Introducing the Vince Bell "Handmade Hardtop Acoustic Dreadnaught Line"

What a great time we've had with the Mesquite Hardtop guitar prototype.  It was a pleasant surprise from day one, and it's changed both of our  minds, (Vince Pawless and Vince Bell), or let's say it's answered some questions we had about using hardwood as a soundboard.  This guitar has produced great tones in the midst of lower string tension with ease.   A second guitar  for Vince Bell is now a project. 

Design changes?  None. Nothing is broke.

But let's try a different Hardwood.  Out of Mexico.  Ziricote.

The Pawless/Bell Handmade Hardtop Acoustic... now in a new flavor.

with "flash"

First seal coats.  This is THE color:


Detail Pictures

Building the neck:

Routing the dovetail in the box

Headstock binding install

Cross section of neck stock.  This is what the neck will look like from the back.

This rout for the truss rod reveals the dowels used in securing the neck plates.

A taste of the neck color when lacquer is applied

The final diamond cut

Some neck production sequences

After the neck stock is constructed, I have to cut out the shape of the neck.

One long plank of Walnut, slice and dice, then glue it all together


Mesquite binding install on fingerboard like D35.  Not as "contrasting" on the Coco, but will be over the Ziricote.

Installing the binding.

Here's sort of a mockup of what's coming.

Gluing the back bracing


Sound hole label fitted to back.  Notice the grain continuity between the back and the wood "label".

Inlay pieces in fingerboard before filling.

Gluing the top to the sides...or am I glueing the sides to the top?

Finished end strip.

Installing the endstrip.

The apprentice Caleb gluing kerfing to the sides.

Gluing the tail and neck blocks to sides.

Thickness sanding

Cutting the profile

Bending far so good.




Inlay piece before inlaying, and cutting the slots for the frets.


The sides (new set!)  click photo to enlarge.

Carving the top bracing

Inlaid Soundhole Label:


Chipping away the excess....

This is going to be tricky because of the thin parts of the inlay being out of wood.  The grain in the wood will have a tendency to "snap" when under pressure of the saw.  Some will be cutting, and some will be a controlled "break".

Pattern glued to Pecan to guide cutting



"Label" routed

"Coloring" the glue


Top Bracing

I'll make the bracing out of this Spruce stock

Cutting brace pieces and fitting to the top.  Some pieces seem to have a little curve because I'm letting the grain of the wood dictate the direction, giving each piece more strength.

Marking a piece of Cocobolo to cut for the bridgeplate.

All pieces ready to glue.

Soundhole Cutting and Inlay

Soundhole and inlay finished.

  Using a circle cutter jig with a Dremel, the soundhole itself is cut out, and the channel for the purfling is routed.    Purfling glued into place.

Joining the top pieces....The top is mounted to the table with a strip of wood and tacks on each side.  The center, where the two pieces meet, is matched up while slightly being elevated off the table.  Glue is added, then the center is pressed down to the table.  The tacks at the right, and the strip of wood at the left, does not allow the plates to the pressure is added to the center.

Then a small amount of weight is added.

The resin in the Ziricote was sticking to the finer grit sandpaper in the thickness sander, so the search was on and a 60 grit was found.  It did well and here are the results in the photos below.  Click the photos to enlarge to high resolution.


The Wood: finally arrives.  Just in time to meet Vince Bell as he comes through Tejas.


V ...Pawless on the left and Bell on the right.  The inspection of the new wood back, sides, and TOP, which all will be of Ziricote.



Ziricote with Mesquite guitar

The side pieces didn't make it through the bending process.  Replacements will come soon.

  Getting the edge "straight as a level" in order to join top pieces

Hit Counter 1/21/04