Guitar 39 “Salmon Spawning”

    Guitar 39 – “Salmon Spawning”

    Completed May, 2012

    Body Size – 16″ lower bout

    Scale – 25.5″

    Top – Sitka spruce

    Back and Sides – Indian rosewood

    Neck – Honduras mahogany

    Fingerboard – Gabon ebony

    Nut and Saddle – bone

    Binding – Birdseye maple

    Purfling – Birdseye maple

    Headstock veneers – rosewood

    Soundhole Rosette – Red glass ring with arcs of red and green glass dots

    Fingerboard inlay – “Salmon Spawning” made of stained glass, mother of pearl and abalone

    Tuning machines – Schaller M6 gold

    Finish – lacquer







    I built this guitar for myself.  I needed a new guitar to show off, and I liked the salmon inlay I did on Guitar 38 so much that I decided to do it again in a larger version.  Here in Southeast Alaska we live in a sockeye salmon culture.  Every summer these beautiful fish return by the millions from the open ocean and head to the rivers to spawn.  In the salt water they are bright silver, but up in the rivers they assume their brilliant red and green spawning colors.





    A view showing off the Indian rosewood back and sides.









    The soundhole rosette continues the spawning salmon theme.  Six arcs of salmon eggs of varying sizes surround a ring of red glass. 








    Creating the “Salmon Spawning” inlay.


    Cutting mother-of-pearl.  The inlay starts with a pattern drawn on paper.  The pattern pieces are cut out and pasted onto the pearl, abalone or stained glass.  Then they are cut out exactly to the edge of the paper pattern.  I use a jeweler’s saw to cut the shell material and a diamond saw to cut the glass.


    After all the inlay pieces have been cut out and fitted together, they are laid out on the fingerboard and the perimeter is scribed.  A Dremel mini-router is used to cut a cavity exactly the shape and depth of the inlay.

    The inlay fits nicely into the cavities, but it now blocks the fret slots.  It will have to be cut apart to allow room for the frets.

    The inlay has now been separated to expose the fret slots.
    Epoxy mixed with ebony dust is used to glue the inlay.  It also fills any small gaps.

    The inlay is then sanded flat starting with 150 grit paper  and finishing with 3200 grit.


    Here is the finished inlay.






    Tracy Spring, a wonderful performing songwriter from Bellingham, WA took “Salmon Spawning” on tour in the summer of 2012 while I was building her new guitar.  This guitar is very responsive with great clarity and bell-like harmonics.