Design and Construction - Some Construction views & Design ideas.

Here is an overview of the making of the first Multi in 2013-2014 :

The goal for it was to include 12 long sympathetic string as part of an arched-top harp-guitar type instrument, that would be comfortable to hold and play.

Often, the harp-guitar can feel bulky, and more like a standard guitar, to which an -offset to the left- body part was added later to cover for the extra-strings factor.

I wanted Multi to be sleek looking, while certainly serving its acoustic and ergonomic functions.

From the build-picture below, you can see how my original sketch got translated into an instrument that is thinner-bodied in the ribcage area of player. Later I worked its carving into an organic feeling soundbox. 
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Thinner bass-side-of soundbox view- for Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Inner-soundboard for 12 sympathetic strings to Mult-harp-guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
Materials used for Multi are mainly local woods: Its soundboard (below) is carved from beautiful Alaska yellow cedar. American Poplar is used for its soundbox. Both materials are at least 50+ years old, and have straight and quartered fibre orientation. Neck material for the Multi model varies. Fingerboard is Macassar ebony, used along aluminium inlays for this first Multi : Aluminium dust was added to its thin, two coats nitrocellulose laquer top finish. Its back is finished with an epoxy base and oil varnish. 
atelier-multi-carve - hr.jpg
Unusual for Multi is its top bindings are worked as the first step in the process. Then the top is carved without the cutaway/soundhole part : Carved separately, and last set on the body at an angle that permits upper frets access, this piece is rounded in a horn-like shape and ties the loop for its design.
Multi 1 was first exhibited at the Woodstock invitational luthier showcase 2015. Comments from players helped me to shape later Multi 2 ( 2016), and the upcoming Multi 3 for this year. Below is a demo of Multi, played by Jean-Marc Hébert, along with a souvenir picture from meeting the one and only David Torn. 
One amazing guitarist (and human being) in which I find inspiration ; One of the nicest meeting you can ask for at a guitar show...David Torn, giving Multi a spin, at the Woodstock Invitational Luthier Showcase 2015.
Jean-Marc Hébert playing Multi in a demo recording.
He is a composer. Trained as a classical guitarist, he turned to electric guitar while he always kept with a finger style approach that is gentle yet expressive.

Acoustic ? Electric ? Tell us more ..

The guitar is my main focus and I love it in all its forms... Bass guitar or harp-guitar or 6-string guitar. I work steel strings, nylons, archtops & electrics. I personally am open to the idea that merging characteristics of each can be appropriate, if done well of course! 

My electric guitars are often designed with acoustic attributes in mind, while my acoustic guitars can display sonic and playability aspects of the electrics. By experience, I find beneficial and creative not to sub-categorize a guitar while its being created (or ordered), and let its combined attributes naturally define it when complete.
JM7-7string-nylon-Thierry Andre Instruments
JM7 is a thin, electric guitar-like nylon string guitar, designed to be played on stage. It gives deep tone while avoiding feedback issues.
Electrics :
Kouai (below) has really the mass and sustain of a solid-body electric, while offering some -airy- qualities heard on more flexible hollow-body guitars. Its top wood is indian rosewood, and is coupled with Honduras mahogany. Its upper bout -ports- ( initiated with Zyra ) give a chanting aspect to its purely acoustic sound. 
Kouai hollow-body guitar 2014 Thierry Andre Instruments
Although a guitar such as Kouai inherently falls short of being a semi-acoustic, it has already great unplugged qualities that one can hear from it, when its amplified and well recorded ( Hear -Élégie-, a 2:00 solo guitar piece by Jean-Marc Hebert ).

I would certainly love to make a larger and thicker version of it...More archtop-like. Its design is yet to be exploited.
Kouai played solo by Jean-Marc Hébert
Kouai-hollow body electric guitar build- by Thierry andre Instruments
One aspect I look for in electrics is a strong physical link between neck and bridge. Often times, the neck pickup cavity represents a detrimental -void- in the system.
See how Kouai, from its rosewood top-plate apparently -aesthetic- design, has pillar-like elements surrounding its neck pocket : First meeting with neck, then circling around the neck pickup cavity, theses -pillars- go straight to bridge. This helps overall structure and the transfer of energy along the strings axis.
Goldorak hollow-body guitar Thierry Andre Instruments
When not totally possible from the outside of the guitar, this neck to bridge connection can be worked from the inside of the hollow-body.

Goldorak built back in 2007, uses a 3 layer construction along with internal hard maple bridge block and -arm-.
Goldorak hollow-body guitar Thierry Andre Instruments
This -arm- acts like a small beam put into traction, as the guitar neck wants to pull up. It is attached from underneath Goldorak's neck pocket, to underneath the bridge area. The air cavity of this hollow-body guitar is quite large, and a shielded electronic compartment box (made from light Red cedar) is accessible from the back of the guitar, via a wedged Padauk element that locks in, by being pushed forward in position.
Goldorak hollow-body guitar Thierry Andre Instruments
Goldorak hollow-body guitar Thierry Andre Instruments
I often carve the back of my electric guitars concave, or relieved inwards in some way, to accommodate the player. Note the output jack is set-into a bone surround structure.

The top wood section of Goldorak is Padauk as central element, with side pieces made of Camphor burl wood. The latter was especially requested and looks amazing, but the quartered and straight grain Padauk is its acoustic engin, and I designed the guitar according to this factor. 
Goldorak hollow-body guitar Thierry Andre Instruments
Light reflection on Goldorak, 2007. The sunlight coming from the checkered window reflects the subtle topography of the carving performed on its three-piece top. Freshly set-up and just completed in this picture, Goldorak is equipped with both magnetic and acoustic pickups. Coffee and old-school CD's complete this epic picture!
Acoustics :
Soundbox details
The MAYA is the largest instrument I make.

From this picture one can see the buttressing
neck wings that tie its sides to its neck block.
This feature isn't new in history, and I find it mandatory for logical acoustic & mechanical engineering, this in my view of the instrument.

Even with laminated sides, or -engineered sides-, one can see that the soundboard still has to give a lots of its strength in the upper bout, just to -resist- the forces inherent to string pull. etc.

I use therefore use these
neck wings on all my acoustic instruments, even the Muti-type or Sun-Moon type carved-shell bodies. They do add stability to the -whole- of the guitar.
Inside the box to the Maya Bass 2015. Picture is showing : Typical laminated -neck wings- support attached to neck block. Also visible are: beveled hardwood tail block, glued-in side brackets, tubing for pickup lead wire going to tail, faceted spruce cutaway in place on soundboard, with resulting cut on treble-side of body. Lattice-type bracing on top plate, and long / radial type on back plate. The neck mortise is to be cut once box is closed. 
Hear a short -workbench- demo of the Maya model  :
Neck wing supports as adapted to each soundbox :
Multi-Harp guitar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Multi-Harp guitar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Neck wings being fitted (above) for Multi's neck pocket (picture on the right) : Its neck will be glued directly on top of these supports, to couple with the soundbox in a 3-point triangular fashion.
atelier-oudtar-bowl-done-Thierry Andre Instruments.jpg
atelier-oudtar-bowl-done-Thierry Andre Instruments.jpg
Inside and outside the soundbox to Oudtar, 2013. First picture is showing : Typical laminated -neck wings- support attached to neck block, Kasagami Japanese paper reinforcing every seam of the 22 - rib structure, Mahogany neck block, Black willow laminated tail block. Second picture shows the Navy blue dyed Sycomore highlighting each of the American Cherry laminated ribs . 
Below pictures are the Greyhound mandoline's bowl-back completed, and the Old-school archtop rim assembly, both having soundbox -neck wings- glued in position. 
Geyhound Mandoline by Thierry Andre Instruments
These extra steps in the fabrication process are a way to give long-term stability to my instruments, for string action and for body integrity.

- Neck-wings do -lock- the neck in position in a 3-point triangular fashion with the guitar's soundbox, while leaving the lower bout of the guitar in-line
with tradition.

- Their stiff connection reflects all the way back to the strings of the guitar, like a strong signal chain feeding in reverse from the neck block : Going back to neck shaft, headstock, tuners, fingerboard, frets, top nut, strings, and back to the bridge and soundboard.

When you play a great guitars, you can feel its neck vibration tickle the palm of your hand. This is already great.

For the guitars that I build, this cool sensation is there ; But it will also translate to the waist area of the guitar, meaning you will feel it against your lap too. -Because this is where the neck (via neck-wings) ultimately ends.

I certainly look for to make an efficient neck to body connection in all my guitars, while keeping my instruments as traditional and responsive as I can.
Clara-archtop-Thierry Andre Instruments
Inside the box to the Clara archtop, 2020. Picture is showing : Typical -neck wings- support attached to neck block. 

Also visible are: beveled tail block, glued-in side brackets for pickup lead wire going to tail, laminated rosewood
internal pickup support that holds the pickup suspended and clear of the top (see Clara's page), long -x- brace on Ziricote back, coupled with cross/ladder braces reinforced with rosewood top element. The neck mortise is to be cut once box is closed. 
Soundboard details
As I mention in my -About- page, I did work with different bracing patterns over the years My first big influence after attending guitar making school was to explore what one would call, the -ladder-bracing-.

Originally found on the
Oud, Lutemandoline, etc. And many, many other instruments : - It eventually found its way on guitars, and we can safely say that it is, the early guitars bracing pattern.

Here is one I did recently :
_DSC9857 - Table.jpg
Guitare-fruit Wurcer (2018) features an intermixed fan (parallel bars) and ladder bracing for its soundboard. Its alternative ivory rosette is reinforced from the back by a cross-grain rosewood ring, while other materials are Red spruce over a Western red-Cedar soundboard,
- My ongoing interest about the early type of ladder-bracing is more about what its true understanding can ultimately bring to my work and to my guitar's sound today. 

While my love and focus is for
 Guitar sound, guitar playing, guitar everything! I do have a shared interest for the Lute and the Oud because of their respective sound qualities : There is certainly a tone that is ingrained and deeply-rooted that can be heard from the sound of both these historic instruments that is worth investigating.

I think its safe to keep an eye open about these two, while being a guitar maker today.
oud-masmoudi-bracing-Thierry Andre Instruments.JPG
Oud-masmoudi - Thierry Andre Instruments
Oud Masmoudi, (2013) and its ladder bracing, at the pickup installation stage.
Different bracing combinations :
Old-school-archtop by Thierry Andre Instruments
Old-school archtop (2017) features an intermixed fan (parallel bars) and ladder bracing for its soundboard. Materials are Red spruce over a Douglas Fir soundboard,
Oudtar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Oudtar-bracing-Thierry Andre Instruments
Oudtar : soundboard prior to its voicing stage (2013) It features an intermixed x-brace  and a sequential ladder bracing inspired by thee Oud. Oudtar - literally Oud and Tar) is thought as a crossbreed between Oud and Guitar. Materials are Red spruce over a Red spruce soundboard, with a cross-grain Padauk bridge plate,
Raga guitar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Raga Guitar (2017) features a traditional x-brace  with a fan-type lower bout segment for its soundboard. Materials are Red spruce over a Carpathian spruce, with Rosewood angled-grain bridge plate.
Clara archtop by Thierry Andre Instruments
Clara archtop by Thierry Andre Instruments
Clara archtop  (2020) features an intermixed x-brace  and ladder bracing for its soundboard. Materials are Red spruce over a Western red Sinker cedar, with Rosewood cross-grain reinforcements below F-holes.
Clara archtop by Thierry Andre Instruments
Clara archtop by Thierry Andre Instruments
sun-moon-and-vibrations by Thierry Andre Instruments
sun-moon-and-vibrations by Thierry Andre Instruments
Sun, Moon, and Vibrations  (2019) Bracing in the works and angled cutaway in place.
It features a traditional x-brace  with a fan-type lower bout segment for its soundboard. Materials are Red spruce over a 45 year old Western red cedar, with Padauk cross-grain bridge plate, and ebony insert to receive string ball ends.

You can hear it below. The demo was recorded by me with a Zoom h2n microphone. I am a lefty, so, I have recorded the guitar playing left hand on a right hand guitar. Demo 1 lets the guitar ring. Second demo is mainly tapping harmonics around the 12th fret . Demo 3 uses palm muting & folk strumming.
sun-moon-and-vibrations by Thierry Andre Instruments
Elongated-body acoustic guitar - Sun, Moon, and Vibrations - completed, December 2018.
Different cutaway styles :
Since 2011 I have developed a variation on the increasingly popular -scoop- cutaway, for my own acoustic guitars. I prefer to call it the slanted cutaway since it application can take many forms.

This design is not my invention, but I have made it more personal by using the same material as the soundboard itself, to execute it.

Taking the Raga-guitar (pictured) as an example ;

A cut-off from its actual Carpathian spruce soundboard material is first preciously saved.

Then it is bent to shape and joined at an angle with the main soundboard. Their meeting point is the soundboard's top cross-brace (just above sound hole). 

Using soundboard material for making this functional part is for me about continuity of form and possibly better sound : It effectively keeps intact the strong arched-structure of the traditional guitar's upper-bout, while being the natural extension of the soundboard. This piece vibrates and is about 1.6mm thick.

Alternatively to this type of cutaway, I do offer the
standard cutaway, pointed or bent.
A smaller footprint -slant- can also be worked onto those if desired. Below is the JM7 as an example.
JM7-nylon 7 string guitar by Thierry Andre Instruments
JM7 nylon 7 string guitar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Raga guitar-cutaway view- Thierry Andre Instruments
Below are some different ways I have used to tackle this part of the guitar, also making a faceted version for my Maya acoustic bass guitar model:
Oudtar-by-Thierry Andre Instruments-workshop view of cutaway work (2011)
Oudtar by Thierry Andre Instruments
Maya 2 acoustic bass by Thierry Andre Instruments-photo Carolyn Amanda Photography
Sun, Moon, and Vibrations by Thierry Andre Instruments
Sun, Moon, and Vibrations - Workshop view and cutaway binding work- Thierry Andre Instruments
Maya bass- acoustic bass by Thierry andre Instruments
maya-workbench-cutaway-work-Thierry Andre Instruments
Music, and guitar design :
This page would not be complete without a short word about how I approach guitar design. This part is so important that I devote a lot of time to each of my drawings.

The software I use is very basic ; I refer to basic geometry while I draw all of my guitars totally by hand. Using a pen, eraser, ruler and calculator, I first draw a draft that I transfer to a wood template; -The action of the tools themselves on this template give me lines of a flowing character that I can feel and correct, before I transfer them back to paper and produce my guitar plan.   

An important tool in my approach (photo) was given to me by my first lutherie teacher. Many luthiers, architects, designers, craftsmen, printers, artists and ... musicians, each use it in their own way. Translated from my original, this super-cool and exciting tool is simply called: -  The sequence of harmonic ratios.
In short; musical notes (or wavelengths) are applied as measures in guitar design.
Working the proportions of a guitar is the same as using harmonious intervals in music :

-The luthier will obtains a -beautiful guitar shape- while the guitar player will -sound awesome- using different chords and phrasing. 
Likewise, I like to play with these same intervals. Major or minor, etc. and I work my drawing with them. The goal is to arrive at a guitar plan according to its given scale, which uses these different harmonic relationships in creating a cohesive instrument.

Listening to music while working helps me a lot, and this action in itself represents the undisputed heart of my practice. If I can convey some of its uplifting energy by the rendering my work, I will be very, very happy.

Hope you enjoyed this segment of your visit! Please fell free to ask me about the details of my construction methods. Such a subject is a vast one for me and for all my peer luthiers. In making this page, I have tried to highlight the more specific methods relating to the design of my instruments.

A selection of my works, leading to a dedicated page for each, is presented on the Instruments page. The majority of them can be heard on the Press+Audio page. 
Most of the information necessary to purchase one of my instruments is grouped together on the Ordering page. 
Contact me if you you want to share your comments, to suggest improvements to the site, or for any other question. I will respond within 24 hours.
Thierry Andre - Andre Instruments  Quebec - Canada 
 +1 418 522-3062