Classical Guitar Maker Christopher Dean

Christopher Dean
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, Fiona Harrison, Forbes Henderson, Tilman Hoppstock, Eleftheria Kotzia, Leon de Kroes, Jake Lenson & Mark Morris (Morris-Lenson Guitar Duo), Nocturne Guitar Quartet, Helen Sanderson.

Born in Lincoln, England in 1958, Christopher Dean, also a fine artist and guitar player, was captivated by the guitar at an early age. Growing up in a family with a long tradition of skilled craftsmen and engineers, he combined his love of music, particularly the music of Bach and Villa Lobos, with an instinctive interest in the guitar's form and construction. By the age of 17 he had produced his first instrument. A graduate in musical instrument technology from the London College of Furniture, he subsequently worked alongside Paul Fischer, another of Britain's leading makers. This relationship lead to establishing Christopher Dean within the mainstream of European lutherie.

In 1985 Christopher Dean set up his own workshop in the heart of the Cotswolds. He has since sold concert guitars to an admiring and steadily growing customer base worldwide. His instruments are esteemed both for their visual appeal and a refined musical sound which combines balance, sustain and luminosity of tone in a way which is both beautiful and unmistakably his own.

Concert model
Christopher Dean writes: "I'm passionate about making guitars. The transformation, as if by some form of alchemy, of beautiful but inert wood into a vibrant instrument with its own individual characteristics and personality, fascinates and delights me. The result that I seek to achieve in my instruments is a concert guitar that looks and sounds intuitively right in all its proportions and aspects, as well as exceeds its new owner's expectations in every way.... Many players are looking to expand the guitar's repertoire and play louder instruments to reach larger audiences. I strive to create a full sounding concert guitar but refuse to lose sight of what first seduced me, namely that sweet, rich, lovely guitariness...."

"I handcraft a concert guitar with a traditional classical sound and elegant character which embodies a broad dynamic range, good balance and separation, and is powerful enough to fill a modern concert hall. The majority of my guitars employ a spruce soundboard, although cedar is a successful option as well. The back and ribs are usually of Indian, the neck of South American cedar and the fingerboard of ebony. I fit Rodgers tuning machine heads and usually finish my instruments with French polish of shellac and finishing oil. The standard scale length of my guitars is 650mm, but this can be changed to 640 to 660mm to suit a particular customer's needs." (Learn more).

See and hear Mark Ashford perform on his Christopher Dean guitar: (sample video 1, sample video 2).


"The first time I played a Christopher Dean guitar I was so impressed I decided to use that instrument for all of my recordings. I love the timbre and the trebles, the sound is just perfect to express my musical ideas. I am always delighted with the results and hope to play that instrument for a long time." - Tilman Hoppstock

"Chris's guitars have clarity, warmth, projection and a myriad of possible sounds. When you play in a guitar duo, it is even more difficult to find two instruments which respond together... but he's done it! Chris is a true craftsman - one of the best guitar builders in the world!" - Eden-Stell Guitar Duo

"I own two Christopher Dean guitars; they are superb instruments, and I simply love playing and performing on both of them. Each has its own unique and distinct character and on a daily basis its hard to choose which one to use..." - Eleftheria Kotzia