1946 Taylorcraft Making Sweet Music, Again

Dee Welch is a Super Cub pilot, a skilled woodworker and a member of both the Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA) and the Flying Musicians Association (FMA). Somehow he connected all those dots and figured an old wing spar would make an exceptional soundboard for a guitar. And now the resulting instrument is being raffled off to benefit SPA.

Welch knew what he was doing. The wood used for the soundboard of a guitar can make all the difference in how it sounds, and old growth Sitka Spruce is one of the best. The tree felled to make this wing spar must have been cut in the 1930s, and the grain required to make up a wing spar ensures only the highest quality cuts will qualify.

Welch found a wing spar hanging on the wall at Long Lake Aviation at Price County Airport (PBH) in his native Wisconsin. Mechanic Mike Drover said, “They were just too good to throw away,” after he had removed them from the wing of a NC99665, a 1946 Taylorcraft.

Welch resawed the spar into three 3/16th-inch blanks about six inches wide and butt glued them together to form the soundboard of his creation. He also used pieces of the spar for the guitar's internal bracing. Other fine woods were used for the sides and back, as well as the fingerboard, headstock and other parts. He's taking the guitar on a tour of SPA and FMA events. Pilots who renew their memberships in either organization are eligible to win it, and can increase their odds with additional chances. The raffle will take place at the SPA corn roast during EAA AirVenture 2014 next summer. Check out additional information here.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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