Cedar top, 640 scale length, cut-away

Here is a quite nice instrument. Very easy to play. I wrote about it before on this blog. It is a sibling of the one I built for Pedro Cortes in 2019. It has been here all that time. I take it out of the case every once in a while to keep it awake and lively. I made this video to show the guitar plays well. I had fun trying some video skills I haven’t used before.

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A Post-Covid concert invite to Lummi Island

Earlier this month I got a call from Eric Warner at Pacific Rim Tonewoods. (PRT)

Eric wanted me to invite me to a concert that Miroslav Tadic was going to perform that evening. PRT has been involved in a project that commissioned 3 steel string guitars from a builder in Australia, and the concert was to show those three guitars. Miro is primarily a nylon string player, so I was invited to bring a couple guitars. He chose one to play with his partner, violinist Yvette Holzwarth. Their duo is special!

It was a fun house concert. After more than a year of virtual concerts, this was a real, in the flesh event! I am so happy to be invited to participate.

Thank you to Pacific Rim Tonewoods, Eric Warner, Steve McMinn, Miroslav Tadic, and Yvette Hazwarth for a lovely evening, along with with honor of representing classical guitar building in the Northwest Washington area.

This is the one that Miro chose that evening:

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Anna Pietrzak plays six small cupcakes

Seis Brevidades by Sérgio Assad

“The Seis Brevidades were written partially in Chicago and in Paris during 2008 and were dedicated to Odair Assad, a great guitarist and brother of Sérgio. Each of this short composition is very different in character and based on different sources of Latin American music. The whole set reflects brief moments of a journey through a single day.”

Guitar: Ganz Romanillos model

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Rosette evolution

Brazilian background.

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Brazilian Rosewood takes over the shop so I can find the set I want.

Sometimes I just get out all my sets of rosewood and play with them… Sometimes I’m looking for specific attributes, size, color, figure. Today I pulled every set out and matched some backs and sides.

Today I found a set for one of my customers.

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Expressions of Appreciation

I do get letters/notes/emails/cards of appreciation from players of my guitars.

I have a page on my website that shows many of them. They go back more than 20 years.

Here’s the latest from the new owner of the guitar I sent out last week.

Hi Steve, The guitar is so incredible.  The tone is very balanced and full. Round. Definitely a negra. But of course the Brazilian has such a different sound than the Indian rosewood. And the cedar top is amazing.  It does play like a dream. So easy and effortless to play.  The projection is impressive also.  Very balanced and loud. 
I’m really loving the full bass and defined trebles. Very warm.  And certainly the crossover I was hoping for. So much more than a flamenca.  
I couldn’t be happier.  … This is a magnificent instrument. 
Thank you so much Steve 🙏🏻
(Nolan February 2021)

That’s a different form of payment that makes my endeavors all the more important and satisfying to me. Gratifying. If you go to http://www.ganzguitars.com/Appreciation you can get an idea of how many happy players I have.

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Preview of future attraction. Spruce and Amboyna burl.

Here’s a top, a very fine Euro spruce, joined and with rosette inlaid. Amboyna burl background….

Dreams of a guitar

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New Guitar – Hello, Goodbye

About as soon as they are born, they leave.

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn happened in December 2020.

The guitar “Conjunction” is a blend. A combination of many elements. Jazz, Flamenco, Classical. Also, a team effort with the customer. Thank you.

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Brandenburg Concerto No 3. BWV 1048 by the Vancouver Guitar Orchestra

I go crazy in love with the Brandenburgs. This is a fun rendition of the Allegro to the 3rd Brandenburg. This should lift somebody’s spirits.

The video was put together by Anna Pietrzak. She arranged the music for the Vancouver Guitar Orchestra (their first recording), played the guitar, and was largely responsible for editing the parts together into this fun video. Super talented person.

I’m pleased that a guitar I built is played by a couple of these virtual guitar orchestra musicians at the same time in the video. That would not be possible under normal circumstances where it’s usually 1-person:1-guitar.

If you enjoy the video, please let Anna know by visiting the video page and leaving a comment.

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50 years since I built my first Ganz Guitar

The year was 1970. I’m playing hookie from school at Arizona State University. I had a friend whose brother played guitar in a rock band. He was a real cool dood. Lots of hair and patchuli oil, and a good player. He knew that I had a couple guitars. One a Martin D-28 and another was a mexican nylon string I picked up in Tijuana for a few bucks. Anyway my friend’s brother, told me that I could make a better guitar than the nylon one I was playing. He said there was a guy in Glendale, AZ that was building a few guitars in his garage, and was helping other people to build instruments for themselves. “You should go see him” ….

Glendale is not far from where I lived in Tempe, so I drove out there in my 1965 VW. That’s when I met John Roberts. Well, first I pulled into his driveway and wondered if I had the right place, then I saw the garage and went there… There were a couple guys around a large workbench that took up most of the space in the garage. Pretty soon John came out and we chatted. The deal was this: If I bought all the wood for a guitar, then I could build it in the garage. John would advise me. The charge for the wood? $100. Back & sides, top (redwood), mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge… Think of it. Back in ’70 $100 was not chump change. I bought my D-28 new for $350. But the use of the shop and the advice and interaction with others made all the sense I needed to justify the expenditure. What about my schooling at ASU? What about my job delivering pizzas or making donuts? No problem really. It was November/December and the semester was going to end. I was going to build a guitar!!!

John Roberts had been a bush pilot in Central America and had imported a bunch of logs from Guatemala (Dalbergia cubilquitzensis). He thought he could sell the wood in veneer form to banks or other architecture applications, but he didn’t seem able to crack that market. So he started looking at uses for the wood. Somebody said “ROSEWOOD! It could make GUITARS!” Except that he didn’t know anything about guitars. He had a copy of a book, and some articles from a magazine or two. Of course, there were also guitars to look at. I’m sure there were other resources, but there was more willingness to experiment than there was knowledge. You can find out a bit about John at the website of the Roberto-Venn school of Luthiery.

From start to finish, the construction took me a little more than a month. I also built a case using 5/8 inch thick plywood. Heavy duty… I’m not sure if I have a picture of the guitar anywhere, but one might surface. It now belongs to my son who lives in Portland, OR.

So much has changed since 1970. I’ll be writing more about that and the years since in other posts.

Who knows where the time goes?

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