Stephen Muires. Denmark. Cashimira 2a.

Dear Adrian:

I had decided to buy a handbuilt classical guitar in September. I live in Denmark, which is apparently far away from any shops that stock top models. It seemed a very great risk to buy a guitar over the Internet without even having seen it. To play safe I first decided to go for the JK90, the top model in the Admira line, since I already was playing one of their student models and knew and liked its playability. Adrian's site seemed a very good place to start inquiries, not too far from Denmark, a very clear and professional site.

The JK90 was not in stock. I didn't want to wait months so I asked Adrian for advice. I thought that I could probably get a good idea of the reliability and quality (or not) of this shop from a few email responses. There certainly were other sites I contacted and some of therse have to this day not replied. How they expect to sell expensive items I don't know. But Adrian's answers were prompt and well formulated and no obvious sales pitch.

He advised me to consider the Cashimira or Contreras lines in the price class that I was interested in (£1000-1500). These guitars were in stock and I was able to ask questions about their characteristics, and got reasonable answers given the fact of how difficult it is to size up a guitar against personal preferences. So I took the step and ordered the 3a model from Cashimira. The transfer by ParcelForce took 2 days and the case arrived without problems. It was a beautiful guitar.

Then the unexpected happened. On the second day of playing this instrument I was inspecting it (again) from all angles and noticed a rough edge to the lacquer at the bottom of the bridge where it is glued to the soundboard. Part of me thinks like an engineer so I tried to slip a thin piece of paper into this rough spot. And found that it slid right under the bridge. OK, not good. I mailed Adrian right away (in a slight panic) and when I sent the measures of the gap he advised me to return the guitar to him, assuring me that the problem would be fixed completely to my satisfaction. He took full responsibility, even though this defect was very hard to notice and anyone could be forgiven for not noticing it. I don't think I would have seen it in a shop, either. But a defect it was.

Cashimira took the guitar back. Adrian would send me a completely new guitar, but the model I had played was now not in stock anymore. That meant I had to wait one month. I had had a chance to play the Cashimira for a few days and had been very pleased with it, so I decided to stick with the name. The hard part was to wait this time out. I decided to upgrade to model 2a in the meantime, to compensate myself for the extra delay.

The 2a arrived mid November, again absolutely no problem with dispatch and delivery. Adrian had made double sure this time that no such defects were present in the guitar. And they weren't. I have been playing it now for 3 weeks, almost every day. It has a wonderful rosetta pattern with fleur-de-lis motifs in very dark colours. It was a very new guitar and this is also what it felt like the first few days. Its sound and feel were actually quite different to the 3a model. Where the 3a sounded bright and crystal, my 2a sounds deep and strong. It has been growing into its sound. First it was a bit wooden, now it has become almost golden, and I don't feel the process is over yet. For the kind of music I like to play (mostly slow and resonant classical pieces or Steve Hackett) this is perfect. The lower E was boomy at first, but this has gradually disappeared. My wife, who can listen to the guitar from a little distance, describes it as if the notes reverberate around inside the guitar before they come out, a very deep sound. So, to round this off, I am very pleased with the instrument and do not regret at all the delay or the decision to buy online. Since I do not have the opportunity to actually try out good guitars this has been a very convenient and lucky way of getting hold of a superb model, at a price that has got to be very competitive, seeing that top models today cost upward of £3000. And the shop stood the test of excellent service and reliability and trustworthiness.

Thanks Adrian.

Best regards,

Stephen Muires