Brook Tamar Fan Fret Guitar Build Process
We show you a step by step portfolio of the complete build process of my custom Brook Tamar guitar built by Brook Guitars. From innovation to design, plans and build, right through to the finished spectacular product.(Part 1)A fan fret guitar that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional is a real design challenge for any guitar maker and can only be achieved by one that has a good eye and skill along with years of experience.
This I believe has been achieved by Brook luthiers from their remotely situated workshop in the heart of Devon’s countryside.
When I commissioned Andy and Simon at Brook Guitars to make me my second custom fan fret guitar, I asked them, if they would be so kind as to take some images of the guitar making process for me, they kindly agreed. In this article are some of the images of the process, from design, build, the finishing process, final setup and then the finished product.
All images below showing the various stages during the making of the guitar were taken by Brook Guitars, a very special thanks.
Firstly I would like to explain how I came about the idea for the design of my guitar.
The basic design would be Brook’s Tamar model range but customised to my requirements. (see the Brook Guitars model range here)
The idea of a fan fret or fanned fretted guitar was initially from seeing Andy Mckee and hearing an interview on why he used these guitars. The strange arrangement of the frets, unlike anything I had seen before.
More information about fan fret guitars can be found in my 1st article about my 1st fan fret Brook Guitar beauty here.
I was also inspired by the body design of guitar played by the great and highly talented musician Mike Dawes. Seen here in the photo on the right. I liked the idea and the aesthetics of the cutaway concept which would give me easier access to the higher end of the fret board.
The idea of having an offset oval sound hole rather than the conventional round shape under the strings came from Ovatsion guitars that I had seen and played.
I put the ideas and concept to Simon and Andy and we discussed the design and the woods and materials that we were going to use.
A plan was drawn up by Simon seen here below and then all systems are go!
Image bottom left: The woods for the back are laid out and set up ready for gluing. Middle image: The wood is now glued and clamped. The next image shows the back with the woods in situ firmly glued together after being clamped.
Our Zircote wood is selected for the sides as shown here in the images below and marked up ready for the shaping process. (image below far right)
Next, we have the side wood now shaped after being dampened and using the shaping press, then tweaked using an iron and now inserted in to the Tamar mould The wood is now left to dry and is clamped to the shape using clamps and clothes pegs.
We now have our shaped sides after being removed from the Tamar mould.
The Front and Backs are Braced
The front and back is braced ready for attaching to the sides. See images below.
After the bracing is glued and dried the front and rear are now glued to the sides. Our Tamar body is starting to take it’s form. (see image below)
The Purfling and Binding
The edges are routed ready to take the Purfling and binding (see below)
These final two images below show the body, front back and sides after the adhesive has dried and purfling and binding added.
The Neck and Headstock
Below are images of the Neck and headstock block of wood with the headstock veneer applied and ready to be shaped. The block is then channelled for the truss rod to be inserted (see below) The headstock is then shaped and finally the neck is ready for the truss rod and the fret board to be attached.
The fretboard is now ready to be fitted to the neck as seen below. The fretboard has been pre slotted at the correct angles, ready to take the frets. The headstock has the holes drilled for the tuners. Our headstock now has my ‘M’ logo inlayed in to the headstock veneer thanks to the fine work of Jack Smidmore.(See some of his exquisite work at Jack S Inlays )
The fretboard is now glued and clamped in to place.
The fretboard has been attached and pinned to the neck. (see below)
The Neck and Body Joint
Below are images of the dovetail joint now formed on both the neck base and the body.
The neck and body have been coated with lacquer and are ready to be assembled.
The neck is now ready to be joined to the body.
Fixing the Neck to the Body
Below are images of the neck and body aligned, glued and firmly clamped in to position.
The neck and body are now firmly attached and the fret board is now ready to have the frets fitted.
Fitting Of The Frets
Below image shows the frets now fitted to the fretboard.
Attaching The Bridge
The below three images show the bridge being clamped using tools custom made by Brook especially for these situations.
The below image shows the bridge now firmly attached to the body.
All this work could not be carried out without the odd snack, between drying times!
Custom Machine Heads
The machine heads are custom made, each machine head inlaid with a red insert piece of wood (See below)
The Scratch Plate
The scratch plate was shaped and attached, it is serrated so that I can add some additional percussion to my music playing.
Below are some images of the finished guitar after being setup and strung. A work of beauty thanks to Brook Guitars. A very special thanks to Simon for taking the time to take these great pictures for us all to share.
If you are interested in commissioning Brook Guitars to make your own custom handmade guitar please give Simon or Andy a call at (Tel: +44 (0)1647 24139) or visit their website and contact them via email at Brook Guitars here
The Woods Used
Zircote: The dark wood for the back and sides.
Badouke: used for the red insert at the back
Anjan: The Fretboard and the bridge;
Sitka: Spruce: The front:
Stained Bone: Nut Saddle:
Mahogony: The Neck.