The dreadnought style guitar has been the classic for flatpicking for a long time. My version features traditional construction and a bolt-on neck.
Initially appeared: October 31, 2021
Last updated: October 31, 2021
The guitar pictured here is featured in my book Building the Steel String Acoustic Guitar. It is constructed entirely from domestic species. As is the case with many other guitar luthiers worldwide, I have been building increasingly with domestic species instead of the tropical hardwoods that are habitually used. This is done both as a small step toward preserving the tropical rain forests but also to demonstrate the value and utility of domestic species. The top of this instrument is Sitka spruce. Back and sides, bridge, and headplate veneer are black cherry. The neck is made of laminated black cherry with a walnut center stripe. Bindings are cherry, too. The fretboard is made of phenolic impregnated basswood. Phenolic impregnated wood is an excellent material for guitar fretboards. Although not as stiff as some woods typically used in this application, phenolic impregnated wood (usually referred to as "impreg" in the industry) is both dense and resistant to abrasion. It holds frets just as well as untreated wood, too.
The insides of this instrument are also made entirely of domestic species. Linings are made of tulip poplar, blocks are of cherry, and the bridge plate is made of black walnut. Does the use of domestic species compromise the sound of the instrument in any way? Anecdotal evidence from folks that have played this instrument as well as others made from domestic species pretty clearly indicates that instruments constructed from domestic species sound every bit as good as those made from tropical species. These anecdotes are backed up be research performed by the Leonardo Guitar Research Project. This group performed considerable blind testing of guitars made of both domestic and tropical species. Although their testing was limited to classical guitars the results are likely applicable to steel strung instruments as well. And then there is a rigorous scientific study performed by a peerless group of researchers led by Samuel Carcagno which did test steel string acoustic guitars and came up with similar results. You may also be interested in the discussion about the use of domestic species for fine guitars found elsewhere on this website here.
The downloadable copyrighted instrument plans are made available for non-commercial use only and may not be redistributed.
Complete details of the construction of this guitar can be found in the book Building the Steel String Acoustic Guitar.