Ken Miller, a great and meticulous luthier, is now retired and is not taking any guitar orders. He started building in early 1960s and in the 1970’s worked at Guild Guitars in Rhode Island, in a variety of positions. He was a full-time luthier with his own brand of guitars from 1999 until retirement in 2015. His guitars are hard to come by – especially his classical guitars as he made only a small number of classicals over the years.
“I made all of my Classical and Flamenco guitars in 650mm scale, and with the body size and shape of this one,” said Ken in a recent conversation with us. “The Flamenco guitars had slightly different internals, lower bridge and were made with Spanish Cypress back & sides, and friction pegs. All I made, classical or flamenco, were 650mm scale. I think that those Spanish instruments from about 1900 through the ’30’s were the cream of the crop. I don’t care for the modern, larger classical guitars… My two guitar heroes were Santos Hernandez, and CF Martin.”
See/listen to a recording of this guitar being played, in the video posted here.
This classical guitar is 20 years old, but you can’t tell by looking at it, it’s near pristine in terms of play wear. It has a big, rich, lush sound. It really excels in the ringing Brazilian rosewood trebles. And it’s one of the few guitars you’ll find where you can get incredible nuance with just a light touch.
• Serial number: #70, made in 2003. (Signed as such on label)
• Old growth, dark Brazilian Rosewood back/sides, head plate overlay, binding and bridge. (Note, a few “eyes” in the Brazilian on back, were wormholes in the very dark, very old Brazilian that the luthier very well plugged before putting the guitar together.)
• The top, and internal bracings are Adirondack (Red) Spruce
• There are 7 slender fan braces with a thin horizontal brace under the bridge area between braces 1 and 7
• Ebony fingerboard
• Spanish Cedar internal lining as is the neck which has a graphite reinforcement. Fitted to the body with a traditional Spanish foot.
• Nut, saddle & bridge tie plate are Fossil Ivory.
• Nut is 51.5mm
• 650mm scale
• Handmade rosette
• Oil varnish finish
• Gotoh Deluxe tuners with Ivoroid tuner buttons
There is one, very small crack that’s difficult to see/photograph on the back of the guitar near the center seam that is near the area of the end pin.
The top of the guitar, with no cracks whatsoever, looks virtually unplayed, as does the fretboard and frets.
This guitar sold for $6,000 new, in 2003, and it’s about as close to that original ’03 condition as you can get. With its very dark, old growth Brazilian rosewood, it’s easily comparable in build quality, materials, and sound, to classicals in the $8-14K range today.
With modern case.