Acoustic guitars that reference the past but look to the future for a truly unique guitar that you can't buy in stores. Guitar rewards!
Alexander Acoustic guitars are all handmade one at a time in my shop. The care that I'm able to take in this process insures that they play to highest standards. A brief overview of these standards include using only instrument grade woods, carefully tap tuning each instrument, and implementing custom bracing designs that allow the top to ring more freely for more tone and better projection. You will notice that my guitars are nothing fancy. They are pretty simple looking guitars. Unlike most guitar companies, my goal has never been to build something that looks good. My goal has alway been to build something that sounds amazing. With this principle of sound always at the forefront of design, it has drastically shaped the way I build guitars. However, as a nice bonus, the beauty of the wood is naturally allowed to shine through so they end up looking really nice too.
The wood is the heart of the guitar. Using solid wood instead of laminates or synthetics allows for the best energy transfer and ultimately a great sounding guitar. As traditional wood for building a guitar becomes more and more rare due to over harvesting, it has become necessary to find alternatives that can be harvested responsibly. So you'll see in the rewards some woods that you may not be familiar with, and on the high end some old favorites as well. I'll give you a quick run down on the woods that I'll be using on this project.
*Walnut- Walnut is somewhat new to the guitar scene but has been used by builders with great results. It's also harvested on the west coast so suppliers can control the process and ensure sustainable forestry. It is also a versatile wood in that it can be used as a soundboard (top), as well as back and sides.
*Myrtle- Myrtle wood is really pretty new to the guitar building scene but is a great sounding highly figured wood and I have been excited to work with it. This also comes from the west coast so suppliers oversee the harvesting process as well. This is the wood that I'm holding at the end of the video.
*Spruce- Spruce has been used for ages as a soundboard wood and for good reason. Spruce is elastic yet stiff, making it strong but also very resonate.
*Maple- A classic in the violin family but also great for guitar building as well. It is very hard and strong while being great sounding.
*Port Oford Cedar - One of the highest strength to weight ratios out there. Nice and stiff but really really light, lending brilliant tonal characteristics.
*Koa- Koa is a great sounding highly figured tonewood from Hawaii. Due to its beauty and sound qualities it has been over harvested and is now protected and has become very hard to get. Hawaii does allow for the harvesting of fallen logs, and this is where the koa I use comes from. It's a great sounding wood suitable for the soundboard as well as back and sides.
*Redwood- Redwood is not a tradional soundboard wood for a guitar. Due to how it's protected it has never been practical for large manufactures to use. However small quanitites of downed logs are available, and boy does it make a good soundboard. Nice and flexible, similar to spruce, but also gives a nice red color to the top that you don't get from other woods.
*Brazilian Rosewood! The holy grail of guitar woods. Was highly used by guitar manufacturers until the 60s when it became scarce due to over harvesting and the Brazilian government stopped exporting it. However stumps from trees that where cut down in the 50s are being allowed to be harvested. However this mostly limits the size of the wood to being used for the ukulele.
-All woods in this project will be from sustainable or salvaged sources. There is no need to ravage forests just for our musical pleasure, so take heart that your guitar was forested responsibly.
One gripe I have with major guitar manufacturers is that the lacquer they use for their guitars is so hard that is doesn't allow the wood to vibrate naturally. I use shellac on all my guitars, the same finish that Stradivarius used on his world famous violins. It's durable enough for good protection, but allows the guitar to vibrate naturally giving it better sound. Another gripe is that they use plastic or synthetic nuts and saddles. The strings sit directly on the nut at one end and on the saddle at the other, making them a conduit by which energy is transfered to the sound board. Plastic does not transfer energy well. I use bone, the old traditional choice, for the nut and saddle that I hand carve for spot on intonation. The difference between plastic and bone is night and day when is comes to tone. I will also be using two way adjustable truss rods on the larger guitars, allowing the truss rod to add releif if necessary. Graphite or ebony will be used to reinforce the necks of the ukuleles. Grover tuners will be used on most of the guitars (and ukuleles). Grover offers a good tuner at a good price. Waverley tuners are the best tuners on the market and will be used on the higher end guitars and ukuleles.
I hope you can see that every part of these guitars are selected to make the guitar sound better. There is no compromise to try and increase profits or make it easier to build.
A brief visual of the building process
You will notice that different sizes available at different reward levels for the ukuleles and guitars. If you are unfamiliar with sizes, here is a brief rundown. The ukulele family is comprised of four different sizes; soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Soprano is the smallest and the most common size. If you imagine a ukulele, you're probably imagining a soprano. Concert is the size shown in the photos, just slightly bigger than the soprano. As the sizes go up, the bodies get bigger and the scale length increase, adding volume and bass response. So tenor is bigger than concert and baritone is the biggest. Also, for all you guitar players out there, worth noting is the baritone ukulele has the same string names and the highest strings on the guitar DGBE, where as the smaller three are like playing guitar capo 5 GCEA.
The guitar family has many different sizes and variations, but in this project four will be offered; parlor, 000, concert, and dreadnought. The parlor is nice and handleable. It's small body and short scale length give it a nice sweet sound. Now depending on the builder, 000 and concert sizes can sometimes look very similar. In this project, the 000 will have the same scale length as the smaller parlor, but with a bigger body, giving it less string tension with more bass possibilities. The concert will only be slightly bigger body wise, but with a longer scale length increasing string tension and allowing for more projection. The dreadnought is the biggest size being offered. The large body and longer scale length allow for booming lows and great projection throughout the tonal range. It is sometimes criticized for being hard to handle due to its size.
All guitar and ukulele rewards come with a case and free shipping. If you need international shipping the additional amount is listed at the bottom of the reward. Also, if your reward includes a choice (choice of wood or size) you will be sent a survey before I begin work on your guitar where you can indicate your choices. So initially, just pledge and make your choices later.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Challenges will abound on this project. The main challenge will be trying to build in volume, while still building them one at a time by hand (which will basically involve building several side by side working on one while the glue dries on the other). So please be patient as you wait for your guitar. The rewards estimated time of arrival are somewhat arbitrary, I'm just trying to give you a feel for how long it might be, but I'm planning on building them on a first come first serve basis, so if you back early plan on getting it sooner and if you back towards the end of the project, plan a waiting 10-12 months. So if you need a guitar today, this is not the project for you, but if you want a guitar completely different than anything you can get in a store, this is the project for you.
If funding goals on kickstarter are not reached, no backers are charged and no funding is collected. My funding goal must be reached for any funds to be received.
If you pledge at $800 or more, you have choices of size or wood at one level. After the project is funded, I'll send you a survey where you can choose your options.
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Window cling sticker. Let your ride (or other window) support the hand made guitar cause!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $320 or moreYou selected
Soprano ukulele. Walnut back, sides, top and neck.Estimated delivery:Add $50 USD to ship outside the US
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Parlor size guitar. Myrtle wood back and sides with spruce top.Estimated delivery:Add $70 USD to ship outside the US
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Dreadnought size guitar. Myrtle wood back and sides with spruce top and spanish cedar neck.Estimated delivery:Add $70 USD to ship outside the US
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Concert ukulele. Koa top, back and sides. Mahogany neck with Graphite reinforcement.Estimated delivery:Add $50 USD to ship outside the US
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Dreadnought or Concert size guitar, you choose. Maple back and sides with redwood top and mahogany neck.Estimated delivery:Add $70 USD to ship outside the US
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Master Grade guitar, you choose size: parlor, 000, concert or dreadnought. Master grade walnut with master grade alaska sitka spruce top and honduran mahogany neck.Estimated delivery:Add $70 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)
Brazilian rosewood ukulele! you choose size: soprano, concert, tenor or baritone. Brazilian rosewood back and sides with your choice or top (sitka spruce, port orford cedar, red cedar, or redwood (all master grade)). Honduran mahogany neck with graphite reinforcement and gold plated Waverley tuners.Estimated delivery:Add $50 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)
Master grade Koa guitar, you choose size: parlor, 000, concert or dreadnought. High figured koa back, sides and top with honduran mahogany neck. Gold plated Waverly tuners with gold fretwireEstimated delivery:Add $70 USD to ship outside the US
- (30 days)