Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Checchucci Guitar - Final Installment

Michael Manderen finally gets to try out my model of the Jacopo Checchucci 1628 guitar (Museum of Fine Arts, Acc. No. 2001.707, Boston USA). As Director of Admissions for Oberlin Conservatory Michael travels extensively auditioning prospective students  but during the summer he relaxes by playing weekends at regional medieval fairs. I have built a number of instruments for Michael and when he asked me to build an Italian baroque guitar he agreed with my plan to research and build a model of an instrument that had not yet been replicated. This was to become a two year adventure. I reported on my visit to the museum in this blog on April 25, 2012. Later in the year, November 6, I posted a down-loadable drawing of the instrument. Six more posts detailed its construction including new techniques (for me) while others chronicled various trials and tribulations that I encountered along the way. This final installment tidies up a few loose ends.

The original guitar was constructed with a short neck. I thought this arrangement was impractical so I increased the string length to 65.5 cm. This allowed for one more fret on the neck.

The bridge on the MFA Checchucci is a modern replacement. I didn't find the trident motif convincing, but I did want to retain something of the guitar's aesthetic at this point.

So I borrowed Jacopo's design of the top part of the rear arabesque to serve as the inspiration for the moustache of my bridge.

The triple stringing lines frame every element of the guitar's construction.

Except for the horizontal lines on the side ribs the triple stringers are part of the aesthetics of the original guitar.

 I was fascinated with the design of the peghead and I described its construction in detail in a post on March 11, 2014.

I think the grainy Kingwood figure gives an organic touch to the peghead's geometry.

Although I seldom do this type of work, I think my favorite (and most challenging) part of building this guitar was making the borders. I had to figure out the new techniques for cutting, shaping and aligning the individual pieces. There were problems along the way but it all worked out.


         All photos by the author.

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