Here is a classical guitar I bought last week - an early piece built by the now well-established English luthier, Michael Gee:
[NOTE re specs: see my post of 08 Aug below - some of the specs given by the seller were incorrect].
top - Canadian cedar;
back and sides - bookmatched East Indian rosewood;
neck - cedar;
fretboard - ebony;
bridge - rosewood;
head-stock - rosewood veneer;
nut / saddle - plastic?
tuning machines - ? Definitely not Rodgers (which that company confirmed);
scale-length 650mm; width at nut 52.4mm; width at 12th fret 52.7mm;
case - original.
Condition / cleaning:
The top has some serious markings (at least, by classical guitar standards): there are what appear to be nail-marks beneath the soundhole. Was a previous owner practising his flamenco strokes? Other than that, just the usual odd marks you would expect on a 40 yrs old instrument.
The piece needed some serious TLC. To clean it, I used plain water and a sponge to get a lot of the surface grime off and then used what I believe to be the appropriate cleaning materials for the other component parts of the instrument: Virtuoso Premium Cleaner [VPC] for the ebony fret-board, followed by a little lemon oil applied to the same.
The rest of the instrument was "restored" with a French Polish reviver. The guitar maker (via Stafford Guitars here in the UK, to whom I am grateful) advised that, since the finish would be a shellac one, a reviver fluid was the way to go. (VPC is for nitro-cellulose finishes only). I think I've made an OK job of it. Same with the re-stringing - I haven't strung a nylon-string guitar in many years, so I crossed my fingers and fitted D'Addario Pro-Arte NT EJ45s.
To this Martin / Gibson player, the action feels high and the fret-board very wide - the usual gripes of the steel-string player! The guitar sounds nice - but, sad to say, I really have not played enough good classical guitars (if any!) to feel qualified to comment upon the tone. Having nothing to compare or contrast it with, I am not at all sure that the piece is set-up correctly and whether or not it would benefit from some attention in respect of new parts (bone nut & saddle? Better machine-heads?). The frets feel to be protruding ever so slightly on the neck - perhaps a fret-dress is required? Is a "proper" inspection, service and clean by a professional the way to go?
The sustain clocks in at about 23 seconds, a few seconds less than my steel-strung acoustics. Again, is this about the norm for classical guitars?
Finally, what puzzles me a little is why the maker, who inserted a dated label into the piece - as well as his name being stamped on the back bracing and end-block inside the guitar - didn't number it. Does anyone know why a number may have been omitted from the label? I am not a classical player, and therefore not au fait with the protocol, but I thought that all classical guitar luthiers numbered their instruments. Or could this have been a prototype of some kind? Or is there another reason? Does anyone have any ideas? (A 1979 Gee classical was up for sale in the States over a year back and that piece wasn't numbered either).
Any comments / observations / criticisms about any of the above (specs / cleaning / in use) are most welcome. I'm out of my comfort zone here and would appreciate advice & guidance.