Friday, June 10, 2011

Luthier Simon Fay : Fay Guitars

About Simon Fay and Fay Guitars from

Simon Fay is one of the very talented Luthiers of contemporary generaton with a modern interpretation of guitar. While on track to begin graduate studies in Virology, Simon Fay made the rather unusual transition to instrument building.

In his own words, "I think the most promising characteristic of a great luthier is a drive for perfection. It makes little sense to spend 150 hours on an instrument just to make it okay. And I think that is why I love lutherie so much. It is a great expression of spontaneous creativity and purposed design. It is both intellectual and hands-on. And it is more than just fine woodworking. Because it is a blending of those skills with the mediums of art and music. In summary, I have found few things more satisfying than stringing up a guitar for the first time - knowing that all my hard work will be passed on to another to be used as a springboard for their own passion and creativity."

Simon describe his preferences as, I use both traditional and non-traditional woods for back/sides. There are a wide array of exotic hardwoods that make phenomenal sounding instruments. Many of these exotic woods can behave badly during the bending process and fracture easily or form ripples and uneven surfaces. However, because I use “double sides” I am able to bend these woods at a thinner thickness and also laminate them to an interior wood (like Mahogany, Limba, or Spanish Cedar) that is exceptionally stable and crack resistant. Therefore, using double sides allows me to work with tonewoods that would otherwise be problematic.

He adds, Tonal criteria aside, I also place great emphasis on obtaining soundboards with little to no run-out. Noticeable grain run-out causes each half of the soundboard to reflect light differently resulting in a light side and a dark side. The fine grained tops like Engelmann and German are especially prone to having run-out. I work with a wide variety of tops including Sinker Redwood, Caucasian Spruce, Swiss Spruce, and Carpathian Spruce.

Simon chose to focus his efforts on only one model, Modern OM, which is currently the only model he offers. He has redefined every aspect of OM design over the years. Simon describes his Modern OM as "a contemporary redesign of the traditional Martin OM that is heavily influenced by the elegance and beauty of the classical guitar." He adds, "I approach the process with a strong emphasis on clarity, note separation, and balance but not at the expense of tonal complexity and warmth. The response is lively and vibrant with excellent volume and projection. This design is versatile and can accommodate a wide variety of playing styles from melodic fingerstyle to heavy strumming. Currently, it is the only model I offer."

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