2005 classical: African blackwood & Brazilian rosewood with spruce top

back: African blackwood/Brazilian rosewood

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African blackwood is a true rosewood, very rare and beautiful, difficult to find and hard to work with due to its extraordinary hardness. Used in the guitar, it is notable for the projection and clarity of tone it produces. It is also extremely stable, hence the wood of choice for oboes and clarinets. In this instrument I paired the blackwood with a center panel of bookmatched curly Brazilian rosewood.

Again the top is master grade European spruce from Italy's Val di Fiemme, the Alpine valley which was the historic source of spruce for Stradivarius and other great Cremona luthiers. I have added a cross lattice brace to my usual fan pattern, similar to the bar used by Robert Bouchet, made of spruce salvaged from a 100-year-old Steinway piano soundboard. braced top


This guitar's tone is pure and clear, powerful and sustained, with a very even response from string to string. The instrument is a joy to hear now, and further playing will only add to the beauty of its concentrated tone. The low action, neck shape and careful fret setup make this guitar very comfortable to play.

The mahogany neck is reinforced with double graphite rods for stability. Scale length is 650 mm, nut width is 52.5 mm, and the bridge uses the 12-hole system at the tie block. Both nut and saddle are compensated at each individual string for better intonation.


The binding on this guitar is ebony. As always, the rosette was made just for this instrument using the same techniques as Torres did--no end-grain sticks, all side-grain veneers that shimmer under the polish.

top back and sides

Spruce top; African blackwood back/sides with Brazilian rosewood center panel

top/sides top detail

Spruce top & African blackwood sides; detail showing purfling, bridge, and high-gloss French polish finish. Note the 12-hole tie block at the bridge. The spiral ribbon purfling matches the rosette.


back and heel

purfling detail

My signature Moorish heel cap; the Brazilian rosewood panel is framed by purfling which is half the pattern used to make the wheat purfling in the rosette and peghead center.


head detail head detail

The peghead front is rosewood, in keeping with the brown-and-black visual theme; fingerboard and peghead back volute are ebony. Tuning machines are Rodgers, of my design, inspired by replacement machines I had fabricated for an 1878 Torres guitar.

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Eric Monrad, Luthier
Email: monradguitars@gmailcom 
7566 Eastside Road, Healdsburg, California 95448 
telephone (707) 838-7823

Last updated June 24, 2012
© Copyright 2012 Eric Monrad & Thérèse Shere
photos © Eric Monrad unless otherwise noted
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