Hand-Crafted Guitars and Drums

I have just spoken to a guy who is a specialist in hand-made hand drums and has been doing some hand-made guitar luthiering. Here are the notes I took.

Ultimate Guitar


The top and the bottom wood are carved in waves throughout with a plate. Waves are carved by exerting more and less pressure throughout the wood. The top and bottom wood can be made from two planks each or from one in more expensive models. The waves have amplitude of to 1cm. The waves are for sound.

The ribs are hand made and glued. The side wood is hand made with a plate then steamed and dried to the shape. The steam is applied for 1 hour for every 1 cm3. 10 hours to steam the whole side wood. Two side pieces are used and glued to make one. One side piece is used on expensive models. The neck is made with carving tools. The head is usually one piece with the neck. May be glued in inexpensive models. Wood glue is powerful because penetrates into the wood. Cannot be broken. Wood around can.

Fretboard is glued to the neck and may be secured by pins. Fretboard is made with plate or from the shop for a greater accuracy. Groves are cut manually to insert the fret wire with a rubber mallet. Fret wire is from the shop. A tiny hole is initially made for the truss rod and then enlarged to be an exact fit. No lacquer, no paint. Screws up the sound.

Hand Drums

A cylindrical wood is carved as an hour glass with the bottom portion lower than the upper. The wood is drilled in one of three ways: lathe, wood burning or chisel carving. Chisel carving is the most difficult but the best for sound. Wood burning is controlled by scraping the side of the fire. The fire is positioned in the middle and must be tiny.

Three rings are used: lower for strength, middle for securing the skin and upper for skin tensioning. Goat skin is the best. Seal skin is also used. Thin and strong. The skin is soaked in water and positioned on the drum when wet. A 24 hours are waited for the skin to dry. AFTER the skin is dry, high tension is applied. High tensioning is the most difficult and lengthy process. Important: wax must be applied on the side of the drums (where there is a contact point between the skin and the drum) before the skin is positioned over the drum. The skin contains natural glue and will be glued to the wood without wax application and will not be able to be tensioned. Natural bee wax is used. Synthetic is possible.

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    Steven Bayes
    I am just giving you the information. In case you don't like the way I have presented the information, OK. In case you don't like luthiers, I am not guilty for this. I haven't made luthiers and I am not in charge of their trade union nor guild.
    Man, luthiers are to musicians what Hephaestus was for the Olympian gods.