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The Workshop

During these years of training and work at my string instrument workshop, the recovery of both the Spanish building tradition with emphasis on its aesthetic and acoustic contributions to music has been my main purpose. Both in ‘vihuelas’ and Renaissance or Baroque guitars, the few preserved instruments show a repetitive and enduring organology within the context of Spanish construction method. Some of these characteristics are:

The neck and the head are spliced with an inverted V over the joint. It consists of two harmonic bars which rest on glue-blocks around the rose on the soundboard, thick bottom, an open bridge thick top and square or triangular windows.

Punta de flecha falsa
Neck and head spliced with an inverted V

Fot-shaped slits

The so-called ‘Zoque español’. This term refers to the shape of the part of the neck which links it to the body of the instrument. In the Spanish tradition it has foot-shaped slits on the sides to hold the sides.

zoque

Zoque español

The soundboard is reinforced near the rossetta by means of two transverse pine bars outlined in scalloped which lay on pine glue-blocks which, in turn, reinforce the sides. The soundboards of my instruments have a thicker caliber than usual following the old tradition.

barras armónicas
Harmonic bars.
peones
Pine glue-blockst.
calibre
Caliber of the central soundboard.
calibre
Calibre cap on one end
puente lateral
Bridge open side.
puente base
Bridge open base.

The bridges keep the characteristics of the traditional way of building.

I don’t use glued bars for the bottom decks and those are thicker than the soundboards. The wood joints are reinforced by parchment paper.

encolar
Case ready to glue the soundboard.
vihuela cerrada
Vihuela closed.

In the second part of the XVIII century, some reknown builders like Francisco Sanguino add primitive fan-strut-like systems to the harmonic soundboards in an attempt to look for new tones in the instruments. This would be the beginning of a new era of deep changes in the instruments which, within the course of the century would lead to the modern Spanish guitar.

As long as the construction of other instruments such as luthes, Renaissance or Baroque luthes and tiorbas is concerned, I use the same historical criteria: the way I build the instruments comes straight from the analysis of the well-preserved instruments that we are able to study nowadays.

Due to the lack of well-preserved instruments from that time, the construction of instruments from the medievo is more difficult to undertake. Very little information is provided by the existent pictoric and sculptural iconography.

I share the methodology to build medieval instruments with the one I use to build vihuelas and baroque guitars on the assumption that the former instruments inheritated the organologic tradition of the latter. The body, the neck and the pegheads of the instruments are built from an only one piece of wood by carving into it.

In all my instruments, the vibrant lengths, the distance between strings, the string materials and some of the aesthetic aspects are treated in a particular way in order to fulfill the needs of every musician, within the limits of the constructive patters mentioned above.

The low-end instruments are meant to study or to be a first instrument so both the materials and the finishes are as austere as possible.

gama básica
Basic range

In the mid-range instruments it is possible to choose between several high quality woods for the body of the instrument, the soundboard are of highest quality and the rossettas are more elaborated with one or two layers.

gama media
Mid-range
gama media
Mid-range

The high-end instruments are built with very special and selected woods. I use, both for the soundboards and the body of the instruments, combinations of fine woods, different adornments in the soundboards, and I offer the possibility of choosing between several models of rossettas from Elena dal Cortivo for guitars and vihuelas.

guitarra barroca
Baroque guitar
guitarra barroca
Baroque guitar
vihuela
Vihuela
vihuela
Vihuela

Carlos Ardura © 2011 - Tlf.: (+34) 657 296 668 - info@carlosardura.com