6 July 2014

New Rosette - A Small Tribute

As you may already know, the luthier Manuel Velazquez passed away this past April at the age of 97. If you aren't familiar with his story or his instruments, this article by William Cumpiano will help fill you in: Manuel Velázquez: an appreciation.

I had the good fortune of meeting Don Manuel on a couple of occasions (first at the 2006 Guild of American Luthier's convention, then at the 2011 GFA convention, when he was granted the GFA's Industry Leadership Award), and I found his gracious, humble demeanor, and genuine passion for the guitar moving and very inspiring. So I wanted to do something small in homage of his contribution to the history of the classical guitar.

M. Velazquez's "signature" mosiac,
looks to me like a series of MVs
A rosette from 1951 showing the
central pattern I borrowed
Another Velazquez rosette from 1951
I decided to make a series of rosettes based on a central zig-zag pattern that I've seen on a handful of Velazquez's guitars dating from the early 1950s. I didn't like the idea of copying his signature rosette mosaic that I believe he's used (not exclusively) since the mid 1950s. That seemed too personal. The central pattern I chose to borrow is both interesting and unique - I haven't seen it anywhere else - so it seemed like a great motif to draw on. I'm planning to make a series of guitars (about 14) with this pattern in the rosettes, changing the border elements so each is unique. Below you can see the first two of these rosettes just after they were inlaid into their soundboards.

Zig-zag parts - resting while
moisture from the glue evaporates
One of the new rosettes Another of the new rosettes