General information about design quality features and the main differences between German and Spanish concert and children's guitars.
The development and history of the classical guitar (concert guitar) took place mainly in Spain. In the mid 19th century, Spain had a number of Grand Masters, led by Antonio de Torres as the "Stradivari" of guitar makers. Family companies developed with a long tradition of making guitars, responsible today for the fact that most first-rate instruments still come from Spain. But not only first-rate instruments, also good, low-cost children's guitars make their way from Spain to us. For many years, efforts were made to replicate this fascinating instrument in Germany and other North European countries, with what still today only remains a moderate success. This is because a good guitar consists not only of a certain number of individual parts whose dimensions and sizes can be measured: what really counts is the method and sequence in which all the parts are put together in order to turn them into an outstanding instrument.
This is the core part of the guitar and is responsible for approx. 70% of the instrument's sound. Low-cost models usually come with a laminated soundboard (made of plywood). A well elaborated soundboard (inner structure) can produce good results. But basically, laminated soundboards are always somewhat quieter than the solid versions and somewhat harder to play because of their inertia.
Neck-body (applies to concert and Western guitars)
The body and neck are produced separately and joined together practically at the end of the production procedure. The most traditional and durable form of joining the parts is with a dovetail connection. Unfortunately, this is increasingly rare in the lower price segment in instruments from German or Czech production, where plugs, glue or even screws are frequently used.
The soundboard is responsible for approx. 70% of the sound, making it the core part of every guitar. It has to be reinforced on the inside to withstand the total string tension of 40 kg (up to 100 kg in Western guitars). It is particularly important that the soundboard is not stiffened too much because otherwise it would be too inert to produce a loud, brilliant sound. Traditionally, in Germany the soundboards (of concert guitars) are reinforced by cross bracing (struts) so that the soundboard itself can be kept very thin. Unfortunately in comparison with the more mature Spanish design, this is not necessarily the most fortunate solution as far as the sound is concerned, which is why German guitar makers are increasingly basing their work on the Spanish instruments.
The soundboard (applies to spanish concert and on some points also to acoustic guitars by Tanglewood)
Here again responsible for 70% of the instrument's sound quality, the soundboard construction in Spain has undergone the greatest development. In contrast to the simple and very stiff cross bracing, the soundboard here is slightly curved with 5 to 9 very thin splayed fan bracing struts aligned to the sound hole and directly below the bridge. This construction permits an extremely thin soundboard thickness of up to 1.5 mm while still offering high resistance to the 40 kg string tension (up to 100 kg in Western guitars). Instruments built in this way react with great speed to even the slightest plucking of a string so that they are very easy to play and loud. The top price segment also includes some Western guitars (e.g. Taylor or Guild from €2,000) with a slightly curved soundboard for the stated reasons, but which otherwise differ completely in design from the concert guitar. Our range includes guitars by the English manufacturer Tanglewood which also have a curved soundboard, but are far lower in price. These Western guitars have a phenomenal sound.
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