"Guitar Notes" - Guitar building and buying trends - news from Spain

Every year I travel to makers workshops, indeed every day I am searching for new guitar options given by what I see are the trends emerging form the choices that guitar players make in our showroom.

After 8 weeks in Spain, travelling, listening, playing and testing, there we're a few trends that stood out ...

Value for Money:

It is true that with guitars at the bottom end of the market say below $300 you get what you pay for. Unimpressive, clunky over-lacquered performance. But in the mid-range $300 and above every year as an evaluate anew I am finding better guitars at every price point this is reflected in ease of playing, superb tone and note resolution. One of the advantages of buying and working in very competitive guitar markets is that guitars are just getting better and better as makers up-skill and compete consequently the gap between the best leading makers and the also rans gets wider.

The enduring charm of tone:

Every guitarist loves volume and projection. This is no longer an either-or proposition. Makers have been working on guitars that offer both options at every price point from entry level to mid-range to concert. Tonally driven guitars have been taking centre stage. The most popular have been Alhambra Z, Alhambra Iberia Ziricote, Alhambra Anniversary Mahogany, Alhambra Anniversary Rosewood, Paulino Bernabe 5.

From the makers workbench:  Adding to the above options coming in December Juan Hernandez Maestro (new), Juan Hernandez 9C/B (new), Juan Hernandez 11 (new), Juan Hernandez 12 (New)

Double tops emerging as driving force on the Concert stage

Increasingly double tops are chosen because of their ease of playing/ string separation/volume and note resolution/best of both worlds the tonality of a Spanish fan brace with the volume of Lattice. 

From the makers workbench: Coming in December Manuel Adalid Catedral Other guitars that contrast with this guitar the Paulino Bernabe 50 and the Vilaplana NT

7 String Brazilian Guitar

 Brazilian has been experiencing and upswing. So, I have commissioned especially made guitars for GOL.

From the makers workbench: Coming in December Juan Hernandez 7 String 9C/B

World Music/Flamenco:

A number of classical players play other repertoire as indeed do steel string players crossing over and playing classical fingerstyle. We are becoming musical omnivores!

Over the last few years have emerged Crossovers and Cutaways. But with a difference that is yes, the offer ease of playing but have all the tonal range and richness that your classical guitar offers.

The most popular have been: Alhambra Z CW E, Alhambra Crossover III E2 Felipe Conde FC 14 CW E2

From the makers workbench: Coming in November Alhambra Z CW E, Alhambra Crossover III E2, FC14 CW E2, 5PCW E2

Ease of Playing:

The old guitars with hard to play chunky necks and strings hoicked up to the max are a thing of the past. In fact, this old design has been responsible for many a guitarist wrist and hand problems. I am always conscious when selecting guitars of the need for an ergonomic neck and bring in models specifically to help older or injured players to get back into playing. Arguably some of the best examples of both tonal colour and ease of playing come from the workshop of Angel Benito Aguado

From the makers workbench: Coming in December Angel Benito Aguado Marizapalos

Show me the guitars:

In the famous Tom Cruise movie “The Colour of money” the pool hustler with a twinkle in the eye utters the immortal words” show me the money” Guitars vary not just from maker to maker but model to model, guitar to guitar…experienced guitar players don’t just want to order a guitar sight unseen or just go to a single makers workshop. They want to be able to play across a whole range of guitar options and compare and contrast and then buy the one the like best.  A reason why I have to carry so many guitars in stock with so many options.

More trends

Tone wood scarcity and Cites regulation coverage to Indian Rosewood

Tone woods are scarcer and of lower quality as compared to heyday of guitar making in the 70-80’s while the extension of Cites to all Rosewoods has had a further effect of tightening supply and increasing costs.

Not to mention making it impossible to buy or supply guitars without Cites certification.

Don't forget - if you have any questions about any of this new range, or of our current products, please drop me a line, or come in to our showroom to test any of the range.