British luthier Jake Fuller has been building guitars for nearly two decades. His passion for making classical guitars resulted from a combination of his early woodworking background (inherited from his father and grandfather), as well as being a guitarist himself. His Cornish grandfather was a wheelwright and made almost anything which could be built with wood such as carts, wheelbarrows, gates and furniture. Jake's workshop contains several of his grandfathers tools and even one of his tables that is used for the workbench. Jake sadly never met his grandfather for he lost a leg in WWI and died fairly young (he even built his own wooden leg!). Jake therefore uses his name - "Purnell" (which is also Jake's middle name) for his guitars as a tribute to this inspirational figure. Grandfather Purnell passed on his interest in woodworking to Jake's father who is a toy maker. It was growing up in the toymaking workshop where Jake learned his initial woodworking skills. Jake spent what would be essentially be his apprenticeship with him making toys in Suffolk.
Playing the guitar was something Jake had always done, and he is continues to play to this day. At 16 he started classical guitar studies which launched his fascination with the instrument itself. After graduating from the London Guildhall University (where he studied with David Rouse and David Whiteman), earning a BA in Musical Instrument Tech, Jake set up a workshop first in Laxfield and then in Reydon, Suffolk where he has been making guitars ever since.
This is an excellent and very impressive guitar all around. As with all of Jake's guitars, workmanship is clean, simple and refined. The sound itself is textured, with ample overtones yet excellent clarity and balance - a wonderful synthesis of the Spanish and Northern European styles. The body of the guitar is very light in weight making it respond like an early 20th century Spanish guitar, but it has a slightly "weightier" neck and stiff neck joint which gives it noticeably increased sustain, balanced across all registers. Playability is a breeze with a very easy and comfortably shaped neck profile. Suitable for any size auditorium - also a wonderful recording instrument.
Jake shared with us a great story of how he acquired the wood used for the back and sides on this instrument: "The Cherry wood was given to me by Youri Soroka. He was influenced by my Cherry guitars and made his first with Cherry for the Granada competition a couple of years ago... and GSI subsequently sold the guitar. I think I mentioned on Instagram that I needed some more, and he got in touch offering me some. I said that was very kind of him but that he should keep it for himself. Youri said he had quite a bit and was happy for me to have a few sets in return for helping his decision to use cherry. I was touched by Youri's generosity. This is the second guitar I have made with Youri's Cherry. It's lovely wood. Since the wood arrived we have kept in touch, and regularly write to each other, sharing ideas, experiences and advice. It has been really nice to share thoughts with another maker, and to help each other if possible."
The back and sides are fitted with walnut bindings, which is also used for the head veneer and bridge. German spruce was used for the top. There is also a satinwood back stripe. Jake tells us that the back has been strutted with raised longitudinal struts, and he's employed a new fingerboard construction where the ebony is laminated with cedar, making it 40% lighter at the same height. Total guitar weight 1200g. Body resonance is around D#. Great guitar with a great story!