Dan Palmer. UK

When I received "Arena", my first Aram guitar from Stafford Classical Centre, I was so impressed with the sound and workmanship that I immediately asked Adrian to order me another of Kevin's guitars. I had previously been told of the wonderful sound produced by the Romanillos/Hauser design, so I asked Adrian to ask Kevin if he would be able to make this next guitar using that design, and Kevin agreed. I had already decided that I would stick with the Brazilian Rosewood that Kevin used for the back and sides of "Arena". Adrian kindly sent me some pictures of the different decorative woods that Kevin uses on his guitars. I decided to go for Yew as the decorative wood, with a thin panel on the back of the guitar, and a decorative Yew panel on the headstock. I chose the Rodgers L201 tuners with Black Ebony wood buttons.

The guitar arrived on time, to budget and exactly to the spec I had ordered. That doesn't sound as though it needs to be complimented on, but when you consider the performance of some of the Spanish makers, I think it does! Having owned "Arena" for some seven months, I was expecting a very high standard from this new guitar. However, she has exceeded my expectations in both sound and appearance.

This guitar is exquisitely beautiful, I love the changing shades of the decorative Yew binding wood, and the Yew panel in the headstock is also quite lovely. The Brazilian Rosewood back and sides are slightly lighter then on "Arena", which shows the grain up slightly more. The tuners are up to the normal exemplary Rodgers standard, and the Black Ebony buttons are a nice touch, having a slightly different feel to the usual Mother-of-Pearl. The top is Spruce wood that Kevin bought from Jose Romanillos back in the 1970's, which really adds to the Romanillos connection.

This guitar sounds warmer and slightly sweeter (is that possible?!) than "Arena", but not as bright. It is possible to play Spanish pieces with this guitar, which I cannot really get away with when playing "Arena" (that guitar sounds more "English" and is more suited to orchestral and more modern pieces), but the thing that really strikes me about this guitar is the sustain - the whole instrument rings wonderfully even when playing single notes. Considering that the Romanillos/Hauser design is not supposed to project as well as the Aram model, there is still a lot of projection, but as the player I can still hear and feel the sounds very well, and I prefer that. Also she is very easy to play, but then Kevin's guitars have a reputation for that. The body is the same size as the Aram model, which I really like, as I find the full size concert guitars a bit too big for my liking.

In summary, this guitar is everything I've ever wanted and for myself, I find it difficult to see how it could be bettered at any price. I 've only had her a few days and already Kevin, Adrian and I are discussing my next Aram order - need I say more.......? With regard to Stafford Classical Centre, during this order Adrian and Selina have given the sort of helpful, supportive, honest and personal service that they have given with my other two orders and all other queries and purchases. They make sure the customer comes first and they take the time to make sure that the customer gets what is best for them. I won't do business with any other dealer.