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

Author: Rick

A life long woodworker, I've been building guitars since 2006 after attending a guitar building course presented by Martin guitars. I build acoustic dreadnoughts, electrics, and the "Hambone", a Terz guitar. I am a North Carolina native and am currently located near Charlotte, NC.