I am a builder of traditional Spanish guitars located in Bucharest, Romania. I only make about 10 each year mostly using old style tools and building methods. The joinery is made with natural hide glue. The finish is hand rubbed shellac (French polish).
If you are interested in ordering a guitar the price (as for July 2015) of a concert guitar with finest quality European spruce or Canadian cedar soundboard, Indian rosewood (or equivalent value) body and full decoration is 2850 € including Klaus Scheller tuners and a Hiscox Pro II case. Special timbers (Brazilian, Madagascar, Amazon or African Blackwood rosewood, ziricote or Asian ebonies) are available as an upgrade. The neck is doubly reinforced (high stiffness hardwood spine and two carbon fiber rods) while the fingerboard is made from extremely dense and stable African Blackwood. Bridges are made from very old Brazilian rosewood (EU only).
I can also build an affordable student model with very simple decoration for 1500 € (1700 lattice braced).
The waiting time (July 2016) is 2 ½ – 3 years. Please contact me for a complete list of options.
I use several bracing styles, on a Torres style, smaller shape or a slightly larger modern plantilla.
My “traditional” construction is based on a fan derived from the work of Antonio de Torres with Hauser, Romanillos and other modern builders influences making this 19th Century archetypal system suited for modern requirements. It is a versatile guitar which can tackle all kinds of music. The response is fast, the voice can be tuned ranging from a more refined, musical response to a more gutsy, dry, even slightly flamenco response.
My second model is based on the work of Robert Bouchet. Even if I use the same plantilla and plate tuning as for the Torres, the different bracing fundamentally changes the character of the instrument. The tone is refined, velvety, focused, with superb treble sustain. In some ways it is a marriage of the Spanish and romantic guitars. I believe it is especially suited for baroque music. The guitars of Bouchet have been treasured by Julian Bream, Alexandre Lagoya and Ida Presti among others. Famous modern makers following this tradition are Antonio Marin Montero and Andrea Tacchi.
Recently I have started to build lattice braced soundboards. The bracing is made only from good old spruce and the voicing mimics that of a traditional guitar while the soundboard is not taken ridiculously thin – the result is a traditional voice, nothing artificial or modernistic. However the better structural efficiency translates in faster response, increased headroom, dynamics, space filling and evenness.
In a world driven by speed, efficiency, money, I choose to avoid power tools or complicated jigs wherever possible – I prefer to work listening to music, not to a whining router. But in time I am slowly giving in and admit some modern tools era tools are incredibly helpful. I love the tactile aspect of luthiery, touching the wood, feeling it vibrate under the edge of a tool. I take pride in making my own rosettes and all other marquetry and parts. The workshop climate is strictly controlled, with air conditioning and a high capacity dehumidifier running 24/7. Building at a low humidity level greatly reduces the risk of cracking when the completed guitar is subjected to extremes. I also use deflection testing on the plates, a method for determining the quality and final thickness of the wood by measuring the compliance under a certain weight. Every bit and piece is weighted on a 1/100th gram precision scale. The voicing of the top plate and bracing, and also of the final instrument is made by ear but double-checked and further refined by analyzing the Chladni patterns and tap tones using computer software. Added to the “gut feeling” and empirical approaches, these new control methods help me achieve consistent results from one guitar to the other and make appropriate building decisions for the desired tonal response.
The soundboard is the heart of the guitar. High quality material is critical for obtaining a superior instrument. Due to personal preference and location, I concentrate on using European spruce, mainly cut in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Romania but I also have a small collection of quality American spruces, red cedar and redwood.
For the backs and sides I use various species of rosewood, mainly Indian, Madagascar (which comes in several varieties) and Amazon. Other options are African Blackwood rosewood and multi-piece Brazilian rosewood. Next are European maple (one of my favorites), Mediterranean cypress, Asian ebonies (Malaysian, Macassar), African padauk and Bubinga.
Comments and questions are welcome!