Graham Wylie. Scotland. Michael Gee Spruce/Brazilian.

Adrian,

I have now been playing my Michael Gee guitar for ten days and have found as follows: Visually the instrument is striking, a vivid contrast of light spruce and dark rosewood set off by bands of red and white striped purfling delineating the form. In its use of pattern and strong contrasts the guitar seems to refer more to the tradition of northern european luthiers than to the mediterranean tradition. The oiled finish is reminiscent of the white of egg with which the tables of lutes were once finished. It produces a dull lustre which is restrained and uncontrived. All the beauties of the grain and colours of the woods are there to be appreciated unadorned.

The guitar is of medium weight; heavier than the instruments of the pre Smallman era but not as heavy as current rigid bodied Australian guitars. The body moves more than its weight would suggest and the bass gives plenty of feedback into the pit of your stomach. The instrument is beautifully made and has a reassuringly stable feel as you hold it. The neck has a comfortable round section and a precise and fast action for most hands.

The tone of the instrument is remarkable and unlike anything else I have heard. It is deceptively powerful without losing anything of its balance. It is rich, complex and beautifully rounded. Generally I find it slightly dark and secretive. It hints at its qualities and asks you to bring them out but it does not advertise itself. This is an guitar which needs to be negotiated with; trying to force it isn't going to work. The quality of the tone is evenly distributed across the whole range. The middle register, which I have found can often sound dead, really sings on this guitar. The bass has tremendous sonority and sustain. The treble maintains the roundness and complexity of the tone and will no doubt widen out over time. The instrument is very sensitive to changes in dynamics; small movements of the right hand relative to the sound hole produce quite startling differences.

Overall therefore, this is an instrument which offers the player the possibility of a long, rewarding and intriguing relationship. I will be discovering new things for a long time to come. Please pass on my appreciation to Michael Gee for his remarkable work.

Best Wishes,

Graham Wylie.