Ariel Ameijenda 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 has been named "Confessional" since the back and sides were taken from wood that was once a confessional in a very old church in Rio de Janeiro that was given to Ariel by one of his friends. If this old wood hadn’t been salvaged for some kind of re-purposing, then it would most likely have ended up being burned or thrown away. But in this case, the wood was spared for a second life - its first life was to hear and absorb thousands of confessions over many years, and now, it has the chance to speak back, with beautiful, sonorous tone! Ariel has once again built this instrument with 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. 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, 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.