Classical Guitars

Handmade by Dan Kellaway


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From around 1988 I began building renaissance lutes, which is the ideal to begin playing lute seriously. They were 'G' lutes having a 58mm scale length and the high string tuned to 'G'. The original instruments came in a great variety of pitches and string lengths. Mostly it was due to their geographical location where the local church bell or organ would be the standard so local ensembles could work together. Thus by the time standard A 440 was introduced there existed instruments pitched anywhere from A 415 to A 466 which is more than a whole tone of variation. The way they worked out the pitch of an instrument was to tune up the top string till it broke. The pitch arrived at just prior to that was the ideal. They were of course using gut strings. Anyway there is over 500 years worth of music written for lute and a lot is written for renaissance tuning most commonly using 8 courses. Below is a series taken of one lute that became my standard for 6 years. Back is Cocabola filleted with maple Soundboard European Spruce braced traditionally Pegs, Bridge and Fingerboard Ebony Neck Spruce veneered with French Walnut Pegbox Maple veneered with French Walnut


Round 93 I got one of the most amazing guitars of my life. A Martin made in 1834, second year of production, number 250 I seem to recall, with the original buyer's name engraved on a little gilt edged ivory fleur de lis fitted just below the bridge. This guitar had seen better days, the once ornate 'Stauffer' style headstock, the one emulated by modern Fender, had been cut off and a crude modern Martin straight across style fitted. The once adjustable neck, pivoted with a clock key arrangement through the heel for neck angle adjustment had been glued solid. Luckily the sumptuous inlay work was intact but some cracks had to be dealt with in places. I freed the neck and re-installed the mechanism. I made a replica headstock of Cuban Cedar veneered in jet black ebony and bound in ivory. A replica set of enclosed machine heads with engraved backing plate was made in UK by David Rodgers at great cost and this was carefully fitted to the new head. Some of the best Brazilian rosewood ever used was in that guitar. Despite the age and size it was very sweet to play when completed, though destined for a glass case.