British luthier Stephen Hill has been producing fine guitars since 1985, following a short apprenticeship as a cabinet maker. Early on Stephen studied guitar with Paco Pena, Juan Serrano, El Carbonaro and others in Spain after building his first flamenco guitar in 1988. During this time he spent many hours in the workshops of Manuel Reyes (Cordoba), Antonio Marin Montero (Granada) and other legends of the guitar making world. Following closely in the Spanish tradition, Stephen acquired the skills of his craft through hard work and isolation, travel and contemplation, and the a gradual refining of his sound and style over many years. From 1998, Stephen began to spend more and more time in Spain while running a thriving workshop in Lewes, England. But in 2004, he permanently moved to La Herradura by the coast in Granada province, Andalucia, the home of legendary Andres Segovia. La Herradura is also home of the Andres Segovia International Guitar Competition. In addition to building guitars, Stephen also teaches the art of guitar making for 2 months every year to students from all over the world. Stephen is the founder and director of the European Institute of guitar making based in La Herradura, Granada. Stephen also does high quality restoration work and has worked on some of the finest guitars in the world including Antonio de Torres, Hauser, Fleta, Bouchet, Manuel Reyes, Ramirez, Fabricatore and countless others. The opportunity to examine and appraise these historic guitars has added to his experience and knowledge as a veteran builder.
The 2a model is a true concert guitar, and is built to the exact specification of Hill’s 1a model, using Hill's premium materials. The bulk of the work is carried out by Hill’s apprentices (in this case Evan Kingma) with Hill himself overseeing the entire process and personally handling the most important adjustments and details. The result is an instrument that is in every way identical to Hill’s 1a model but at a much more affordable price point. Like Hill's 1a model, this 2a is typical of the 'Granada' style - lightly built with a big, punchy attack and very lively character of sound. It has lyrical trebles and plump, juicy basses. It's very sensitive to the touch and position of the hands and so has great color, dynamics and expression. The smoothly rounded neck is very comfortable and easy to play for virtually any hand type or size. For this guitar, Rippled Sycamore was chosen for the back and sides - it (like some types of maple) has a deep flame to it and is beautifully framed by dark bindings. The coloring of the entire guitar is nice and warm with a dark spruce top sprinkled with some lovely bearclaw markings. Overall, a very versatile concert and recording guitar.