosaic but it may be inspiration for some future rosette designs.


One page of the Hamonshu: A Japanese Book of Wave and Ripple Designs

Going Back to Cali

Going Back to Cali

I’m excited to to head to the Orange County Guitar Festival this coming weekend. It’s sure to be a fun weekend of concerts, lectures and competition. I am also relieved that I have some guitars to show. I just strung up these two pictured a couple days ago and I’m doing the final setups now. If anyone in the area would like to check out my work I’ll be there at Chapman University this coming Saturday and Sunday. I’m looking forward to seeing some sunshine. Here are links to the event below.

Both of these instruments are East Indian rosewood / Swiss spruce 650mm scale guitars -all french polish of shellac. One has an elevated fingerboard with nickel silver fretwire and silver gotoh machines with the faux horn buttons, a silver 7th fret dot and 20th fret. The other has a beautiful bearclaw figured top with EVO Gold wire, matte gold gotoh machines with a brass 7th fret dot. Very similar construction otherwise.

I think I’m going to make the headstock design in a matte oiled finish on these two the standard default. I’ve already been using the shape without the extra bevels on my stripped down “spartan” model. It just seems to make sense aesthetically with the details of the bridge design I’ve been using.

New Bracing /Floating Ties

New Bracing /Floating Ties

floating ties bracing design

Voicing the guitar is a big part of the fun and challenge of building. I’m always working on “dialing in” or improving on the sound. The process involves understanding your materials, because every piece of wood is different, and then working with all the variables at your disposal. When you play with all the variables over time you get a feel for how each element affects the way the guitar sounds in the end. Usually, that means playing with the bracing pattern and doming of the top… changing the lengths and heights of braces as well as changing the placement of braces; making the top stiffer or more flexible in specific areas. Most of the time you are gluing the braces to the top itself to stiffen or discipline the top. This project pictured above was something completely different for me and I wasn’t very sure of what the guitar was going to sound like when it was all said and done.

I’m not sure what to call this at present. These “floating ties” are braces that don’t directly discipline the top but are one step removed as they are notched into the braces above and are controlling the braces instead of the top itself. It is adding some across the grain stiffness but in a completely different way than a brace glued directly would do. This guitar is thus so very different sounding than any guitar I have ever made. The guitar sounds very “open” with a warm treble and lush harmonics throughout and is still very balanced all the way through from low to high with a good sustain. In some ways it makes sense to me now. These floating ties allow the top to resonate more freely with very little added weight while still disciplining the top in a different way. Anyway, I’m enjoying the guitar very much and I think I’ll have to make a few more guitars with these superstructures to really see if I’m on to something.

Here is some video. Thanks to Ryan Walsh for stopping by the shop and recording some snippets.

This guitar is available and will be listed in the inventory on my website shortly.


Been a While

Been a While

Shop photos, construction and pictures of finished guitars