I first saw Stephen on video after my wife Sheila came across his website during a web search for custom guitar makers and courses on how to build a traditional Spanish guitar. Stephen, a master luthier of some 25 years (at the time) not only built magnificent guitars in the Spanish tradition but also ran two,month long courses a year, where participants build their own guitar.
I had long held a dream to build my own Flamenco guitar and learn to play flamenco. We decided that it was time move on from Scotland. We realised that here was the opportunity to experience somewhere warmer, while fulfilling one of my long standing ambitions by moving to La Herradura in Andalucia and attending Stephen's course, which he runs through the European Institute of Guitar Making in La Herradura.
We met Stephen shortly after arriving in La Herradura and discovered that not only was he a great luthier but also a brilliant custom guitar maker. A really intuitive, generous, genuine and lovely man, which made the decision to build a guitar under his watchful eye a very easy one.
Waiting Patiently To Build a Custom Guitar
I was unable to get on the May 2011 course and had to wait until October 2011 to finally realise my dream. This was actually a good thing because it gave us time to settle into the village, enjoy the winter sunshine and meet some really good people. For a relatively small place, the music scene here is extraordinary!
There were six of us on the course I attended and everyone came away with an excellent guitar. In fact I have now witnessed six courses pass through Stephens doors and the quality and sound of every custom guitar produced has been amazing. Stephen also has his long time friend and Master luthier, Pablo Requena as second teacher on the course and the two together are really complementary, ensuring that you are never left not knowing what to do next.
The course was intense but I never felt pressurised at any stage and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Indeed putting the strings on the guitar and hearing it for the first time was an emotional experience.
As a result of my experience on the course, I am now building my own custom guitars and enjoying every moment. I am privileged to know Stephen as a good friend and would like to thank him for sharing his skill and knowledge so selflessly and for his continuing support and mentoring, as I take on the task of acquiring the finer skills of this amazing craft. For more information on Stephen, click here.