.........Domingo and Manuel are the 2 master
luthiers that build all my custom guitars. Juan Angel, Daniel and
Miguel are their assistants and luthier apprentices. They started
building guitars at the age of 4 and learned the skill from their father.
I know for a fact that no other luthier has build concert guitars using
over 25 varieties of tone woods for the back and sides alone. They build
with over 4 types of concert guitar construction (Torres, Hauser, Lattice,
Double top) are constantly experimenting and are among the most skilled
woodworkers I ever met. Hermes, Dino and Lorenzo build my stock instruments
with the 1943 Hauser frame exclusively. The
workshop is attached to my studio and a tempered glass (humidity temperature
control) separates the workshop from the place where I practice.
I make sure that the luthiers are supplied with all the tools necessary
to produce top of the line instruments. The work setup is made of a combination
of typical and extremely practical wood tools built by them and
a few state-of-the-art power tools that ensure that maximum precision
is attained during some critical phases of construction. A second workshop,
is used for the final detailing, lacquering of the instruments and the
stock instruments construction. I see some of the finest instruments
come to life every day and I thank both my faithful builders and my generous
buyers for giving me this gift.
click on the images to enlarge
the top to its maximum resonating thickness (Image #7) . A sound which is a B-Bb in pitch. Usually thickness goes from 1.7 mm in the outer fringe of the soundboard to approximately 2mm towards the center. These numbers vary slightly from one top the next. The rosette inlay is prepared and the rosette is mounted (Image #8-9) . The fan brace is glued in a special gadget that pushes the top (Image #10), the bridge reinforcement and the braces into a concave surface. This is what will give the instrument the necessary curvature to counter the pull of the bridge and keep it under tension for optimum production of volume. Concert instruments have very thin tops and without the curvature they would give in to the pressure created by the bridge. Acrylic struts are used to create pressure. They push the fan brace and the top in the concave surface where drying of the glue will occur leaving the dome shape as a result (Image #10a-10b) The sides are bent with a heated iron (Image #12 )and a special solution. Preparation of the struts and kerfs for the assembly of the back, sides and top begins (Image #11-13).
The halves of the back are joint (Image #15-16-17-18) and lacquered (Image #19) . We lacquer the inside of the guitar as well, to preserve the humidity, protect the woods and make cleaning of the inside easier. The fan bracing of the guitar is assembled (Image #22-23). The top is ready to be glued. Reinforcing struts are placed under the top in order for these to withstand the tightening of
the rope which will follow (Image #36). A tight rope that crosses several times over the top of the instrument ensures a perfect
bonding of the sides with the top (Image #15-16. This is quite a dramatic scene and the guitar parts are literally being fused into 1. 3 days have passed since we started construction. Parts of the neck are already prepared and assembled
The top of the guitar is like the vocal chords on a singer: crucial ! I pass the tops signing each one and I also add the date (D.O.G. stands for Deo Omnis Gloria, All the glory to God) (Image #29) I was taught from an early age to offer Him the fruit of my labor. I constantly ask myself: Would God like this instrument? Preparation of the neck begins (Image #20).
construction. The guitar soul, it's sound is complete when the guitar is removed from the construction seat.
I tap the guitar all around to check on her character. The sound is already blossoming... The route for the bindings and the purflings is carved all around the top and sides (Image #42) . I use some gorgeous and rare Paraguayan, Asian and African species of wood to decorate parts of the head, bindings, bridge and armrest of the instrument. The frets are mounted (Image #46) and the seat for the nut bone is prepared (Image #49). Construction of the bridge and the head begins (Image #47). We are into day 6 of construction.
1) It takes a 120 hours to build
a concert guitar with the help of an apprentice.
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