2020 Andy Culpepper "Najmat" SP/CY
|Back & Sides||Cypress|
|Scale Length||656 mm|
|Nut width||53 mm|
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Prior to building, Andy started to play classical guitar as a teenager, and later transitioned into flamenco - he even studied flamenco in Spain and has since done a good amount of performing - solo, accompanying and dance. As with many luthiers, Andy's first guitar was to build himself an instrument to play on but after showing the guitar around, he began getting orders, and so eventually decided to become a full-time luthier. His formal studies were done with Richard Cogger, a classical and flamenco guitar maker in Ithaca. Andy shared work space with him for a couple of years before establishing his own shop where he continues to work today. So his guitars are truly a "players" instrument, very easy to play and responsive to both the left and right hands.
This latest flamenco guitar (named "Najmat" = "stars" in Arabic) has many references that depict the journey of the Romani people out of India, through the Middle East into Europe and eventually to Andalusia - the birthplace of flamenco. Some of these features include the mosaic design in the rosette which is ornamented with Arabic stars (hence the name of this guitar, "Najmat"), as well as special carvings on the headplate and bridge wings (which resemble the headshape - itself reminiscent of many architectural door designs of sacred places of worship in southern Spain that have welcomed both Moorish and Roman Catholic devotees over the centuries). A small sound port on the side is an homage to the hand tattoo of Camarón de la Isla (see photo in gallery), one of the greatest Spanish Romani flamenco singers of all time who performed together with Paco de Lucía and Tomatito. As imagery-rich as this guitar is aesthetically, it is also a tremendous instrument for sound and playability. It is lightly built with immediate response and plenty of volume which make this guitar very "flamenco" - just listen to Andy (in the video below) as he demonstrates the instrument just after he had completed its construction. Enough said!Photos of this guitar taken just after completion.