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Letter: Romanillos Seminar

Letter: Romanillos Seminar

by Stephen Frith

Originally published in American Lutherie #68, 2001


Dear Tim,

I joined the GAL a couple years ago, and this philosophy of openness, sharing, and frank exchange is right on the ball.

I saw a free ad in American Lutherie: “Master-classes in Spain, make a guitar with José and Liam Romanillos.” A chance of a lifetime? The Romanillos family hosted a fortnight working holiday, which was busy, friendly, happy, and constructive. Set in the Sigüenze hillsides, we were the comfortable guests of the Hermanos Maristas.

In the spirit of openness and sharing, José and Liam helped us consider each piece of wood, as we made our guitars. A quote: “If we know, we tell you.” Based on José‘s first successful instrument in the Spanish tradition of Torres, our work was guided with strategies and beliefs. Secrets don’t exist in good news. On the front bench were all the planning forms and construction templates needed to make a Romanillos and Son guitar, and copying of these was firmly encouraged. The method was straightforward, sensible, and uncomplicated, one that can be easily replicated in my own workshop. I’ve brought home my own Frith/Romanillos. Sounds great!

Speaking as an old London College of Furniture boy, I have to say the Sigüenza 2001 course was brilliant. The cost was reasonable, and returning next year for some fine-tuning would be exciting for a full-time luthier like me. I hope it runs and runs, there is always more to learn. It was great to meet members from all over: Texas, California, Canada, England, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Japan.

Sigüenza 2002? Go for it! ◆