Monday, March 24, 2014

Archive: Guitar No. 26, Classical

Classical guitar made with European spruce top, flame maple back and sides, Spanish cedar neck, Indian rosewood binding and bridge. Amber shellac finish. Spalted maple rosette.

Archive: Guitar No. 25, Classical

Classical guitar made with redcedar top, indian rosewood back and sides, spanish cedar neck, indian rosewood binding, indian rosewood bridge. Sold through The Classical Guitar Store in Philadelphia.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Archive: Guitar No. 24, Classical

Classical guitar made with European spruce top, flame maple back and sides, Spanish cedar neck, Indian rosewood binding and bridge. Amber shellac finish. This guitar has a shallow tornavoz. The rosette is a take on a Manuel Ramirez design.  I made this guitar for myself and as a shop guitar.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Repair: Hermanos Conde 1997

I've been getting quite a few Condes for repair lately.  They are the quintessential modern flamenco guitar.  This one belongs to DC area flamenco guitarist Ricardo Marlow.

It's a blanca, with a long scale length and wide body. Ricardo talked to me about the sound of this guitar and why he prefers blancas. 

This label does boast the "Sobrinos de Esteso" title, which means it is part of their high end line. It also has handwritten "Conde Hermanos" on it.

It came in primarily for a hairline crack in the top, which I gladly repaired and touched up.

There was also a lot of gunk on the fingerboard, evidence of the guitar's proffesional use.

A good cleaning makes it much nicer and is part of the general maintenace of a guitar.

I also found the guitar had cracks along the side of the fingerboard caused by shrinkage of the ebony.

I glued these up and they felt solid.

For those who like to see bracing patterns, here is an "x-ray" of the Conde's top after the repair.

Please be  sure to check out Ricardo's website or one of his shows if you are ever in the DC area!

Monday, September 16, 2013

In the Works: Guitar No. 24

I'm currently working on a flame maple/spruce classical guitar using a shallow tornavoz.  It has the effect of making the bass notes clearer and the treble sweeter by lowering the Helmholtz frequency of the soundbox.

The tornavoz was used by Torres on some of his most famous instruments of his first epoch.  His were made out of brass and were deep.

In this case, I'm using a modern design. The ring is made of wood.  This design is attributed to Austrian luthier Tobias Braun.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Repair: Conde Hermanos 1967

This Flamenco guitar, with the label "CONDE HERMANOS-CONSTRUCTORES-Año 1967-GRAVINA, 7-ATOCHA, 53," is most probably one of their less expensive models. I think this because of the style of peghead and rosette and also because it doesn't say "Sobrinos de Esteso" on the label.  

The guitar is made of a three-piece cypress back, Brazilian rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and solid spruce soundboard with five-fan bracing like many of the flamenco guitars made by Domingo Esteso.  

Even though this is probably not one of the models built by the Sobrinos de Esteso themselves, it is a decent old Flamenco guitar (46 years old), with proper flamenco action, bridge height and sound.  The attack of the notes is very quick and each note is very distinct from the others.

Most likely, the golpeador got lose and then somebody yanked it off, taking with it a lot of the finish. The finish was not pure shellac but a spirit varnish that contained shellac and other resins.

The guitar also had a hairline crack on the back, but other than that, it had no other major cracks or damage.

To fix the finish on the top, I had to brush spirit varnish and level the coats many times until I filled all the pits and had a even, smooth surface on which to affix a new golpeador.

When I was done, I had a nice surface. Due to possible oxidation of the unprotected area from having the finish flake, this area is a little darker. I then repaired and reinforced the crack on the back and touched up the finish in that area. The crack is now is virtually invisible.

To finish the repair, I glued down a clear plastic golpeador using hide glue, which is the traditional adhesive and does not deaden the sound of the guitar. I smoothed the fret ends, cleaned and oiled the fretboard and cleaned and polished the guitar. Finally, I lubricated the tuning machines and installed new strings.