Custom Walnut Classic Concert Model

Finished up a new spruce and walnut Classic Concert Model today. This particular guitar was made custom for a friend of mine Teppei. On top of being a great guitarist for the band Thrice, he is also an super talented designer and leather worker. You can see his work at Teranishi Studio.

I was super excited when he asked me to make a guitar for him and also to get to try out some new ideas. I wanted to do something fairly traditional and elegant, but also very simple and understated based on what I know of his aesthetic and personality. This guitar is broadly based off of the Torres SE114. The arrows on the heel cap and ladder motif in the rosette are also inspired by Torres.

It has a loose, lively and romantic sound, but also a clear attack and a lot of presence. What I like about walnut is that it is somewhere in between rosewood and maple in terms of its density. It has an excitement and clarity that comes with a lighter wood, but not as much damping and dryness of maple in particular. It has a matte open-pore finished with is smooth and very light. 

Two New Guitars

Strung up these two guitars about a week ago and I'm finally getting some time write a bit about them. At a quick glance, they both look quite similar aesthetically, but they are quite different both in design and sound.

The first is my newest Classic Concert Model. It is what I have previously been calling my Torres Model, but while that was the original inspiration, I feel that it has become more generalized and is now more accurately my own interpretation and best effort to emphasize what I like most about this style of guitar. I has a very colorful old-world sound. It has a lower body frequency, a loose bloom to each note, but with a clarity and attack that speaks out an projects. It has a nice resonance and complexity, but isn't too chaotic at the same time. 

The second is a custom Modern Concert Model. It is as slightly larger body shape and braced quite differently. This guitar uses a bracing system inspired by a particular Barbero (hijo) guitar that I found particularly exciting, but modified the design a bit to reign in some of its raw enthusiasm. It has a slightly more robust and modern sound than my other model. It has a bigger dynamic range and a stiffer tension allowing the play to push it harder. It is a bit more homogenous across the strings and up and down the fretboard, but still very colorful and lively. It also features a sound-port and armrest. Tuners are made by Nicolo Alessi.

New Videos and New Rosettes

The very nice people over as Siccas Guitars made a video of Spyros Konidaris playing my latest Concert Model that I delivered to them recently. Great playing and great recording!

In other news, I'm starting two new guitars. After the last two Romanillos rosettes, I'm going for a more restrained and modern look. The first is for a cedar top Modern Concert model and the second is for an aesthetically stripped-down spruce and walnut Classic Concert model. Very excited for both of these guitars.

Finally, I tried to make my own video of the Prelude from the lute suite in A minor BWV 997. Turns out it's actually a pretty good exercise to record yourself. As embarrassing as it may be, you can more objectively see and hear things that need to be worked on... and I've got plenty to work on! Anyway, I'm not crazy about this performance and I'm just getting the hang of this multiple camera angles things, so I will probably redo it, but here it is until I do.

A Lot of Planing and a New Solera Addition

Made a couple shot time-lapse videos during the planing of backs and sides for two new guitars. I also made a new removable wedge for my Solera to control the geometry while building an elevated fingerboard.

Lots of Photos and Binding Time-lapse Video

I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy working all the time! Here are some photos of the latest two guitars coming together. I also made a quick little time-lapse video of me trimming and gluing binding. It's a tedious and messy job.

Backwards Through the Making of a Romanillos Arches Rosette

Here are some photos of through the process of making José Romanillos's rosette inspired by the arches of the Mezquita mosque in Cordoba. Admittedly, way too much work, but very pretty!

Visit to Nicolo Alessi

I was visiting friends at Lago Maggiore in Italy and discovered that Nicolo Alessi's shop was only ten minutes away from their house! There are a series of small villages surrounding the lake and he happened to live in the next one up from us. If you are not already familiar with his tuning machines, they are beautifully handmade and hand-engraved. He was very nice and welcoming. We got a short tour of the shop, he showed us some of his latest prototypes and even let us to try out his 1960 Hauser and 1978 José Romanillos guitars!

Trip to Siccas Guitars and More Romanillos Rosettes

Took a trip out to Karlsruhe to visit Siccas Guitars and drop of the latest concert model with them. They have a beautiful shop with a great collection and everyone there is extremely nice. They also have a repair and restoration shop around the corner. Very happy and excited to be working with them.

In other news, I'm starting new Romanillos rosettes. Had to make new jigs and cut everything by hand. Here are some photos while gluing the laminations and cutting the test pieces.