We are thrilled to be only the second dealer in the US to
carry Dehradun Guitars, some of the finest guitars we have ever played. Hand
made in the Himalayas in India, Dehradun guitars are craftmanship at its
finest. From their website, here is Dehradun’s build philosophy:
Our Build Philosophy
Most guitars are designed by marketing committees, whose
primary goals are sales and subsequently, indestructibility. Then theyʼre built
by factories, whose primary goal is efficiency. These goals probably donʼt
completely line up with the desires of the player. As custom builders, we get
excited about building you an instrument that will help you play and sound your
best. Thatʼs probably what you want, too.
But we do live in constant tension. On one hand, weʼre trying to get the
instrument to respond, to move as much as possible. On the other hand, the
construction needs to be stiff enough in all the right places so the neck angle
is solid, and so the soundboard doesnʼt distort too much under the torque
action of the strings at the bridge.
Instead of just rehashing old factory designs, we think through every joint and
every brace, to make the guitar respond to the player, while focusing on
structure where itʼs needed the most – especially in the neck joint and upper
bout, and around the bridge.
LAMINATED BRIDGE PLATE
Most guitars have a flat-sawn bridge plate with the grain perpendicular to the
top grain. Ours is quartersawn, with the grain parallel to the top grain. This
helps the top better resist distortion due to the torquing action of the
strings at the bridge. Then we go a step further and laminate a .020” flat-sawn
piece perpendicular to the main plate, to make it more stable and stiff, and to
prevent the plate from cracking.
Inspired by the work of Ervin Somogyi, our unique, interrupted
rosette makes a distinct statement, like a single strand of pearls set against
a black evening gown. The first Dehradun was made with this design, and we got
so much positive feedback on it that the design became our standard.
Handmitered purflings border pearl, abalone, and figured woods. Traditional and
custom rosettes are also available.
We use a 3-piece neck for a two main reasons. First, it’s
more stable. Any tendency of any piece to move in response to climate
conditions is stabilized by the other two. Second, the main reason truss rods
stop working is that they compress the mahogany on either end and get screwed
to the end of their adjusting range. Often the adjusting bolts get stripped out
in the process. The high crushing strength of rosewood provides a stronger bed
for the truss rod and neck bolts than mahogany can.
Broken headstocks are absolutely unnecessary. Five
structural elements conspire to make our peghead as strong as possible. First,
the three-piece neck continues through the headstock. Second, we use a scarf
joint to keep the wood grain parallel to the direction of the force the strings
exert on the tuners. Third, we apply a 1/16” vertical grain, quartersawn veneer
to both sides of the peghead for added stability and structure. Fourth, the
decorative volute is also a structural element, strengthening the neck at what
would otherwise be itʼs most vulnerable joint. Fifth, the truss rod access is
through the soundhole rather than in the peghead, so there’s no channel under
Two different soundboards from the same tree can vary wildly
in stiffness. The factory standard of thicknessing woods to target measurements
just doesnʼt result in consistent build quality. Thatʼs why you can pay so much
additional money for the most highly adorned models and end up with something
that sounds significantly worse than the cheapest models. Factories will select
the stiffest soundboard, then build it to the same dimensions as the cheaper
stuff, resulting in a top thatʼs too stiff and doesnʼt respond. So we thickness
our soundboards to target deflection. Weʼre looking for the ideal stiffness,
because thereʼs no such thing as an ideal thickness that works across the
board, especially when you consider the different sizes of guitars we build.
Each size has a target stiffness that optimizes that guitarʼs response.
HEADSTOCK AND TRANSVERSE BRACE
The head block is probably the most important single
structural member of the instrument, and should be treated as such. Our head
block/transverse brace unit makes standard upper bout configurations look like
an afterthought. The weight of the fretboard on the upper bout of any guitar
makes that part of the guitar ineffective at contributing anything but the highest
frequencies to the overall tone. Realizing this gives you the amazing ability
to utilize the upper bout for its intended purpose: supporting the neck joint!
We build a head block that extends under the fretboard and engages directly
into the transverse brace, which then continues out to column supports on
either side. This locks the entire head unit together and results in an upper
bout thatʼs extremely rigid and stable. You can stand on the upper bout of a
Dehradun (although we donʼt condone it).
Have you ever noticed how one chord can sound just fine, but
then you play another chord and it sounds out of tune? Stringed instruments
arenʼt perfect, but steps are taken in high-end guitars to make them as in-tune
(thus the word intonation) as possible. The first issue to address is that the
extreme ends of steel strings donʼt actually move, so the effective vibrating
length of the string is just a bit shorter than its actual length. So the
strings are effectively lengthened by moving the saddle out a bit away from the
nut (thatʼs why you see the saddle at an angle on steel string guitars – the
bass strings move less at the ends, so they have to be lengthened more to make
up for it). In addition, when you fret a string at, say, the 7th fret, youʼre
bending it slightly, making it go sharp – so the saddle is compensated out a
bit for that as well. But what about when youʼre not fretting a string? The
guitar has already been compensated as if you are, so the note is going to come
out flat. For some reason, most factories still donʼt take this into account.
The nut needs to be moved up a bit, shortening the length of the open position
– then each string can be individually compensated to make the open position
and fretted positions in tune with each other. Weʼve been told by our clients
that the intonation of our instruments is the best theyʼve ever heard. Thatʼs
no accident – we spend a lot of time making sure each note comes out right.
We hand-carve the bracing, thinning the braces aggressively
but removing the height sparingly. The resulting parabola-shaped braces give
the highest soundboard stiffness-to-weight ratio possible, allowing the
soundboard to respond to the lightest touch. But voicing doesnʼt stop at the
soundboard. The natural resonance of the soundbox contributes to the breathy
bass presence behind the strings, and that resonance is determined by the ratio
of the sound box volume to the soundhole diameter. Think of blowing across an
empty bottle. The bigger the bottle, the lower the note, assuming the opening
stays the same. But we want some control over that note. So whereas the
typically factory makes all soundholes the same size, each of our models has a
soundhole specifically designed to coax out that nice breathy bass tone.
Lastly, we build a responsive back. Listen to the difference of your current
instrument when you strum it in the case, and when you take it out. Thatʼs the
back and sides contributing to the sound, and their contribution is important.
We tune our backs for constructive wave interaction with the soundboard,
reducing impedance and bringing the instrument to life.
Well that was a lot to say, but necessary in our opinion so
you can get to know the level of craftmanship that goes into every Dehradun guitar.
This listing is for a Signature Series Concert. The Signature Series guitars
are the flagship guitars of DGC. From the flawless 8-point joint at the tip of
a Florentine cutaway, to the compensated nut zeroing for the perfect
intonation, the Signature Series showcases their mastery of the art of
luthiery. They have sourced the best tonewood from around the world for these
guitars. Each Signature is designed to be passed down as a legacy from
generation to generation.
Top: Sinker Redwood
Back and Sides: African Wenge
Neck: 3-Piece Mahogany/Rosewood/Mahogany
Neck Profile: C
Frets to the Body: 13
Top Purfling: Green Abalone
Fretboard and Bridge: Rosewood
Headstock Overlay: Rosewood
Rosette: Dehradun Interrupted
Tuners: Gotoh 510
Electronics: LR Baggs Anthem
Scale Length: 24.9”
Nut Width: 1 ¾”
String Spacing: 2.31”
Upper Bout: 11.8”
Lower Bout: 15.2
Total Length: 40”
Depth at the Tail: 4.4”
Case: Hardshell Case