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  SPECIAL FEATURE. 

 

#034   D'Angelico NYS-2  -  New Pickguard.

       
   
   
  My favourite guitar!
     
 

This the guitar I turn to of an evening when I just want to play around with an arrangement, rehearse a few awkward chords or just generally noodle.

I like to play it acoustic.

Removing the pickguard assembly, with its pickup and controls, lightens the guitar nicely and makes it very comfortable to pick-up and play.

But it looks a little naked and I decided to make a lightweight wooden pickguard to dress the guitar properly.

A pleasant way to pass a few wintery afternoons. 

    
 
   
 
  Having the original to hand enables a very accurate paper template.
   
 
  The paper from which the template was cut becomes a "fussy template" - a window  -  a means of looking at a choice of pickguard materials and choosing the best grain, or colour or texture.
   
 
  I thought this flame mahogany might look good but, when seen through the "Fussy", the grain looks a little too lively in my view.
   
 
  I had several exotic woods to choose from.   This Hawaiian Koa looked best.    The direction of the grain will create some "movement" in the finished tailpiece.
   
 
  Just a quick check to see that it looks right.    You have to visualise how it will look when finished with  binding to match the guitar.
   
 

   
  There is a pronounced colour and shade in the grain which I can use to advantage but unfortunately it doesn't quite line up with the shape.    I prefer the grain to work with the shape so I will just compromise the shape slightly to fit the grain  (see insert).
   
 
  Yep, better!   
   
 
  Edges have to be crisp to take the binding.
   
 
  The colours will come up superbly when its finished.
   
 
  Now the painstaking and laborious business of laying on the binding, building it up layer by layer, by hand, just as John D'Angelico did - b/w/b/w/b/W.
   
 
  Black/white/black,  just another white then black then edged in white.
   
 
  Ready to start the same process on the radius.
   
 
  I need to use my magnifying glass to cut the mitres.
   
 
  Getting into the swing of it now.
   
 
  Only half way round  -  the mitres take ages!   When the binding is complete, it will need scraping gently until it is flat with the wood.
   
 
  Finished but the binding looks too new.    I will age it with a little hand applied vintage cellulose  -  then polish 3 or 4 times with carnauba wax.
       
 
  Signed-off and ready for fitting.
   
 
  As expected, the complex grain in this Hawaiian Koa is a strong complement to the richness of the body colour.    There are shades of Gold and Russet and even Green in the grain.    It comes alive.
   
 
  Finished,  at last!     Quite a labour of love,  this one.  
   
   
   
   
       
  Back to - In the Workshop