2009 John Ray CD/CSAR
|Back & Sides:
John Ray is one of the best luthiers working in Spain. His guitars are very much in the Granada style - small-bodied, lightweight, easy to play and very responsive with many nuances and colors of sound. Aesthetically, his guitars have an elegant simplicity which is very tasteful and refined - reminiscent of some of the most charming second epoch guitars of Torres.
This guitar is the first "negra" we have seen from John Ray. It has a dramatic cedar top and very old, straight-grained Central/South American rosewood back and sides. It is incredibly lightweight (it weighs less than many cypress guitars) and comfortable to play, with a slightly thinner body depth, a slender neck and very low action.
Although built as a flamenco, it is perhaps the most versatile guitar we have come across in recent years, and is equally adept at any style of music that is played on it. It is loud, extremely punchy and lively, with plenty of flamenco "bite" and rasp. However, it also has a lyrical tone, full-bodied and sweet, and carries a melody beautifully. It is a world-class instrument, and can easily be used as both a classical or a flamenco, with no compromise to either.