Posted by scott on August 17, 2015 , No comment
August 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Thomas Rodriguez Guitars and his making of classical guitars. To commemorate this huge milestone, Thomas started on a very special 20th anniversary guitar. All materials on this anniversary guitar are very old and extremely rare which Thomas has been collecting through his years of building and saving for a very special occasion, such as this. Following is the list of materials included in this build:
Top – 40 year old Sitka spruce purchased from the estate of an old guitar maker. Thomas hand picked it from 30 sets that were bought for its tap tone, stiffness and fine grain
Back & sides, peg head and bridge – 1800’s Brazilian rosewood from an old table top
Fingerboard – 40 year old Gaboon ebony, hand picked for it’s beauty from a large selection of ebony fingerboards from the same collection of wood that the top came from
Neck – 1800’s Honduras mahogany, salvaged from an old 4 post bed – very dark in color and a singing tap tone
Brace wood – Hand-split Sitka spruce from the back supports of a 90 year old Cable piano
Linings – Quarter-sawn willow from a 1925 Cable piano, the preferred choice of violin makers, 90 years old, from the same piano as the brace wood
Nut & Saddle – Approximately 20,000 year old mastodon ivory
Rosette & bindings – Maple, Brazilian rosewood, mahogany from a 1860’s square piano and red birch from an 1890’s piano
Tie block on the bridge — Ivory from a piano key from the 1860’s square piano
Inlays on the wings of the bridge — Mother of pearl cut from an early 1900’s lamp pendant
Position marker on the fingerboard — Mother of pearl from an 1850’s Martin bridge pin Thomas had from a restoration he performed
“One need only look at the quality of this wood, all of it having a history of it’s own, to imagine the character of sound that will emanate from this guitar. Celebrating 20 years of building is no small feat. Few makers ever reach that milestone and to do so you have to have an extreme love of the craft and desire to put music in the world. That’s what Thomas Rodriquez and this guitar represent. We are simply delighted to be a part of this, this is why we do what we do here at Dream Guitars.” – Paul Heumiller, Owner
1800’s Brazilian rosewood salvaged from an antique table top
Detail of 40+ year old Sitka spruce top wood
Quartersawn bridge blank cut from the same 1800’s table – underneath it is the trimmed off piece with the tax stamps still on it.
Detail of the hand split Sitka spruce brace wood from a 1925 Cable piano.
Split Sitka spruce brace wood from a 1925 Cable piano.
Here is the neck blank for the 20th anniversary guitar which was cut from a bed post from an 1800’s bed that was found in the attic of a friend’s 200 year old farmhouse.
The headstock on the left is the old wood which you can see the rich color from over a 100 years of oxidation. The neck on the right is Honduras mahogany from the 1960’s, for comparison.
1800’s Honduras mahogany neck heel from an old bed – you can still see the edges of the turned legs before being trimmed away.
Headstock with 1800’s mahogany and Brazilian rosewood.
Decorative trim wood for the 20th anniversary guitar was taken from this Rand square piano, dating between 1820’s to 1860’s.
All the veneer for rosette and binding, rosewood, mahogany and maple from the Rand piano and red birch from the 1890’s piano.
Amount of wood that it took to create the bindings.
Detail of the complete binding.
Rosette made up of wood cut down while Torres, inventor of the modern classical guitar, was still alive.
Detail, Brazilian rosewood, maple, mahogany and red birch. Thomas opted to use the natural color of the wood rather than color dyed veneer. The rosette is 35 layers thick, hand scraped to be an exact thickness.
Mother of pearl lamp pendant used for inlays on the bridge wings.
The bridge is cut from the same 1800’s table as the rest of the guitar. It is perfectly quarter sawn, super fine even grain and has oxidized to a rich, almost black color.
Detail of the mother of pearl dot.
Ivory tie block is from a piano key off of the 1800’s square piano.
The guitar coming together
Detail on back of guitar
Top and back
Bracing for the guitar, asymmetrical lattice bracing. Thomas engineered his guitar from the ground up over his 20 years of building, He’s very proud to be making his own guitar and not just another Hauser or Torres copy.
All of the brace wood is Sitka spruce from the 1925 piano, hand split for the straightest possible grain.
Willow linings, cut from the 1925 Cable piano. Willow is the top choice for linings in high end violins. The neck heel is painted to keep moisture from traveling through the end grain, a common cause of humps in the finger board where the neck meets the body.
Big pile of spaghetti that will become the binding for the guitar.