Guitar Review

Review by Abbie Kaufman, staff reviewer

Luthier: Frederich Holtier

Description: 12-fret Slot-Head "OO"

Top: European Spruce

Back & Sides: Madagascar Rosewood

Misc: Ebony fingerboard and Pyramid bridge, Mahogany neck, Sloane-tuners, violin-type finish, solid linings

Well-known and highly regarded Classical and Flamenco luthier Frederich Holtier has recently decided to use his considerable talent to design and build a small-body, steel-string guitar. After spending some time with it, I am beginning to wonder how Frederich would feel if I told him that his guitar has become permanently attached to my body and that it would take major surgery to remove his guitar from my chest, lap and arms; yes, it is GREAT!

Small-bodied guitars are, by nature, intimate guitars. You hold them closely and feel their delicate nature. Dreadnaughts are BIG and most of us have to reach around the body to finger-pick or flat-pick. Small-body guitars require no reaching around to play them; they sit so comfortably in your lap and are there for the taking. The best ones, like Frederich's, sound "oh so sweet" because 12-fret design enables the bridge to be placed in the perfect spot.

Whereas dreads overpower, small-body guitars quietly and gently seduce the player and audience. Frederich's guitar is extremely well-balanced; no disproportionate highs nor lows. Its' balance, clarity of note separation, sustain and volume are stellar. I confirmed this by doing a little recording with it and it was a dream in the studio.

Fingerpicking is what this guitar does best and it does it very, very well. Frederichs Classical and Flamenco lutherie skills have served him in good stead. There are so many beautiful touches on this guitar that I want to mention two of them.

First, the build quality is SUPERB! This is one of the most well-built, meticulous instruments that I have ever seen or played. It just oozes QUALITY!

Second, the traditional, classical rosette is a very refreshing change. I like abalone as much as the next guy; I admire fine wood rosettes as much as the next guy. That said, I really appreciate the timelessness and tastefulness of a well-executed, artistic, Classical guitar rosette.

When I review a guitar that I think is great, I solicit the opinion of a friend of mine, who is a Professor of Guitar at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and one of the most in-demand session guitarists in LA. "El Profesore" was quick to confirm my thoughts and went on to praise the VERY high build quality of Frederich's guitar as well as the facts that it possesses balance, separation and volume in quantities that make Frederich's guitars, and Frederich, very special.

On a personal note, Frederich is one of those luthiers who lets his guitars speak for him, and, does not engage in advertising, so his name and his guitars have not received the widespread recognition that he and his guitars clearly deserve. Having said that, he had made guitars for quite a number of world-class guitarists who recognized his guitars as being superb instruments. Guitar buyers and players have a unique opportunity to work with a world-class luthier whose star is clearly rising.

To read a profile of Frederich, please click here.

For more information contact:

Frederich Holtier, 8036 Lewis Road, Olmsted Falls, OH 44138. Tel. (440) 235-3391. E-mail: URL: