Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting started

With the the wood selected and the templates drawn, the first job is- bending the sides! Below is a length of Mediterranean cypress ready to be heated . . .

. . . and bent. Check out the grain on that cypress!

When the wood is pliable, Kirk carefully bends it into shape on a special pegboard template.

Little by little, the sides of the guitar take shape.

Kirk: "Here we go- sides are bent! As soon as I make the neck block, I'll be bending the cutaway."

I can hardly wait!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Choosing the wood

When we set about designing my signature model guitar, one of the first questions Kirk Sand asked was "What kind of wood?" I have always liked flamenco guitars, so I replied "What about cypress?" 

"I love cypress!" Kirk enthused, and we were off. He found some beautiful Mediterranean cypress, and I chose a set for the back and sides. (Kirk says it smells as good as it looks.)

Back in the 1980's, I owned a Martin D-35, which had a three-piece rosewood back. Borrowing the idea, I suggested a three-piece cypress back to Kirk. "Why don't we do a Brazilian rosewood wedge?" he asked. I agreed, and he selected a gorgeous wedge of Brazilian from his private stock. Here is the cypress/rosewood/cypress back, glued up and template traced.

We decided on a Sitka spruce top, and Kirk drew a template to my specs. I wanted a cutaway somewhere between Django Reinhardt's Selmer-Maccaferri and Jerry Reed's customized Baldwin electric classical.

Here's a closer view of the top template. The deep cutaway will allow plenty of access to "the dusty end of the fretboard" as Chet Atkins used to call it. 

The design also gives me an extra fret on the first string. Guess I'll have to work up a lick using that note.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The journey begins

I've been playing a Kirk Sand nylon string electric guitar since 1993, when I recorded the CD for my book The Guitar Style of Jerry Reed (Hal Leonard Publications, 1994). That guitar (pictured above) was borrowed from my dear friend and mentor, Clyde Kendrick.

In 1996, I took delivery of my own Sand (just like Clyde's guitar), and it's been my main instrument ever since. Through the years, Kirk has become a good friend, and we've talked guitars and exchanged ideas quite a bit. 

About three years ago, Kirk said "I think we need to do a Craig Dobbins signature model." Thinking quickly, I agreed. So, fast forward to 2013, and Kirk is building the prototype of the Craig Dobbins model. I'll be posting photos of the progress, and Kirk will comment from time to time. I hope you'll join me on this exciting journey.