Daniel Lesueur taught me about the love of labor in search of perfection. Having been himself apprenticed by Daniel Friedrich, he shared with me his secrets and those he had learned from his « master ». To dive into the imagining and manufacture of a classical guitar seems something of a mystical initiation. The utmost in concentration is required to follow along the long path arriving at, perhaps, a « great » instrument. My idea of a great instrument, first of all, is one that is true to my tastes, more so than passing fashions. Throughout my research I’ve tried to find the answers to problems that could not be explained by my mentors. As in all artistic œuvres the questions are without end and in that is the joy of the travail – everyday brings a fresh discovery. Humility before the breathing material and the absolutes of acoustics linked to these variegated woods is the core of the luthier trade. I feel somewhat like a sculptor in sound.

Scale length : 650 mm
Bodu length: 487 mm
Shoulders : 290 mm
Waist : 245 mm
Hips : 370 mm
Weight : 1850 to 1950 grs (depending of wood used)

Materials Used :
Head veneer :
pear tree, yellow peroba, dos Santos rosewood
Nut : bone
Neck : cedro
Heel : Honduran mohagany
Neck rods : Carbon fiber or ebony

Sound board : alpine spruce or western red cedar
Rosette : padauk, péroba jaune, maple, ebony, bubinga
Bridge : cocobolo rosewood (Dalbergia rétusa) or Indian rosewood or                     Brazilian rosewood
Back & sides :
cocobolo rosewood (Dalbergia rétusa) or Indian rosewood or                             Brazilian rosewood
Binding : vouacapoua americana, yellow peroba wavy, pear tree.
Finish :
Inside (back & sides) : benzoin /shellac
               Exterior : French polishing or
nitrocellulose lacquer

When worked with the same widths, the extreme density of Dalbergia retusa (1.35 g/cm3), also known as Cocobolo, makes for a heftier instrument than those made of Indian rosewood. It is in my opinion the most similar, acoustically speaking, to the legendary Dalbergia negra, prohibited from use by the CITES protected plants convention.

The Headpiece, The luthier’s signature,  is a quest involving knowledge of the tradition with the aim of finding a personal design which agrees with the overall aesthetic of the guitar. I chose to reuse the placages found in the placages de bord plus a placage of  zebra-striped Dos Santos rosewood to animate the surface, resulting in a mirrored chevron effect. As always, I’ve emphasized the curves. The chanfreins are there to spice the form.

The Neck, constructed in cedar, is reinforced with a graphite rods to avoid any deformation. The precision of its trueness is elementary to tuning and ease of play. Due to these concerns I have employed a helical fret board. This allows for an extra one millimeter of height at the twelfth-fret bass notes, all the while  preserving perfect level uniformity across the strings and the utmost in playing comfort. Contrarily, the choice of a bridge saddle greater in height at the bass notes accounts for places where the touch becomes less agreeable. I chose to hide the sides of the frets for aesthetical reasons. The neck is mounted in the French fashion

The Body
I spent a lot of time designing the contours resulting is a shape made uniquely of curves without any right angles. After a number of attempts I found an ideal balance amongst the shoulder, length and haunch.
I chose Dalbergia retusa, also known as Cocobolo, not only for its beauty but more importantly for its acoustic quality comparable to that of  Rio rosewood. I like guitars that are a bit heavier; the weight of the wood furnishes a richer sound and draws out its resonance. I put a layer benzoin/shellac inside the guitar. This allows the wood to breathe while enervating the infusion of humidity and permits a tuning consistency even in the variable conditions of a concert hall.


The soundboard and its brace, in alpine spruce is my most passionate area of study. It is that which provides for all of the instrument’s qualities of timbre, power and personality. But the brace, aside from its mechanical function, is what makes a guitar easy and fun to play. After much research, I devised a brace that has a very pleasant finger touch and broad dynamics, while diminishing the tendency of sonic over saturation, resulting in a powerful guitar which retains all of its expressive qualities. From varying sources I learned that moderated longitudinal constraints allow for a better acoustical response. Therefore the soundboard is rather forward-leaning.
I wanted a similar but different rosette for each of my guitars. Therefore I improvised a mosaic  of precious woods set in lattices, that uniquely personalizes each instrument.

The binding are composed of nine veneers. Interspersed between binding of black and white, wavy yellow peroba gives a gilded impression, changing appearance according to the orientation of light.

The bridge, master piece of sound emanation, must have an irreprochable regularity all along its length. Therefore, the pressure exerted during its attachment is very important. For this, I devised a thermoformed bracket that marries perfectly the galbe and the brace during gluing. The double fixing hole, permits shaving an angle of constraint of compression of the saddle by the strings precisely calculated and perfectly mastered, that also avoids wear that damages the soundboard in case a string slips off the bridge. The bone nut is compensated, each pressure point of the string is calculated for optimal accuracy.

• Top
• Top