Chapter 1 : Before starting

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This page is a translated version of the page Chapitre 1 : Avant de commencer and the translation is 75% complete.

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This chapter describes the materials and the molds (solera, molds for the sides, etc.) needed for the guitar building process.

list of materials for a classical guitar

The measures shown here are for information purposes only, in order to make yourself an idea of the proportions. The websites of wood suppliers listed at the end of this article usually sell pieces of wood with the necessary dimensions for a standard guitar.

The Solera

Detailed-article.png Voir l'article détaillé : solera.
an example of solera for a classical guitar

This solera is directly inspired by the one described in the famous book of Roy Courtnall "Making Master Guitars". A lot of other varieties are possible.

The solera is a precious and multipurpose tool in the guitar building process. It's quite simple to build. It's made of plywood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) quite thick.

It needs to be made with percision as it will have a impact on the curve of the top, the neck angle (if you choose to make a neck angle).

The back mold (optional)

Detailed-article.png Voir l'article détaillé : moule pour le fond.


Back mold

Robert BOUCHET, in his cahier d'atelier, recommends to use a curved mold for the back. After the braces have been curved to fit the shape of the mold, they are solidly pressed on the back positioned on it, with a press bridge. It permits to ensure an efficient collage.

Other guitar makers curve only the braces and then, they glue them directly on the back with a flexible thin piece of plastic placed between the back and the clamps. This allows the back to curve itself under the pressure and to fit with the shape of the braces.

Une autre méthode utilisée notamment par Torres mais beaucoup moins répandue de nos jours consiste à coller les barres sur les contre-éclisses (directement sur l'instrument), les mettre en forme et coller le fond ensuite sur l'ensemble éclisses/contre-éclisses/barres du fond.

The sides molds (optional)

Detailed-article.png Voir l'article détaillé : Fabrication des moules support d'éclisses.
sides molds on the solera


To facilitate soundboard / back assembly on the Sides, two molds reproducing the shape of the guitar can be made with plywood or MDF, and fixed on each side of the solera. Its the John S. Bogdanovich's method.

Another method, described by Roy Courtnall : making individual pieces of wood that are set all around the solera in order to maintain the sides during the assembly.