2015 Sebastian Stenzel SP/MP
|Back & Sides||Maple|
|Scale Length||650 mm|
|Nut width||52 mm|
This instrument was built by German maker Sebastian Stenzel. It is worth noting that each guitar Sebastian has built for GSI the past several years has its own unique and interesting back story, particularly with regards to the materials he sources and how he builds appropriately to the material. This is the second guitar he has made from this very exotic and beautiful quilted maple for the back and sides, which he purchased in 1996 and only decided to start cutting three years ago. Since the grain pattern in the wood is so unique, Sebastian wanted to frame it with some tasteful inlay work. At first, he had been considering the use of Simplicio-inspired purflings but after repeated tries could not get anything to "fit" to his satisfaction. So he ended up designing this meander pattern, made with quartersawn wood, to make it really shine. This involved cross-cutting extremely thin veneer strips with perfectly square angles and a tolerance of less than 1/10 of a mm. And the result is truly stunning. The ebony used for the fingerboard has been aged for over 150 years, so is very hard, sourced from an "ebanista" (ivory and ebony sculptor) from Vienna. Sebastian noted that it felt and worked more like stone rather than wood, and has lovely acoustic properties. As with all Stenzel guitars, the fingerboard features the compensated fret spacing and relief setup of the Frisch-Stenzel method yielding the best possible intonation. For playability, Sebastian incorporates several modifications to maximize ergonomic ease to the player - including an asymmetrical neck shape for easier access to the higher frets. All frets are slightly scalloped, resulting in a neck that "feels" much thinner than it really is. Sound is rich and layered. Up front, there is a nice, crisp quality to the attack of every note which really helps give the instrument great clarity and separation. The "body" of the note that follows the attack is thick, full and "creamy" in character. So this combined sound has both big-bodied warmth and clear definition at the same time. Extremely enjoyable to play, hear or simply gaze at.
While building this guitar, Sebastian filmed a couple of short videos about French polishing and gluing on the bridge, both of which can be seen below.