Medium sized steel string
(390mm lower bout)

  

My favourite style of steel string guitar is the “steel string concert classical”, the ultimate finger-style guitar with volume, projection, sustain, clarity and separation in spades.  Well played, these guitars sound like a small orchestra. 

This is a guitar that is optimised for finger-picking, with a neck width between the normal steel string sizes and the normal classical guitar sizes.  Like all the great finger-picking guitars it has a 12th fret neck join and comes with a cutaway as standard, so that you can still reach all the high notes easily.

This guitar is extraordinarily responsive, producing far more sound than you can ever get out of a standard Dreadnought style guitar using only fingernails.  Both the nut and saddle are compensated using specialised techniques that I have developed, which can be customised to the type of strings and set-up that you prefer.  Consequently it will play in-tune to the equally tempered scale with much greater accuracy than standard guitars.  Until you've heard the difference, you don't know what you're missing, and there's no going back!  All those beautiful jazz chord voicings sound distinctly different, rather than just being vaguely dissonant.  Classical guitarists looking for a different sound will love it.

The tops can be French polished (like the one on the right) or finished with nitrocellulose lacquer.  See the photo gallery for more pictures .

Retro medium sized steel string
(390mm lower bout)

  

The retro medium sized steel string guitar has all the attributes of its medium sized sibling above, but in a retro body shape reminiscent of the rounder lower bouts of yesteryear.  The styling is typically complemented with classically restrained pearl inlays and slot-head tuners.  However, beneath the skin it can be in every way as modern as its more contemporarily shaped cousins.  It is a beautifully rich sounding guitar, well suited to finger picking styles when falcate braced but can also be X-braced for those who wish to continue the retro theme into a retro sound.  With my custom compensated nut and saddle as standard, it plays beautifully in tune to the equal tempered scale.

Retro medium

Small bodied steel string
(360mm lower bout)

  

The small bodied guitar can be built to suit a number of purposes.  It can be voiced almost identically to the medium bodied guitar and so is well suited to the smaller player seeking that tonality.  Alternatively, it can be voiced at a higher pitch to generate the more typical “middley” projecting tone that blues players tend to favour.  The choice is yours.    

With or without a cutaway, this guitar normally features carbon fibre reinforced falcate bracing for sensitivity and volume, an active back to give additional tone colour and mass loaded sides which contribute significantly to the instrument’s projection.  Both the nut and saddle are compensated.  

If a stage guitar is required using a pick-up rather than a mic, stiffer lattice bracing can be used which helps to keep unwanted acoustic feedback under control.    

Concert "super parlour" steel string (340mm lower bout)

  

I’ve frequently argued that many guitars are “too big for their own good”, meaning that for a given “engine size” (the gauge and length of the strings) higher performance comes in lower mass packages.  This is as true for well-designed guitars as it is for well-designed cars.  There are not many scale lengths and string sets that are usable on a guitar, so nearly everyone has the same sized “engine”, regardless of whether they’re driving a jumbo or a mini.  So a well-designed small guitar can have a much lower mass soundboard than a larger guitar (the mass goes up as the cube of the linear dimensions) and so the soundboard has a higher acceleration when driven by the string forces and is louder, because the sound output is proportional to the sound board acceleration.  Whilst you can’t expect the same depth of bass available from a larger guitar, there is no shortage of it, and it can still be voiced for a large guitar sound. If you are small in stature, or just like smaller guitars, this is a perfect choice for you.  It punches well above its weight.

Black face concert
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