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San Diego based luthier Tom Heller's professional woodworking career spans the last 30 years. His early inspiration and interest in the guitar led him to study the guitars of Antonio de Torres, Hermann Hauser, Manuel Ramirez, Santos Hernandez and Miguel Rodriguez. Tom sites these makers as the primary influences that inform his own work. A close friend of the Romero family, Tom has spent a good deal of time hearing the "playing" side of the Romero family test his instruments and he has spent countless hours consulting with Pepe Jr., the luthier in the Romero family. Upon completion, each of his guitars are played by Pepe Romero Sr., Celin, Celino and Pepe Jr. Indeed this guitar was previously in the Romero collection and even has Pepe Sr.'s signature on the back of the headstock.
This guitar has a quartersawn and very stiff cedar top, and beautiful CSA rosewood for the back and sides and head veneer. Tom also inlays a carbon fiber bar in the neck under the fretboard - it is lightweight and strong, reinforcing the neck to minimize flexing over time from string tension. The heel block is an original design of his own - the wood mass of the traditional Spanish heel block is redistributed into an arch that supports the fretboard from the top of the body to the transverse bar at the sound hole. This design strengthens the guitar without adding weight and eliminates soundboard deflection at the sound hole. The bottom of this arched heel block equally strengthens and supports the guitar back. Tuners are Sloanes. The sound of the guitar is powerful, and very focused, with a healthy amount of overtone activity that adds warmth to each note. This is a very strong concert instrument with a modern strength and traditional beauty of tone.