> Sound is personal
A guitar can sound different when played by two individual players. Left and right hand technique, and the type of flat pick amongst others, are variables that make-up the final sound. Especially the oval hole guitars are famous for their ‘sweet spot’, being the ideal picking spot and the way of picking, which brings the guitar to it’s fullest acoustic response. The guitar, of course, should already contain an acoustic potential, in order to produce the desired response. As preferences regarding “sound” are very personal, I will not try to convince you by claiming that my guitars are the loudest, sound exactly like a Selmer and look beautiful. Instead, I will give you a confined explanation of the path I took to develop the sound of my guitars. Furthermore, I want to tell you about the guitars that inspired me. All other information you will discover while exploring the web site.
The roots and my inspiration lies in the music of Django Reinhardt and the guitars that he played, and many other guitarist played, who were inspired by the great Django. Many great Italian/French luthiers, like Maccaferri, Busato, Favino, Castelluccia and many others, contributed to what is called the legacy of the French Jazz guitar. More than 15 years ago I came in contact with these instruments through musicians (Rosenberg family) in the Sinti gypsy communities in the Netherlands. There I learned how these guitars where build and, perhaps even more importantly, the way how these guitars should be played. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to restore many of these antique instruments; amongst them several original Selmer guitars. This offered me unique insights in the French/Italian school of guitar construction and shaped my skills and understanding of these specific guitars.
> Understanding guitar players !
I have met some players that finally found the authentic Selmer copy they desired (often the same model played by their idol), but some ended up very disappointed when they actually started playing the guitar. They were not able to produce the response they expected. Nevertheless, some decided to buy the guitar anyway, adjusting their priorities to looks, nostalgia, investment, etcetera. When I construct a guitar sound and playability are always first priority. Special ways of construction and finish are a means to achieve a good sounding and playable guitar. My guitars are build for musicians. Of course, I perform inlay on request, adjust dimensions, design other rosettes, practically anything a player wants. However, one should be aware that these aesthetic additions have effects on the acoustic potential of the guitar. That’s why I appreciate the authentic and perhaps even plain Selmer/Maccaferri design. An ‘all wood’ and very effective guitar, designed for musicians. My philosophy is that I want to continue to build upon this tradition.
> Acoustic range
An important concept for me is what I call the acoustic range of a Selmer /Maccaferri style guitar. This acoustic range is the result of the luthier’s effort developing and constructing a guitar by selecting woods, using construction techniques, voicing, finishing and set-up. This is also the surplus value of a luthier compared to a factory constructed guitar (see on this web site ‘Why buying a hand crafted guitar’).
For a luthier there are two major challenges regarding the acoustic range. First, what should be the preferred acoustic characteristics of this range, and secondly, how can I achieve consistency in this range when building my guitars in series.
My passion and ultimate goal is to bring the characteristics of the individual parts of the guitar to their fullest and desired response, which is a necessary standard repeating process for every single guitar. Only in this way you will get a high quality instrument with the desired acoustic range.
> Acoustic variables
The acoustic range is defined by variables like volume, sustain, balance, projection, mid range, high range, low range, individual notes, chords, and so on. My task is to translate these variables to materials and construction techniques and vice versa. Experience, personal taste for sound and having the opportunity to work on vintage Selmer Maccaferri style guitars, have enabled me to define the outline of the acoustic range by fine tuning the variables. During many restorations and adjustments on old guitars I was impressed by three guitars; Maccaferri / Selmer, Busato and (J) Favino. The Maccaferri / Selmer for its sober but extremely effective design. Maccaferri being the father for all other Selmer style guitars. Busato and Favino because of their clear identifying acoustic characteristics. Both luthiers are excellent examples of constructing guitars in a consistent way.
Besides my personal preference (and definition) of sound, my ‘construction borders’ were also set by using the traditional (Selmer) bracing pattern of the top, and knowledge about the acoustic characteristics of tone woods. These are the main ingredients of the melting pot from which I developed my own sonic design.
> Sonic design
I did not try to exactly copy a certain sound, but worked on my own acoustic signature. Although I build upon the traditional bracing pattern and outlines of the Selmer guitar, the dimensions deviate slightly as, like those of other luthiers, I want to model them according to my own design. I invested a lot of time in the sound projection of the guitar. Incorrect use of the Selmer design can cause the guitar to “choke” often causing a thin (trebly) sound. As if the sound is ‘trapped’ in the instruments sound chamber. In that case the guitar won’t resonate. Keeping basic principles of guitar construction and valuable experiences of colleague luthiers in mind, I worked towards the sound I preferred, by building, listening, adapting and start all over again. This eventually resulted in a range of ‘Eimers guitars’ models, which all have their own distinctive acoustic characteristics and contain the famous and authentic sound known to players and admirers of the gypsy jazz guitar music.
To achieve consistency I always start with a fixed set of dimensions (templates) for all parts of the guitar. A challenging aspect in guitar construction is knowledge of the materials (woods), and how to work with them in a way they will harmonise with the other guitar parts, in order to produce the desired response.
Due to the fact that I have dedicated all these years to build and restore mainly Selmer type guitars, I was able to improve the quality of my instruments step by step. Of course, this is a very challenging aspect and largely depends on good craftsmanship. However, and perhaps more importantly, the continuous feedback by players, customers and evaluation of my own work has contributed immensely to keep producing consistent high quality guitars.