This is the 5 Best Tips for Making an Acoustic Guitar Back Plate. In this post, you’ll learn the five things of need to know before making a back for your guitar. Enjoy.
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Making an Acoustic Guitar Back Plate
Though the back plate of your acoustic guitar may seem like a fairly straightforward part of the instrument, and in many ways it is, there are a few things that you need to know in order to help you have a successful build.
After all, the back plate is a very large part of your acoustic guitar, and it’s not only responsible for some of the acoustical properties, it’s also a big surface to look at. So, you need to pay attention to both sound and looks when making this part of your guitar.
Coming up, I’ll show you five things to pay attention to when you’re making your back plate, and they will help you make a better guitar. Each of them is easy, and you can get started right away.
Find an Interesting Book Match
Book matching it when you fillet a piece of wood down the center, and open it like a book. This creates a mirror image across the middle, and can be very striking in the right type of piece.
Since the back plate does not need to be quarter sawn in order to function properly, and most flat sawn pieces are where the more interesting figure is commonly found, you have more choices.
Find a piece that’s absolutely gorgeous, and that matches the species you are using for the rest of your guitar. This way, you can add an amazing looking piece of wood for your book match on your back plate, and still make a structurally sound guitar.
See Also: Acoustic Guitar Making For Beginners
Mill Your Plates Individually
Just like the soundboard, it’s important to mill your plates individually through a thickness planer or sander before you join them together. If you have a planer or sander that’s large enough to do them as one piece, then go ahead and glue them together first.
Most beginners don’t have this type of machinery available to them. If this sounds like you, don’t spend a ton of money on a hand plane and all of the sharpening items that you’ll need to keep it performing well. Instead, just buy a 10 or 12 inch power thickness planer.
You’ll be able to pass the halves of your back plate through the planer one at a time, and mill them down to the same thickness before you join them together at the center. It’s a faster process, and the results are far more even than planing by hand.
Use a Seam Graft on the Inside of the Plate
You can use a piece of the same species as your back plate, or more commonly you can take a cut off from the top of an old soundboard and use that instead.
Simply glue a strip that’s about an inch wide with the grain running perpendicular to the center joint. This strip goes all the way from the headlock to the tail block on the inside portion of the plate.
Sand and taper the edges with a chisel, and make the center seam reinforcement look nice. A portion of it is going to be seen through the sound hole anyway, so you definitely want it to look nice.
Inlay a Strip Over the Center Seam
However, if your match came out a little poorly, or the joint doesn’t look as well as you thought it would, covering it with a piece of material that matches your binding scheme is always a good idea.
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This can also help replace your center line in the event that it’s not quite centered, and it will create a new visual reference as to where the middle of the back plate is located.
Besides, it will always match your binding if you choose the right strip, and it creates a classic look on any acoustic guitar.
Arch Your Braces Together
The radius is the same from the top to the bottom, so there is nothing wrong with carving everything together. Once you get your curve perfect, and you’re happy with it, you can slide a knife in between the braces to break them apart.
After you have them separated, you can glue them down to the guitar, and they will cause the plate to curve. Just like that, you have a arched back plate for your acoustic guitar, and it’s much easier than carving the braces one at a time.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know these five awesome tips for making an acoustic guitar back plate, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Have you been thinking about making a guitar? If you have, there is no time better than now.
Guitar making is actually pretty easy. Even if you’re a beginner, all you really need is some patience, perseverance, and a few good books to help you get the job done.
My acoustic guitar making books are awesome at helping beginners do a better job on your first instruments. The first one will help you make the tools and jigs that you need to be successful, and the second one will give you over 1000 guitar making tips to help you avoid big mistakes.
If you been on the fence about making an acoustic guitar, it’s time to get off. Get the project started, and once you’re holding your fully completely guitar in your hands, and listening to its sweet sweet music, you’ll be so happy you did.
If you have any questions about making the back plate of your guitar, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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