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Duane Waterman



Duane Waterman Fine Guitars


Although the primary focus of my work here at the Tucson shop is in developing and refining concert quality classical guitars, I also continue to build fine fingerstyle steel string guitars and prototypes of all kinds. In the last ten years or so my interest in the Romantic period guitar compositions has led me to building a few 19th century Lacote style instruments, as well ­- about one per year. 

In designing the concert guitars and professional steel string guitars I now use a combination of the current state-­of-­the-­art bracing and construction designs and processes - ­all sides are laminated of layers, or “doubled”, tops are supported by a hybrid of lattice and radial bracing, backs of recital instruments are occasionally laminated for stiffness (better projection) and all necks are strengthened/stiffened with carbon graphite and/or metal bars. Most concert guitars have elevated fingerboards and side soundports are available on all models.

When designing and building the Romantic period instruments, though, I adhere closer to the historical methods as exhibited by extent models. I often French polish spruce tops on concert and Romantic guitars and default to the more durable lacquer for sides and backs. Hard oil is applied for finish on all necks ­- very protective with a smooth, silky feel.

On any instrument built here only the highest quality of woods are used. Over the last 40 years I have collected and stored only premium quality top woods - ­several spruce varieties from around the world, Western Red cedar and California Redwood - and the best in body woods, as well­ - Brazilian rosewood, Honduras rosewood, Madagascar rosewood and African Blackwood. Every piece of the African ebony used here for the fingerboards and the Honduras mahogany and Spanish cedar (Cedro de Cuba) used to make necks is now cured over 30 years. Even though new construction schemes using laminated/layered top and back plates have diminished the need for aged, high quality woods for these essential guitar body parts, most of my guitar designs rely on solid tops and back plates.

While the guitars in each category may have many cosmetic and construction elements in common, each instrument is distinct and unique -­ no two are exactly alike. Some variations of these current and historic models are shown here and are detailed further on the following pages, many with videos/sound clips as well.


Classical Guitars Steel String Guitars Romantic Guitars Special Features/Options