CLASSICAL GUITARS FOR SALE

Monday, June 29, 2015

Antonio Torres FE 19 Style Guitar: Bearclaw Sitka Spruce/Granadillo

...Antonio Torres created his uniquely designed instrument in the modest provincial town of Almeria, which is about as far away as you can get from the musically sophisticated capitals of Europe.

Julian Bream, from Antonio Torres, Guitar Maker, by Jose Romanillos, 1987




I spent part of the morning fine tuning the top bracing on this guitar.

That means dividing the strings, putting my hand through the sound hole with a piece of 220 grit garnet paper taped to the end of my index finger.

The idea is to take just a few swipes on the top of the treble side braces to make the treble strings a little louder and more bell-like. They do sound louder with more separation from the bass strings.

I also sanded the top just behind the bridge to "hot rod" the top, as luthier Tom Blackshear once about that technique.

The guitar is brand new and sounds new. I can't wait to hear it in six months!



I purchased the granadillo back and sides from Hibdon Hardwood.

Jerry Hibdon asked me if he can post photos of this guitar on the gallery page of their website. I said "yes" to that!

It was nice wood to work, I do plan on using this tone wood again.


Here is a YouTube of Cinzia Milani playing one of my favorite pieces!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Tool: A Stanley No.36 1/2 Ruler, Warrented Boxwood English

While "measure twice and cut once" is always pithy advice, it is more important to measure accurately and to know that you have.

Aldren A. Watson, Hand Tools, 1982


I bought this ruler off of eBay a couple of weeks ago.

I needed a folding ruler to carry in my coat pocket so I can measure the hands of potential clients, to see what scale length will suit them best for playing a classical guitar.



I had originally wanted to by a one foot four fold Stanley ruler, but the ones that were being auctioned at the time were out of my price range.

I won this one, received it in the mail and then found several affordable one foot four fold rulers on eBay.

Funny how it always happens that way.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Off the Bench: Antonio Torres Style Classical Guitar, or Another Reason Why I Make Classical Guitars

A musical instrument is, without doubt, one of the most ingenious inventions of man.

Manuel Rodriguez, The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitars, 2003



One reason why I build classical guitars are young musicians.

They need quality affordable instruments, proper tools that allow them to grow.

Those young people make me push myself as a woodworker, I want to make better and better guitars. Each guitar I make is a "concert" guitar, only the best, something with a beautifully loud voice that touches the hearts of those who listen.



This morning, Kyle, drove up from Denver to be present when I put the strings on his Torres/Santos guitar for the first time.

He almost cried when he took his new guitar out of its case and saw how beautiful it is.

He hadn't even heard it.

I installed the strings, showed him how the 12 hole bridge works and tuned it to concert pitch.

My, it is a wonderful sounding guitar.

I ran a few scales on it, played part of a piece by Manuel Ponce then handed it over to him.

He played it for two hours straight. If his girlfriend in Denver hadn't been waiting for him, he'd be playing as I write this.



I am grateful for the earth that the trees grew upon that gave me the wood to create this beautiful tool.



It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.
-Pablo Picasso

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why I Make Classical Guitars and Why You Should Buy One of My Guitars

The finest guitars are made by individual craftsmen, not by factories.

Christopher Parkening, The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Vol.1, 1972



Wilson, I love the guitar.

The craftsmanship is truly evident in the depth and character of tone, I am more aware of my tone property.

It makes me want to play even more than usual, because it sounds so good.

The last time a guitar made me feel like that was when I was playing Alex Kommodore's $10,000 John Gilbert guitar.

Thanks.


James L., Littleton, Colorado



Thank you, James, for those kind words!

I hope your new guitar will help you with your musical career.

This is the guitar that James purchased from me, it has a Sitka spruce top...

If you want to see a video of Stephen Valeriano playing this guitar, go to the right hand side of this blog, scroll down to the second photo of a guitar and click on the photo.



...with eastern Black Walnut back and sides

My goal as a guitar maker is simple - to make the most responsive, beautifully voiced guitar possible, a guitar that you fall in love with so much you never want to stop playing it.

Current base price for one of my guitars is $2500.

If you are interested in purchasing a guitar from me or placing an order for a custom model, please contact me at highcountrylutherie@gmail.com





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Friday, June 5, 2015

Pore Filling with Egg White, Pumice and Alcohol

If the finest pumice powder is added to the whiting grain filler it will assist in producing a good surface.

Bernard E. Jones, The Complete Woodworker, 190?



I've never been very happy with most pore filling techniques that are shown in several nice DVDs on French Polishing.

One technique uses an epoxy, which I find too toxic, another calls for a water based pore filler that requires, I think, too much sanding to remove from the wood.

In the finest tradition of French polishing, one is suppose to apply a spit coat of 1 pound cut shellac and after that dries the polisher is to use alcohol and pumice on the pad to fill the pores.

The pumice raises up wood dust, the alcohol dissolves the shellac to take the pumice and wood dust and then the shellac is suppose to make all of that stick to the pores.

It works, but one problem is that shellac will dry and shrink, leaving little tiny craters every where in the finish. The other problem is it takes a lot of elbow grease to fill the pores.

I did some research on the internet and came across a discussion in a forum about pore filling with just alcohol and pumice.

One gentleman had been a French polisher by profession and stated the using any shellac in pore filling is a waste of time.

Someone else weighed in that he used a mixture of gelatin, alum and pumice to do the job.

Then someone else said to apply an egg white wash, let it dry and pore fill with alcohol and pumice.



I already use an egg white wash on my guitars, it gives them a nice patina, so I thought I would try pore filling with egg white, pumice and alcohol.

Take a look at the photo above, the left side of the guitar I pore filled for 30 minutes.

The right side just has the dried egg white on it.




Here's a close up, you can see the difference between the two halves.

Yes, I will have to come back and level sand before I do another session to fill in any stray pores, but this technique is much faster than the other ones that I have used. Like twice as fast.

Another great learning experience has begun!



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

French Polishing a Classical Guitar Bridge

Keep the pad small and flexible. Shape it to the work. Apply finish in small amounts to the outside of the pad. Use "spot finishing" technique, gliding, then applying pressure wherever you want the varnish to adhere.

Eugene Clark, Shellac and French Polishing, 1998




I know many people shy away from the art of French polishing, which I think is too bad.

Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you start to get the hang of the application technique you will find shellac to be very forgiving, e.g.,if you mess up one area, let it harden for about an hour and then fix it with some more shellac and alcohol.

And once you really start getting into French polishing you'll discover that you can build up a gloss finish in less than one half hour!




To apply shellac to this bridge I took a square piece of cloth, folded it in half and folded it once again.




Then I folded that again, note the triangle that is on top of my left index finger tip.




Here, I have transferred the cloth to my right hand, I am right handed after all, and I have placed two drops of alcohol, two drops of one pound cut shellac onto the corner of the cloth that sits on my index finger. I also added a very, very small smudge of olive oil to it, also.



I blot it on a piece of typing paper until the cloth is almost dry and then I start to French polish the bridge.

If there is the "ghost" trail where I can see the alcohol evaporate as I apply the mixture I know I am using the correct amount of liquids.




I am sure you are thinking at this point that by using only two drops of each that it would take forever to build up a surface.

Take a look at the photo above, I worked only fifteen minutes on this bridge. I know with two more sessions I will have filled in any pores that I missed with pumice and alcohol.

I am a big fan of French polishing and I believe other wood workers should give it a try! And don't believe all arguments against French polishing, it is easier than trying to make your first Krenov-style hand plane!

Ron Fernandez has a great DVD on how to French polishing a guitar, so does Robbie O'Brien, both DVDs are available here.

For more information on shellac go to Shellac.net and read this wonderful article (click here) on French polishing.

If you are interested in French polish and don't have someone to teach you how to do it, do some research on the internet and get at it!



Monday, May 25, 2015

Hernandez y Aguado, Santos Hernandez and Antonio Torres Style Guitars

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the classical guitar finds itself at a level of quality and popularity that was unimaginable even fifty years earlier.

David Tanenbaum, Perspectives on the Classical Guitar in the Twentieth Century, 2003



Happy Memorial Day! Please make today a time of remembrance!


I did spend some time in the shop today French polishing the Torres/Santos guitar that I need to deliver to its new owner soon, and I worked on a copy of the 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar.



The 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar, seen in the foreground in the above photo, needed shellac applied to its sides. A couple of more coats of shellac and I will be able to start French polishing the sides again. I say, again, because I ended up sanding down to the wood to make sure that all the pores really were filled and get rid of some piles of pumice. The finish work you do can never be good enough!

This Hy A copy has a redwood top, the top came from a redwood board that was salvaged from a barn on the border of Yosemite National Park, and it has Indian rosewood sides and back, the sides are laminated with Alaska yellow cedar. This is a "speculation" guitar, I really made it for myself, but I will offer it for sale once it is completed.

The guitar in the background is close copy of a 1930 Santos Hernandez guitar, click here to see the plans that I followed, that also has a redwood top and Indian rosewood back and sides, both sets purchased from LMI. This guitar I am making for a young man who is in the guitar program at Metro State University, Denver.





The guitar in the foreground is a close copy of the famous FE19 guitar made by the great guitar maker, Antonio Torres. It has a bearclaw Sitka spruce top with grandillo back and sides, this is the one I have am in need of finishing soon. If you follow my blog, you know who this guitar is being made for!

All three of this guitars will be exceptional in sound, loudness and playability.