My intention is to make guitars which exhibit as much variety of tonal colour as possible and still be attractive to the concert guitarist. For me the sound of an old Torres or Hernandez guitar, for example, is quintessential in terms of quality of sound. I want to get as close to this sound as possible, for I believe this type of guitar is the best tool for the musician who can access a range of tone colour and dynamics. 

With the traditional design of the guitar as the starting point, I have developed a few structural features of my own. These have evolved over the years in an attempt to tweak the performance of the Torres style guitar, much like the great 20th century makers such as Hauser, Bouchet, Ramirez and Romanillos endeavoured to do.




In order to get close to the quality of sound I want, I build lightweight guitars. I prefer the feel when you pick up and play them. The intimate connection with the vibrations of the box and the body. For me, the heavier, stiffly braced guitars don’t have this intimacy and they can be more one sounding and lack tonal variety. They can appear louder and maybe more even, but this is not the character I’m after. 

I build using the traditional method of a solera to construct the guitar on. I don’t use any moulds and like the free and non intrusive this method gives. It allows me to make small changes with ease. My soundboard strutting pattern is basically my version of the Torres way. It has evolved over the years and now incorporates an additional transverse strut at the bottom. This strut pushes the diagonals towards the centre and shortens the fans in order to give a bit more rigidity to the lower bout. Recently I am keeping the thickness of the soundboard even over the whole area, rather than thinning the edges. This I find works better when using five fan struts. I have slightly increased the doming of the soundboard to. This came about after repairing an old Ramirez guitar which had a lovely rich sound, especially in the trebles. The additional stiffness created by the extra doming slows down the response of the soundboard giving a firmer, slightly less immediate attack, to the response.

The tweaks I have made to the rest of the guitars design are there to increase stiffness and rigidity to areas I believe will help the stability of the soundboard. Importantly these tweaks have been designed in such a way as to minimise the increase in weight. They will, I hope, improve the longevity of the instrument also. They are primarily designed to increase the longitudinal strength of the guitar. The neck is extended towards the sound hole, creating strength in this join, and supporting the fingerboard over its whole length. I often use a carbon fibre box section rod in the neck as well. For a couple of years I have been using full  depth linings for the sides instead of an end block. The idea being to limit the twist in this area which is under a lot of tension I reckon. I keep the sides relatively thin for they have inherent stiffness when bent, but I do use pretty hefty solid linings which firms things up.



My backs are strutted with four highly tapered transverse bars with a floating longitudinal bar down the centre. This method creates quite an active back, while being nice and rigid longitudinally. 


To reduce the weight of the fingerboard I laminate it with neck cedar. This improves the balance of the instrument to hold, uses less ebony wood and makes for a better glueing surface.

The resulting guitars generally weigh in at about 1.2 kg depending on the wood I use. I aim for an air resonance around F#. I enjoy using mostly sustainable wood and, apart from the soundboards, most of my wood has been obtained locally or recycled from old pianos and furniture. The guitar below was made from the wood of an old piano. Many parts of the piano are useful, from the tulip wood casing to the key tops.



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