*Update – Sebastian has sent us some more really great photos of the construction process of this guitar.

We have photos of the new guitar being built for us by German luthier Sebastian Stenzel. This will be a spruce-top with quilted maple back and sides and some stunning purfling, which Stenzel told us was some of the most labor intensive purfling he’s ever made. In his words, it’s “difficult, because I wanted the light parts – maple – to really shine. To achieve this, they have to be cut so that they show the radial surface of the wood. This means that I had to cut stripes of veneer of a width of e.g. 1.3 mm, but across the fiber! I wasn’t sure it would be possible at all. (The meander patterns done by Torres, for example, are easy to make in comparison, they show end grain and can be made with relatively stable stripes of veneer.) To make meander purflings for four guitars took more than two months with one or two glueing operations per day… I use it only in quilted maple or birds eye maple.”

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7 Responses to “Coming Soon – Sebastian Stenzel”

  1. Wow – that is one beautiful maple!

    Hi neighbour! Do you mind if I come over and have a look? I also have some other interesting infos.

    When I see so very much work going into ornamentation, involuntarily Prof. Kasha (physico-chemist like me) pops up in my mind: β€žThe builder must constantly think of the guitar as a complex, frequencydependent vibrating object, and not merely as a highly ornamented box.β€œ – no offence intended πŸ˜‰

    Is bye the way the body deeper than on your other guitars?

    Best regards,

  2. David Collett says:

    Roland, I’m sorry but in the instance of this guitar, once it arrives, we will merely photograph it and ship it to its new owner who is anxiously awaiting delivery. This is a pre-ordered guitar so since we are technically not the owners any longer we cannot show it around to the public. If you want to see a Stenzel guitar some day contact JohnPaul or Andy here at the showroom and perhaps when we get a second-hand one in you can come in and check it out for sure. As to ornamentation vs. “sound”, Sebastian has spent his entire career thinking and laboring over the quality of sound of his guitars as his primary focus. The ornamentation (even when exquisite like this) is quite secondary. There are numerous articles on our site and his that detail many of the ideas he has experimented with, all related to sound, that I recommend you read if you want to know more. Thanks for the interesting comment, hope my answer helped.

    • Thanks David!
      Sebastian lives five minutes frome my place and invited me to look at his work in progress. I played his guitar(s) before and am not tempted … mostly because I have my precious one – otherwise … πŸ˜‰

  3. rojarosguitar says:

    If there is anybody meticulously reflecting and continuosly improving all the fine details concerning the sound of a guitar, then Sebastian Stenzel certainly is among this group of guitar makers (or luthiers if you prefer).

    I see him often in his workshop and we have an ongoing discussion about all kind of aspekts of physics of the guitar. The ornamentation rather follows the wishes of the customers than his own fancy, but if a customer wants a guitar with ornaments of highest intricacy, well yes, Sebastian Stenzel is up to the task.

    I have seen this guitar in all phases of making and it’s beauty is just breathtaking. And there is a sister guitar also recently finished, with standard ornamentation and of breathtaking sound. If I had the spare cash I’d buy it on the spot.

    • Hi Rorajos(?) – where are you? You write, that you see him often at his workshop – I live five minutes from him. Can we meet?

      Talking of “ornaments of highest intricacy”, I’d like to quote some authorities (as most people do).

      “The builder must constantly think of the guitar as a complex, frequencydependent
      vibrating object, and not merely as a highly ornamented box.β€œ
      (Prof. Kasha 1972)

      P. Bernabe senior stated, that we are with guitars about a factor of ten away in price and quality from Stradivaris violins. We are not closing this gap by ornamentation. If there is spare money (=work), I’d say put it in quality, not ornamentation. Or by a vanGogh instead?

      The buyers and the players rarely push the further development of the guitar – Yepes, or Segeovia, are rare.

      And Torres isn’t famous for his ornamentations: he made many great ones, but that did’nt make the difference.

      Wether I find this ornamentations – with not very much value from the perpective of visual arts – on great guitars from Somogyi, on the Martin D-100, a Gibson Monarch, from Stenzel or on the irresitibly lovely I. Fleta from 1936, that was sold here some years ago – I alway wished, the effort would have gone in the design or material. So: has the guitar development come to the end and and there will be only more intricate ornaments?

      I once knew a sheik, who bought himself a Mercedes Benz and had it covered with 24 karat gold – the speedometer’s original scale was exchanged with one, that went up to three hundred km/h …

      “This amplifier goes up to eleven!” (Nigel, “This is Spinal Tap”)

      Please forgive me, if I my english technical vocabulary isn’t 100% correct.


      P.S. My father does marquetry as a hobby – I’ll ask him make me a wooden picture of a guitar, with al the finest woods.

  4. rojarosguitar says:

    sorry, misprint: aspects and not aspekts, of course

  5. rojarosguitar says:

    Sorry, Mr. Spiehl, I can’t follow the train of your thoughts. I have not the slightest idea what you are trying to convey here.

    Could you post a link to any recorded music of yours making it at least plausible that you could judge a guitar?

    And what makes you think that Prof. Kasha is an authority to be quoted in this context? He has a certain acoustical concept; but still one could wonder why not every performing artist is rushing to play Kasha guitars. Too expensive? I know that people are ready spend many k$ on an instrument if it fits their idea of what it should be like. This shop here ist the best proof that it can’t be a matter of price.

    Have you ever played Stenzels guitars? What makes you think that the work spent on client-orderd ornaments is lost on sound? Your idea of guitar making sounds to me like as if it was some kind of a ginormous intellectual act; as if the lutier was a kind of Rodins’ Thinker …

    I think, an attitude of respect and interest would fit better towards the work of Sebastian Stenzel (or any luthier of his standing) instead of empty criticism.

    best regards



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