It’s a big day in the life story of the Carolan guitar. It’s the day that we etch the Spruce soundboard. Adrian and Steve gather around the laser cutter like new fathers peering nervously into an incubator to watch the this final pattern appear before their eyes.
This last design is far more complex than any of our previous ones, bringing together all of the techniques that we have learned so far and featuring a mixture of both inlay and sound holes as part of its complex celtic knotwork.
Liz’s pattern has two different scannable codes embedded within it, one that is repeated on the upper and lower bouts, and a second that will run under the strings and so will only be readable when they are removed.
Her design also accommodates important functional and structural constraints. She has avoided decorating the area where the player’s arm will rest. She has included a sufficient total area of sound holes to project the instrument’s voice. Finally, she has avoided too much heavy inlay on the sensitive lower bout as well as cutting through the underlying bracing.
All in all, it was a fascinating and difficult design challenge.
This final etch took more than two hours (not including Adrian’s extensive preparation and test runs on plywood!). You can see Liz’s striking design emerge for the first time in just over two minutes in the following video.
Now it’s off to Nick to be inlaid and attached to the body of the guitar. The excitement is mounting. The Carolan guitar will soon be ready to see the light of day for the first time.