Development Verona guitar

My latest development guitar is now built and ready to be lacquered.

It’s my fourth Verona guitar.  It has African Blackwood three piece back and sides, but unlike the previous three, it has a German spruce rather than figured Sitka spruce soundboard.

A more significant change is modified soundboard bracing, and because I design bracing and bridge to work together, a modified bridge.  In this case the bridge is wider.  While shown in the photo in its final position, the bridge is just resting on the soundboard and will be glued in place after lacquering.

I’ve also made a cosmetic change. The binding isn’t black but is now Santos rosewood, still with red/gold/green purfling. Santos rosewood is a rich red brown, contrasting nicely with the darker African Blackwood. Lacquer will bring out its full beauty.

Both soundboard trim and rosette are my MK black and white birdsfoot.

It will be over a month, maybe longer, before I get it back from the spray-booth and can fit the bridge and string it.  A good job I have become more patient over the years.


Back view, showing three piece African Blackwood back. I love the look, and there is no difference in sound as compared with a standard two piece back.

Indeed, I have built guitars with five and six piece backs, Martin Simpson’s Brazilian rosewood MS 2 model was one of these.  I was able to use lovely colourful old Brazilian scantlings, 3″ x 2″, and the guitar sounded wonderful.

There is of course a history of multi piece backs. In past centuries, when transport and shipping was not as easy as today, makers used varied woods and sizes as a matter of course.

More recently,  the Martin Guitar company introduced the three piece back D35 in 1965, so as to be able to use the narrower pieces of Brazilian rosewood they had available. It became a popular model and has stayed in their catalogue to this day.

I’ve heard it said that the three piece back gives a different sound to that of the two piece back D28, but I hardly believe this. If there is a different sound, there will be some other change to account for it.