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"Armrest" bevel. How is this created?

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I've been fascinated by William "Grit" Laskin's work ( for years. AS a graphic designer, I'm interested in his inlay design work but I am equally interested in how he has been on of those who have pioneered the "Armrest" bevel. How is this created? Is it a matter of using wider kerfing and sanding in an angle. does anyone know what the procedure it for this?

May 18, 09 | 2:17 pm

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Just generally, you build that armrest in the inside the guitar already shaped and channeled. Or, you can put a block inside and sand or plane it to shape. It takes the place of kerfing at that point, and some of the top. A contrasting color of wood is often used, so it becomes decorative as well as functional. Here's a site with a picture worth a thousand words, and another site describing how it can be done.

May 19, 09 | 9:35 am

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Great links Hugh.
Has anyone here made one?
I'm wanting to include a bevel in my build but I still have questions after seeing those images.
It seems as if the underpinning of the bevel is not the actual wood of the outer bevel in the completed picture

My thoughts is that its perhaps a veneer on the outside? I would think that is most likely. But as I don't have as much experience yet, I just wanted to get opinions/confirmations.
And would would be a successful routing technique of getting the purfling/veneer/binding/purfling to look like that?
Thanks in advance.

Aug 26, 09 | 2:26 am

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That first picture confuses me. My first thought was 'the braces will show!'..

is that second picture the same guitar?

Aug 26, 09 | 9:20 am

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Yes. Same guitar.
The first pic is before the top is glued.
The second pic is the final.
Both images are from the link above. I just thought I'd put them here for quick reference.

Aug 26, 09 | 10:20 am

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OK! i understand how the bevel was placed on the oversize kerfing support area. There is plenty of surface area to glue to. I guess what I still don't understand is how is the top placed? How is it glued? since it doesn't seem to have much more than the edge of the enlarged kerfing/bevel wood to sit on, what is joint like and how is the purfling created? Is it that the Bevel is created first and then the whole top is again sanded in a dish to create an edge to glue to? If so, how much of a flat surface is needed and do you route the binding channel like if the bevel wasn't there? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Aug 26, 09 | 11:35 am

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hmm I'm still not sure I get it...

I'm off to search for more info on this, as I want to start building them into my guitars...

Aug 26, 09 | 7:17 pm

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Follow Hugh's first link above.
It sorta details it better. But only generally. Not specifically on how its done.

I was hoping someone else here has made something like it and how they did there's. Or they're ideas on how that one might be done.

Aug 26, 09 | 8:14 pm

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Wow, those inlays the guy does are incredible.

I've never seen anything like that before.

Does he offer the inlay service seperately, where you could send him a fretboard to be inlaid?

Aug 28, 09 | 8:05 pm

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There are many in-lay artist who will do custom work based on your specs. I'm not sure if Grit does spec in-lay. If you google Grit Laskin his website comes up and you can send him and email.

If he doesn't do custom work, check with Dave Nichols at

Dave does custom in-lay and his work is some of the best in the world.

Another option is to google 'guitar inlay', many artists will appear.


Aug 29, 09 | 5:04 am
Bill Cory

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I'm afraid Lance is right. Grit's prices, if he offered his services to us regular guys, would probably be too expensive anyway. Dave Nichols can probably do what Laskin does though, like Lance said.

I wonder who Grit Laskin considers to be the best inlay guy around, other than himself?

Aug 29, 09 | 6:40 am

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Can I ask your thoughts on the creating and binding that bevel above?
I read somewhere that your really not in favor of them, but I wouldnt mind your two cents about how to create something similar to this one here.
Thanks in advance!


Aug 29, 09 | 6:57 am
Bill Cory

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Hi Jimmy -- maybe I wasn't clear elsewhere -- It's not that I'm not in favor of them. I think they are real pretty. However, in my mind, they only thing they do is make the edge of the guitar less irritating to your arm by rounding the edge where your upper arm (or your forearm) rests.

In fact, it seems to me that if they do their job well, the sound of the guitar will be hampered. Here's what I mean. On a lightly-built guitar that has great resonance, the top vibrates well in the bass, mids and trebles. Find one of those guitars, strum the strings "open," and then before the tone decays, lay your ten-pound arm on it below the bridge. Notice how the sound is deadened. Now, if the bevel allows your arm to lie more comfortably on the edge, it might (depending on the player's attention to this point) allow more of the sound-deadening meat of your arm to lie on the top. As I said, it depends on the player's way of holding the guitar, but if you're a lazy or tired player, it could make it easier to plop that meat down on the top, which will deaden the sound.

So, I like how these built-in bevels look, but I think they create a more comfortable guitar that might -- might -- lead to a less tonally satisfying guitar.

My alternative -- not as pretty but more functional (in my opinion) ...
On all of my guitars, following my preference for a "free" top when playing, I install a John Pearse Armrest ( ), which is effective in keeping the meat off the guitar's top. There is no doubt agout the effectiveness of this accessory, but many people just don't like how they look. (Different strokes for different folks.) I don't mind how they look, and their rounded edge (for me) accomplishes the same comfort goal as the beveled edge, while also "purifying" the sound of the guitar. (When you play as badly as I do, you need all the help you can get.) These armrests can be installed on any guitar, and can be removed without the slightest evidence they were ever there by heating the adhesive just a little bit with a light bulb or hair dryer, and pulling a length of waxed dental floss underneath the adhesive strip along the purfling - sometimes they come off so perfectly that the adhesive works for a second installation; if not, a new adhesive strip costs $6 from Elderly. I've installed and removed them one (twice) from my Goodall RCJ before I sold it; not a blemish, mark or any evidence it was ever there was left after removal.

There you have it ... my extended opinion :-)


Aug 29, 09 | 8:04 am

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I see your point about deadening the sound, but I also agree with you
about how pretty they are. So Im thinking want to try putting one on

I'm still so curious about how this one was made.
I could be wrong but I think that's a rosewood veneer on the top as
the wood that replacing the kerfing that normally would be there looks
like a normal brace type wood (versus rosewood).
If that's the case, how would one glue a veneer and bind the bevelled
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Aug 29, 09 | 7:36 pm
Ken Hundley

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They have the low profile ones, at least ones that are thinner....I almost like them better, but I could go either way with this.

Aug 29, 09 | 9:23 pm

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Ken H,
Do you have any links or pics of some low profile ones?

Aug 31, 09 | 5:56 pm

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