Recently put the first coats of shellac on this guitar that I’ll be bringing to the Antwerp Guitar Festival in November. I decided to do something inspired by a José Romanillos guitar that I played this summer while visiting him and his wife Marian. It is by no means a copy, but includes many similar motifs and marquetry. I made lozenge motif for the head plate and bridge tie-block, the iconic arches rosette and a fully mitered herringbone purfling around the back and sides of the guitar. It’s a four piece Indian and Santos rosewood back. In terms of construction, it’s based more on a straight-forward Torres design and thus is closer to a ‘73 Romanillos guitar that I played two summers ago than the 2012 guitar that inspired the aesthetics. Looking forward to getting this thing strung up!
I recently finished up a custom project with a client and I’m very happy with how it turned out. It’s a modified version of my Modern Concert Model. We loosened it up just a bit more than usual to give it a fast and lively attack with big basses and warmer trebles. We decided on this beautiful four piece back and chose from various combinations of woods for the rosette, purflings, bindings and head plate. Spruce top, Santos rosewood back and sides, nickel silver Alessi tuners with ebony buttons. custom rosette inspired by the 1888 Torres (SE114) owned by Francisco Tarrega.
I did a short interview recently with the London-based Japanese guitarist Kazu Suwa. On top of being a professional guitarist, he has a wonderful blog of essays and interviews with luthiers and composers. Here’s a link:
The wonderfully expressive and colorful Belgian guitarist Jan Depreter recently wrote some very kind words about one of my guitars. It's very flattering to see my guitar sitting along side his beautiful 2015 Fritz Ober at the latest recording session. He was recording on the Ober, but apparently brought mine along to show off to his colleagues! :)
"This year Christmas comes early for one of my lucky students! In the Austrian Alps, I met young American guitarist luthier Michael Cadiz whose deep-tuned FE09 Torres/Hauser guitar impressed me deeply. It arrived safe and well in Antwerp. Time to try some Lobos Etudes for tonight! 🎶"
Working on a new custom Romanillos inspired guitar. Decided to include one of his frequently used motifs, the lozenge, which he very documents in his book about Antonio de Torres. Got a little help gluing things together from the new apprentice during breakfast yesterday.
In other news, I recorded a couple short demo videos before shipping guitars out to Belgium and Germany last week. They are roughly one-minute excerpts originally made with the instagram time limit in mind, but also admittedly short because I'm only playing until I make a mistake and then fade out... :)
Many of you are probably aware by now that the great guitar maker Robert Ruck passed away recently. I just wanted to write a short post about him and my experience meeting him because it was such an important and meaningful time for me. He was one of the most knowledgeable, innovative and prolific guitar builders of our time. He was also an extremely generous and engaging person.
I met Robert years ago at the Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit. I wasn’t aware that he would be there and his name was so iconic at that point that it seemed bizarre to just walk by Robert Ruck standing alone at his table. I felt like I had no business talking to him, but he started up a conversation and let me play his guitars. He eventually invited me and one other guitar builder to stay with him and his wife in Eugene, OR for several days. He methodically showed us his shop, building process and methods. He explained his approach at length and showed us tips, tricks, tools and jigs; he was surprisingly open about everything. His wife cooked for us. We drank wine and all stayed up late talking about music and life in general. I stayed in a room with a closet packed full of guitars and I was allowed to play them all and take photos. He wouldn’t accept any payment and he sent me home with a pile of wood. I still have trouble believing it.
He will be greatly missed, but as many have already rightly said, he will surely be remembered and has left behind a remarkable legacy and body of work.
Spent a couple of hours last weekend at the annual Seckau Guitar Festival at Seckau Abbey. A very nice festival organized by Johann and Florian Palier. It was a wonderful venue, atmosphere and closing concert of the festival participants. Lots of great young guitarists.
It was also a real treat to hear one of my newly discovered favorite guitarists Jan Depreter play through several pieces on my guitars (La Maja de Goya, Fuga BWV1001, Villa-Lobos Mazurka among others...). His playing is so clear and full of color and articulation; it was really something to hear live.
"Today I tried the guitars by American-Austrian guitarmaker Michael Cadiz, whose deep-tuned Torres/Hauser-inspired instrument I thought was surprisingly versatile and responsive with generous basses and a particularly authentic “Hauser” sound on the 2nd string"
I know that I have probably mentioned it several times in this blog, but one of my biggest guitar building heroes is José Romanillos. While we were visiting friends in Spain and France over the last two weeks, I had the incredibly good fortune to be able to meet with him and his wife Marian Harris Winspear.
We saw the collection of instruments, as well as the workbench and tools of Santos Hernandez at the museum that they have curated in Sigüenza. We were invited to their home and workshop where he showed some of his tools, jigs and, perhaps most excitingly, his most recently completed guitar from roughly four years ago. It was incredibly beautiful. I was also able to show him one of my own guitars of which he was very generous to say nice things about.
They two of them have dedicated so much of their lives to the classical guitar and have put an insane amount of work and research into the biography of Antonio de Torres, the dictionary of Spanish musical instrument makers and the newest book on building a Spanish guitar. I was previously unaware, but Marian also does an invaluable amount of the editing, research and organizing, which I suppose makes sense when consider the scope of some of the projects they have undertaken.
I've included a handful of photos of the museum, shop and the city.
Strung up the two new guitars that I'll be showing at the Koblenz International Guitar Festival next week!
The first is a Classic Concert Model. Spruce and Indian Rosewood. largely inspired by Torres. Traditional sound. Lush, clear and lots of color.
The second is my Modern Concert Model. Spruce and Pau Ferro. Bold and balanced. The notes have a consistent, pure and clean decay.