Grand concert guitarsThe grand concert is the perfect combination of tone and volume. It has punchy, room-filling bass and clear, singing trebles. Never tubby, never muddy, never thin.

Grand concert guitars are extremely versatile, and are equally at home playing fingerstyle, flatpicked or strummed tunes. Strong string separation and evenness gives jazz chords entirely new depth.

Smaller guitars also sound incredible through sound systems. Both the concert and grand concert size have enormous presence in a PA without the muddiness of a larger guitar. Your sound guy (and audience) will thank you, and you might finally be able to hear the vocals in the monitor.

The smaller size of the grand concert also makes it easier to hold and play for long sessions. You’ll still be in the mix when all the dreadnoughts have gone to bed.

I’ve been playing this size of guitar as backup for traditional fiddle music for a number of years and call it the secret weapon, because even in a large, noisy session, the latest arrival will inevitably be looking all around, trying to figure out which guitar is producing that big sound. When he finally realizes it’s the littlest guitar in the room, you know you’re playing the secret weapon.

This guitar was a real joy to design and build. My college academic advisor got in touch to request a guitar that would play jazz chords with clarity and aplomb and look imaginative yet crisp and classy. My advisor is a fine arts professor, a printmaker who had a tremendous impact on my development as a visual artist–I was thrilled to collaborate with him to design a guitar that looks as good as it sounds. We selected an Adirondack spruce top with sugar maple back and sides for fat, clear trebles paired with African blackwood appointments to increase the visual contrast. We chose a dyed color scheme that resonated with the deep purples of African blackwood. Finally, this guitar got a one-of-a-kind twelfth-fret inlay, designed by the customer, that is the perfect exclamation point.

Continue reading “No 26 – Adirondack Spruce and Sugar Maple”


This grand concert in sugar maple has wonderful tone and clarity, with a feeling of space between the notes. It responds eagerly to a light touch and is very powerful when driven. Amber’s parents came up with the perfect name for this lightly shaded, barely-a-sunburst finish: the tea-burst.

The body is finished with a French polish and water-borne varnish sandwich, and the neck is sugar maple with an oil finish. The sugar maple and Adirondack spruce top were supplied by Old Standard in Callaway County.

Continue reading “Sugar Maple Grand Concert”

The guitar has the sharp, woody bass that mahogany produces with a nice, full treble. I used an X-braced back on this guitar, so it has a little more low end than the traditionally braced back guitars. The mahogany came from Hibdon Hardwoods in St. Louis, and the top came from Old Standard in Callaway County.

Continue reading “Honduran Mahogany Grand Concert”