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Old 09-07-2019, 09:42 AM
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Cincy2 Cincy2 is offline
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Default NGD: Thunder from Down Under

First, a little context for steel forum string members not familiar with nylon string guitar building:

Classical guitar construction has undergone a quiet revolution over the past 10-20 years. The techniques had remained basically unchanged for over a century. Starting with a luthier named Greg Smallman, the methodology to bring out more volume with low-tension nylon strings evolved to create what we refer to as the “modern guitar”.

The revolution gained notoriety when John Williams began concertizing with a “lattice top” instrument made by Greg Smallman. The sides and back of the instrument were heavily reinforced and the top was thinned and braced in the lower bout with a lattice structure made from wood and carbon fiber (think egg crates). The result was more volume but at the cost of what many critics said was the warm, rich tone of traditionally braced guitars.

Since then the art of lattice guitar construction has advanced. As I have now witnessed, powerful instruments with what is arguably (frequently and loudly) close to traditional tone are possible.

Fast forward to this past weekend. After a few years playing steel string acoustics exclusively, I dipped my toe back in the classical guitar waters with the purchase of an 2018 Ashley Sanders lattice braced guitar from Savage Classical Guitars in New York.The instrument has impressive volume as you would expect. What I didn't expect was that tone is equal to or warmer than any traditionally braced guitar I have owned. I include in this group Romanillos, Redgate, Byers, Bernabe, deJonge and Ruck.

Ashley Sanders (working from Australia) is the best luthier no one has ever heard of. My instrument is his #66 and has a heavily silked Western Red Cedar soundboard with beautifully figured Ziricote back and sides. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

I poked around the inside with my mirror this morning. The lattice on the lower bout was created from very low profile balsa wood braces with a small carbon fiber cap. There are only two other traditional transverse braces probably also balsa above and below the sound hole. Remarkably, there are no braces whatsoever on the back. Only a top to bottom gluing strip.

How all this works together I do not know. I will attest, however, to it's very pleasing effect. Here is a video created sponsored by Mr. Savage demonstrating a slightly earlier Sanders instrument with the same wood combination that mine has. Not your father's lattice guitar. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv_8wBCoaWA

Cincy
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2019 Lissarrague Cedar / Ziricote Classical

Last edited by Cincy2; 09-07-2019 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:02 PM
TRose TRose is offline
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Beautiful guitar and playing. Congratulations on the guitar.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:31 PM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Very nice, and a beautiful, warm tone on that model in the video.
You're right that it doesn't have the "Smallman" sound, which can be overly bright and "naily". John Williams is in a class by himself, but I tend to prefer the tone in his earlier works.
Another luthier in the same vein is Matthias Dammann, and Manuel Barrueco plays those. As virtuosos go it's hard to find a better sounding one than Barrueco.
Congrats on your new guitar! Would love to hear it if you have any samples.
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