It’s been a relatively long and meandering road that brought me to guitar building; the scenic route, so to speak. I was born in 1983 outside of Baltimore. My mother was from northern Michigan and my father, from the Philippines, hence the Spanish name.
I started playing guitar at the age of eleven. I studied with the Michael Nicolella throughout my high school years and then later in France with Jean-Pierre Billet and at the Chicago College of Performing Arts with Chicago with Sergio Assad. After finishing my studies, I felt unsure about making a career as a classical guitarist. After spending a few years driving around the country in a station-wagon playing music with bands, I became serious about guitar building.
I built my first guitar when I was fifteen years old with the now famous pickup maker Jason Lollar. I built my second guitar in the corner of my Seattle apartment with a make-shift workshop financed by the rather impulsive selling of the aforementioned station-wagon. I eventually discovered the Seattle Luthiers Group and ended up studying with Rick Davis and Cat Fox at Sound Guitar Workshop. I was later invited to spend some time in Oregon studying with Robert Ruck. After that, I started teaching at the Rosewood Guitar Shop in Seattle and was able to study almost every guitar that came through its doors over the course of several years. I was also lucky enough to have access to the private collection that included some rare and rather sought-after historical instruments. In 2016, I moved to Graz, Austria, which is where I plan to stay and work for the the foreseeable future.
I've worked for many years honing my woodworking skills, studying older guitars and trying to find my own voice as a luthier. I’ve built in many different styles over the years, but I always come back to Torres. After all these years, I still feel that the voice of a well-built guitar in this style is absolute perfection. There are obviously other ways to make a guitar, but Torres really defines what I love in the classical guitar and my guitars certainly reflect that influence.
I now build two models of guitars:
My Classic Concert Model is based on the quintessential late 19th/early 20th century guitar. It's mostly inspired by Antonio de Torres, but also by Hauser and Romanillos. It's a full size guitar, but a bit on the smaller side. It has a lush, lively and loose sound. It’s warm in character, but also clear with a defined attack and a very traditional Spanish character.
My Modern Concert Model is a slightly larger shape and my attempt to merge what I like about traditional guitars with what many modern concert players are looking for. That means a slightly stiffer action, a bit more homogeneous response and tone, elevated fingerboard and 20th fret. I do this guitar with a more traditional aesthetic and also with a minimal contemporary aesthetic in terms of decoration.
I owe a huge amount of thanks to fellow Northwest luthiers Robert Ruck, David Myka, Rick Davis, Cat Fox and Greg Oxrieder as well as Seattle-based guitarists Michael Nicolella, Michael Partington, Kevin Callahan, Jason Williams, Robert Vierschilling, Matt Anderson and Bill Clements and the rest of the Seattle Classical Guitar Society!
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you!