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An Interview with Michael Thames

Michael Thames builds concert classical and flamenco guitars. In fact, he builds a lot of them: over seven hundred guitars over his thirty year career. He and I chatted about how he got started building, trends in guitar building, some of his influences, his instruments, strings, and much more.

Michael also is an avid youtube user and uploads videos of his guitars regularly.

5 Responses
  1. 2009 September 4

    Hey that was a fantastic interview. I had never heard of him before. I like what he was saying about that non-second that your nail plucks the string and the responsiveness of that instant being important. Also interesting what Scott Tennant told him about playability. But now I would like to hear an interview with someone who is a Romanillos proponent. Have you ever heard of Bill Nesse? Maybe you could try interviewing him?

  2. 2009 December 16
    Jonathan Merow permalink

    Hi there!

    I don’t even know why Michael Thames calls himself a luthier.

    Someone who does not even know about Torres domed soundboards and needs forums to ask about that kind of stuff, is not someone whom I would like to have build me a guitar.


    • 2009 December 16

      I own a guitar made by Michael, and it’s great. It seems it started that discussion to have just that: a discussion. It’s okay for people to discuss the interpretation or meaning of things.

      Whether or not you respect Michael’s knowledge, he’s built over 700 guitars, and has many satisfied customers (including me). I really fail to see why I should care if he asks about Torres online. My guitar is still great if Michael knows about Torres or doesn’t.

  3. 2010 August 8
    Sojourn6 permalink

    I am a total flesh player, studied with Hector Garcia here in New Mexico, Pujol’s teaching assistant, and play Pujol and the entire style of flesh only style. The Thames guitars to my mind are amazing. Lightness, presence, quality of sound, and tone the the most important thing to the guitar. I own many LOUD guitars, but playing an African Blackwood Milburn is far different than playing a more Torres style instrument, and light, of Sebastian Stenzel. It is sort of like comparing a Bozendorfer to a Steinway, very different. The guitar should be selected to your “aim”, and more and more I am drawn to very traditional, elegant and seductive sound. Thank you for the great web site and the wonderful comments from players and builders alike. My favorite player with flesh only is Rob Mackillop and his playing is amazing, listen to his Canto Fuego by DeFalla and you will understand…the music has a feel, breath, and presence unlike any other posting on the net.

  4. 2011 July 6

    Thames’ guitars have a consistent quality and a really good sound. I’ve seen, heard and played quite a few. He knows what he’s doing, for sure.