We have photos of the next guitar on its way to us from English luthier Jake Fuller. The woods used for this guitar have a great story, which Jake tells us in his own words:
“The old spruce is from a violin wedge some I got from a cello maker. The guitars has a four piece top and a three-piece English cherry back. Sounded good from the first strum.
“I was offered a few pieces of this spruce by the violin maker, who was given them by a retired cello/violin maker (now deceased). You can tell it’s old when you work it. The best way to describe it is fossilized. This guitar was made from one of the best wedges. You can see the darkening of the wood at the ends from years of being stored. It must be over 50 years old at least to get to this state. The old spruce wood seems to give the guitars a played-in feel from the beginning.
“The English Cherry came from a local wood dealer who specialises in indigenous hardwoods. It came from a large pile of reclaimed floor boards. It’s one of my favourite woods for the back and sides. Firstly, it’s satisfying to use wood from my country. It’s a wood of medium density, sitting between cypress and rosewood, similar to maple. Unlike maple, which has a dullish tap tone, it has a nice clear ring to it, more like a rosewood. Subsequently it gives the guitar a wider range of qualities, from the warmth of maple, to the presence of rosewood. It also has a wonderful colour with a subtle figure.”
Andres Coca is a young guitarist from Madrid currently living in the Los Angeles area. I met him at a flamenco festival in San Diego and invited him to come check out some guitars, so here he is getting to know a few of the great flamencos we currently have in stock, including a 2006 Conde Hermanos ‘AF 25/R’ in spruce and koa, a 2001 Francisco Manuel Diaz ‘Simbiosis’ negra, a 1997 Tezanos-Perez negra, a 1997 Conde Hermanos ‘Felipe V’ negra and a 1962 Manuel de la Chica blanca.
We stopped by the Romero compound in Del Mar, CA and spent some time with Pepe Romero and the Blochinger Pine Guitar, and of course we had to record Pepe playing the guitar itself. Check out Pepe playing Evocación and Tonadilla by Angel Barrios on this magnificent instrument and then discussing the history of the woods with GSI president David Collett. And you can read much more about the guitar and the wood used for the pine top here.
This is the second of two instruments that Edmund Blöchinger built nearly side-by-side, using a flitch set of CSA for the back and sides, but using two different (and equally ancient) tops for each one. A couple of weeks before this instrument arrived, we had received the first of these, his “Dome” guitar with the sister set of back and sides to this pine, which itself has its own incredible back-story that you can read here. But let us turn to this pine-topped instrument, which is an entirely different marvel unto itself also with its own compelling background.
We have two guitars being built for us by the great Sevilla flamenco maker Francisco Barba, so I stopped by the shop when I was in Spain to pay a visit. Francisco wasn’t there that day, but I got to hang out with his sons, Juan and Jose, and see the shop, which is quite spacious and turns out to be the home in which the sons were born, now converted to a shop. Unlike most makers, who make a few guitars at a time, the Barbas work in one large batches that they complete once a year, so that they spend most of each year preparing all the parts they will use to make a year’s worth of guitars. They prepare the woods in winter when the humidity is high, they assemble the guitars in the spring and they finish guitars in the fall.
Aside from the birds, one of the more interesting thing I noticed in the shop was the circular cutouts from the soundholes (see photos) that they keep so that if ever need to make repairs they have wood from the top of the very guitar they are repairing. We have a blanca and a negra coming from them which should be ready shortly.
Yenne Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1987. In 2015, she received her Doctor of Musical Arts in classical guitar from Manhattan School of Music, becoming the first-ever Korean to hold such an honor. A versatile guitarist, her interests include both classical and popular varieties of music.
Here’s Yenne Lee with her own arrangement of the Eagles hit Desperado, played on a beautiful new 2017 Enrico Bottelli classical guitar in spruce and CSA rosewood. And be sure to check out Yenne’s other videos, which have become quite a hit on YouTube with a combined total of almost 1.7 million views in just two months.