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 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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A podcast from Del – Retirement Talk

Before moving to Blaine in 2009, I was talking with a friend. My friend Del does podcasting on the topic of “Retirement” . He’s been retired for quite a while, so he’s pretty qualified on the topic. Retirement (Life without the complication of work): It’s something he and his wife, Brenda, enjoy.

While not being mentioned by name, I’m the guy he talked to more than ten years ago. Del and Brenda have visited me here in Blaine. I built a guitar for him that he plays on his podcast intro’s and backgrounds. You can find his blog at

Here’s the podcast about the guitar maker changing ….

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The Swan – Video with the Padauk and Cedar

David Lockington (cello) and Yaniv Attar (guitar) perform Saint-Saëns’ The Swan

Guitar as described in the post Cedar and Padauk – a good guitar combo

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A super (!) email from a long-time Ganz Guitar player

I do get emails from guitarists, usually early in the “ownership cycle” telling me how awesome the Ganz guitar they just bought is. Those are great. I also get notes from people who have had a guitar for a long time, and have communicated with me quite a lot over the years. However, this one is slightly unusual in that I haven’t heard from this individual in a few years. Here’s the note:

Hey Steve.  Just finished spending some time with the beautiful Maple guitar I purchased from you many years ago.  It is my go-to guitar 80% of the time.  Also the easiest of my guitars to play (David Russell considers that his number one criteria for an instrument) and does everything amazingly well.  I can get pretty much any kind of tone out of it that I want and it has super separation.  Whenever I pick up any other of my guitars*, aside perhaps from my Hauser – and that’s pretty refined company – they all seem boomy.  So I just thought I would let you know how fantastic it has turned out to be.  It is also strikingly beautiful.  I hope you are well and taking care re Covid. 

Best regards, Michael  

That’s a nice note from a good player who has several high level guitars, including a Hauser and other iconic builders. Thank you Michael.

So, these pictures were made with my first digital camera, but you can see part of what Michael is talking about when he says “beautiful”… Here are some more Guitar of Month – 2007 Maplenillos

Note* : Michael’s other guitars include a Fleta and Bernabe Imperial.

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