Monthly archives: December 2014

Bone Nuts and Saddles for Guitars


Bone Nuts and Saddles for Guitars is the most common and least expensive aftermarket natural material used for saddles. It is denser than any of the synthetic materials and in nearly all cases displays an immediate, noticeable difference after installation.

Most of the bone used in today's guitar saddles comes from Chinese cows or ox.Is a Chinese cow or ox better than South African, European or any other ones for that matter? Not at all, but, their bones are cheaper. The most expensive cost will be your postage. What can also be done, if you are a keen DIY, is go to your local butcher and purchase a thigh bone of a cow or ox and ask the butcher to cut the ball joints off and the cut the bone longitudinally through the centre exposing the marrow. If you have a dog, let him/her eat all the marrow out and eat all the bits meat off. Do not cook the bone.After a few days, put the piece of bone outside in a well-ventilated area and let it dry out for a good 12 - 16 weeks. After the bone is dried out, you can cut the nut and or saddle out. The down side of this is that there will be an unpleasant smell, similar to burnt hair.

NO animals are unnecessarily murdered just for the purpose of anyone's guitars.These are simply the by-products of the beef industry.Nearly every guitar in the higher price range (approx. R25000 ($2000.00) and up) will come with a bone saddle and nut as the standard material.You will rarely find any handmade guitars in the extreme price ranges that do not come equipped with high quality bone components.It is unquestionably the standard in that section of the industry.

Bone saddles can be a bleached white colour, and can occasionally have some darker specklinga in the grain. Most saddles can also be ordered in what is known vintage bone.The only difference between this and regular bone is the vintage bone is dyed to a yellow-brown colour to give it an aged or vintage look.

Bone is usually the first step people choose in an aftermarket saddle, as it is relatively inexpensive, and offers significant improvement over factory-installed components.Bone increases clarity and sustain, provides better overtones, and provides a better high to low end balance.It provides a much more focused high end and punchier low end,and is not at all shrill like some plastic saddles render the guitar.Also, bone will outlast the factory installed plastic saddles by far.

Spruce or Cedar Soundboards For Guitar Making


The question is often asked Cedar or Spruce for guitar making?


The two most common woods used for acoustic guitar tops are spruce and cedar. There is no difference in quality between the two woods so the choice is one of preference. Different Luthiers will have different opinions and each will give you good reasons why you should use the one they prefer.


Spruce tends to sound brighter and clearer. Cedar is warmer and more direct and has a more of a so called Spanish sound. Both types of wood will improve over time but a cedar will sound closer to its mature sound at the beginning and has been said to sometimes diminish as time goes by, while the spruce will sound more raw and have a more dramatic improvement over time and tends to hold the tone better. This is purely a matter of taste and opinion, and is often influenced by the type of guitar one learns on and/or the type that was played by the guitarist one listened to most in the Luthier's case, it could be an influence by how he was taught. The choice of wood is an issue if you want a certain type of sound but at the lower price range it is a far less important issue than whether the top is solid or not.



Intonation on a Guitar - How to adjust

DSCF2112Guitar intonation is important and can make a big difference to your instrument if it is set up correctly

Sometimes your guitar will be out of tune even after you tune it, which means your intonation is out. You can tell when your intonation is out if an open string harmonic at the 12th fret (lightly touch string at the 12th fret and pluck it) and the fretted note one octave higher (hold the string down at the 12th fret and pluck it) are not the same. Guitar intonation tuning is making the notes of each fret of a string equal to the chromatic reference pitches, or the natural musical scale temperaments by adjusting string lengths at the saddles. The chromatic musical scale and natural musical scale are similar, so tuning the natural musical scale of the brass instruments is preferred. This makes the twelfth fret note of a string theoretically be about one octave higher than its corresponding open string note pitch, and the seventh fret note octave pitch similar as the corresponding seventh fret harmonic pitch.

To rectify this:-

Depending on your saddle, the intonation can be adjusted by filing an angle on the saddle specific to the string in question to adjust the string length.

If the note on the 12th fret is sharp, the saddle for that string needs to be moved back away from the headstock.

If the note on the 12th fret is flat, the saddle for that string needs to be moved forward toward the headstock.

Compare the twelfth fret note to the corresponding twelfth fret harmonic pitch with electronic tuner for meter. This is decent intonation tuning for notes between nut and twelfth fret range

If the angle already there is incorrect and correction could affect your action negatively, then, this may require fitting a new saddle.


Why do a guitar making course in the Garden Route ?

DSCF9143Many people have never had the experience of making or creating anything substantial with their hands .They have not experienced that fantastic, fulfilling feeling that is derived from this. If you have, then you will understand what I mean. When you construct something from a raw material into a finished article, something of significance, you get a tremendous intrinsic satisfaction that initially involves only you. Every time I complete an instrument, I have a moment when I hold it and almost cannot believe that I have just created a beautiful musical instrument. It always feels like a special gift.

I have decided to give those who would like to experience this, the opportunity to achieve this by making their own handmade guitar. I have, over the past few years, designed a course that will give people of various skill levels the opportunity to come and make their own handmade guitar from scratch - even if you have never done any woodwork before! There will be a maximum of three people per course

It is 16 comprehensive days, filled with many new experiences, new techniques, new ideas, where you will, for just over 2 weeks, be focused on only one task.

The day that first string is strummed on your own guitar that you have become intimate with, is not only exciting, stimulating,but thrillingly satisfying as well. As you get ready to go to sleep on the evening that you finish, you will be thinking about what you have just made. In the morning, before you do anything else, you will open the case and look again at what you have just created. This, is like buying a ticket to watch an event, or being a participant and earning the medal.

The best sound you will ever hear, is good music being played on a guitar that has been hand made by you!

Dreadnought Guitars

Welcome to our first blog post here at Guitar Venture. I'm Luigi and will be writing about some of the things that interest me (and I hope you too). I teach people to make guitars and on the course there are a number of choices to make one of which is the choice of guitar. One of the popular choices is the Dreadnought -but what is it and where did it come from?dreadnought

The "Dreadnought" is a type of acoustic guitar body developed by guitar manufacturers C.F. Martin & Company.[1]The Dreadnought style has since been copied by other guitar manufacturers and is now a common style of guitar body.

The dreadnought guitar body is larger than most other guitars that existed at the time of its creation, and thus results in a bolder and often louder tone. In 1916 the word 'dreadnought' referred to a large, all big-gun modern battleship of the type inaugurated by HMS Dreadnought in 1906. The distinctive marks of a Dreadnought guitar are square shoulders and bottom. The neck is usually attached to the body at the 14th fret.

Martin Dreadnought guitars are also known as "D-size" guitars, or, colloquially among musicians, as "dreads." Martin Dreadnought guitars have model numbers consisting of "D-" followed by a number, such as "D-18" and "D-45".

The Dreadnought style was originally developed in 1916 and was manufactured by Martin specifically for retailer the Oliver Ditson Company. In 1931, Martin began producing Dreadnought guitars carrying the Martin name. The first two models were the D-1 and D-2.

The popularity of and demand for Martin Dreadnought guitars was increased by their use, almost exclusively, by folk musicians of the mid-20th century, including most bluegrass guitarists. Today they are considered the standard guitar of bluegrass music,used by many bluegrass musicians to produce a signature sound of that genre.

Martin Dreadnoughts manufactured prior to 1946 are extremely desired by musicians due to their loud volume and exceptional tone. It is not uncommon for these guitars to sell for in excess of $30,000.

Gibson introduced their first dreadnought guitar, the Hummingbird, in 1960 which has since become the guitar of choice for many country-western singers.

Since then, dreadnoughts have been made by nearly all of the major guitar manufacturers worldwide in both standard and more recently various single cutaway forms.