The Andamento Guitars

I’ve made a rosewood and a maple Andamento guitar. They are decorated in a European tradition of mosaic inlay work in which inlays cover a surface entirely. Each piece of material is called a Tessera (plural: tesserae). Andamento is the technical word used to describe the movement and flow of Tesserae.

The current aesthetic in high-end guitar making and ornamentation includes some beautiful but complicated and time-consuming mother-of-pearl and abalone-shell inlay work.  A number of highly skilled practitioners of this art form have mastered these techniques and come to the fore, doing work of unprecedented originality. Their best work will undoubtedly wind up in museums and private collections.  My preference is to work with wood instead of with mother-of-pearl and abalone; in the Andamento guitars the work is all wood mosaic inlay. 

It is actually micromosaic inlay; eleven separate small designs were created for it, each tile comprising of 200 separate tiny pieces of wood.  There are some 200 tiles altogether, using all the patterns.  Each tile is half the size of a dime.

A main rule of aesthetics is: don’t overdo it, dude . . . and I didn’t think that it would work all that well to plaster the Andamento tilework all over the guitar indiscriminately.  That would be too much.  So the sides of the guitar are differently treated than the back is — but in a compatible and harmonious way . . . that takes the taper of the guitar body itself into account.  It’s pretty darn good work, if I say so myself.  I’m quite proud of it.

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