Do you know how guitars are made?

  • Alhambra Guitars 50th anniversary exhibition

    A quality elaboration is crucial in order to ensure the stability and durability in the guitar.

    The system which offers a better stability and durability in the elaboration of guitars, is named ‘Spanish heel’.

    In previous publications, we explained the importance of the manufacturing type and the several ways to develop a guitar. It is a very important topic in order to know the quality of the instrument as well as its durability.

    One of the most important features in the process of elaboration of a guitar is the artisan manufacturing. The fact of all the instruments are produced by a professional and experienced team is essential to ensure optimum levels of quality.

    Moreover, there are different manufacturing types for the development of a Spanish guitar. In broad strokes, and without getting into detail of the several methods of productions, we could highlight the development by means of the "Spanish heel" and the elaboration through the ‘dovetail’.

    The term ‘Spanish heel’ makes reference to the wood piece which is located in the inside part of the guitar, at the height of the neck. This structure, which is part of the neck, offers an important robustness to the instrument.

    There are different ways to incorporate the ‘Spanish heel’. The more traditional method consists in starting the production of the guitar by means of the union from the cover to the neck; and later, the incorporation of the machine heads and the back.

    This is the traditional Spanish making system used by Guitarras Alhambra and the reason for which their guitars are known.

    On the other hand, there is also a method called ‘dovetail’. This system, which was used for the guitars making from the furniture industry, consists in joining the neck when the body is finished. The neck is fixed, so it is embedded in one-piece which is located where the Spanish heel would be, but it is smaller.

    In addition, another system which is used in all types of guitars is the so-called ‘dowel’ method. It is a similar system to the ‘dovetail’ method; but in this case, it is attached to the body by means of screws, so it is a faster way to make the instrument.

    The manufacturing method using the ‘Spanish heel’, apart from being the traditional Spanish making system, is the method which provides more stability to the guitar.

    In addition, we mustn’t forget the important tension which is exerted by the strings on the guitar; and consequently, the importance of a good manufacturing process in order to get a resistant structure.

    A properly tuned guitar supports a continuous tension superior to 40 Kg. This fact also depends on the type of strings used, which is an interesting topic for future articles.