GUITARS INTERNATIONAL
Dealers in Fine New Handmade Classical Guitars from Around the World
classicalguitars@guitarsint.com Cleveland, Ohio U.S.A. 216.752.7502

Classical Guitar Makers

We represent a select group of the world's finest traditional classical guitar makers. Their individually handmade classical guitars employ standard and modified fan bracing as pioneered by Antonio de Torres, Domingo Esteso, Santos Hernandez, Hermann Hauser I, and Robert Bouchet. We also represent a preeminent group of master luthiers whose musically refined modern concert guitars utilize double top, sandwich top, composite top, and all wood ("sans" carbon fiber) lattice bracing designs.
Simon Ambridge Concert Classical Guitar
I was born in London, England on 28th of August 1951. I left school at 18 and studied graphic design and printmaking at Bath Academy of Art and the Royal College of Art. My interest in guitar began in the early 60's with the explosion of the pop music industry. My first guitar, a cheap, burgundy colored, acoustic f hole cutaway soon had a pickup fitted, got played endlessly and became what I recognize now as the seed of a passion which has endured to this day.In 1978 while running a furniture-making workshop I made my first acoustic guitar based on a Martin...
Simon Aram - Luthier - Handmade Classical Guitars
In the past twenty five years I have made over 300 classic guitars, most of these being smaller bodied Spruce top instruments. Each guitar is individually hand made and uniquely named. I make every part myself with the exception of the Strings, the Machine Heads and the Fretwire. For the first ten or so years of being in business, I combined making with restoring and repairing which gave me the opportunity to examine some of the finest instruments in the world.These included guitars by Vicente Arias, Paulino Bernabe, Domingo Esteso, Arcangel Fernandez...
Geza Burkhardt Classical Guitar Master Luthier
I was fourteen years old when I became an apprentice in a special woodworking school in Hungary for three years to become a pattern maker. This is an extremely complicated job requiring great precision. We were taught to do everything by hand. We were not allowed to use any power machines, not even a grinder to grind the chisels. After you were done with a job it was sent to a special room for checking.There was no tolerance. Nothing; I mean not even a tenth of a millimeter. They'd send it back and you'd have to fix it and your salary went down...
Cyndi Burton master classical guitar luthier.
In the late '70s while visiting the guitar shop where she had bought her first guitar for $60, Cyndy Burton learned that the best guitars are made by hand. "Why not these hands?" she remarked, and the store owner told her about a class being taught by William Cumpiano in N. Adams, Massachusetts that summer. Excited at the opportunity, she arranged her vacation time to coincide with the class. The building experience was so intriguing, satisfying, and just plain fun that she quit her editing job the following year, and began making guitars in earnest...
Gregory Byers - Luthier. Classical Guitar Builder
Like many members of the post-war baby boom, I grew up believing there were no limits to the direction my life might take, and no compelling reason to constrain my path early on. I tried different things. I began college at UC Berkeley as an architecture major, quit school, worked in a biochemistry lab, returned my draft card and joined the Vietnam war resistance movement (narrowly avoiding prison on a technicality after refusing induction into the army), hitch-hiked through Europe (never got to Spain), went to pottery school and spent several years as a...
Daniele Chiesa - Fine Classical Guitar Builder
Daniele Chiesa was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1973; he has studied classical and jazz guitar since the age of 12. In 1994 he enrolled in the International Violin-making school of Cremona, learning traditional violin-making and repairing and building guitars in his own shop; he graduated in 1998. One year after, he moved to Santa Cruz, California, working for guitar maker Kenny Hill, where he was first exposed to traditional Spanish guitar construction. After almost a year, he went back to his hometown in Italy, where he worked with classical guitarist and guitar maker...
Jeremy Clark - Master Classical Guitar Luthier
I craft each instrument with meticulous attention to detail, delicately balancing tone and structural integrity. Using only the highest quality materials available, traditional methods, and hand tools, every instrument I build is unique and individual. I spent a number of years under apprenticeship to internationally renowned guitar maker Sergei de Jonge and can consequentially trace my pedagogical roots back to such historical figures as Marcello Barbero and Jose Ramirez. Each instrument I build involves thoughtful design and an infinite capacity for taking artistic...

Olivier Fanton d'Andon was born in Cannes, France (famous for its film festival) on June 12, 1953. He comes from a family of musicians (his father, a pianist and organist, was for a long time the titular organist of Grasse Cathedral in France and an Algiers Cathedral). Olivier Fanton d'Andon learned the flute at an early age and later the classical guitar. He pursued medical studies at Nice University, but at the end of his third year, he decided to stop studying medicine in order to make musical instruments. His artistic and exacting temperament enabled him...

The smell of rosewood dust is familiar and comforting, it smells like home. I never gave it a second thought growing up that my father made guitars as it was just what he did. As a child I loved being in his workshop either just sitting watching him work or playing by myself on a corner of his bench. Soon I was busying myself with various projects like boxes, yoyos, and piggy banks. I was thirteen in 1992 when I made my first classical guitar. My younger brother Sagen was going to build a guitar and I wanted to as well...
Christopher Dean is one of the world's leading contemporary makers of fine individually handcrafted classical guitars. His instruments are distinguished by both their understated visual beauty and lovely tonal qualities. Not surprisingly, his instruments have long been sought after both for recital and recording by numerous leading international concert artists. His acclaimed clients include: Mark Ashford, Gilbert Biberian, Raymond Burley, Hugh Burns, Simon Dinnigan, Mark Eden & Christopher Stell (Eden-Stell Guitar Duo), John Feeley, Nicola Hall...
Jeffrey R. Elliott was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He began playing guitar at age sixteen and immediately fell in love with the sound of the classical guitar, which led to his performing folk music professionally while majoring in Fine Arts at Michigan State University. In 1964, a chance visit to Richard Schneider's workshop in Detroit opened the door to the world of lutherie, and two years later he began a six-year apprenticeship with Schneider...
What makes a person aspire to become a maker of musical instruments? Is it a deeply held passion that has to be fulfilled? The answer for one of the world's top guitar makers, Paul Fischer, was much more straight- forward. "I didn't have any idea to make musical instruments - it was the music master in the last term at school who said, 'Is there anyone in the class who would like to make musical instruments?' I just put up my hand and said, 'Yes Sir, please sir, me.' It just sounded so exciting, so fascinating to make an instrument..."
Thomas Fredholm has been crafting fine concert guitars for almost twenty-five years. He writes: "It was the best ever made Martin D 45 that started it all off for me. I heard that instrument and I just had to find out how to do make such a guitar! I was driven, maybe even a little possessed. However, when I began making guitars Sweden could not brag of a guitar making tradition to speak of. So I had to teach my self. The first guitars I made were Western style steel string guitars. These first guitars I put (forced) into the hands of ..."
I was born in Berlin in 1967. Unlike many other makers I dont have a strong musical or woodworking background in my family. I have played classical guitar from the age of 9 and after secondary school I reached a fairly high amateur level. At this point I had to make a decision what to do with the coming period of my life. By some coincidence I came into a traineeship at a violinmakers store. Here I got infected with the instrument-makers virus. From this moment I set my mind on becoming a guitar maker and after...
Thomas Holt is a Danish born guitar maker living and working in Granada, Spain. Before entering the field of guitar making he worked and studied in the fields of architecture, sound engineering, and cabinet making. The skills acquired in these fields have served as a base for his profession as a guitar maker. He builds his guitars in the Spanish tradition, using only carefully selected, old wood. His instruments are entirely handmade and finished using the traditional French polish of shellac method...

Bernhard Kresse
Trained first as an architect, Bernhard Kresse later turned to making and restoring fine classical guitars - soon specializing in period 19th century guitars. In the many years since becoming a luthier, Kresse has acquired an extensive knowledge of 19th century guitar making traditions - both by examining and restoring original instruments in his Cologne workshop which he established in 1985 and by conducting extensive research in museums and private collections throughout Europe. Today an unusually large and impressive group of international artists perform ...
Antonio Marin Montero is a direct disciple of the great Parisian master guitar maker, Robert Bouchet. After visiting the French master in 1977, they became close friends. To this day Marin uses Bouchet's templates and incorporates his mentor's techniques into his own elegant work. Due to Marín's love of perfection, many young, aspiring guitar makers visit his workshop each year to learn from this great master the magic which he instills into his ancient art. Among his many disciples are his nephew, José Marín Plazuelo, and José González López, both of...
Paco Santiago Marín was born in Granada, Spain, in 1946. He comes from a family of guitar-makers. He has loved wood since he was a child. His father, Francisco Santiago Oliva, a cabinet-maker by vocation, instructed him in the woodworking. Paco Marin remained in the carpentry trade until 1963 when he joined the workshop of his uncle, Antonio Marín Montero, to complete his formation as guitar-maker. In 1965 under his uncle's guidance he began making guitars. In 1972 Paco Marin set up his own workshop. For the last twenty years he and his son, Luis Santiago, have worked together making some of the finest classical....
José Marín Plazuelo was born in Granada, Spain on the 13th of June 1960. He is the nephew of the Granada maker, Antonio Marín Montero, one of the most respected guitar makers in the world. Marín Plazuelo joined his uncle's workshop in 1974 when he was 14 years old. Here under his uncle's watchful eye he learned the traditional art of guitar making, developing into a brilliant guitar maker in his own right...
To us, luthiery is an interesting balance of art, craft and science. We don't believe that any one simple, formulaic method is very useful, but we do believe scientific methods are the key to repeatable, successful instruments. Careful observation can lead to the development of a hypothesis. Well-designed experiments can then be used to test an hypothesis. And the results of these experiments can be incorporated into new instruments. In this context we don't look at any one instrument as an end-point but rather a point along a continuous path of learning and refinement...
I was born in South Dakota in 1953 and have spent most of my life working wood. My father was a housebuilder and cabinetmaker who put me to work at a young age. I began building nylon-string guitars in 1992, although I have built and repaired other fretted instruments since the mid-1970s. When my daughter began to study flamenco dance ten years ago, I became fascinated by the flamenco guitar, and still am. My first nylon-string guitars were flamencos. Now that I build mostly classical guitars, my background with flamenco guitars has proven valuable...
Master German guitar maker Kolya Panhuyzen was exposed to the classical guitar at an early age. His father played the instrument, and his uncle, Edgar Mönch, was a highly respected luthier whose guitars were played by Julian Bream, Jorge Morel, and John Williams. It was in the Toronto workshop of Edgar Mönch, in 1967 that Panhuyzen built his first guitar. Eventually Panhuyzen established his own workshop in Toronto in 1974 and later set up a second shop in Germany in 1992. All in all Panhuyzen has made more than 400 guitars which are played by...
German Vazquez Rubio was born in 1952, in the small town of Paracho, Michoacan, Mexico. He began his career in lutherie at the age of eleven. German consciously left school to become apprentice to his uncle Manuel Rubio with the intention of starting a lifelong career and also helping his family financially. At his uncle's shop he would learn to work with many different types of woods and materials. He learned that the most precious woods require the utmost level of care and attention, for there is no room for error in craftsmanship. His uncle Manuel slowly educated him...
In the last couple of days sitting in on the listening sessions for classical and flamenco guitar, I realized that my perspective is so different from when I was younger. I am much more accepting. We are all drawn and pushed toward trying to produce excellence, and we strive to find the best way to get the optimal result. My Zen background tells me that of all of the possibilities, the best way is not a possibility. Because we know - and physics supports this - that everything is unique. It is only when we artificially set up parameters that we can judge...
I have been making classical guitars and other stringed instruments professionally for over twenty years. During this time I have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful musicians; Julian Bream, Pat O'Brien, Leif Christensen and his wife Maria Kammerling, James Kline, Jacob Lindburg, Nigel North, David Starobin, Sting, David Tanenbaum, Scott Tennant and John Williams, to name just a few of my clients of whom you will have heard. Such collaborations produce a fascinating exchange of ideas, which inform all the work I produce...
Alfredo Velazquez was born on October 23, 1970 in Manhattan, New York.Today through his careful selection of materials and meticulous calibration of soundboards, Alfredo Velazquez constructs instruments which many generations of classical guitarists have come to refer to as having the "Velázquez sound." Moreover, by combining his traditional artistic values with certain modern construction approaches, Alfredo Velazquez' guitars embody a unique balance of the refined tonal characteristics of his father's revered guitars with the power...
Sometimes you will be disappointed when you show a guitar to a person and he says it's no good. If you take that critique in the good way and you start to work on that, it will be for your own benefit. This happened to me. A lot of people in New York stood in front of me and said, ``I don't like your guitar.' Many people are just looking for a big sound, but the guitar is not a piano, it's not a harp. It's a personal instrument. It is the sweetest and most sublime instrument, in this world. You can hear the complete symphony orchestra in one guitar...
Walter Verreydt's love for the unique sound of the classical guitar inspired him to take up guitar making. From the the start of his career Walter Verreydt was fortunate to have the opportunity to study the work of such iconic guitar makers as Bouchet, Fleta, Hernandez-Aguado, and others. He also was fortunate to have contact with such eminent contemporary guitar makers as Daniel Friedrich and José Romanillos. In Granada, Spain he became acquainted with the elegant and refined South Spanish guitar making tradition. All these seminal contacts have provided Verreyd with a rich...
Master Guitar Maker Gernot Wagner has received enormous international acclaim over the years for his revolutionary idea to employ Nomex technology in doubletop, sometimes referred to as sandwich top or composite top, guitar construction. His double top classical guitars represent an outstanding contribution both to refined music making in the twenty-first century and the art of lutherie in general. Capable of projecting to the back of the most challenging concert hall as they do, many people believe Gernot Wagner's most recent double top guitars are the most sonically beautiful, most musically flexible, most natural sounding of the latest generation...
I believe that an instrumental performance is a dynamic collaboration between composer, instrument makers, players and audience. In this respect a musical instrument is both an artistic expression of its maker and a conduit by which a performer breathes artistic life into a composer's creation. Given this symbiotic relationship, I believe an instrument maker must among other things study old instruments. This study is important not so much to reproduce instruments that have already been perfectly realized by others...
Woodly White
After building classical guitars in Portland, Oregon, for fifteen years among some of the world's best luthiers, my wife and I decided to move to tropical paradise and construct a home and new workshop. We live at the southernmost tip of the United States, near the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii. My concert guitar is based on the Hauser plan with traditional or open bracing. I'm in love with this sound. I have built a large number of African Blackwood instruments as well as other rosewoods, koa, maple, and mahogany. I try to build light, responsive guitars...
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