English Guitars

English Guitars

English guitar luthiers have been renowned the World over for as long as I can remember and have built reputations for performance, musicality, playability and a constant drive to deliver the best in our instrument.

Currently in England there are many people building guitars and amongst this number you will find names such as Aram, Barton, Dean, Gee, these Luthiers have built World wide reputations and have helped to develop the guitar as we know it.

Amongst younger makers there is a lot of good work being carried out and to represent all would be impossible therefore Stafford Guitar has selected just a few who we feel you will enjoy; Ainsworth, Christie, Hall, Williams are makers whose love for the instrument shines through their work.

The magic of the classical guitar is more than just a beautifully designed piece of artwork it is an instrument capable of communicating all the emotion and expression written into the music by the composer.

Makers

Latest Models

English Guitars

ainsworth-guitar-rosette

Ainsworth Spruce Guitar

John Ainsworth

Base price for variant: £3,300.00
Sales price: £3,300.00
Price:£3,300.00
Discount:
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{lightgallery type=local path=images/gallery/john-ainsworth}{/lightgallery} IN STOCK

It was obvious to me from the outset that this is a strong and powerful guitar with beautiful warmth and depth.

The individual notes are full and rounded with an exciting and ‘flamboyant’ character overall and a lovely rich and vibrant bass. She is also a very loud guitar even at this early stage with an easy response to right hand strokes, particularly when playing strongly with the right hand – the sound keeps growing!

With this freedom of projection the player gets a real sense of flair and excitement. The underlying quality and solidity of tone means that her sound is reliable as a starting point, and I mean that as a big positive. If her player is inexperienced and developing technique, or perhaps simply enjoying playing for themselves, this guitar gives a full bodied, supported and mellow tone. However if you are wanting more projection, variety and musicality this guitar will push you forwards in your musical journey.

Her warm and direct voice gave me all the variety of tone, texture and articulation that I asked for.

In Prelude no.3 by Villa Lobos I enjoyed the blossoming resonance across the strings powered by a rich and fruity bass voice at the beginning and great evenness and clarity in the falling melodic lines on the second page, with the full treble notes retaining clarity and definition across the range of pitch.

This ‘body’ of treble sound also came to the fore in Andante Largo by Sor giving me a sustained glow to the melody in thirds and a wonderful response to the bass D tuning with great depth and intensity.

I then could not resist further enjoyment of this tuning, so continued with my newest piece by Sor, the Marlborough variations Op.28. I enjoyed playing around with colour and articulation here and could easily highlight the fantastic harmonies (something often missed in Sors music I feel) enhancing the drama and momentum in the music.

Playing the Tonadilla by Emilio Pujol made me recognise how much Spanish character this guitar has, despite being as English as the day is long! Her intense and colourful voice, fluid projection and flamboyant edge gave me crisp rhythm, sonorous and engaging harmony and full flowing interweaving melodic lines – great fun!

I decided to finish my review with some of Tarrega’s smaller pieces – Maria, Marieta and Pepita. Playing this music confirmed for me the musicality and character of this guitar with bright articulation, clear rhythmic drive and detailed voicing in the chords contrasting with warmth, depth and sweetly singing melodies.

This is an instrument with great potential. She starts from a high level in fullness of tone and projection and as her voice gains focus and resonance she can only grow in her musical and dramatic ability.

Another exciting journey ahead.

Selina.

 


Design

Fan Strut.

Table.

Swiss Pine.

Back and Sides.

2 piece back constructed from the finest Indian rosewood beautifully book matched as can be seen in the photographs.

Rosette.

Individually designed rosette.

Neck.

South American Mahogany

Machine Heads.

Gotoh.

Finish.

French polish.

Case

Hiscox-Pro-II

Images

New Spruce guitar in stock


Scale Length

650mm

F/board Width

52.5mm

Upper Bout

278mm

Lower Bout

368mm

Body Depth

100mm

aram-torres-spruce-guitar-rosette

Aram Torres Guitar

Kevin Aram

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Special Order Only

This guitar has a wonderfully ‘simple’, focused and direct tone quality that has a great impact on the player and listener.

I use the word simple in a positive sense, meaning uncomplicated by surrounding resonance and a striving for volume and power. She has a pure and honest sound that is all about the natural beauty of the voice of a Classical guitar and the music it can create. In some ways she gives you the best quality ‘blank’ page; distinct, traditional and concentrated tone through which you can freely express your music and develop your sound, musical ideas and technique.

The balance across the range of her voice is fantastic with unrivaled evenness through the bass and treble voices leading to smooth and fluent notes and a great sense of control for the player.

In Belle by Ferrer I was able to convey the character of the piece easily, with clarity and precision helping to highlight the rhythm and bring out the playfulness in the music. Playing this piece helped me to recognise the intensity within each note and direct response to touch that give a great combination of rounded notes, depth of sound and full support making this guitar so strong in an understated and ‘gentle’ way!

I played Prelude no.3 by Villa Lobos next which was a real eye opener! The guitar responded beautifully to the full and rich chords with deep and sonorous resonance unveiling a substantial voice and so much potential. In the second half I enjoyed long and legato melodic phrases, again supported by the excellent balance across the strings. There is so much detail here matched with great control and blending within the harmonies. Listening, you are aware of the concentration of sound that gives such a great overall impact and wonderfully smooth, velvet tone.

Following this I had a lot of fun with my favourite Coste study. This piece can be quite hard work if you want to get the full effect of the stopping bass technique. With this guitar I found that I could keep the technique light while still achieving all the articulation, projection and musical shaping that I wanted helping me to really enjoy the overall effect (for a change!) – lovely sparkly treble harmony and a beautifully separated and rhythmical bass line.

In Endecha and Oremas by Tarrega I found beautiful sweetness in her voice bringing out the warmth and emotion in the music and holding the long slow phrases together, and in Passacaglia by Weiss the presence, quality and authority of her voice came to the fore.

The musical detail available is fantastic, such fun to explore and to hear the guitar blossoming with every new piece and request.

I finished with By Candlelight by Andrew York, an evocative piece of music requiring a high level of control and understanding. This is a guitar that helps the player to achieve the qualities necessary. Even at the quietest of dynamics and across the longest sustained notes she brings the music to life, drawing in the listener and player to the real essence of the sound and of the music.

She is a beautiful instrument, a strong traditional voice, not flamboyant or obviously excitable but with strength in depth, control and substance that bring the emotion and the ‘music’ to your pieces, the sort of voice that originally made me fall in love with the classical guitar and its repertoire.
Selina.

 


Table

European Spruce

Rosette

Finely crafted - Walnut, Mahogany and Maple.

Back and Sides.

Macassar Ebony - No Cites Required.

Head facing.

Macassar Ebony - No Cites Required.

Bridge.

Macassar Ebony - No Cites Required.

Body bindings.

Koa.

Machine Heads.

Rodgers

Finish.

Hand applied oil delivering visual depth to the wood.

Case

Hiscox Pro II

Images

Last guitar sold


Scale Length

650mm

F/board Width

52mm

Upper Bout

270mm

Lower Bout

354mm

Body Depth

90mm

Out Of Stock Enquire
gee-guitar-2017-rosette

Gee Layered Top Guitar

Michael Gee

Base price for variant: £6,300.00
Sales price: £6,300.00
Price:£6,300.00
Discount:
Tax amount:
Price / kg:
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2019 model Sold

After playing this guitar over a few days I will summarize thus – simply put, she has a gorgeous voice!

However for the purpose of the review I will go into more detail!

I found her a joy to play from the first touch, with so much immediate depth and colour and an open and true tone. The breadth of the sound is amazing for a brand new spruce guitar and although she will probably tighten up in the natural course of development, this does speak of wonderful things to come.

The treble is smooth, round and clear, with a truly ‘singing’ voice, a tone that I describe as ‘golden’. This results in great sustain and legato melodies supporting overall phrasing and musical shape. This beautiful tone is also maintained over the range of the fingerboard as I discovered playing the first movement of La Cathedral by Barrios, giving me pure, fluid and crystal clear sound across the treble strings around the 12th fret and creating a magical atmosphere, even at this early stage.

Her bass voice really does have the wow factor combining depth and body of sound with focus and strength, intense and substantial sound supporting the whole voice and creating an impact that demands attention from both player and listener. In fact my best descriptive word for this is ‘passionate’, discovered when playing Villa Lobos preludes numbers 1 and 4 and Standchen by Mertz, achieving in all cases compelling drive, shape and momentum.

The intensity and shape of the individual notes is probably the most striking thing about this guitar. Her voice is so well supported giving flowing continuity to your music and in turn supporting her player, allowing technical and expressive freedom.

In the Sonata by Mateo Albeniz I loved the precise clarity of the sound always maintaining overall radiance with loads of volume and vitality. The consistency of treble tone across a wide range of pitch is very important in this piece and this guitar delivered with ease and vigour!

Returning to Villa Lobos I particularly enjoyed playing Prelude no.3 (quickly becoming one of my favourite pieces by the way) for the expansive, free and open sound and wide range of timbre that I could produce.

Control on this guitar is excellent and she responds to tiny adjustments in technique giving me my voice through my fingers. Highlights include magnificent sonority in the chords in the middle section and beautiful, fluid falling phrases towards the end with plenty of drama and emotion along the way.

In the Ciacona by Weiss the direct intensity of her tone came to the fore with a lovely sense of balance and control over the voicing, really bringing out the beauty of bigger intervals in the melodic line as well as the stability and compelling movement of the repeating base line.

Majesty, power and wonderful dissonance were in abundance in the Ponce Folias variations. This piece really demonstrated the range of this guitar. From big arresting harmonies to delicate weaving lines, exhilarating fast repeated chords to long, slow controlled phrases and delicate harmonics, she has the ability to fully portray and communicate the music.

The Fugue at the end is an immense piece of music, for me taking a guitarist beyond what they normally have to interpret and this guitar handled it beautifully, in particular the last section where two voices rise and rise in counterpoint to well above fret 12 accompanied by an insistent bass pedal creating screaming tension and a massive crescendo. I so much enjoyed playing this, especially the seemingly never ending build up that she gave me and the subsequent contrast to so soft and emotional.

This guitar has it all really – playability, beautifully smooth treble, magnificent full bodied basses and an overall warmth combined with balance and clarity that are so exciting and intriguing for the future - Great fun.

Selina

 


Table

Spruce Layered Top design.

Rosette

Arrow design with new colouring.

Back and Sides

Finest 40 year old Indian Rosewood.

Head facing

Finest 40 year old Indian Rosewood.

Bridge

Finest 40 year old Indian Rosewood.

Machine Heads

Rodgers.

Finish

French Polish Top, Varnish back and sides.

Case

Hiscox-Pro-II.


Scale Length

650mm

F/board Width

53mm

Upper Bout

284mm

Lower Bout

370mm

Body Depth

100mm

Out Of Stock Enquire
barton-spruce-guitar-rosette

Barton Spruce Guitar

Peter Barton

Base price for variant: £6,300.00
Sales price: £6,300.00
Price:£6,300.00
Discount:
Tax amount:
Price / kg:

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Arriving 2019

First of all I have to be a bit ‘girly’ and say how much I love the look of this guitar. She has a wonderful contrast between lovely dark rosewood, not flashy but with deep, subtle markings and a beautiful light spruce top, with the back and sides being echoed in the signature rosette where the darker wood is almost black. Very striking, which is also a good place to start with a description of the sound!

As I started to play I realised that this is a very ‘honest’ guitar with focussed, balanced and even tone across the range, clear and strong projection and a firm feel indicating great potential. This was all immediately evident in the Carcassi studies that I started with, particularly op.60, no.1 which could be described as a ‘scale’ study. There is a constant line of running quavers in scale and arpeggio form and the guitar gave me a beautifully even and seamless melody across the range of the fingerboard allowing clear shaping and phrasing.

I could actually use only one piece to sum up the guitar. When you know a piece inside out and love the music you have a very strong idea of how you want it to sound.

With Standchen by Mertz (my new absolute favourite) this guitar allowed me to shape the music freely with my thoughts easily conveyed through my fingers. Most importantly the control is wonderful, with definition bringing out every small detail and concentrated, full tone highlighting the conversations in the piece between treble and bass, the tricky nature of the treble echoing the bass, easily overcome here.

The word that keeps coming to mind is ‘calm’. This may be a reflection of how I felt in playing. She is a focussed and confident instrument, no ‘unexpected’ sounds and already very responsive with seemingly perfect clarity. I enjoyed experimenting with tone colours in this piece with lovely dolce pp contrasting with sharp and tangy brightness in the treble, and fantastic, fruity bass driving the harmony and then effortless contrast to full, mellow depth when asked for.

In contrast she gave me zest, sparkle and great rhythmical drive in Mertz’s Tarantella. Crystal clear articulation highlighted the texture created by rhythms, with fluid and projected melodies in the inner register projecting smoothly from within octaves and easy left hand action giving me uninhibited slurs, ornaments and glissandi. She is very quick to respond to the right hand, which means that the very fast tempo here does not sound hurried – just exciting!

Musical lines are so enjoyable to play on this instrument. The consistency of response and of tone quality means that you can be confident in your sound, which leads to more relaxed playing and technique as well as being able to hear more and find more in the music.

I have just started to learn Variations sur “Folia de España” et Fugue by Ponce. This is what I call a ‘huge’ piece, not only in its length and complex fingering but in its depth of harmony and expression. It particularly exploits the bass voice of the guitar and the Barton loves this with amazing ‘growl’ and sonority, deep intense and rich bass notes, always defined. She highlighted the wonderful dissonances and dramatic ‘dark’ nature of the harmony creating colours and textures that let the music come to life, as well as bringing out smooth, glowing upper melodies that seamlessly move you from dark to light and warmth.

As you can probably tell, I loved this guitar! Control and consistency of sound is at the root of it, a responsive, confident and focussed voice that encourages shaping of the music, and is already giving an expansive ‘palette’ of tone and colour.

Definitely a guitar through which I can fully express myself.

An exciting journey ahead for guitar and new owner.  

Selina.

 


Table

Alpine Spruce.

Design

Fan Strut based on a Hauser design.

Rosette.

Beautifully designed from ebony, maple, satinwood and mahogany.

Back and Sides.

Finest 30 year old Brazilian Rosewood beautifully book matched Cites included.

Head Facing.

Finest 30 year old Brazilian Rosewood.

Bridge.

Finest 30 year old Brazilian Rosewood with twin hole string tie.

Machine Heads.

Rodgers

Finish.

French Polish.

Case

Hiscox-Pro-II

Images

Last Guitar Sold


Scale Length

650mm

F/board Width

52mm

Upper Bout

278mm

Lower Bout

365mm

Body Depth

95mm

Out Of Stock Enquire