Construction of a CB Model J

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To help you better understand the construction of a CB Guitar, we followed Chris over the course of several weeks through the construction of one particular instrument, the very first CB Model J guitar. We will show you some of the intricacies involved in the making of a CB guitar, and some of the careful craftsmanship and attention to detail that is the hallmark of every CB instrument.

The input of the instrument's future owner is always welcome, as it is important that there be clear communications between Chris and his client so that all requirements of sound and appearance are completely satisfied. While the CB line has standardized to en extent upon definable models, CB instruments are custom-made to order. The playing style and preferences of the client are taken into account so as to fully realize the client's vision of a fine, custom-tailored instrument.

Click on the pictures for a larger version.



Every CB instrument begins with the careful selection of woods. Chris selects the woods for his instruments on the basis of tone potential and beauty. This set of select grade Cocobolo is destined to become part of an instrument that both Chris and the guitar's future owner can be proud of.

Shown here are the rough-shaped Engelmann Spruce top with Sitka Spruce bracing stock glued in place, joined back with hand-shaped Sitka Spruce ladder braces, and rough-shaped neck with dovetail already cut.


After the sides are bent and allowed to set in the body form, the neck block and tail block are glued in, along with the kerfed Mahogany lining. Side supports are then glued onto the body as shown. Material for the side supports is chosen to complement the tone qualities of the material used for side wood; in the case of this Cocobolo body, Southeast Asian Rosewood side supports are used.

Shown along with the rough-shaped top and semi-completed back, the sides are complete, with block set, lining, and side supports glued in place.


Rough top has been routed for sound hole rosette. The back, while semi-finished, does not yet have a back strip. Note the oily appearance of the back and sides - Cocobolo is a very oily wood and must be carefully degreased from time to time during construction, and great care must be taken while gluing the Cocobolo. While this makes Cocobolo somewhat harder to work with than other Rosewoods, it also makes Cocobolo a very stable wood for the long term, much less susceptible to drying out or cracking than other Rosewoods.

Chris removes excess top wood with the band saw. This begins what is probably the most critical single phase of the guitar's construction in terms of sound potential: voicing the top.


Chris begins by shaping the small braces on either side of the main "X" brace.

Using a small chisel, Chris carefully hand-shapes the braces.



After the small braces are roughed-in, Chris rough-shapes the main "X" braces and tone bars on the belt sander.

Using the belt sander for rough-shaping the larger braces allows Chris to carefully control the rough shape of the braces without any possibility of splitting the spruce. It also allows Chris to remove a great deal of excess wood in a short period of time. 



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Last modified: November 28, 2015


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Last modified: November 28, 2015