Virginia Luthier Thomas Rodriguez Crafts an Amazing 20th Anniversary Guitar

OK, we’re suckers for cool stories about custom guitars. This one, passed along by our friends at Dream Guitars, is about an amazing instrument crafted by Thomas Rodriguez to celebrate his 20 years as a classical guitar luthier. Rodriguez, who is based in Richmond, Virginia, originally built electric guitars, but after working primarily as a repairman on classical and flamenco guitars for a few years, turned his attention to building nylon-string instruments exclusively.

For this one-of-a-kind guitar, Rodriguez dug up some of the more interesting materials we’ve seen, as noted by Dream Guitars’ descriptions:

Top—40-year-old Sitka spruce purchased from the estate of an old guitar maker. Thomas hand-picked it from 30 sets that were bought for its tap tone, stiffness and fine grain.
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Back and sides, peg head and bridge—Salvaged 1800s Brazilian rosewood from an old table top. The rosewood and mahogany headstock is pictured below.
Fingerboard—40-year-old Gabon ebony, hand-picked for its beauty from a large selection of ebony fingerboards from the same collection of wood that the top came from.

Neck—1800s Honduras mahogany, salvaged from an old four-post bed; very dark in color and with a singing tap-tone.

Brace wood—Hand-split Sitka spruce from the back supports of a 90-year-old Cable Company piano. Note the asymmetrical lattice bracing.

Linings—Quarter-sawn willow, the preferred choice of violin makers, from the same 1925 Cable piano as the brace wood.

Nut and Saddle—Cut from approximately 20,000-year-old mastodon ivory.


rosette1   rosette2
Rosette and bindings—Maple, Brazilian rosewood and mahogany from an 1860s square piano, and red birch from an 1890s piano.

19th-century-piano   tie-block
Tie block on the bridge—Ivory from a piano key from the 1860s square piano.

Inlays on the wings of the bridge—Mother of pearl cut from an early 1900s lamp pendant.

Position marker on the fingerboard—Mother of pearl from an 1850s Martin bridge pin Thomas had from a restoration he performed.



For lots more images of the materials and construction of Rodriguez’s guitar, scroll down the Dream Guitars Blog. It’s priced at a $20,000.
Rodriguez in his shop. Different guitar…