Kees van der Spek. Canberra - Australia. Contreras C4 Spruce.

Dear Adrian, Selina and Sandra, Thank you all at Stafford Classical Guitar Centre for the care and concern shown in sending me my Contreras C4 Spruce, which I received last week. She was incredibly well packed in a sturdy box entirely suited for such a long and arduous journey. (Admittedly, I had envisaged a guitar-case-shape in half-torn brown wrapping paper! My apologies for underestimating your professionalism...). The tracking service on the UPS website worked perfectly - instilling a true sense of anticipation as she came ever closer - and their handling of the package, including customs' clearance, advance payment of import and GST duties, and notifying me by phone of impending arrival were all very professional. In the end, I selected to pick up the parcel from their local appointed agent as nobody would be home on the day to sign for receipt. So I had a lovely large parcel not quite underneath the Christmas tree, but close enough to it for me to feel very special this Christmas. In fact, opening the parcel on the 23rd was more than a Christmas present (which it actually was not), but somewhat akin to the arrival of a new family member, with something of that same sense of expectation (having five children, I did recognise something of that feeling, now years back!). She was named 'Emma', which I feel sounds pleasing to the ear and is also in some small way indicative of her pedigree (Manuel > Emanuela > Emma).

Needless to say, the 'Hiscox' kept her snug and beautifully protected, and she came out as she was placed there by you, smelling fresh and new and all shine. Upon close visual inspection during the past few days, I can say that she is almost perfect (happy to provide separate feedback if Manuel would find such useful) and a joy to behold, a beautiful 'girl' indeed. Having played her during the past few days, the E, A and D strings are already beautifully resonant in a deep but not overtly booming or overpowering kind of way. The G, B and E strings are still a little subdued but will surely find their voice as she settles down and continues to develop. I am sure that as a study guitar she will be magnificent, and rewarding to (learn to) play, even if it will be a while before my ability will match her potential.

Thank you for all your advice, Adrian, in helping me make this choice and leading up to my decision to purchase. It has been great doing business with you, and I shall be happy to renew our acquaintance when the time comes when Emma needs a younger sibling.

Warm regards and with my very best wishes for a Healthy and Prosperous New Year to each and everyone of you,

Kees van der Spek.