German spruce soundboard, Bouchet bracing (mix of 90 and 20 years old spruce), flamed European maple body with 110 years old Cuban mahogany bracing
Brazilian cedar neck, 660 mm scale, with Bois de rose spine and African blackwood radiused fingerboard
Brazilian rosewood (60 years old) bridge, Madagascar rosewood headplate, Indian rosewood binding, maple, rosewood and boxwood purfling.
Rubner tuners with snakewood buttons.
Bare wood recordings, normal tension nylon:
This is my first maple guitar – a small plantilla Bouchet braced spruce top. At the first touch, maple is not that attractive for a guitar maker. It is difficult to plane, bend, and keep clean. Workmanship mistakes are impossible to hide, but at least there are no pores to fill. Other than looks, it does not excel structurally. It is not very dense (helping power and projection) but not very light either (giving a spontaneous, airy and lively sound like cypress). If you want to leave some meat and weight into it, it is too stiff (here the flames actually help) The taptone is dull, suggesting a dry sound lacking overtones. And yet this is the wood of choice for bowed instruments, but those have a lot more energy at disposal and something that filters the power is a good idea. A violin with a cedar top, or rosewood body, would likely sound way too scratchy and metallic.
To my great surprise, the guitar turned out very well and this has become one of my favorite tonewoods. The color is not dry and simple, but just clean and pure. In comparison, rosewood almost sounds too cluttered and dark. There are plenty of overtones but discrete, not in-your-face. Trebles are clear and pure, and also can sound sweet (like cypress), something I can hardly hear in rosewoods. The sound is overall open and loud, more open and direct than on a similarly new rosewood. The clean and direct tone makes bad playing more evident than on rosewood.
Raw sample without varnish, nylon strings
-Austrian spruce soundboard, Bouchet bracing, 650mm scale
-Bosnian flamed maple back, sides and secondary headplate
-Madagascar rosewood headplate, neck spine and bridge
-Spanish cedar neck with ebony fingerboard
-Indian rosewood binding with bloodwood and maple back and sides purfling.
My third flamenco guitar, made for El Grelo.
-Swiss spruce soundboard
-Spanish cypress back and sides
-Madagascar rosewood bridge, binding and headplate
-Spanish cedar neck with carbon fiber reinforcement
-African Blackwood fingerboard, 655mm scale.
-Spruce lattice braced western red cedar soundboard
-650mm scale, Graf tuners
-Macassar ebony back and sides, Madagascar rosewood binding
-Bois de rose fingerboard and bridge
-Honduras mahogany neck with uncertain species of ebony headplate
The headplate of this guitar has an interesting story. The owner brought me the fingerboard of his 100+ yo cello which he had replaced. He thought I might have use for the wood, not for his guitar, but in general. When I looked carefully I noticed the wood was dyed black and there was some color inside. After I scraped it was clear it was quite similar to the color of the Macassar set i chose for the guitar so I decided to make the headplate from it.
Clips from various players and strings:
Some (rushed and terrible) photos of #18, a Barbero inspired guitar made from very high quality European spruce and cypress; Spanish cedar neck with ebony insert and fingerboard, Indian rosewood headplate and bridge, Madagascar rosewood binding. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any proper flamenco recording yet, but I’m delighted to brag that it sounds very good. My friend Tiberiu “El Grelo” Gogoanta, a professional flamenco player from Spain said it is the most powerful blanca he ever played when capo’ed higher up the neck, which seems to be a tricky situation for many guitars. When set up with a taller saddle it makes an excellent classical guitar, with the typical sweet and delicate tonal color of cypress, plenty of harmonics and excellent sustain.