I had a dream of building my own Spanish guitar when the first time I learnt how to play it, back in 1999. After many years of playing and collecting fine instruments, in 2015 I built my first guitar in La Herradura Granada, under the instructions of Stephen Hill and Pablo Requena. Since then, my life have changed completely. Now as a guitar maker, I build about 12 guitars a year, primarily in the style of Santos Hernandez.
I've been following Richard Brune's method of guitar making since my second guitar, such as using hide glue to naturally form a top dome; mold-free assembly, etc., though Richard always humbly refers it as traditional method used by those early 20th century great masters rather than his own method. For me, this method captures the essence of the art of guitar making, and it is Richard from whom I've learnt. So I personally call it "Richard Brune's method", and with Richard's permission, I print it on my label.
I own a small collection of fine instruments, including guitars built by Vicente Arias, Santos Hernandez, Enrique Garcia, Daniel Friederich, Hermmann Hauser I, Jose Ramirez I and a few others. I use this collection as my reference and as benchmark as well. For me, it is crucial to get close with great instruments. When you lay your fingers on them, you will know much more than just from blueprints.
At the moment, a Santos Hernandez guitar built in 1936 is the prototype for most of my works. I also built guitars based on 2000 Arcangel Fernandez, 1911 Vicente Arias or 1917 Enrique Garcia.
The guitars I built are not exact copy of the original instruments. One of the reason is that guitars actually have its era limits!! Take the saddle height for example, for an authentic Antonio de Torres, it is normal is have a really low saddle and really low action. Players didn't play as strong as we do today, they don't push the guitar as hard as we do(it would break the gut strings), and they don't even have long fingernails as we do today(again, it would break the gut string).
The techniques of guitar playing are continuously evolving. The instrument must fit the need of today's player. My goal is to build the guitar with the sound of the great masters, and fitting modern playing style.
I also made more contemporary style instruments, e.g. guitars based on Jeffery Elliott or Daniel Friederich. But I will always stick to the traditional way of construction. No lattice or composite tops.
Here are few noticeable players of my guitars:
- Prof. Bao Xu of Sichuan Conservatory
- Prof. Jiajiong Li of China Center Conservatory
- Prof. Zhengxian Qian of Wuhan Conservatory
- Prof. Yuanli Gao of Xinghai Conservatory
- Hua Wu of China Center Conservatory
- Huizhe Li of Beijing Philharmonic Guitar Quartet
- Benchu Ni of Shanghai OOSG Guitar Quartet
- Ge Wang of Shanghai OOSG Guitar Quartet
- Cang Guan of Suzhou Guitar Duo
- Zixiao Wei of Suzhou Guitar Duo
- Zezhao Chen, composer and guitarist.
- Weijie Xu, guitarist
- Rui Gao, guitarist
- Aihua Hu, guitarist
and many others. 3 CDs has been recorded with my guitars.