12 Fret New World Anniversary model

Aged German spruce soundboard with arrowhead trim and inlaid ebony S logo

Every so often I build a guitar for myself.  Not that I’m likely to keep it permenently, but a guitar I’m specially interested in.  On this occasion I’m building a 12 fret to the body New World Anniversary model guitar (the seventh in the Anniversary series) with Brazilian rosewood back and sides and best aged German spruce soundboard. The neck will be Wengé, the fingerboard and bridge Indian ebony, the binding black Rocklite with red/gold/green purfling and arrow head trim around the soundboard and soundhole.

12 fret guitars can sound surprisingly different from the more common 14 fret models. Various suggestions have been made as to why this should be; my belief is the greater distance between soundhole and bridge (12 fret to the body guitars usually have fewer frets) and, more importantly, the location of the bridge closer to the tail are the major factors.

My long scale D guitars, while having 14 frets to the body, are based on my 12 fret Model 2 with extra frets at the head, so have 12 fret guitar characteristics. These are currently my favourite guitars, hence the decision to build a New World version. It’s many years since I last built one, so I’m looking forward to completing this one incorporating my latest soundboard design.

Soundboard bound and ready for neck

Head glued and clamped to neck



There’s a long way to go yet.  Finishing and fitting the neck, gluing the fingerboard, shaping the neck, cambering the fingerboard, fitting frets and making the bridge will take up to another couple of weeks.

Then it will be with Dave for four to five weeks, getting many coats of lacquer, each flatted smooth before the next is applied.

When I get it back I will glue the bridge, true the neck and frets, make and fit nut and saddles and finally string it up and check and adjust the action.

Even when it is finished, it will be many weeks before the final sound begins to appear.  All in all, it will be at least three months before I can begin to assess it.

Back and sides joined, lining fitted, lacquered and ready to receive soundboard

Back ready for binding, coated with shellac to prevent tape pulling out grain when it’s removed.