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Julia's Guitar: Making a Copy of a 1933 Santos Hernandez Guitar-It's Finished!!!

For me the guitar has always been a beautiful instrument as a medium of expression, and my attachment to it continues to increase with the years.

Alexander Bellow, The Illustrated History of the Guitar, 1970

I got up at 5am like I usually do, fed the dogs and the cats, took the dogs for a 40 minute walk up the gulch and then I went to the studio and started working on Julia's guitar. I leveled, re-crowned and polished the frets; made and installed a label; made a nut and saddle from some pre-ban elephant ivory; installed the premium and, to me, luxurious Gotoh tuning machines; strung the guitar and then adjusted the action. All that work took me eight hours.

The rewards for that time are truly outstanding, this is the loudest, most robust Spanish sounding guitar that I have made to date! Loud, with a sweet voice; a wonderful separation of strings, very uniform across the fret board. I have played a few truly responsive guitars as a player, in about six months of hard playing, this guitar is going to be one of them! For a brand new guitar, it has clarity and punch.

Now I want to make copy of a 1929 Santos Hernandez, the original guitar has the same box measurements as Julia's guitar (Julia's guitar is 15mm narrower) but it has a 644mm string length. I want to see how outspoken and sweet voiced that guitar would be.

Why do I think this Julia's guitar sounds so well? Eugene Clark gave a lecture in 2004 on "Building with a Spanish Solera" and I followed the procedure he outlines in the lecture. It works. I also think this guitar sounds so wonderful is because there is an 1/8 of inch dome to the top. Get a back issue of American Lutherie #92 and read it for yourself!

My wife, Amanda, was kind enough to take these photos of me playing Julia's guitar.

My Ottmar Liebert moment, performing without shoes!

It's a wonderful guitar, which I will hand over on June 23rd. I am thankful that it is going to a good player!

Color photos are coming and I hope to post a YouTube of Julia playing her guitar. Stay tuned!


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