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A steel string concert classical, or a concert classical with steel strings?


This is a rather different guitar from my normal steel string concert classical.  It was built for a professional classical guitarist who wanted the complete feel of a classical guitar, but with steel strings.  So I used my classical, classical body shape, complete with a full-size classical neck, but with a top braced in the falcate style for steel strings.  It has a 650mm scale length and is strung with light gauge 12-53 strings with a super-low action.  It is fitted with four acoustic transducers brought out as a stereo pair of signals which can be blended and phase switched off the guitar.  


The guitar has a truly amazing sound both acoustically and amplified.  Classical pieces, unplayable on a standard steel string guitar, are rendered in a completely new way, effectively re-voicing the whole of the classical repertoire.



The back and sides are East Indian rosewood, the soundboard is master grade Engelmann spruce with a French polished finish.  The neck is Queensland maple with an ebony "blind bound" fretboard.


Another Steel String Concert Classical?


This was a special guitar for a special player – Danny Ross.    

So what was different about this guitar?   

It’s a special permutation of my Steel String concert classical; in effect two guitars in one, in more ways than one! 


First, Danny requested a guitar that combined the sound of a breathy, light weight guitar with the singing sustain engendered by the extra mass behind solid rosewood.  In fact, a combination of two guitars that Danny tried out in my workshop.    

OK, I reckoned I could do that!

Second, Danny plays in many different tunings and so needed a guitar that had a full-on sound in both standard tuning and dropped tunings.  So that required my standard nut and saddle intonation for the set-up Danny plays on in standard tuning, with drop-in replacement nuts and saddles for when he wants to play in dropped tunings with other string sets, using strings as big as 0.064” for the sixth string.

OK.  That’s do-able, too!

Furthermore, I reckoned that if I could hit the exact main top resonant frequency I was aiming for, then, using my adjustable “heavy sides” technique, I could also hit the next lower target main top resonance which would optimise the acoustics of the guitar for the dropped tunings i.e. two guitars in one.  Again.  

So that’s what I built.


In addition to this, Danny wanted a stage guitar that sounded like a real guitar; i.e. like a studio mic’d acoustic guitar sound, which could be reproduced on stage. 

D Guitar 3
D Guitar 4
D Guitar 6
D Guitar 5
D Guitar 2

00 sized guitar


Occasionally I build guitars in more traditional styles.

This guitar came about through finding a "perfect" top in Engelmann spruce which, due to its size and the positioning of a single knot could be made only into a 00 sized guitar whilst eliminating the knot from the template area.  I mated it with some outstanding Madagascar rosewood and completed the scheme with abalone purfling.  Although it features traditional X-bracing it was "super-charged" with a compensated nut and saddle to yield a powerful guitar in the fine 00 tradition with an extra-sweet and tuneful sound.

00 end on

Occasionally, I build older style instruments, like this 00 sized guitar

12-fret 12 string


I designed and built this guitar for a customer wanting a 12-string guitar with a difference.

Many 12-string players de-tune and use a capo on fret 2 to get back to standard tuning whilst dropping the string tension.  This effectively turns the guitar into a 12th fret neck joint instrument.  So why not use a shorter than normal scale length with a twelfth fret neck joint and put the bridge in a better place to drive the top?  So that's what happened, along with light weight lattice bracing and nut and saddle compensation for all 12 strings.

The result is a very powerful instrument which plays in tune thanks to the special compensation and stays in tune thanks to its 12 Gotoh tuners.

Whilst this is hardly in my "steel string concert classical" category it is a killer instrument for anyone wanting a really user-friendly 12 string with a truly enormous sound.

I fitted this one with a B-Band pick-up system for hassle-free stage use.

12 string shoulder
12 string head
12 string Bridge

Stage guitar with 14th fret neck joint


This guitar was custom built for a gigging musician wanting a responsive guitar with a dynamic stage presence.  Percussive strumming figures significantly in Ed’s style.  Sparse lattice bracing was best suited for this type of guitar, teamed with a resilient Sitka spruce top.  The back and sides were made from select figured blackwood to ensure a cool Australian vibe.  Ed’s playing utilises plenty of frets, so rather than my more usual 12th fret neck joint, this guitar has a 14th fret joint.  The sound reinforcement was provided by four acoustic transducers in the guitar with the signal brought out as a stereo pair, which can be blended down to a single channel. Here’s what Ed had to say about his new guitar:


"This guitar sings - so rich, so much depth and body to the tone, so alive under my hands. I am only able to harness the smallest tip of the iceberg so far, every time I pick her up, something new arises. I am continually surprised and overjoyed at the beauty of this guitar - in every way. Trevor's mastery of craftsmanship and innovation is world class, and it was a pleasure to work with him during the process of shaping the concept, choosing the materials, and then watching the build unfold in packets of eagerly awaited photos in my inbox. This guitar has, is, and will continue to enrich my life as a singer songwriter. Trevor makes some of the best acoustic guitars there are, and the value for money is amazing. I'm over the moon!"


 Hence “The Shed” guitar, with a radiata pine five piece top made from some old bunk beds, four piece meranti back and sides made from shelves from a kitchen cupboard, Oregon pine bracing from the old dunny door and a meranti neck from another kitchen shelf.  The trim, such as it is, is very simple: the rosette was split from a piece of firewood that had some figure in it, with black cardboard forming the dark lines; the bindings and back stripe are some figured jarrah from an old fence paling and the headstock facing is Huon pine from the ends of a broken spice rack.  The fretboard is brush box from the bottom plate of a stud wall that I removed.  The fretboard edge markers are from a pair of 3mm aluminium knitting needles found in the bottom of a wardrobe, which then lived in the cutlery drawer for 12 years. The bridge is more of the meranti. The sound board is finished with high gloss French polish and the back and sides are finished with nitrocellulose lacquer.  I used my usual falcate bracing pattern.

I’ve had a number of orders for steel string guitars, but with a classical guitar body shape and classical fretboard size.  I really enjoyed playing these guitars prior to delivery, so with the radiata pine being better suited to a smaller guitar (less top mass), I opted for this style of guitar. 

So, how does it sound? Well, I'm not going to tell you that it sounds just as good as my usual guitars. These pieces of radiata pine had a density 30% greater than Engelmann spruce (for example) and it's only ~65% as stiff, so that straight away limits the monopole mobility. Having said that, it will still blow most things you can buy in a shop off the shelves. So it definitely has the Gore family sound, but just not quite as much of it.  Here’s 19 year old Tom Langford, who was kind enough to record a couple of demos for me, playing “The Shed” guitar, so you can judge for yourself.  As usual, no effects or EQ were applied. 

Tom: Day Tripper (1.4Mb of mp3)

Tom: Never Going Back (1.7Mb of mp3)


© 2019 Trevor Gore Guitars

Website by Magicdust

To satisfy that requirement, I used four acoustic transducers in the guitar and brought the signal out as a stereo pair, which can be blended down to a single channel using a special stereo pre-amp.  This mix of sources gives greater complexity to the signal, producing a full three dimensional effect to the amplified sound. So what you hear is much more like a guitar mic’d in the studio than the one dimensional sound you get out of most acoustic guitars with one, or even two, pick-ups.

The good news is that it all worked fine!  I don’t know anyone else who has picked up a guitar in the afternoon and felt so comfortable with it that he gigged it the same evening!  

Nice one, Danny!

The guitar has a special grade Engelmann spruce top, ultra-low mass bridge, premium East Indian rosewood back and sides, Macassar ebony fretboard, with a Queensland maple neck. The bright red binding is bloodwood.  The top is French polished and the back and sides have a nitrocellulose finish.


00 top

The Shed Guitar


Numerous high profile builders have made guitars out of “strange” materials, starting with the legendary Antonio de Torres who used cardboard for one of his instrument’s back and sides, back in 1862.  Others have variously used timber salvaged from wooden pallets, distillery washback vessels, whiskey casks and construction grade pine.  So when I renovated my old cottage about 12 years ago, I set myself the challenge of one day making a guitar using only timber salvaged from the renovations.  Being able to get the most out of non-traditional timbers has been elevated in importance as both the sourcing of traditional timbers and the difficulty in ascertaining their provenance is becoming more complex daily.



A matched pair


It’s always a pleasure when a customer comes back for a second guitar, so I was delighted when Bob asked me to build him a classical guitar to match his steel string cedar/rosewood with blackwood trim.  To keep the familial shape, Bob chose a neo-classical cutaway design, of course with the same cedar/rosewood/blackwood looks.  It has a very classical sound, even though it is dressed quite differently from its more traditional counterparts.  A very imposing brace of guitars, I thought!