SPRUCE-MAPLE Double Top
spruce double top, maple & African blackwood back/sides,
SOUND & PLAYABILITY
My guitars are concert-quality instruments with a clear, concentrated
sound and plenty of volume for concert hall performances. They are known for
their responsiveness and playability. My instruments are designed to have
strong, rich trebles, consistent up the neck and balanced with the basses
and midrange. Equally important are sensitivity, sustain, dynamic range,
and a clear separation of voices. Here
are one client's comments about the sound of his new spruce
I currently build using a Romanillos body shape and a modified Miguel Rodriguez bracing pattern of five fans
with the addition of two cross-grain lattices.
I am also building double top guitars in the style of Wagner
and Dammann (click
my thoughts on double tops in the description of a recent
instrument). I tune my tops and backs to a desired tone,
recording the frequencies along with all weights and dimensions. I feel this
is very important to achieving a consistent sound from one instrument to the
A structural laminated liner where the
top and sides meet allows for a relatively thin top with no flexing of the
sides. This prevents cracking and contributes greatly to volume, quickness,
and sustain. I compensate intonation for each string at both nut and saddle,
using the method developed by luthier Greg Byers. Players comment that this
really improves intonation. I usually build with medium-gauge strings in
I build my instruments for very quick response to a light touch. My early
experience with flamenco guitars taught me how to achieve a low action.
Treatment of the frets and setup of the action is the crucial final step in
my construction. Neck width, string spacing and scale length are tailored to
the individual player.
I love wood, and am always buying the best tonewoods I can find. I have
traveled to Germany for spruce and maple, and to Italy, where I have bought
a lot of wonderful Alpine spruce. All my spruce, cedar, rosewood and ebony
is stickered and air dried for years in my climate-controlled shop, which
allows me to build with aged, seasoned wood.
Shopping for spruce in the Italian Alps
||I build soundboards with both spruce (European and American) and cedar.
I appreciate the unique qualities of each wood, and the choice depends on
the player's preference. Back and side woods for classical guitars are
Indian or Madagascar rosewood, with Brazilian rosewood, maple, and other
woods available upon request. I build flamencos with American or Spanish
cypress, maple or rosewood backs and sides. I use both mahogany and Spanish
cedar for necks, with a double graphite rod reinforcement.
Visual aesthetics are very important to me and are an integral part of
the design and construction of each instrument. I am not satisfied unless my
instruments are visual works of art. Each instrument is different, with
bindings, purflings, peghead marquetry, and tuning machines chosen to
achieve a unique look. I make my own rosettes from scratch, based on
historical techniques and motifs such as those used by Torres and Simplicio.
No two are exactly alike. All my guitars are finished with
|For pricing and ordering information, click
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