Cherry Dreadnought II

In January 2020 I began building two dreadnoughts, Cherry and Rosewood. I have finished the Cherry and written about it in my previous post and now it’s time to write about the Indian Rosewood build.

As mentioned before I have implemented some changes in my building process intended to reduce the weight and add to the resonance and volume from the box. As discussed in the previous post, I had formed some bad habits and made a few ‘heavy’ guitars, or overbuilt them. The first one turned out great. Lets see how this one did.

This Rosewood is a lot more dense and heavier than the Cherry was. I have sanded the sides and back down to the same thickness as the Cherry and it is considerably heavier at this point. I used the same Spruce/Sapele laminated tail and heel blocks here as well. While getting my parts made and nearing assembly I continue to weigh parts and groups of parts to keep track of the total weight. I have tried to make the Cherry and this guitar as identical as possible and yet the Rosewood one has come out a few ounces heavier. The Cherry was 4lb 7oz while the Rosewood was 4lb 10oz.

In the end both guitars turned out great and much improved to the ear above the ‘overbuilt’ guitars, which by the way are discounted on the website under Acoustics.

I got some straight advice from those folks at the a fore-mentioned retail shop and it was very positive for me in the end. The four overbuilt guitars had a few things in common which I saw no problem with until I started to find out where the excess weight was. On these guitars I used the same board for the heel and tail blocks which, when I dug around the shop for a piece I realized it was like lead. I also used a thicker fingerboard requiring a similarly thick bridge. Also, I had left the heel of the necks fat for some reason and probably should have sanded the back and sides thinner. All these little things added up enough to make a difference. Remember to keep the weight down.

Cherry Dreadnought

Hard to believe it’s been nine months since I last had a finished instrument to write about. I actually started two dreadnoughts in January 2020 with intentions of taking my time in order to implement some improvements. The two new builds, one with a Indian Rosewood back and sides and one with Cherry back and sides are done. The former is a good buffing away from being finished and the latter is done and will be the subject of this writing.

The Cherry back and side set came out of a board I picked up from a local sawmill/lumber yard which has since, disappointingly, closed. This board was 8 1/4’s x 16” x 80”, 17 plus board feet, rough sawn all sides. I have gotten a lot of use from this piece of lumber for other instruments and necks as well.

I mentioned before that changes were in store for my future acoustic instruments.

The story behind this is simple. I took some instruments to a guitar retailer with a unique inventory of handmade guitars. I went for an evaluation and I got one. It was an odd visit as in, they forgot I was coming to an appointment only shop and the owner spent very little time with me once he arrived. The person who did see me and played a couple of my instruments was very pleasant and seemed to enjoy what he saw. The owner however was rushed, because now his next appointment is waiting, curt and somewhat unpleasant about whatever issues he thought I should address in my building. I did however rise above it all get some legitimate and reliable feedback which I have used to make the improvements. The simple part, overbuilt. I had not carefully noted the weight of the parts and the whole throughout the build. I had used some Sapele for heel and tail blocks that were very dense and ‘heaavyy’. I was using a thicker fingerboard, which required a thicker bridge and last my heels were fat and heavy. I had no argument, in fact I sort of knew after building a few mandolins per Roger Siminoff’s method. There is a lot of discussion on the web on the subject of just exactly how much your F5 should weigh. There were four of these overbuilt guitars which I have worked on to reduce the size of the heels and take some weight out. Check them out at for photos and special pricing.

This guitar has American Cherry back, sides and neck, a Spruce top and American Ebony fretboard. The sides for this guitar had been sawn and clamped between two flat boards for almost 4 years prior to bending. The back was more recently sawn from a piece which was set aside back then as well. The sides and back thicknessed to about .110” and I’m using tail and heel blocks made from laminated stock of Mahogany and Spruce. The blocks came out weighing about half the weight of the old Sapele blocks. The fretboard on this guitar is made from Persimmon/ American Ebony. Next I fashioned all of my braces about 1/16” thinner and worked the top bracing as usual only going a little further to lighten it up a little more. The tops on my guitars were fine in the Gen I as the evenness of tone has always stood out, but they were a little stiff. The fingerboard issue was easy enough to fix by making it and the bridge thinner.

With the body together, the other area to make changes is in the heel carve of the neck. I just had to discipline myself to keep digging and get the heels to proper size. I weighed all parts as I went and weighed the finished body and neck before assembly.

Fiinal weight on this one: 4lb. Including hardware, 3lb. 8oz. without.

The average weight of the overbuilt guitars was 5lb. 8oz with hardware. I was surprised there was as much difference in weight. As for the sound? The output is louder, the tone is still very even and the string sensitivity is increased See it and shop at