Building 6 Negras (Full Version)

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R.Almeida -> Building 6 Negras (Jun. 21 2021 0:12:17)

Ola amigos!
My name is Rômulo Almeida, I'm from Brazil and I build guitars since 2012.
I have mainly built classical guitars, but I really want to especialize in Guitarras Flamencas.
This semester Im gonna build a very traditional Blanca (tributo to Hernández) and a modern Negra with a Rayes inspired bracing.

But I wanna study more the great builders and understand better the patterns behind their fame.
So my plan is to build 6 Negras in 2022/1. All with the same specs, but different bracing patterns:

Santos Hernández
Manuel Reyes
Domingo Esteso
Marcelo Barbero
Arcángel Fernández
Hermanos Conde

But Im having trouble finding the plans to guide me trough. I already have the Hernandez and Barbero, and I found Arcangél, Reyes and Esteso to buy online, but they are all on PAPER.

You guys would know where could I find DIGITAL plans to buy?
Worst case scenario I would buy it on paper, but pdfs are better...

Thanks in advance!

RobF -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 21 2021 1:52:13)

Hi Rômulo, welcome to the Foro!

I wish I could help you with finding the digital plans, but I can’t, so I hope someone can. It might help if you are more specific about which plans from each maker you want. Pretty well everyone will have an idea of what you mean for Reyes or Barbero, but the others can have pretty diverse plans, and there may be more than one pattern available. Which, in itself, is telling you something.

Also, the Reyes and Barbero patterns really originated from Santos, in some ways they all did, so maybe just studying his work is a better starting point. Then move on to the others.

My feeling about using the same specs for trying different bracing patterns is that it is of limited value because the chosen specification might only suit one or two of the patterns, and this can give a false sense of the behaviour of the others. But, even so, there is always something that can be learned. A thought, however...if your purpose is to study the traditional flamencas, perhaps you would be better served to first build Blancas, as opposed to Negras?

I checked out your Instagram pictures and I really like your work. You are very creative and your work is crisp and clean. I can also see that you’ve experimented quite a bit with bracing already, so I hope you don’t feel that I am trying to discourage you in any way. I hope you can find the digital renderings of the patterns you seek and I also hope that you will share your thoughts and findings with us here on the Foro as you continue with your research.


R.Almeida -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 21 2021 3:43:28)

Thanks a lot for the response Rob!

That was my idea! My first project will be the traditonal Blanca tributo to Santos, so I can learn the basics of a Guitarra. In my understanding Hernández was to the flamenco what Torres was to the classical, and my first build was a traditional Torres, 9 years ago.
I have the understanding of how a flamenca should work, and the knolage to make my own way through the design of an "ok" bracing pattern, but I recon it would be smarter to replicate the masters works before, to learn from them as much as I can.
About wich pattern from each builder: the one from Esteso that cought my attention was that open 5 struts one, my knolage about Arcángel work is very shallow to be honest, and the Conde that cought my eyes was that on with 7 closed struts, with 5 (almost?) parallel central bars and two angled side ones.

Learning is awesome [:)]

Im aware of the limitations some specs could have upon some of the patterns, but I tought I should exclude the most variables possible, so I have don't the doubt "Are this difference Im feeling coming from the top, or somewhere else?". I will always have on my mind that this "study" will not be the absolute truth, but I hope to learn somthing from it.

The reason why I decided on building Negras is purely practical. Here in Brazil is way esier (and cheaper) to find good quality "negra material" reather than Cypress or other equivalent, tropical country....
So I was thinking:

Tigerwood back and sides
Cedar top
Spanish -cedar neck
Ebony fingerboard
Brw bridge

My first idea was that using spruce would be better, but as money is kind of a limitation I need to sell them as soon as possible after their done, so I tought as cedar opens waaaay faster than Spruce I could have some sort of "study result" sooner. But I would love to hear you guys opinion on that.

Thanks again for the feedback, and I hope I can contribute In some way with this comunity!
And Im very happy that you liked my work!


Edit: spell-check

R.Almeida -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 21 2021 3:51:50)

P.S.: I know most of you guys is going to think "Tigerwood is a cheap option???", but yes, fortunetly "Gonçalo-alves" (as we call it here in brazil) is very afordable.
The complete opposite to Cypress! [:(]


ernandez R -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 21 2021 15:29:51)

Welcolm Romulo.

You are a fine craftsmen that's for sure. I too purused your iG.

About the paper plans, think of them like a fine chisel rather then a digital CNC router ;) I recently purchased the plans from GAL for the same reasons, to study and build the masters to gain experience and... let's say meld my modern ideas, or throw them away, with those from the past.

I've only built a couple handfuls of guitars over a few years so I don't have your experience. A broken foot and some economic pressure of the Pandemic has kept me out if the wood shop most of the last year but I keep tackling little bits here and there of the four guitars I'm working on now: two Flamenco and two classical. Six is more then I could handle. I was shellacking six this spring and it almost broke me ;) in the end I learned a lot and the last one came out better then my first.

Looking forward to your experience with these guitars and also how you intagrate the Cedar top plates. I've just sawn up a bunch of WEstern Red Cedar for tops, I plan to make up one of them this summer/fall just to see and let the rest of them age a year or more.

I post most of my work on Instagram do to its ease of putting up photos.


RobF -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 22 2021 9:34:10)

Hi Rômulo,

I took some more time to look over your work on the other sites you have. It’s quite impressive. It has a South American character, and it also reminds me somewhat of some of the work done by a Canadian maker, Jeremy Clarke, who apprenticed with my first teacher about fifteen years ago, as well as the work done by Victor Diaz, in Granada, Spain.

At any rate, the decorative inlay, string work, and other touches are really something. Are you using CNC for any of the preparation work or is this all handwork? Also, I’m not sure of the meaning of Atelier, do you work alone or is your operation part of an artisanal co-operative with other makers involved, as well?

All in all, I think you’re a very creative and talented person and I’m looking forward to following your work during the next semestre. Hopefully, you can get the plans you want, or other suitable plans, although digital form might be a challenge. I suspect some people are reluctant to digitize their plans because they are worried about theft.


estebanana -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 23 2021 3:35:44)

First of all I wish to register my hatred of rosewood guitars. I wasn’t always this way, but I’ve come to hate building with rosewood for several highly irrational reasons and some reasons due to my love of holding deep and anti mainstream biases. Although I still make rosewood guitars I assure you all I loathe myself for doing it and each evening after working I present myself before an alter to Santos Hernandez and whip myself with a cat o nine tails into which the ends of each lash a shard of glass is imbedded.

Thus castigating my soul with this self flailing ( and I’m not even catholic) I put away the whip and tighten the cilice around my thigh and go back to the shop. While I make non rosewood guitars I don’t wear the cilice and function normally with only moderate self loathing and criticism. One must be reasonable after all.

That essential preamble having been said, I once sent measured photos of one of my plantillas to a Scottish luthier who then printed it out to exact full size by messing with the enlargement control on the printer.

Really anyone with a good cell phone camera can share a plan with you if they photograph it and give exact dimensions along with photos!

R.Almeida -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 24 2021 18:38:38)

I'm feel so glad that you guys liked my work! I'm always learning and trying to improve.

About the paper plans, I too feel that way! Paper is so much more than just bytes...
But in a practical sense digital is aways better, a more secure way to store.
Anyways, Im going to end up buying them in paper, for a lack of options. But I could never ask other people that spend their money to spare their time and send me pictures of their own paper plans!
Its a good investment that Im willing to do!

About my work:
I pretty traditional, despite the "modern" look and feel of my instruments. Most of my work is done by hand, mostly without powertools, except for the usual ones like Thickness Sander (wich I just bought and didnt use yet [:D]), Drillpress, Router and Bandsaw.
But I always prefer the manual work, power tools speed up the process but they also speed up the mistakes hahahaha
I work solo, I have study the craft in a brazilian university, UFPR.
"Atelier" is commonly used here in brazil to distinguish when the work done by the "shop" is mostly handcraft.

Thanks a lot for the response!
and I will keep this thread up to date as I build this batch of Negras.
I will start wroking on them first thing 2022

This semestre Ill build the traditonal Blanca and the modern Negra. I will post the progress on an different thread!

cheers mates!

Tom Blackshear -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 24 2021 21:01:03)

Dear Sir,

My wife and I hosted foreign exchange students for 23 years, 5 from Brazil, and one of them was from Curvelo, whose father owned the largest business in town, which was a lumber company.

He was going to send me some wood but the cities treaty got in the way. If you ever contact him for wood, mention my name and that we hosted his daughter, Paulina in San Antonio Texas, years ago.

Andy Culpepper -> RE: Buiding 6 Negras (Jun. 25 2021 3:28:27)

Welcome to the Foro and lovely work indeed. But 6 negras? I would never intentionally torture myself with all that porefilling when I could build blancas instead :)
And I just finished up a string of 7 Rosewood guitars [:(] (not by choice, orders). Couldn't wait to build a blanca again. Good luck with your endeavors!

constructordeguitarras -> RE: Building 6 Negras (Jun. 30 2021 4:33:25)


So my plan is to build 6 Negras in 2022/1. All with the same specs, but different bracing patterns:

I think you will quickly discover that bracing pattern is not as significant as many people believe.

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