Valerio Licari was born in Rome, Italy, in 1981. As a teenager, his musical studies began with the classical guitar but he later learned to play other styles including acoustic fingerstyle, blues and ragtime, and eventually even started taking violin lessons. His academic work was entirely focused on music, including work in ethnomusicology, musical art and performance. He even enrolled in the International School of Violin Making "Antonio Stradivari" in Cremona and did an internship in bow making, ultimately receiving his diploma from this respected institution. In 2012, after working for six months as guitar wood production manager at Tonewood International in Cremona, he moved to Malaga, Spain, for a six-month apprenticeship with classical guitar maker Daniele Chiesa. It was at this time that he decided to settle in Spain - in order to more deeply study its traditional methods in classical and flamenco guitar making. He set up his workshop in Granada where he has remained until late 2019, when he decided to move back to his come country of Italy.
This is our first guitar from Valerio, and is the actual guitar that made it to the finals in this year’s 2019 Antonio Marin Guitar-Making Competition in Granada, Spain. GSI's David Collett was on the panel of judges and liked it so much when he encountered it in Granada that he decided to collaborate with the Italian luthier right away.
Although thoroughly "Spanish" in its build, the aesthetic details on this guitar are drawn from Valerio's Italian roots. The "Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore" in Florence has particulary influenced the decorative motifs found in the rosette and tie-block, giving the guitar a very satisfying "architectural" look. Materials used are German spruce with tight grain for the top, paired with Indian rosewood back and sides, a Honduran cedar neck, ebony fingerboard with 20 frets and bone saddle and nut. Tuners are Schaller Grand Tune with anti-friction bearings and African rosewood pegs (sandblasted finish). The guitar is finely French polished. The guitar boasts a robust, rich sound - quite warm for a spruce yet retaining great clarity and balance across all registers. His instruments have been played most-notably by Andrea de Vitis and Pat Metheny, to name a couple of top guitarists. We are very pleased to have this guitar and look forward to many more!