The Maverick

Written by Patrick Podpadec on . Posted in Guitars


front_of_maverick 0590maverick_headstock back_view 0598_maverick_neck



This guitar was recently completed in early April of 2010. I built this instrument for to be a part of a project that was launched by a luthier named Denis Merrill.

  Dennis's vision is to prove or disprove the theory that instruments tonal qualities change over time. He proposed that a series of instruments be built at the same time using wood that was nearly identical, sourced from a small section of an old growth Sitka Spruce tree. The wood selected was well quartered with an unusual reddish color, highly bear clawed, with a high count of grain lines per inch. For more on the “Sonic Sitka Project”, go to and click on the “specials” tab.

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 I give Thanks! to Dennis for allowing me to participate in such a cool project. It's an honor to be involved in a project that has the potential to unlock some of history's oldest secrets. Perhaps one day we may actually know what exactly it is that makes up the wonderful tones that the wood produces. Why? and How? does it get better with age? I hope that the Sonic Sitka project can shed some light on that theory in the future.

   I debuted this instrument at the Newport Guitar Festival , held down in Hollywood Florida at the Hard Rock Cafe in April, 2010. There were about 30 or so other builders there that participated in the project. We were all allowed free reign on our selections of body style, woods and finish. I chose to build a “sloped shoulder” dreadnaught with a neck/body joint at the 12th fret. I have affectionetly named it the "Maverick"

Here is a list of the Features:

  • 25.625 scale length
  • Sloped Shoulder Dreadnaught

  • Sitka Spruce Top ( Sonic Sitka project #028)
  • Indian Rosewood Back & Sides
  • 5 pc. Laminated Neck
  • Double Action Truss Rod
  • Bone Nut & Saddle
  • Ebony fingerboard, Bridge, Headplate,& Sound hole ring
  • Curly Maple Endcap
  • Ebony bridge pins w/pearl dot
  • 12 fret body joint
  • Laminated and Scalloped X bracing
  • Curly Maple Binding w/ Diagonal cut purfling
  • Schaller Nickel Plated Tuners w/ebony knobs
  • Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup system
  • Body depth at upper bout = 4-1/4''
  1. Body depth at lower bout = 4-3/4''
  2. Body width at lower bout = 16-1/4''                                                    
  3. Body width at upper bout = 11-1/2''
  4. Back radius = 15'
  5. Top radius = 30'
  6. Genuine Pro11 Hiscox Case
  7. Nitrocellouse Highgloss Finish
  8. Limited Lifetime Warranty
This picture shows the top being thicknessed to about .100. After running it through the drum sander, I final sanded and scraped the top to about .090 I laminated the X-braces . This is a picture of the spruce and rosewood strips that I used

Here you can see the X braces and the top tranverse brace in place. I love the "Go-Deck Bar for glueing braces to the top and back plates. It is very accurate with no slipping

Here is another view of the back braces being glued
Here is the two plates completed and waiting to be joined to the sides Here is a front  view of the completed plates
Here you can see that I have cut 8 identical pieces from MDF board . They wiil be glued together to make the outside forms
I have glued 4 of the pieces to make one side of the form
This is the mould after the pieces were glued together and have been sanded smooth.  After the form has been inspected I will put a couple of coats of shellac on it to protect it from moisture Here you can see that the inner mould has now been assembled and the form is ready now to accept the sides
I have  bent one side (in mould in background) and I am getting ready to bend the other side
After I fit the sides to the mould, I installed the neck and tail blocks


The sides are held in tight to the mould by the inside spreaders. This allows me to glue on the kerfing with every available clamp
This is a uniquejig that I came up with to glue the top on to the sides. It worked very well
You can see here that the jig is doing it's job. I can create a very consistant pressure all around the sides
Here is a good shot of the laminated X-bracing and all of the other interior top bracing
The back has been glued and I have routed out the purfling and binding channels

All bound up!

I use packer's tape because it has a fiberglass reinforcement and has a very aggressive tack

This picture shows the adding of two small"ears" on to the headstock so it will be wide enough for the "Maverick" shape
This a jig that I made from a setup that I saw in Bob Benedetto's book. It is a very precise way to rout the male end of the dovetail joint
This is a view of the neck being sanded to it's final shape.The headstock has a backplate venier for support and to hide the neck laminations
This a view from the top looking down on the neck dovetail. You can clearly see the routing jig and how you can adjust it for any size dovetail


This guitar has an incredible “bottom end” and a clarity through it’s midrange that rivals any guitar I’ve ever played. I attribute these qualities to the choice of laminating the main X-bracing

I had read a few years back about how the Larson Brothers built instruments with this style of bracing. The idea was that the bracing can be “stiffened” by laminating the braces. By doing this, it’s possible to make the top a little bit thinner so that it may vibrate a bit more freely. The lamination stiffens the top without creating too much mass.

I felt that this theory made very good sense and thought I would try it on this guitar. I think I nailed it on the head. I am very happy with the results in tone. I have had a number of accomplished players give very good feed backs about it’s tone and playability.

The Maverick