Showing posts from 2021

Double Top Classical Guitar - Redwood/Nomex/Sitka Spruce/Curly Black Walnut, Part 1

In an earlier post , I talked about how I replaced the top of a guitar I had on hand with an all-wood double top as an experiment. The new top was an improvement, it was very loud and strong, but its voice, to my ears and aesthetic, was lacking in beauty. I mentioned this in a text to a guitar maker I know in Brazil, he replied that he had made a similar double top and found that it "lacked resonance".  After playing the guitar for several weeks I made the decision to replace the top yet again, but this time with a “standard” double top that has a honeycomb Nomex core. The top is redwood and the inner veneer is Sitka spruce.  Here is a link for more information on double top guitars. Here is a jig I made from MDF, I wanted to have the main area of the lower bout to carry the Nomex. At this point the entire top is about 2.7mm thick. The top is on a vacuum platen that I made, the air is removed with a shop vacuum, this way the top won’t move or get pulled up into the router bi

Building an 1830's René Lacôte "Legnani Model" Guitar

I made this little guitar about ten years ago, it is based upon an original 1830's "Legnani Model" guitar made in the René Lacôte Paris workshop. Luigi Legnani was a popular European guitar virtuoso and composer in the 1800's, both René Lacôte and Johann Stauffer made guitars for Legnani to his specifications. My little guitar started out with a Douglas fir top, California laurel back and sides, with a simple bridge made from a block of East Indian rosewood. When I glued the bridge on I discovered that I had the angle of the neck set wrong, the bridge ended up being way too tall for the guitar and the Douglas fir top was too thick and heavy to produce a decent tone, it sounded like it was being played underwater. I put the guitar into a case and tucked it away. December of 2020 I pulled it out from the closet so I could practice on it, I had a full size classical guitar in the shop that needed a new top, and I wanted to try a new way of removing guitar tops. Here'

All Wood Double Top Classical Guitar

  Double top , or composite top, classical guitars are all the rage these days, especially among young guitarists and I decided that I would make a double top guitar. Instead of using Nomex honeycomb material as part of the composite top, I used a router to rout out channels in the top to help reduce the top's weight. I got this idea from the wonderful guitar maker, Steve Ganz , using his technique requires minimal tools and no vacuum platen to hold the top down while routing. I saw no point in building a completely new guitar, so I took the top off of one of my guitars to conduct this experiment. I then made the channel top... ...glued redwood veneer over the channels... ...braced the new top with my standard bracing... and proceeded putting the guitar back together. I put strings on it two days ago and with the cedar top is definitely louder than it was with the redwood top. Next week a friend of mine is stopping by the shop and I am going to get him to try out this guitar and ge

My YouTube Videos

I am updating my YouTube channel with new videos! 

For Sale: European Spruce/Canadian Cypress Classical Guitar

SOLD! For Sale: European Spruce/Canadian Cypress classical guitar.  European spruce top  Back and sides are triple laminated : cypress, birch, curly walnut.  654mm string length 52mm wide fretboard at nut 62mm at 12th fret 59mm string spacing at bridge  490mm body length 278mm upper bout  245mm waist 372mm lower bout Ebony fretboard East Indian rosewood bridge Schaller GrandTune tuning machines with bearings A beautiful instrument with a gorgeous voice that is loud and projects, classical guitarist Alfredo Muro declares “it is a marvelous guitar!”  Please contact me for more information. 

My Latest Guitar

Those of you who follow my blog may know that I am a sponsor of the Twisted Spruce Music Foundation Symposium and Competition, this symposium brings together composers and young guitarists to create new repertoire for the classical guitar. Again, I am donating to the Foundation a high end handcrafted classical guitar which will be presented to the winner of their 2021 Classical Guitar competition. This guitar's top is salvaged old growth redwood, the back and sides are East Indian rosewood that was milled in Milan, Italy twenty years ago, the neck is Honduran mahogany with a Macassar ebony fretboard, its string/scale length is 648mm/25.5inches, it sports Waverly Sloane tuning machines , the bindings are double thick ebony and the bridge is East Indian rosewood. I just started French polishing the guitar with blonde shellac and expect to have it completed by mid October. My young friend, Gwenyth, who is currently studying classical guitar with Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Instit

Classical Guitar Festival Experiences, Part 2

“Is that who I think it is?” I asked Frank as one of the vendors walked by his table. “Yes, it is.” he replied. “I should go over to their table and try out one of their guitars.” “They make double tops” Frank said with some disdain. He continued to play my guitar, I kept quiet and avoided that table all week. Frank then launched into “Muneira”, the finale of Federico Mompou’s Suite Compostelana , his playing was furious and wonderful, I had no problem hearing the guitar in the cacophony of other guitarists playing other vendor guitars in hopes of finding one that was truly great.  When Frank finish the piece, he looked up, smiled at me and proclaimed, “I could play a full concert on this guitar tonight!” “Well, why don’t you?” “The powers-that-be do not seem to think I am fit enough to be on the marquee!” Later that afternoon, Frank began to sing, his assistant accompanied him on a guitar and a hush fell over the entire space as everyone listened to his wonderful voice.

What a Concert Classical Guitarist Says About My Guitars

I have had the pleasure of playing the magnificent guitars made by the luthier Wilson Burnham. The first impression that one perceives is the beautiful and fine aesthetics of his meticulous craftsmanship, but the most important thing for a concert guitarist is to be able to reveal all the expression, dynamics and musicianship that only the fine instruments can offer us and   without a doubt that is what we find in Wilson’s guitars: balance, elegance, color, volume, dynamics and a fast response, a sound that flies, catches and embraces not only the player but also the audience. An ideal guitar for the professional soloist and also for the serious student. Highly recommended! Alfredo Muro Concert Guitarist

Classical Guitar Festival Experiences , Part 1

A couple years back, I was a vendor at an international guitar festival and in the first minutes of the opening day a gentleman approached my table and began looking at two western red cedar/East Indian rosewood guitar I had made. He complimented how they looked, then took one from its stand and played it. After several minutes of playing he tried the other cedar topped guitar and when he was finished with that one he asked me for prices, I told him that both were $3000. His eyes got big and asked “Really?” He returned the guitar to its stand and said, “I will be back!” Fifteen minutes later he returned with a friend and I immediately recognized his friend who was well known East coast classical guitar maker. The friend didn’t introduce himself and made no attempt to acknowledge my existence, and sat down opposite the gentleman who was already playing the first guitar he tried.  “What do you think?”, the gentleman asked his friend. “What is the price of the guitar?”, the friend asked.

Today’s Work

  I am making this guitar for the 2021 Twisted Spruce Music Foundation Symposium and Competition. It has a salvaged old growth redwood top, East Indian rosewood back and sides and will be outfitted with an ebony fretboard on the mahogany neck. The sides are laminated with old growth redwood to match the top, laminated sides make for a stiffer rim than a regular side. The sides were laminated with epoxy and the help of a Roarockit Thin Air Press luthier bag and clamped to an internal mold. The sides ares attached to the top with blocks of Spanish cedar and hot hide glue from Tools For Woodworking . 

My Latest Guitar - European Spruce/Canadian Cypress, Available Late June 2021

My latest guitar has a European Spruce top, Canadian Cypress back and sides, Honduran Mahogany neck, Macassar Ebony fret board and bindings and an East Indian Rosewood bridge. Scale length is 654mm and the fret board a 20th fret. Body length is 490mm, body depth at heel is 100mm, body depth at end block is 106mm. Width at nut is 52mm, width at 12th fret is 62mm, string spacing at bridge is 59.5mm. I completed the French polish last week and will start the final rub out on June 7, 2021, the guitar will be set up with strings the week of June 14, 2021. I used buttonlac shellac to French polish this guitar, buttonlac is a tougher version of shellac and was once used to coat bowling alley lanes! If the shellac is tough enough to stand up to the abuse of a bowling ball, it should withstand use by a guitarist! The bindings are Macassar ebony and are doubled up, meaning I used two strips of ebony to make a wider than usual binding for the guitar. This is a technique that was popularized by th

A Basic Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar - Another Look

I was looking at a blog post of mine from eight years ago, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised and saw that I have made a few changes in my tool kit. Here are some of the changes and my current recommendations for someone who wants to make their first guitar. I still recommend purchasing or borrowing one of the following books on guitar construction, but choose only one ! Pick one book and make a guitar using that book and that book only! Using more that one book at a time will do nothing but confuse you! I speak from experience! Once you complete your first three guitars then, and only then should you purchase the other book. Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson or Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall Better yet, skip buying a book and find a guitar making course here in the United States or aboard. There are many such courses available today that weren't available when I started this journey thirty years

Shaping a Classical Guitar Neck - My Latest Concert Grand Guitar

  My wife and I took last week off for a quick get-away from the dreadful Denver 'burbs and now a new week begins back in the work shop.  I carved this neck two weeks ago and today the goal was to finish shaping and sanding all the surfaces that a guitar player's thumb will be resting on. My guitar necks have a flattened "D" profile, in my opinion this profile is more comfortable, therefore more ergonomic that a standard "D" shape. The human thumb is not shaped to ride along a fully rounded surface, a flatter surface is more comfortable. The heel is shaped in the manner that the Jose Ramirez III guitar shop used back in the 1950's and 1960's, no exaggerated dip and scoop, just a simple arc. The profile gauge is to make sure that I get both sides of the heel shaped more or less the same. The heel ready for "whiskering", raising the grain and final sanding before I start pore filling with shellac and pumice.

New Video - European Spruce/East Indian Rosewood Concert Grand Classical Guitar

My friend,  Nathan Fischer , made a video of him playing a Concert Grand classical guitar that I made. Nathan is such a wonderful guy and boy, can he play the guitar! Along with teaching at Indiana University, he is a director of the  Twisted Spruce Music Foundation . I am a sponsor of Twisted Spruce and I will donate a Concert Grand guitar to the foundation this year.

Moving Day - From a Small Shop to a Tiny Shop

  I moved across the hall to a smaller studio at 40 West Art Studios today. The space I have occupied for the last year is 230 square feet in size, has an acoustic tile ceiling and is nearly impossible to humidify properly. The best the humidifier can do is 37% RH, when I run it at a higher setting the reservoir will run out of water overnight. The space I moved into today is only 140 square feet in size with a lower ceiling that is dry walled,and I plan on installing a rubber door sweep to help keep a more consistent level of humidity. For the last several months I have been thinking about how to reduce clutter, a good solution I found was to place things I hadn’t used in one year in a cardboard box and put the box in the FJ Cruiser. I need more boxes.  I’m not sure there is enough room for a saw horse... or all of my clamps! The Dutch-style tool chest is going to be replaced with a sectional tool cabinet to organize my tools with a little more efficiency. All this work to do organizi