Top - New Vintage Guitars

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The top of a Daniel Slaman archtop jazz guitar is always solid, carved wood. No exceptions.

Most of the tops are Sitka spruce but woods like European spruce, Western red Cedar, Redwood are possible.

The top starts out with two wedge shaped pieces, selected for quartersawn grain and evenness of grain. Tops don't always have to be extremely tight grained (as is often stated) to make a great guitar. The quality of the wood and the age are important factors, but even more important for the end result of the guitar is how the wood is worked. The maker brings intuition and experience to the carving of the top.

Most of the wood is removed by machine, but after that the violin maker's planes are used. Hand planing yields important information about the wood; how does it sound when it is carved, how does the grain flow in the piece, what is the resistance of the wood on the plane. All very tactile information that is only possible to get when working with hand tools.

After the outside of the top is carved, the inside is carved to the correct thickness. Then the braces are carefully fitted and planed. The end result is a top that is flexible enough for a good sound, and strong enough to withstand string pressure for many years to come, probably for well over a hundred years. Archtop guitars basically have the same construction features that violin or cello's have and they can be played for centuries. Since the archtop guitar is a relatively young instrument (invented in 1923) we don't actually yet have archtop guitars that are over a century old.

It is my belief that the guitars that I will produce in my lifetime will be appreciated and played well into the 22nd and even the 23nd century.

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