Paul Chambers Guitars - Luthier and Maker of Fine Acoustic and Classical Guitars

NLS -13 ( Nick Lucas Special - 13 Fret )

The NLS-13 design produces a guitar with the typical small bodied attributes, sensitive & intimate, but with a full & rich tone. The sound belies the guitars size, producing a volume & timbre covering the full spectrum of frequencies with a rich deep bass, clear & present middle, and a sweet & crisp treble. The light construction delivers a dynamic response with fast attack, good sustain and complex harmonics. The guitar is well suited to fingerstyle players.

Paul Hostetter a fan and advocate of this style of instrument believes there is a clear design pattern behind the guitar which results in a distinct musical tone and character. He argues that the key features present a full sounding, but at the same time balanced, musical output.

The key design features are:

13 Fret Neck To Body Join

  • This retains the 12 fret “fuller” sound, with increased upper bout size and therefore body size.
  • This also positions the bridge further back into the centre of the lower bout; an optimal bridge location.
  • Provides better access to the higher sections of the fretboard than a 12 fret guitar.

Scale Length of 645mm

  • A full scale length of 645mm increases the string tension, driving the soundboard for a full sound.
  • In combination with the 13 fret neck, the increased string length positions the bridge further back into the centre of the lower bout.

Bridge Location & Size

  • The longer scale combined with the 13 fret neck places the bridge in the centre of the lower bout, which is optimal for driving the top correctly and producing a full sounding instrument.
  • The 6" x 1" bridge produces a lightweight bridge with a small footprint which reduces the mass and acoustic damping of the top. This helps create a loud, dynamic and sensitive instrument with a fast attack.

Soundhole Location & Size

  • The soundhole is positioned further back towards the bridge, in-line with the waist. This feature picks up on the acoustical properties of the lower bout enhancing the fundamental resonances, i.e. the Helmholtz resonance generated by the lower frequencies.
  • The soundhole diameter is increased to 100 mm, raising the fundamental resonance of the instrument and so balancing out the bass from the increased body depth. The larger diameter also increases the loudness of the instrument.

Body Depth

  • For a small guitar the body depth is large, 125mm at its deepest. This increases the air cavity volume producing a guitar tuned to lower frequency fundamental resonances. Further picked up on by the previous features above, i.e. bridge and soundhole placement.

Brace Dimensions

  • The bracing for the top is a modified scalloped X pattern specific to this guitar design. The X joint has a greater angle positioning the brace correctly, relative to the new bridge location. The greater spread between the X braces across the lower bout, combined with the scalloped profile allows the lower bout to resonate correctly.

Body Arching

  • The soundboard and back have elliptical arching which increases strength and stiffness and therefore requires a lighter soundboard & bracing. This in turn increases the stiffness to mass ratio so reduces the inertia present in the top, & back, producing a louder, more sensitive and responsive guitar. An added benefit of this feature is a reduction in the body depth along the wings of the lower bout, producing a more ergonomic body shape.

Standard design features include :

  • French polish or lacquered finish
  • Bound fingerboard
  • Carbon reinforced neck
  • Two way truss rod
  • Waverly tuners
  • Ebony bridge pins
  • Intonation - Split saddle & nut compensation

More information on the Nick Lucas Special can be found at the following sites: