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A Project in Tribute to
Richard Schneider

tribute guitars
The 10 tribute guitars and baritone utilizing the Kasha/Schneider bracing design almost completed.

Richard Schneider was director of the Kasha Design Seminar,
Lost Mountain Center for the Guitar in Sequim, WA. As an apprentice and assistant of Richard Schneider's from 1987 to 1997, Jay Hargreaves learned much of what he knows about building acoustic instruments. George Majkowski began his studies with Richard Schneider in August 1991 and like Jay, he continued to work with him and assist at his seminars until 1997. Boaz Elkayam met Richard Schneider at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in August 1996. So impressed with Richard's lecture on the Kasha bracing design, Boaz took his seminar the following week.

Richard's death in January 1997 was a shock to us all. We felt he still had much to offer the guitar building world. Boaz and George wanted to pay tribute to Richard by building ten classical guitars like Richard's final guitars. This design was a result of more than 30 years of collaboration between Dr. Michael Kasha and Richard.

Thus began Boaz's and George's tribute project. Since Boaz, who lived in Los Angeles at that time, had to wrap up some affairs before he could start work on the tribute guitars, George and Jay began the work on the basic parts in mid-April, 1997, at George's shop in Gig Harbor, Washington.

First they built two more armaring boards, then began cutting the maple veneer, enough for all the laminated parts. Then began laminating the parts for the doors, back X braces, upper transverse bars, bridges, and soundhole reinforcement plates. Each day working until all of George's gluing cauls were in use! By the time Boaz arrived in mid-July, much of this preliminary work was completed. Boaz and George then began construction of the guitars.

Below are some photos taken during this project with a brief description.
This is not a complete account of this project,
for more details and photos, read Jonathon Peterson's article in
"American Lutherie", issues #58 summer & #59 fall, 1999. http://www.luth.org

rough neck blanks
Rough neck blanks waiting for Jay to finish
cutting and welding the steel antiflex bars.

necks ready to be drilled
Necks ready to be drilled for tuners.
The ten guitars had grown to eleven.

carving braces
The task of carving the braces was shared.
This is George carving the braces on a top.

braced top
Here is another top ready to have the braces
carved, with stacks of tops in the background.

drilling head
Above, drilling the holes for the tuners must be done with precision. Right, George is carving a laminated brace that will be one half of the back's X bracing.

carving laminated brace

armaring boards

In the photo to the left, all three armaring boards are being used at once, as the guitars were assembled three at a time. Lower left, Boaz and George are fitting a back to one of the guitars. Below, George and Boaz are binding a back. Tire inner tubes cut into strips were used for the binding rope. It helped in maintaining the proper tension along all the edges. All the binding slots on the guitars were cut at once. As Jay finished routering each guitar using George's router jig, Boaz would clamp the next guitar to the bench. Thanks to George's expertise as an engineer, he designed and built many of the jigs and fixtures.

gluing back on guitar

gluing binding on guitar

guitars in spray booth

ready for spraying

close-up of sprayed guitars
Photo above is a close up of 2 guitars and the baritone after the first day of spraying lacquer. Above left shows the 10 guitars, baritone and a mandolin in the spray booth. At left, Jay is preparing the instruments for a second day of spraying. Each day Jay applied 3 to 4 coats of lacquer until all the instruments had approximately 20 coats.

fitting fingerboard
Fitting a fingerboard to the neck.

shaping fingerboard
Shaping the fingerboard to fit the top exactly.

Jay & George with tribute guitars
The ten guitars and one baritone are almost finished. One of the guitars and the baritone was strung up to check how they sounded before Boaz took them back with him to Los Angeles to do the final polishing and finishing work.


Thanks to Richard Schneider for teaching us how to build these guitars,
to George and Anna Majkowski for the use of their home and workshop during this project
and for financing the bulk of this project,
to Southgate Ford for the use of their spray booth,
and to Dr. Michael Kasha for developing the bracing design.

This is not a complete account of this project,
for more details and photos, read Jonathon Peterson's article in
"American Lutherie", issues #58 summer & #59 fall, 1999. http://www.luth.org

One of the most asked questions I get is:
"How do I build my own guitar?"

While I enjoy sharing tips and information, my time is valuable to me and it is very difficult to teach someone how to build an instrument through emails! On my Links page you will find a list of sites and reference materials I recommend.

Two of the most helpful organizations that I strongly recommend that you join are
Guild of American Luthiers http://www.luth.org/
and
The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans http://www.guitarmaker.org/


Hear my instruments on youtube!

 

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