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A Series Guitar

The A Series Guitar (click to enlarge photo)

"It feels out there,
kind of radical in a kind of tubular way,
but most of all it's out there. "

- Eddy Calvin "Nuke" La Loosh


The distinctive Southwell A Series guitar brings classical or nylon string guitar design into the 21st century in a unique way. Unlike the vast majority of guitars, which are based on the Spanish method, the A Series is inspired by the Viennese style.

The ‘A’ stands for ‘adjustable’ as this guitar features an adjustable neck system based on the invention of Stauffer and refined by myself for this guitar. It offers many advantages for the player; the string height or action can be adjusted in seconds if need be. Also, you don’t have to spend time and money having your saddle piece altered! Finally, an arm rest has been added.

As standard, the guitar has a spruce front with back and sides of Indian rosewood and a 20 fret range with a 64.5 cm string length. The neck is figured maple, v-jointed to a stylish ebony head. It has tuning machines specially designed and made for this guitar by David Rodgers.

head - front ~ * ~ head - back

Attention to detail goes right through to the individual hand-made rosette and purfling decoration, all of which reflect and enhance the character of this instrument.

The A Series guitar now features a cutaway. This was originally designed at the request of David Starobin, who wanted the guitar’s higher positions to be more accessible due to the demands many composers were making. The challenge was to produce a guitar with improved playability, without compromising the sound quality in any way, and which looked new and stylish. The result was a guitar that sounded better, was very comfortable to play and, I think, the appearance can speak for itself.

David was so impressed with the guitar, he now says he won’t play anything else! Many other discerning guitarists are now discovering the pleasures of playing this new version of my A Series guitar.

The most recent great artist to start playing my A Series Guitar is Paul Simon, I can't wait to hear his next album now!

As in the past, the reason to change design is mostly to do with the music and players of the time. Today, that means music that demands a greater use of the guitar’s range, strong dynamics, extended techniques, and complex harmonic structures. This means that the guitar has to be able to be pushed further in terms of power, balance and flexibility, all of which is possible with the A Series.

Click here for more details and photos of the construction.

The A Series design is also available as Terz guitars, guitars with added strings and left-handed guitars.

I recently celebrated the making of my 250th guitar by making a special version of the A Series. The guitar was sold, but you can see its details on the Anniversary page.

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Site created October 2000.
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