Guitar Making Tip Number 54 is about building a guitar mold. One of the easiest ways to get going in guitar making is with an outside mold. This is a form that you can build the guitar inside, and it makes the process a lot easier. Here is what you can do.
Making a Guitar in a Mold
It’s always helpful to build a jig when you need an extra set of hands, and the guitar mold is just that.
When you use a guitar mold, you take away the need to maintain squareness throughout the assembly process. The mold does that part of the job, so you can focus on other things.
When you glue together your first body, there is going to seem like there is a lot going on. You have to contend with the fit, the way the braces go under the kerfing, and making sure you get a good seal. This is why the mold is so beneficial…
Types of Guitar Molds
There are a couple ways to get a guitar mold. You can make a large flat plate called a Solera, which is more for Classical guitar making. Also, you can make an outside mold, which is more for making steel string acoustic guitars.
The Solera is more of a guide without walls, and it’s definitely well suited to the making of a nylon string classical guitar. Though not seen as often, the inside mold is also something that classical instrument makers use, and the guitar is built around it.
For the steel string guitar, the best mold to use is the outside mold. This is a form that wraps around the body of the guitar, and sets the shape. You can also attach a plate to the top that helps you plane the arch of the back.
Making or Buying a Mold
There are a number of good molds that you can buy online, but making a mold is a pretty easy process. All you need to do is look at a few examples and you will see right away how to make it yourself.
Buying a mold will save time. This is about the only redeeming quality about buying something that you can make yourself. If you want to dive in right away, then buying a mold will get you there a pinch faster depending on shipping times.
Making a mold gives you something to do that is still related to woodworking and guitar making, but gives you something else which is cool too. A mold allows you to create a custom shape.
If you really like customizing your work, my 25 Best Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Altering the Tone is a great read. These are safe places to have fun with the look without worrying about ruining your guitar.
Making the Guitar Yours with a Mold
While you are not going to radically alter the shape of the guitar, you are also probably not going to get a dead match for a certain trademark guitar style either. Odds are that you will end up with something close. That’s a good thing.
If you alter the look of the body outline by just a pinch, you now technically have your own shape. This mold will create duplicates of that exact body, and it’s all yours. Over time, you may even make different molds for different models, and each one will make exactly the same guitar every time.
You can take this a step farther if you are an experienced guitar maker and understand how the shape of the body alters the sound of the instrument. You can make a custom shape that is very different. This shape will stand out as being unique, and you will be the only person in the world with a mold for it.
Guitar Making Tip No. 54 Wrap-Up
A guitar mold is a very helpful jig. When you are assembling the body, the mold helps you get the sides and the plates to join at the right angles. You can also make a tapering piece that attaches and helps you with creating the taper for the back plate.
It’s recommended that you make your mold, though you can buy one too. The cost is going to be a lot more when you buy it, but you can get it quicker in most cases than making the item. That being said, any time you make something, you give yourself more understanding of the tool, and it will work better for you.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 54 please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners
Tip No. 54 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.
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