Reviews Almedina

Some time ago I was complaining to Luca Waldner about the ‘study’ guitars that are brought to lessons by intermediate-level students (a stage when they don’t consider buying expensive instruments). I told him that I could accept the timbral limitations of instruments with cedar soundboards (which produce very dull colours) and with backs and ribs made of very poor-quality wood, but I couldn’t accept their lack of sensitivity to changes in dynamics, as it made it impossible to play pianissimo (the string might actually vibrate a little, but the instrument remains almost completely unresponsive). The instruments in question are often extremely heavy, with a great deal of tension and little sonority, such that it’s impossible for me to teach the students fundamental things – for example, that you shouldn’t use force on the guitar, that you find the sound by listening to the way the instrument is vibrating, and other basic things, such as technique being the art of finding solutions to problems in the easiest way, without useless effort.

And Luca took up the challenge, eventually presenting us with his Almedina guitars, which are remarkably responsive, not only in their dynamics but also in timbre, the richness of which is partly due to the spruce soundboard and maple back and ribs. The left hand moves with great ease, as these are comfortable guitars whose response surpasses one’s expectations, and which are surprisingly inexpensive.

In these instruments one sees immediately Luca’s knowledge of the guitar in the most profound sense (partly the result of having studied the instruments of masters such as Torres and Santos Hernández in such depth) and the sensitivity with which he always works on his own instruments (and for which he has won international recognition).

Marcos Villanueva