So the last day, I took some time to play and compare the Three leonardo guitars that where made in Lorenzo’s shop. They all have a nice sound, however they are all three completely different. The sound, in a way, corresponds with the personality of the makers.
Thanks to everyone at the CMB who made this possible for me to go to Italy.
And a very big thanks to Lorenzo. It was very inspiring to learn some new methodes. He made me thing of the guitar in another way then I did before. Every time he asked me witch method I prefer, he made me do the opposite. Your hands can do much more then you think, it is only the mind that needs to be convinced!
As I wrote before, Lorenzo’s attitude to dye wood, is that it is better to not apply color, but to treat the wood that you get the effect of color. In this method you don’t cover the ‘mirrors’ in the wood but you support them so it becomes even more ‘shiny’.
We reduce the thickness of the neck while we form it. No templates or facets were used, only a rasp. A big rasp! The difficult part was that with this claiming technique you don’t see the compleet result and it is impossible to work on the whole thing.
Lorenzo finished a new guitar which sounded very nice. He also told me that guitars intend to sound better if you tune them to 432hz in stead of 440hz. We tried it and it is true. So lets tune down all the guitars to 432z!
Assembly goes very fast. You glue the neck to the top. Then you instal the sides which are glued with two wedges. Then you glue the endblock.
I also still have to mention that humidity never is controlled during the making of this guitar so far. The relative humidity is around 65%. Lorenzo doesn’t see a big problem in this fact.
One of the nice things in the workshop of Lorenzo is that he has a very interesting collection of guitars. Some are old, others new and some still need to be restored. Among others, I had the opportunity to play on next guitars: Daniel Friedrich (Paris 1964), Ignacio Fleta (Barcelona, 2008), Manuel Ramirez (Madrid, 1932), Julian Gomez Ramirez (Paris, 1932), Domingo Ernesto (Madrid, 1932) and a very rare G.B. Fabricatore lyra guitar (museum modena, 1797). Guitars that I could see, that still need to be restored: Lacote, Panormo, Fabricatore, Marconcini, Guadagnini …
Today we will glue the fan strut. We will base our braces on the Manuel Ramirez system. We want to create a little arch in the top, but we are not going to use a Spanish solera. Lorenzo has a piece of hardboard with a natural deformation that we will use to create the arch.
As clampsystem we will use a regular go-bar deck however Lorenzo made the go-bars from drape supports. No Stewmac, works very well!
Saturday evening Lorenzo organized a guitar concert in Modena. First the Harumaki trio played. Three young and talented guitar players. Two of them played on Lorenzo’s guitars. Sounded very nice! Then Duo Internationale played. The duo consist of Enea Leone and Christian El Khouri.
In the evening Lorenzo invited me to a classical guitar concert in Reggio Emilia in the Galleria Parmegiano. The player of that evening was Lorenzo Micheli. A very talented Italian player. I have to admit that I did’ knew him, but it is worth checking him out! http://www.lorenzomicheli.com
For the restoration of the mandoline I have to remove the frets. Therefore I have also to remove the mother of pearl. There are a few (3) ribs cracked, so they need to be glued again.
After the frets where removed, I cleaned the fretboard with wallpaper glue. Yes indeed wallpaper glue. Lorenzo taught me that wallpaper glue dissolves lots of other glue. Funny but true!
the fretslots where almost 1mm wide. It would be impossible to put frets in it, so we decided to glue a piece of wood in the old slots so we could start over. Here you see some pictures of the Lorenzo’s home-brewed scraper. It works very nice! `
“closing” the fret slots
Then we put the pearl back. We used titebond. Made a very strong connection!
The first day in the shop, I first got the opportunity te see and play the guitars that my predecessors Lorenzo Frignani, Toon Dockx and Hans Van Velzen made. Nice work!
The First guitar, made by Toon and Lorenzo (cherry side and back, pine neck) is very licht and responsive. Is has a unique sound that you wouldn’t expect from a classical guitar. The second guitar, made by Toon, Hans and Lorenzo (walnut back an sides, maple neck) has a nice, more typical classical guitar sound. Both guitars where in the case for three months and they where perfectly in tune. The necks are perfectly stable. (will add some pics later)
Then we spend some time on playing at some historical instrument of important makers. Lorenzo has a very nice collection of old guitars (and violins and bows). Among them: Hauser, Lacote (in the original case, with original strings), Fleta, Garcia and last but not least a nice Lorenzo Frignani guitar. (will add some pics later
Then we will start the real work. We will be making a non tropical guitar and do
some restorations. First we choose the wood for the non-trop guitar. We will use paer for the back and sides, pear for the neck, pear for the fretboard and pear for the bridge. A lot of pear. And some nice Italian spruce for the top.
To prevent that it will be to boring, we will ‘dye’ the wood. Lorenzo is very skilled at that. He explains that the main problem with coloring the wood is, that you try to color the wood. In these way you ‘ll never have a good result. You need to treat the wood that in that way that you get the effect of color without applying color. more on these subject later.
The top was already jointed the rosas was glued in, and the thickness was 2mm. The sides were already 1,8mm and the back was also jointed and brought to the thickness of 2mm. A good starting point
During the month November I ‘ll be working in the workshop of Lorenzo Frignani. I arrived in the evening and Lorenzo picked me up at the airport of Bologna. In the car he explained me that they have have two kind of pizza’s: sicilian pizza with a thick crust and a Neapolitan pizza with a thin crust. We also talked about guitar making and the Italian lifestyle.
In Modena we went for a Pizza and after diner I took a little time to explore the city a bit. Modena is a lively, plezant province town. The atmosphere is tranquillo, the people are nice, the wether is good and the food excellent!
As we all know, the region has a lot nice things to offer: Prosciutto di parma, parmigiano, Ragu alla bolognese, Romeo and Julia, Lambrusco, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bulgati, Pavarotti and many more things. To much to explore in one month.
The may goal of my stay in la dolce Italia is of course to work in the workshop of mr Lorenzo Frignani. I will be making a guitar in non tropical woods, do some restorations, and have the opportunity to inspect some (old) guitars of great importance.