New LAG TN70A Nylon Crossover - Left-Handed conversion

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GTCGTC Frets: 49
edited November 29 in Acoustics
For a while now I've been thinking about getting a lefty custom nylon crossover guitar built but was wondering what nut width would be best. Most crossovers have a 48mm or 50mm nut width and I wondered if I could use the same favourite 46mm I prefer on steel strung guitars. I knew that the Furch CW range had a 45mm nut but there were none I could find to try - even in right-handed form.

By chance I came across the LAG TN70A and ordered one from Allegro Music for £237 to try. This is a nylon-strung guitar with an auditorium body and a 46mm nut. With the help of ace Glastonbury luthier Alan Miller, who cut a new left-handed bone nut and saddle while I waited, I swapped these over with the black graphite ones originally fitted and - hey-presto, I had a left-handed guitar (like most classicals, there wasn't a saddle compensation angle to worry about). 

To complete the job I tweaked the set-up to my liking and added fingerboard side dots to the left-handed players side, after first checking there was no degradation in the tone from switching the strings round, which, as in all other conversions I've tried, there wasn't. I also changed the strings to D'Addario Pro Arte Composite Core EXP46 (High Tension) and swapped the tuning machines with a rather nice set with wooden knobs I had hanging around, not that there appeared to be anything wrong with the set originally fitted.

The result is a nylon strung guitar which plays very nicely and sounds surprisingly good for the price. The action at the 6th string 12th fret is .085" - very low for a nylon-strung instrument but very comfortable and buzz-free.

The top is solid Canadian spruce and the back and sides laminated sapele. The neck is okoume - a light but strong wood which has a reputation of being difficult to machine and a bit ding-prone. The fingerboard is "brownwood" which a source describes as being a treated pine to give it a hardness and colour similar to rosewood. Luthier Alan confirmed that it has a classical bracing system and the top is also thinner than on steel-strung guitars - unlike crossover guitars from some major steel strung brands.

The only issue with the woods was that it was very difficult to drill the 2mm holes for the brownwood fingerboard side markers cleanly - whereas I'd never previously had a problem with ebony or rosewood.

The result has greatly surpassed my expectations. I'll still think about a custom built crossover but I'm in no hurry whilst I'm enjoying this one.

I'll post some photos when I get time.
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  • Interesting project....Did you use rods to replace the side dots? I always have trouble with them losing shape after cutting or sanding 
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    edited November 29
    No - I used 2mm MoP dots from Small Wonder Music. It's a bit fiddly and you need to buy more than you need as you'll probably end up losing a few. Normally I drill a shallow 2mm hole, using a moist finger to pick the dot up, place the dot directly on top of the hole and press it home with the flat of a small steel rule to give a flush and secure interference fit (no glue).

    The problem this time was the resulting holes were a bit larger and uneven from drilling into the brownwood. I managed to do a rescue job with some matching filler. It looks OK - but not as good as usual.
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  • Yes buying individual dots seems to be a better way of doing it,  I found drilling  the hole to exactly the right depth then cutting the rod flush tricky, I certainly wouldn't do it myself on any of my better guitars. Just drilling a hole and filling it with decorators caulk is also  an okay solution.
    Classical strings?  I won't even go there!
     
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    edited December 3
    Here's the promised photos of the finished job. I managed to improve the action further with some additional fine tuning of the nut slot heights.





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  • blueskunkblueskunk Frets: 2523
    Hmm interesting. I have been very close to buying one of these of the cutaway model. Think I’ve decided on the Yamaha ntx500 though. 
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    blueskunk said:
    Hmm interesting. I have been very close to buying one of these of the cutaway model. Think I’ve decided on the Yamaha ntx500 though. 
    I can't comment on the Yamaha NTX500 as I've never considered it - as, being a cutaway, it isn't suitable for a left-handed conversion and a lefty model isn't available. It looks nice though.

    What can say is that for sound and playability, the LAG has greatly exceeded my expectations.

    I did convert a Yamaha Classical silent guitar to left handed - doing all the stuff I did on the LAG and unscrewing the cutaway piece on the body frame and making a new one symmetrical with the other side from mahogany. It worked really well despite the controls being on the wrong side. I eventually sold it to someone who was right-handed and wanted to change it back (which was very easy to do).

    My favourite thin-bodied crossover nylon is a US-made lefty 2000's Carvin CL450 (48mm nut width). These very rarely come up for sale and are no longer made. If you see one then go for it!
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  • blueskunkblueskunk Frets: 2523
    GTC said:
    blueskunk said:
    Hmm interesting. I have been very close to buying one of these of the cutaway model. Think I’ve decided on the Yamaha ntx500 though. 
    I can't comment on the Yamaha NTX500 as I've never considered it - as, being a cutaway, it isn't suitable for a left-handed conversion and a lefty model isn't available. It looks nice though.

    What can say is that for sound and playability, the LAG has greatly exceeded my expectations.

    I did convert a Yamaha Classical silent guitar to left handed - doing all the stuff I did on the LAG and unscrewing the cutaway piece on the body frame and making a new one symmetrical with the other side from mahogany. It worked really well despite the controls being on the wrong side. I eventually sold it to someone who was right-handed and wanted to change it back (which was very easy to do).

    My favourite thin-bodied crossover nylon is a US-made lefty 2000's Carvin CL450 (48mm nut width). These very rarely come up for sale and are no longer made. If you see one then go for it!
    Many thanks for the info. I’m looking at a Yamaha tomorrow. If it don’t feel right, I’ll take the punt on the lag as they look great. How thin is the body ?
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    blueskunk said:
    Many thanks for the info. I’m looking at a Yamaha tomorrow. If it don’t feel right, I’ll take the punt on the lag as they look great. How thin is the body ?
    This LAG model  has a full-size body and is not a thin-bodied instrument. Body depth is  approx 110 mm at the tail and 90mm at the heel
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