1. What strings do you recommend for my guitar? I especially like La Bella 2001 Medium hard tension, Luthier Dark Silver Set 35, Luthier Concert Gold Set 40, Savarez Corum with Alliance treble (High tension) and ZAMBRA strings.
2. Why is there a slot cut in the treble side of the bridge on my Esteve 1GR08, 1GR9C, 1GR11? The slot in the bridge allows the soundboard to be more flexible and consequently increases the volume of sound the guitar puts out. Esteve used this advanced design on the 1GR08, 1GR9C, 1GR11 and various deluxe models for several years in the 1990's. They have discontinued it because many consumers did not understand what it was and thought it was a defect. So, at present it is only available on models over $3000 by special order.
3. What should I use to clean my guitar? There are many guitar polishes out there. Personally I use and automotive cleaner which comes in a spray bottle--Meguiar's Quik Detailer Mist & Wipe.
4. What should I use to clean my frets and fingerboard? You can polish the frets and clean the fingerboard and the same time by rubbing with four zero (0000) grade steel wool. This very fine steel wool will probably leave small particles which you can vacuum up or clean with a cloth.
5. Which makes a better soundboard spruce or cedar? I do not think that there is a "best" soundboard wood. The world's great guitarmakers makers use many woods for their soundboards. German spruce, engelmann spruce, western red cedar, and California redwood are all popular woods for very fine guitars. Each wood has typical sound qualities. However, what a luthier does with a piece of wood--how he braces it and how he thins it--is probably more crucial than the particular species by itself. Over the years I have seen great guitars made of various species. Therefore, my advice is that you choose a particular guitar according to its sound and playability rather than simply on the basis of the soundboard's species.
6. How much is my guitar worth? Ah, the question of appraisal. This is a complicated matter. Prices are determined by "the market". Individuals decide privately what they will pay for a new or used instrument. The totality of such buying decisions determines the market value. The only real way to determine the value of an instrument is to find out what someone will pay for it. To get an estimate, you must find several recent sales of the same model guitar in similiar condition which were transacted in the same locality (or at least the same country). For expensive guitars the issue of authenticity comes into play--there are fraudulently labeled instruments around. I have heard of fraudulently labelled "Jose Ramirez", "Santos Hernandez" and "Antonio Torres" guitars. So, to determine price, find a reputable dealer and/or educate yourself about guitars by reading and then do your market research of actual sales in the real world.
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