Classical Guitar Luthier Interview: Casimiro González (Spain)

Classical guitar luthier: Casimiro González (Spain)

I’m delighted to have Casimiro González from Barcelona, Spain.

Q1. Could you please tell us a little about your luthiery and its history?

I'm a guitarist and also have been a flamenco guitar teacher for many years. This passion for the guitar led me to learn the profession/art of luthiery with a maestro luthier, Manuel Mayoral.

Q2. Please describe your idea of a good sounding guitar, and what you do to achieve it?

For me, a good sounding guitar is one which has a powerful sound, perfect intonation and harmony of the six strings. All of the strings should reach the same level and any chord at any position on the fretboard should respond equally. Long sustain, a crystal clear and deep sound equal to a good piano or bell.

To achieve this sound, it's necessary to have good woods, good seasoning, work patiently, use always hands and ears, and of course, a good job of the finishing with French polish which gives a perfect sound.

Q3. Please tell us about your idea of improving playability, and what you do to achieve it?

A comfortable guitar has to have suitable action and tension, neither high or low. To achieve it, I give a perfect fall on the mould and always use 655 scale.

Q4. Please tell us your opinion about the traditional finishing method (French polish) and new methods (lacquer, catalysed finishing, etc).

The only finishing which gives the perfect sound is French polishing. The other modern varnishes pale in comparison in terms of the aesthetic and sound.

Q5. Please tell us your opinion regarding shorter-scale guitars such as 640, 628 and 615mm in terms of playability, design, sound quality and volume. Is there an increasing need to cater to smaller-handed or female players?

I only use 655 scale. My years of experience have shown me that this scale gives the most perfect intonation and comfort. Moreover, hands of any size can adapt to it perfectly.

Q7. Do you offer any 'after-sales' service to customers - particularly customers who are nervous about making a substantial investment?

I don't offer any after-sales.

Q8. How does the increasing rarity of some woods, rosewood for example, impact on your methods, and the quality of the end product?

Currently, there are other rosewoods such as those of Madagascar or Cocobolo. They are as good as Jacarandá because of their solidness. The sound is, at least, equal to Jacarandá.

Q9. How do you see the future of this beautiful tradition in the 21st century?

There will be only good guitars if we don't shift from the traditional origin.