2010 double top classical: spruce-cedar with Madagascar rosewood

SOLD   $15,000
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Here is my latest double top, built to show at the 2010 GFA convention. The soundboard is spruce outside and cedar inside. The spruce is from my travels to Italy's Val di Fiemme; this Alpine valley in the Dolomites has been the source of wood for the Cremona violin makers for centuries. The valley was communally organized and selling wood more than 500 years before Stradivarius was born. The set used in this instrument has very rare and unusual "hazelfichte" pattern, as if raindrops fell in the wood.

I know the emergence of double tops is controversial; I resisted building them for years because most that I heard could be aggressively loud, but also unpleasant. After hearing a few great ones, I relented, and my focus has been on getting a traditional beautiful tone and working towards the volume end of the equation.

Surprising to me are some added benefits I didn't expect. While most builders get a lot of volume from double tops, it seems to come at the expense of balance and color palette. I was pleased to find that my double top design makes for a very round, luscious and creamy tone with great balance and an incredible range of available color.

This newest guitar is probably the most velvety yet, and played lightly it is not aggressively loud - but it has incredible "headroom." If you push it, the volume grows and grows, without the tone breaking up or getting weird. The basses show the influence of the top's inner cedar skin, while the mids and trebles have a very creamy spruce character. There's also good separation between the basses and trebles, so in pieces with counterpoint, it sounds as if different instruments are playing the respective lines, a trait I especially enjoy musically.

Back and sides are Madagascar rosewood, with a sound port on the bass side. As always, handmade rosette and purflings, with Rodgers tuners and French polish. Scale is 650 mm, nut width is 53.4, and saddle string spacing is 58 mm. 

The action is low and comfortable, impeccably set up, with each string's intonation compensated at both the nut and saddle.



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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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