Shop Tip #101
© Frank Ford 2004; Photo by FF

The classic method for locating and tracing top braces is to put a light bulb inside the instrument and seal all openings with aluminum foil so you can see the brace shadows on the top. Best to be careful and use one of those twisty fluorescent bulbs that don't generate much heat. You'll also want to lay a piece of cardboard inside the guitar to avoid overheating the back, and work quickly. You can lay a piece of regular paper over the face to trace the brace outlines. Working in a completely dark room makes all the difference!