Construction of a guitar:

To get a nice sound from a guitar, luthiers use a combination of these elements:

  • Shape of the guitar
  • Type of essence
  • Thickness (calibration) of wood
  • Internal bracing

The shape of the guitar (the model) is an important element in the characterization of the timbre of the sound produced; a D or a Jumbo have a clearly identifiable sound. After selecting the model, the second step is the selection of the woods, which are typically different according to the various parts of the guitar.

I rather choose the italian spruce for the soundboard (Val di Fiemme Spruce), as it has a unique sound and a yield of higher harmonics.

If you wish to get close to the sound of American-inspired guitars, we can choose the Sitka, Engelmann, or the most popular Adirondak. The latter is harder than spruce or Sitka, and is characterized by a shrill voice. For the body, the Indian Rosewood is a great choice, but we can choose from many varieties, even European woods such as walnut, cherry, maple that prove to be extraordinary. For the neck I choose the Honduras Mahogany, fantastical essence which couples lightness, rigidity and great sound.

The wood used for guitars are often quite expensive, which is due to limited availability of these increasingly rare materials. The forests now hardly have any trees with a diameter sufficient to produce tables of adequate size to build guitars. It takes 200 years or more for a tree to obtain the appropriate characteristics.

The origins of the woods are different, and they come from all over the planet: wood is currently imported from North America, Latin America, the countries of Central Africa, from India, Madagascar, and in many cases Italian or European wood has the same quality as of those imported. More and more constraints have been created (fortunately) to preserve the environment. I rather use, whenever possible, wood from certified forests.

Handcrafted guitars differ from those produced industrially by several factors, one of which is very important: processing and calibration of the woods. Each instrument is built, calibrated and "tuned", so that there are not two handmade instruments that can present the same thickness of the board or with bracings exactly alike. The industrial production uses a construction based on standard thicknesses, with the use of leaving the instrument thicker, which gives the guitar more solidity and limits any production potential issue. In the same time, this is usually a limit to the acoustic performance of the instrument. Handmade guitars are designed in order to optimize the sound. They are not more fragile than industrial ones: they can achieve great voice and optimal solidity and, moreover, they are made to be just unique.