With a clear idea of what he wants his guitars to sound like, Mijail has achieved one of the highest quality sound among all the guitar makers in Granada, a city with more than 40 professionals of the highest level living and working here.
In this video Mijail talks about how he started his career as a guitar maker, and how he courageously fulfilled his desire to come to Granada to learn from great masters to build guitars, live here and have his own workshop. He talks about the teachers who kindly helped him in his not-easy beginnings. His guitar-making approach and how he has found his path in his own particular way of seeing guitar-making over the years.
Please contact us if you are interested in a guitar made by him at email@example.com
We are here in Alhendin in my workshop, I am Mijail I’m going to tell you a little bit about my professional and personal career I was born in Saint Petersburg but my parents sometime they have decided to emigrate and me at the age of 12, they have taken me to Israel. Then I went back to Russia again. Then I was in Canada as well and well.. just hanging around. I started woodworking when I was six-seven years old. With my grandfather who liked a lot woodworking. Sharpening the tools… basic notions of the works and also when I was 6 years old, I started to play the violin, but… I didn’t like it very much. So the guitar always appealed to me. I started playing on my own. My father also played a bit the guitar. So I started to play the guitar and then and then I started to study classical works seriously and to get into this world of music with the guitar And at some point in my life Already working in a cabinetmaker’s shop and I’ve been through several carpentry shops assembling furniture, basic stuff, let’s say so I’ve been thinking about this idea of why don’t I make myself a guitar? while I am into woodworking and… Then I started to investigate at first, it was very complicated because there wasn’t enough information. People didn’t know even very experienced carpenters. They didn’t know how to explain certain things about the guitar. I started to do what I was getting out of looking at other guitars And at some point, I understood that if I go on on my own, I’m not going to learn enough to build a guitar that has interest and value then, after several searches, I saw that in Granada there were a lot of renowned guitar makers with high quality guitars And I’ve decided to come and become an apprentice. in a workshop, not having even the slightest information on how it worked, but I did it I imagined it in a rather romantic way, in an old-fashioned way, as a boy who wants to learn and goes for a plate of food per day so he’s working and… and learning. So then I’ve decided to come and I’ve started to visit the workshops and it was impossible to find someone who could teach you. The guitar makers they were very busy with work and didn’t had neither time nor interest in teaching. Then by a chance, I have met a guitar player in Ronda, in Malaga who in turn knew a guitar maker who was at that time who was the only guitar maker in Ronda whose name is Carmelo González. Then he put me in touch with with Carmelo and Carmelo did it He kindly said: -yes, no problem. I’ll show you how to make a guitar. I teach you everything I know-. So I was in Ronda with him and we made a guitar together. I made it, but under his supervision and his teaching And that was the first guitar that I consider a guitar, a guitar that I made. And after that, I went back to Israel and and I set up my own workshop mostly to fix guitars, to set them up, to fix and meanwhile in my spare time Well, I was still building And investigating, right? And again, so things weren’t coming out and I needed somebody who could in a certain level can guide me The guitars came out better, but there was still a long way to go. First of all, there wasn’t so much information before. More information was coming out, but not very… I actually bought a book for example, in English and I made a guitar following that book that right now I understand that That’s not how it’s done. I mean, you don’t make guitars like that. in the way the book explained it The book had very good references and everything but… you get a little bit stuck at some point… There was information, but very basic, very without going into it in any depth Then I came to Granada with the idea of staying and continuing here. And even if it’s just catching some of the knowledge there is here I made friends with Felix Moya. And he also taught me a lot. I was in his workshop, not working, But I was there to watch him work and ask him questions. He taught me a lot. Then I was going to visit the workshops John Ray was very nice to me as well. many, many things information that provided to me by him I also met Rolf. And well, and the Masters here somehow also by being here already you learn a lot just from having a beer with another guitar maker and he tells you this is how you must do it And the other way is not… Then I met Jose Luis. Also a world and another dimension he opened up for me about quality in construction first is the perfection of how he.. the person that he is the perfection that he has at work. I used to try to do it all the time as best I could, but I didn’t have that notion of perfection that he… Obviously the guitars were already at that time They were great guitars, I loved his guitars. I used to go to his workshop a lot too. And once in a while, I’d try a guitar of his and I loved his guitars the aesthetics and everything the approach was the same, more or less But how scrupulous he is. I’ve never seen a person like that at work. Mmm… it’s just that there’s a lot of details, I don’t want to get into in detail… but he taught me a lot. I really wouldn’t do without it, I wouldn’t get to the same level as now I work without that knowledge And besides, I consider him a friend, because as a person he’s also an excellent person. So, well, in 2009 I arrived in Granada, and I run a kind of workshop, a very basic thing with a toolbox that I had a literal toolbox So I started making guitars here. with woods that I could get my hands on what was around, what was falling into my hands at that time and with very basic possibilities I started to make guitars already in the style of more Granada Style let’s say because it was a lighter guitar, a more refined guitar, I already started to notice what it is. And I also started to make the guitars with five struts. And here too I’ve made a change because I liked the sound of the five struts. Not nine or seven or… I… Ah, also in a moment before this I started making Kasha-Schneider guitars. an experimental guitar with the opening of the soundhole in the upper body, below the fretboard who had the fan bracing, those who knew them, in the shape of a sun with different struts. And I was experimenting. And when I discovered simple fan bracing. That a lot of people here use it the 5 struts fan bracing with one crossed in the middle for classical guitar Well, I loved that one and I’ve loved it ever since. I use it, I’ve changed it, as needed, quite little. The inclination, the angle of the struts, the thickness, the height… and that… And so now I’m very happy with that fan bracing. the possibilities it gives and the sound that I like it gives me. And I every day, I was going to the Camino de Ronda. it’s a bit of a street, well, downtown located but a little bit towards the outskirts And there I had my workshop across the street of the Estadio de la Juventud. And so it was during a year and a half and… Then I moved to Dilar, a village in Granada. Nearby, 9 kilometres away In 2017 I create a shape template design (Plantilla) drawn. that I have that I liked. Then something else I like on the guitar. apart from the sound, obviously the sound… I don’t like to talk about the sound better to listen to it. I mean, I can talk many nonsense and that… but the guitar finally will talk. She’d talk better about it anyway. But an idea I have of a guitar is (obviously first having achieved a sound quality and what is the aesthetics) My idea in general is to make guitars for dreamers and for poets, every guitar has its own concept, its own idea, but don’t repeat itself too much, guitar comes out with its own personality. Yes, and I research too. I have many, many ideas of different designs, different concepts. And, so that’s what I really want to do. It’s… to put in a little bit of artistic aspects. I imagine a concept. Something, for example, a story of a writer O. Henry It’s called “The Last Leaf”. Well, that’s a lovely tale. Of a woman who is dying in the bed and in front of her window there is a tree with leaves falling down because it’s in the autumn season. Then the woman tells her friend that when the last leaf falls, I’m going to die. Then a neighbour hears about it in the same building He is a painter A failed painter in his old age. So, what this painter does is every day paint the leaf on the glass of the window of that woman and the woman as she sees that all the other leaves fall from the tree, but there is one leaf that is painted and the woman sees that the leaf doesn’t fall. Then she starts to… back to health, start to… to come out of the disease. And so that’s hope…And at the end of the day the man dies because as he climbs the ladder at night with the rain painting the leaf the old guy caught a cold. And for him it is the greatest work of his life, to save that girl who is about to die. Well, the guitar has elements of the leaf, especially autumn leaves. Well, it will also have It will also have a leaf, it will have a leaf too on the head of the guitar Well and to sum up, no pride, no haughtily or anything… But I got into this profession to do different things and that’s it. I don’t want to clone, or repeat, or do copies of Torres guitars that there are already people who does and I think it’s great, but I want to to do my things the way I see them. And that’s it, and do it the best way I can. the best possible way always and that’s it.