Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

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rojarosguitar
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Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:05 pm

Just came back from Sebastian Stenzels' workshop near to Freiburg. Hew was so kind to fill and redrill the tuner holes on my Alvaréz flamenca blanca - the only sore point on otherwise very nice guitar.

By that occasion I could marvel at two newly made guitars he just finished. One of them is a Cedar/Californian Walnut classical that is going to GSI on preorder; the other one is a most stunning Spruce/Honduras RW classical, which is a bit heavier than his guitars usually are due to thicker sides. This guitar has really the most incredible sound I have ever heard on a Stenzel, which always have beautiful sound anyway.

Maybe I'll have the possibility to post some pictures soon...
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petermc61
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by petermc61 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:26 pm

The last guitar I bought (2018) was a spruce/maple Stenzel. Fabulous instrument.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:43 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:05 pm
Just came back from Sebastian Stenzels' workshop near to Freiburg. Hew was so kind to fill and redrill the tuner holes on my Alvaréz flamenca blanca - the only sore point on otherwise very nice guitar.

By that occasion I could marvel at two newly made guitars he just finished. One of them is a Cedar/Californian Walnut classical that is going to GSI on preorder; the other one is a most stunning Spruce/Honduras RW classical, which is a bit heavier than his guitars usually are due to thicker sides. This guitar has really the most incredible sound I have ever heard on a Stenzel, which always have beautiful sound anyway.

Maybe I'll have the possibility to post some pictures soon...
Nice! You are so lucky to be friends with luthiers and have the opportunity to visit so many workshops, you gotta promise you will record a few audios and take a few pics if not recording a few videos, for the next time you visit a luthier.
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bacsidoan
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by bacsidoan » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:46 am

petermc61 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:26 pm
The last guitar I bought (2018) was a spruce/maple Stenzel. Fabulous instrument.
Pics (or sound) or it didn't happen :wink:

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:09 am

Sebastian was obviously too busy to send the photos.
Sound? No, these are not guitars for me, I'm not supposed to play them for any significant length of time. I hope they end up in the hands of some great player and we'll from them in due time. I played both maybe for a minute or two and for completely new guitars with strings just put on a day or two before and even not settled both were amazing, though distinct as one is spruce and one is cedar. Also the thick heavy Hondurian rosewood sides of the spruce made that one really sing and project even more then usual with Stenzels guitars, or at least I perceived it that way.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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Grasshopper
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Grasshopper » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:07 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:09 am
Also the thick heavy Hondurian rosewood sides of the spruce made that one really sing and project even more then usual with Stenzels guitars, or at least I perceived it that way.
I remember reading an article by a luthier who said that the sides of the guitar didn't make much difference to the sound - I forget who it was. His argument was that the sound of the guitar depends on the soundboard (and bracing) and the back. He reckoned that it was a waste of money using solid wood on the sides because their main function is to be as rigid as possible to minimise energy loss - unlike the soundboard which needs to be flexible to move the air. He said it was easier to make the sides out of laminate and they were more rigid so that's what he used.

I don't know if that's scientifically accurate but it sounds reasonable to me.

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petermc61
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by petermc61 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:40 pm

So what is inconsistent with what you said Grasshopper and what Stenzel is purportedly doing? Sounds like his approach to stiffening the sides is thinkening them up, possibly by laminating together pieces of wood.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:52 am

@grasshopper According to the story (or anecdote) of Torres having made a guitar from paper mâché to demonstrate that the material of the whole body doesn't matter, one shouldn't expect differences. But it's the matter of experience, and experience does show that materials do matter; I don't think many luthiers would deny that.

The point is that the guitar is - physically speaking - a very complex coupled vibratory system, and any change in any parameter changes the couplings and balances, so I don't find it very surprising that more massive sides (or back) does change, how the top interacts with the rest of the guitar. At least that was the case with all the guitars with more massive sides that Sebastian Stenzel has made and I was able to play. His guitars are very consistent and the differences across the (always made to the same model) different guitars are subtler than between the usual thickness and the massive sides version. That's all I can say, and in this matter I trust the experience more than theoretical ideas.
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Grasshopper
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:05 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:40 pm
So what is inconsistent with what you said Grasshopper and what Stenzel is purportedly doing? Sounds like his approach to stiffening the sides is thinkening them up, possibly by laminating together pieces of wood.
I'd assumed that they were sold wood sides, but maybe as you say they're laminated. In fact if they're very thick it's quite likely that they were laminated or they'd be very difficult to make. Nevertheless most high end guitars have solid wood sides as a matter of course for some reason - possibly simply because people expect that.

I'm afraid I'm a bit cynical about a lot of the claims made about "sounds". It's such a hard thing to define that it's susceptible to people's imagination. I remember the BBC doing a test on the radio where 3 professional violinists were asked to distinguish a hugely expensive Stradivarius from a modern high end violin. They were given a blind test with the same person playing the same piece on each violin. And they couldn't do it. They seemed exactly the same to me (listening over the radio admittedly) - but I'm no expert. You get the same thing in hifi too. It's like the placebo effect - if you tell people it's going to make them better they usually think it works.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Julian Ward » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:37 am

The whole 'material of the back and sides doesn't matter' is complete nonsense to me and I am hearing this across a few different threads now. In this particular case the maker is saying it is the back which matters more than the sides which is very plausible indeed.

Guitars that have cheap laminated back and sides on are acoustically dead in particularly the bass and mid tones. Brand new strings will mask that somewhat for a very brief time. I am perplexed by people that cannot hear these differences and as said in another thread it is probably because they have a quiet technique and are not driving the top with enough power to get the sound fully pushing through the whole instrument to hear its potential.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:55 am

Well the vast majority of laminated guitars tend to be made to a pretty low price. It's hardly surprising that most of them don't sound great. I strongly suspect that it's much less to do with the lamination of the back/side material and a lot more to do with a soundboard/strutting that is done to a pre determined average irrespective of the material properties of that soundboard. Of course they also sprayed with thick coatings of varnish/finish which hardly helps either. The cheaper guitars also tend to err on the side of caution. You are never going to get a thin Torres type soundboard on such a guitar (and even more expensive factory guitars too). It's just too much of a risk. The actual profits on such guitars are small. They don't want to deal with high volume of returns. You can hardly blame them for the decisions that they make.
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:29 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:55 am
Well the vast majority of laminated guitars tend to be made to a pretty low price. It's hardly surprising that most of them don't sound great. I strongly suspect that it's much less to do with the lamination of the back/side material and a lot more to do with a soundboard/strutting that is done to a pre determined average irrespective of the material properties of that soundboard. Of course they also sprayed with thick coatings of varnish/finish which hardly helps either. The cheaper guitars also tend to err on the side of caution. You are never going to get a thin Torres type soundboard on such a guitar (and even more expensive factory guitars too). It's just too much of a risk. The actual profits on such guitars are small. They don't want to deal with high volume of returns. You can hardly blame them for the decisions that they make.
Yes, I agree entirely.

I wasn't trying to be contentious about the subject because I don't know enough about it, but from my experience it seems that the most important factor is the soundboard. The best guitar I have is a Cordoba C12 which has a very thin, slightly domed lattice braced soundboard - it also has solid wood Indian rosewood sides and back. This is quite an expensive guitar. But I've also got a 50 year old Cordoba (when it was a Spanish company) which also has a very thin soundboard (it's cracking up in fact) but with cheap laminated back and sides - it cost me £10 new (£9 19s 11d to be accurate). Yet it sounds very good indeed - looks terrible.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Saw two gorgeous newly made Stenzel Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:44 pm

Grasshopper wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:29 pm
Yes, I agree entirely.

I wasn't trying to be contentious about the subject because I don't know enough about it, but from my experience it seems that the most important factor is the soundboard. The best guitar I have is a Cordoba C12 which has a very thin, slightly domed lattice braced soundboard - it also has solid wood Indian rosewood sides and back. This is quite an expensive guitar. But I've also got a 50 year old Cordoba (when it was a Spanish company) which also has a very thin soundboard (it's cracking up in fact) but with cheap laminated back and sides - it cost me £10 new (£9 19s 11d to be accurate). Yet it sounds very good indeed - looks terrible.
To say that the top is most important is probably never wrong, but the question is: how much is 'most' of the whole?
Think of the body as a complex equalizer/compressor/limiter/expander/reverb system. It receives energy from the top and sends it back to the top via coupling of the top to the rest of it. It doesn't matter only if you stay with a very rough approximation of the generic term 'classical guitar'.
Every box with roughly the dimensions and form of a CG will sound like a classical guitar, somehow, but this is not what we should be discussing here.

The players are after the subtleties and not after the generalities. Every little detail matters and makes a difference IMHO, though not necessary an important one for everybody.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

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