was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1963 as the son of one of that country’s most famous guitar makers, Manuel Ameijenda. Manuel had learned the craft from Juan Carlos Santurion, a pupil of Ignacio Fleta from the early 1950′s. The elder Ameijenda opened his own shop in 1957, and shared it for several years with Jose Lopez Cubillo, who had been the lead craftsman at the workshop of Jose Ramirez II. Ariel is currently the only 2nd generation builder from Uruguay and his foundation is clearly solid from the training he received from his father, starting at age 14. The Ameijenda workshop both then and now has also been a repair facility for the finer instruments that have passed through South America over the years, so Ariel has seen, inspected and repaired some of the finest instruments from the great masters such as Hauser I, Simplicio, Santos, Garcia and others. When he was 19, Ariel entered university where he studied Musicology. During those four years, he paid special attention to the subjects of Acoustics and Music History. These were very useful studies which have greatly influenced his approach to the construction of guitars and ancient instruments. In 1997 Ariel opened his own workshop in Montevideo where he builds not only guitars, but also period string instruments including baroque guitars, vihuelas, lutes and theorbos. In 2014, he moved to the heavenly settings of the Cerro de los Burros near the city or Piriapolis on the East Coast of Uruguay in order to respond to his growing list of orders and fully commit to the construction of the finest guitars.
This guitar is an elegantly built example of Ariel's finest work. The sound is very focused with a clear and very firm fundamental at the core of every note, yet each note is also surrounded by a warm, complementary layer of rich overtones, giving it a full-bodied sound without the loss of clarity. The guitar also has great projection and power for its slightly more compact build, and the playability is very easy on both hands. This is a great concert instrument by any standard, from the most respected luthier currently working out of Uruguay. Materials are stunning including a one piece soundboard made of "Alerce" (Larch). Ariel has had this wood in his possession for decades and has been waiting for the prime moment to use it - indeed, it was bought by his father in 1954, and he built several guitars with it, and as you can see in one of the photos above, Guido Santorsola is listening to Alirio Diaz playing on a Manuel Ameijenda guitar with the same wood! Ariel, and his father before him consider this an ideal wood for soundboards as it has very tight grains - in this particular top, Ariel has counted at least 360 years of growth, so it is also extremely well-aged. Back and sides are as exquisite as the top - a gorgeous set of Italian walnut with very dramatic patterning in the grain. The sound is quite unique - it has its own character entirely - although it has some of the warmth and deeper resonance found in cedar, and the extreme clarity and balance found in spruce, it is unlike anything we've heard before. It has considerable power and great projection, making it ideal for the concert stage. This is a real treat to have such a beautiful looking (the dark reddish hue and patterning in the grain) and sounding instrument from Uruguay's top builder.
"Dear Ariel, I was happy to meet you and try your guitars. From your instruments comes sounds which remember me the time of for me the golden chapter in the guitar history of 20th century. Time of Llobet, Luisa Anido, Domingo Prat. Sweet, tender sound. Congratulations. Yes I hope to meet you again soon." -Pavel Steidel
"I have tried Ariel Ameijenda’s guitars and I can testify to the extraordinary quality and consistence of his work, his deep knowledge of the different woods and his attention to detail. His instruments not only have a beautiful tone, but also exhibit evenness in the various registers, remarkable transparency and are obedient to the wishes of the player. These instruments are so human they only lack the gift of speech…but that would be the task of the player. I recommend them without any reservation." -Eduardo Fernández
"I had the pleasure to meet Ariel at a festival in Virginia in July 2007, and I found him to be a delightful person and a luthier of the highest caliber. I was particularly impressed by a recent maple guitar of his, which I found to be a highly refined, beautifully constructed, and eminently musical instrument. He is a builder that deserves to be widely known by guitarists in the United States." -William Kanengiser
Luthier Bio: Ariel Ameijenda
Photos of this guitar taken during construction