This weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with the great guitar maker Simon Ambridge. Simon has been making guitars for over 20 years, and is based in a small workshop in Devon. He generously offered the opportunity for me to play one of his recently completed guitars.
Playing a newly completed guitar is always an interesting experience. The guitar I played was had only been strung the previous day, but the sound was already well balanced with an great sense of separation (i.e. different tones in a multi voice passages kept their ‘separate’ feel). Like a fine wine, guitars mature before they develop their full tone, but there was no doubt that this guitar was of the highest class.
Simon’s guitars are made in the in the Hauser / Torres style and use a traditional fan-strutting system. Many guitar makers are experimenting with a variety of different constructions (e.g. the ‘taut’ strutting system developed by Paul Fischer or the lattice bracing of Greg Smallman), however, the character and depth of tone achieved by the more traditional constructions are, for me, unbeatable.
While writing this post, I was trying to think of way to describe the sound of Simon’s guitar in words, but gave up. However, I did find this video of Simon’s guitar making process with music by Stephen Keyon. I hope you enjoy it.