Wood & Luthiery

When I make a new instrument, I think about the woods and the trees that gave me their wood. I usually use woods from four or five different forests. They originate from various continent and they come together to create a unique harmony and beauty.

The Guitar Soundboard

The guitar

Soundboards are a guitar’s heart. They receive and send back the sounds made by the strings. Soundboards are like very sensitive antennas: they must promptly receive every nuance and dynamics the musician produces with their fingers. They must feature a perfect mix of strength, lightness, and elasticity.
Wood Cutting
To be at its best, wood cannot be fallen or cut indiscriminately. This happens when your goal is quantity or low price. If you aim for quality soundboards instead, wood integrity is essential. This means wood must be cut considering the direction of the fibers. They cannot be cut across because they are wood’s bearing structure and they give it the features for which it is chosen.
After being cut in the right way, wood needs suitable seasoning. Many years may pass between chopping and the moment when the luthier uses the best pieces of cut wood to make an instrument. Meanwhile, wood gradually loses most of its natural moisture. Resins and other substances crystallize and settle. With a long and accurate seasoning wood becomes lighter and stabler but it does not lose its natural strength. Wood maturation will continue for years in the musician’s hands.

The wood used in guitar-making is a special material. It is a fabric made by the laws of life and by the intelligence pervading all living creature, creating unique and refined structures.

Raw Material Quality
Raw material quality is really important when it is about instruments which need to make Art. It is neat that trees are the ones giving us this raw material. Wood comes directly from nature, from the beauty of a forest. It is a form of Beauty that turns into a new form of Beauty, thanks to men’s knowing hands (be it a luthier’s hands or a musicians).

A responsible choice


The Right Wood
The luthier’s job is to choose the right wood, the one having the suitable structural, acoustic, and esthetic feature for the kind of instrument they want to make. Since a luthier knows and loves wood, they also consider sustainability when picking the material.
History of Wood
Over the centuries luthiers have chosen many different kinds of wood. This choice has always been influenced by geographical discoveries and trade relations between countries. In the past many luthiers preferred low-cost solutions coming from the colonies. Italian artisans (carpenters, cabinetmakers, and luthiers) used mostly local wood instead: spruce, maple, poplar, and fruit trees like pear and walnut (but also cherry, apple, etc…).
Red Cedar
Modern luthiers have many more options and every day new species are discovered and marketed. Many types of wood are suitable for guitar-making. The most famous example is Cedar (or better, Thuia plicata). It was discovered in the 1960s by José Ramirez, even if it was probably experimented on by Pietro Gallinotti ten years earlier.
Wood for Modern Guitar-Making
Soundboards are still made using a narrow range of wood. Conversely backs and sides can use many kinds of wood. A lot of them are very valuable and come from eco-friendly forests. They can be compared with the best rosewood for what acoustics and esthetics are concerned. Santos rosewood, many types of ebony and granadillo, ovangkol, ziricote, bocote, and padouk can also be of use. Not to mention local species like maple, walnut and cypress – to name just a few.
How Much Does a Luthier Instrument Cost?
A Study Guitar?
To help those who cannot afford to buy an instrument, many luthiers offer a cheaper study guitar. This definition however suggests that this instrument may be somewhat less valuable, but this is not acceptable when we are talking about a luthier’s instrument.
The price of an instrument depends on the instrument’s commercial value but also on the complexity of the making and the accessories.
Sound quality depends on the wood value, on the handiwork balance and on the assembly accuracy. Price and sound quality does not correspond.
I seek the highest quality in every instrument I make. For those who want an affordable instrument, I offer different low-cost solutions. For instance, I offer simpler esthetic combinations, efficient but not luxury mechanics. Even the instrument case is important: if you do not plan to fly, a normal hardshell case will suffice.
Furthermore, students of conservatories and music academy will benefit from a student discount, feel free to contact me.