Construction: Classical Guitar
Top Wood: Spruce
Back and Sides Wood: Indian Rosewood
Daniele Chiesa is one of our favourite guitar makers today.
The quality of his guitar playing is at the highest level we have had the opportunity to enjoy.
A really impressive precision in his work that approaches it in a traditional but at the same time modern way.
A guitar that is the preferred choice among many professional classical guitarists today.
His traditional model, which is the one we have here, is a mixture of the traditional Spanish sound full of possibilities of both colours and dynamics that we like so much, but combined with a powerful guitar very suitable for large concert halls.
The playability of the instrument has been studied in detail so that the professional guitarist feels very comfortable even in the most technical and knowledgeable works required from both the guitarist and the guitar maker.
Some of the details that can be highlighted about Chiesa is its cleanliness and perfection in all areas and processes of construction. In the photos you can see at the bottom of the page you can see this cleanliness of work even inside the guitar. It doesn’t matter if nobody is going to see this work because it is not visible that Chiesa does it in the same way as the visible part.
The heel is also very impressive, as in many guitars you can see the 4 wood parts that a heel is build. That is to say, it is made of 4 pieces of wood.
Chiesa this piece made it seems to be made of only one piece. He has achieved this because, according to what he tells us, he uses a whole Spanish cedar block that he cuts himself, what is normally sold are small pieces of the size of the guitar’s neck.
Chiesa takes one whole piece of wood that is more than a metre and a half long, cut in the precise radial shape for the guitar (with the grain perpendicular) so that from the same piece he takes the 4 pieces necessary to make the heel and from the same piece he also takes the guitar’s neck. By matching the grain of each of the pieces, it is possible to create the effect that it seems that the piece is made from a single piece of wood. But it is not like that, it is actually 4. (see photo below)
Daniele also tells us that it is very important to use animal glue as the properties of this natural glue make the wood join in such a way that you can’t see the union of the pieces. It is also influenced by the type of concave cut he has given to the interior pieces. This is to realise how much detail, precision and technical know-how Chiesa puts into every part of the guitar.
By the way also have a look in that picture to the joint of the sides with the heel. They are so perfectly made!
It all comes together with an exquisite aesthetic taste, perhaps this part comes from its Italian origin. The whole guitar has a really admirable aesthetic balance, which you can enjoy just by seeing the guitar prostrate in front of you.
If we add to this the precision of the craftsmanship and the fact that every part of the guitar is made with a very close approach to perfection, we get an instrument that is complete in every aspect.
Daniele talks about all this in the video/interview we have made at Madera in his own workshop precisely about this guitar. So we suggest that for a detailed description of each part of the guitar and of the guitar as a whole you watch the video below. A fascinating video about what it takes to build such a high-quality guitar and how many parameters are considered to reach this exceptional result.
Scale Length: 650 mm
Nut Width: 52.0mm
12th Fret Width: 62.0mm
Guitar Length: 990mm
Body Length: 489mm
Body Waist: 235mm
1st Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 43.5mm
12th Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 50.0mm
Bridge. 6th string to 1st string: 57mm
Side Width Upper body: 93.5mm
Side Width Lower body: 97mm
12th fret to 6th String Height:
12th Fret to 1st String Height:
Daniele made 4 bones for this guitar
2.2 - 3.2 (+1)
2.6 - 3.5 (+0.9)
3.1 - 3.9 (+0.8)
3.5 - 4.2 (+0.7)
Tuning Machine: Alessi
Daniele Chiesa (1973) was born in Bergamo, Italy. At an early age he began studying classical guitar and then moved to Cremona to study musicology at the university. Near the faculty was the Cremona School of Instrument-Making and he made friends with some of the students there. He became interested in learning to build bowed instruments and decided to enroll at the school where he studied for forty hours a week for five years. This was a great start on the road to what he really wanted which was to make guitars.
Shortly after graduating he became interested in archtop guitars and went to California to learn to build them. He ended up in a workshop where they made classical guitars and he realized that this was where his future lay. He, therefore, decided to go to Spain to learn a better, more deeply-rooted tradition of guitar-making. He had heard good reports of the courses organized by the Córdoba Guitar Festival and taught by Granada guitar-maker Paco Santiago Marín and in 2002 he signed up for one. He remembers with admiration the enthusiasm and effort that Paco Santiago put into his classes.
After the course he decided to move to Granada, where he remained in touch with Paco. He would take his guitars to Paco and show him how he was getting on: the tops, thicknesses or fan-bracing. Daniele also began to frequent the workshops of René Baarslag and Antonio Marín and remains in touch with them even now. He also visited the workshop of Rolf Eichinger who, according to Daniele, has helped many members of the younger generation, especially the foreigners. He says that if you got on with Rolf, he was very open and would spend hours explaining techniques and methods and giving advice.
Later, Daniele met his wife and after living in Granada for eight years they moved to the Costa del Sol in Málaga where he has his workshop today. He says that he still works in the style that he learned in Granada, and although he has experimented with artificial materials, the results have not convinced him to put aside traditional Granada construction. He believes that if you receive a solid grounding like the one he received in Granada, with its clearly defined characteristics, changing directions is not a good option. “If you start using new technologies, you risk losing the advantages of the traditional system without necessarily gaining the possible advantages of modern construction methods.” The main problem with guitars made using new technologies is that the sound made by these instruments differs greatly from the traditional guitar in terms of dynamics and tone colour. “Dynamics are of the utmost importance, much more than just volume” he claims. Daniele likes to hear the subtleties of the music and the guitar even when the guitarist is playing softly. As an example he cites a guitar made by Ana Espinosa which he heard in a large hall. He says that even though he was sitting at the back he could hear the guitarist’s changes in tone and dynamics perfectly. “The Smallman style of guitar has a very loud sound, no matter what, whether you play piano or forte and that is a distinct disadvantage.”
In Cremona, Daniele learned that in the evolution of an instrument there can be no drastic, overnight changes, and that the individual changes and developments made by each maker are key factors in continuing the tradition. He prefers to adapt the traditional model, moving it forward in the subtlest of ways to keep his instruments up to date. In his opinion, the Granada school evolves slowly without deviating from the very Spanish sound, colour, and timbre. He also believes that the traditional guitar still has plenty of room for experimentation. If he had stayed in Cremona building violins he would have done nothing else but preserve an immobile, unvarying tradition. However, the traditional guitar allows him to experiment and implement interesting discoveries.
Daniele believes there is a Granada school of guitar-making in Granada today. Granada has a deeply-rooted, unbroken tradition of guitar-making in the same way that Cremona has a strong tradition in the construction of the violin. Each guitar-maker has his own ideas, his own bracing and measurements, but the roots of the process and the way of understanding the instrument are the same.