I like inexpensive instruments. These days the quality is typically better than decent, you can cart them everywhere, you don’t have to worry about them, and, you can draw on them.
So this is my new guilele. I like it. But, like many basic instruments, it is very plain. I wanted to spruce it up in keeping with my medieval and renaissance music interests.
I start out by “sketching” my design ideas on some saran wrap with a sharpie. It’s an excellent system, because I can see how it would look on the instrument, without leaving marks. I came up with this design after looking at several period renaissance guitars, gitterns, and lutes. I didn’t have a way to create an authentic rose to cover the soundhole, and I didn’t want to potentially sacrifice any volume, so I decided to just embellish the area around the soundhole.
When I’ve got it more or less how I want it, I lightly sketch the outline on the instrument with a pencil. I say lightly, because as long as it’s light, it can be erased — if you press too hard you’ll leave indentations.
After I get it all sketched in pencil, I go over it with the sharpie very carefully.
And the finished product!