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Brian Cohen, Guitar Maker

I became a professional guitar maker in 1972, and am now the longest-established independant classical guitar maker in the UK. As well as classical guitars I make many other types, including flamenco, requinto, multi-string, steel string 'acoustic' guitars, archtop Jazz, as well as historic reconstructions. 'Special commissions' are welcomed. (Member of the Crafts Council Selected Index.)

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Models

I make only one model of classical guitar. the model 'T', as my standard option. This is the traditional model which is a synthesis of Torres and Hauser 1 guitars.
The additional models specified below are examples of the possibilities available. (Any list implies that the guitars can only be made to these specifications) . However, it is always possible to take elements from one model and apply them to another, in order to meet the needs of the player. The list below is intended as a guide only, to give an overview of the sort of variety I offer. I do not work on a production line, each guitar is treated as a 'one-off' creation, and the model details as below are intended as a guide only. Body shapes, scale lengths, type of tuners, cases etc, types of finish etc can be interchanged and price-specific. Please ask via e-mail for any other options,additional decoration, pricing etc.

The models currently on offer are:

Model 'T', the 'Standard guitar'

This is the traditional Torres /Hauser type guitar- I have constructed over 300 examples of this type of guitar since 1972. Lightly built, in the Spanish style, based on many researched examples including some from my own collection, and especially the famous 1940 Hauser 1 guitar ex- Rose Augustine, now in the ownership of Julian Bream. The copy commissioned by Bream in 1991 was based very closely on this guitar, as were the 7 other guitars Bream later commissioned, the last being made in 1996. This has now evolved into a synthesis of Torres, and Hauser 1. Available in various materials, most commonly Indian Rosewood with a spruce table, but other comnbinations are possible. Scale length is 65 cms. ( Other scale lengths are possible, ie 64 cms, 64.5 cms in models shown below. which have slightly different body shapes.) Head joined by tapered V join, and Rodgers tuners fitted as standard. Case supplied- choice of either Hiscox, or Accord. This is the model I build most often, and accurately represents the body of my work
Link to a Youtube video, played on one of my traditional model guitars dated 1995, in a superb performance by Thomas Konigs, of Germany : Enjoy!

Variations, and other models

Model 'T 1935'

This is a traditional model guitar, based closely on a Hauser 1 made in 1935, formerly in the collection of Victoria Kingsley, who purchased the guitar from the maker. This guitar was measured and examined closely while in her possession, and many successful examples have been constructed over the years. In every respect identical to a model 'T' above, i.e. a typical and traditional light Hauser 1 type model , the main difference being a smaller body and a shorter scale length at 64 cms, making it ideal for anyone with a smaller reach, but still maximising the tonal possibilities. A Model T plus is also offered with a scale of 64,5 cms on a marginally larger plantilla. Offered usually in Indian , Spruce table, option of simple or multiple bindings and purflings, and Rodgers tuners, and a fitted case by Hiscox, Accord . Prices according to specification.

Model 'B'

A new model developed during 2008, with some unique features- the main difference in this model is the 'bent and dropped’ table in the upper bout- this is to facilitate ease of access to the upper fret positions, similar to that of a cello- This feature requires a completely different assembly method, and results not only in improved access for the player, but stiffens the table very significantly at the weakest point, ie the area around the soundhole, by forming a ridge right at the central axis, similar (but in reverse) in fact to a Neopolitan mandolin, or a renaissance ‘Chittara Battente’. This feature improves clarity, and increases tonal projection- The fundamental air resonance of the guitar is also raised. Structurally, the string angle in relation to the bridge and table remains exactly the same, ie string tension in relation to the table is lateral in direction. ( NOTE: other guitars which appear to be of a similar design usually have a string pull direction which pulls up on the table in an acute manner, whereas the ‘Model B’ does not-) The tension and pull on the table remains identical to the conventional guitar design, and the string ‘feel’ under the right hand remains the same. My design developed in 2008 is unique, and is protected by Design Right 2008, and for the reasons already stated represents a significant difference to all other designs. This model can also feature an adjustable neck, similar in design to the original mechanism by Staufer.
Also available on this model is an armrest-(optional) carved from cocobolo wood, and fits by means of 3 recessed Allen head set screws (key provided). Internally, there are 3 specially made brass collars, which in turn are affixed to the ribs via 3 light cedar spreading bearers, designed so as to distribute any pressure evenly across the rib, and not cause a ‘point load’ on the rib. The rest may be removed, to reveal a conventional guitar profile- Arm rests may be modified and carved to the players own specification, on request.
Photos of the Model B may be seen in the gallery section.

'Acoustic' guitars- (well all guitars are acoustic, but you know what I mean!)

Steel strings, based on Martin 000 designs from the 1930's, 12 or 14 fret neck, suitable for finger style playing. Rosewood, ( options are Maple, Koa or other woods), Spruce, Alessi tuners in a slotted headstock, custom inlays to order, cellulose lacquer or oil finish, adjustable neck angle and action height, these are amongst the finest steel stringed guitars available today. Custom made, so no specific measurements can be given here. Enquire. Case supplied- Hiscox, or Accord, but depends on shape.

Flamenco guitars

Traditional cypress bodies, peg heads with pegs handmade in the studio, with spruce table, with minimal decoration. Model based on traditional flamenco guitars, one of the finest I have owned was by M Rodriguez Snr. 1954, and also a fine Santos Hernandez from 1912, and my flamencos are based on these guitars. Very light, percussive, and authentic. Includes case by Hiscox, or Accord

Archtop Guitars

Carved, maple body, spruce top, very traditional styling with all fittings handmade in the art-deco style, based on d'Angelico designs: Enquire.

Other models on offer include

Custom models

It is possible to 'mix and match' various elements from various models, to suit personal tastes, or to lower costs, but whatever is chosen, only the best materials are used in every case for maximum tonal results: For example, you could opt for a Model T '1935 plus' but opt for a hand-rubbed oil finished back, ribs, french polished table, and a head 'scarf join' to keep costs down. These are custom-made guitars, tailored to the players needs. I am not a production line, and not confined to defined model limitations: I tailor each guitar to the player's specific needs.

Woods

Select various traditional materials offered, usually Indian Rosewood, Madagascar, Maple, Spruce, Cedar, and various selected English and European hardwoods.

Opening times and all contact details, directions etc. on our 'Contact' page. Visitors welcomed, but strictly by appointment only.

Please enjoy a tour through the new site!