F-Word in the Workshop

The Crow build continues in tandem with other projects in the shop. I like it this way—dividing my time between creative thought, and the zen-like trance induced by laborious, repetitive handwork like sanding. Each of the Signature guitars that I build starts with the journal—a place for ideas and stream-of-conciousness rants. The good, the bad and the indifferent are all there. As the ideas begin to coalesce into a usable and recognizable form, the journal starts to morph into a set of plans.


Here, I’m laying out the f-hole shape and control locations. After this step, a paper template is made so I can evaluate the placement of the controls from the player’s perspective. Do they fall to hand easily? Are they blocked by each other, or does the bridge get in the way? These all can be tested before going any further.

Once I’m satisfied, the next step is to make a 1/4″ thick router template from the drawing, onto which the spruce top can be pinned. Then it’s to the router I go.


You can see the locating pin holes as well as the control locations. The interior volume of this instrument will be a bit larger than some of my other designs and I’ve reduced the size of the f-holes and moved them inward about 1/8″ closer to center. I’m going for a very old-school blues sound with this guitar, and it’s going to be interesting.

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Jol Dantzig is a guitar builder, designer, writer and filmmaker. He has worked for Gibson, Fender, Guild, Ovation, Gretsch, and was a founding partner of Hamer guitars—one of the first boutique custom guitar brands. Dantzig’s work has been played by hundreds of artists including Sting, Steve Stevens, Larry Coreyell, Dug Pinnick, Billy Gibbons, Keb Mo’, Nick Lowe, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, John Abercrombie, Glen Campbell, Rick Nielsen, Kenny Vaughan, Lita Ford, James Honeyman Scott, Elliott Easton, Andy Summers, Peter Frampton, Martin Barre, Lyle Workman, Brad Gillis, George Harrison, Jeff Ament, Dweezil Zappa, Jeff Tweedy, Nancy Wilson—and many others.

One thought on “F-Word in the Workshop”

  1. With each post I drool a little more. And thanks for turning me on to The Lyres that song is incredible.

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