Guitar Review

Featured Luthier: Stuart Mewburn*, London, England

Reviewed by: Donovan Raitt**

When I first picked up London based Luthier Stuart Mewburn's classical guitar, I knew that it was a truly unique instrument. From the fan-shaped headstock to its beautiful rosette, this guitar, aptly named the "Snowburn," (which is only the 14th guitar he has built) is an amazing instrument!

Mewburn's guitar is rather traditional in its design in that it features a gorgeous european spruce top with beautiful, dark rosewood back and sides, that really brings out the character of the guitar. The headstock features a rare Snakewood face with Mewburn's signature three-pronged headstock. Binding is also Snakewood. The stunning Northumbria tuning machines are individually carved and match the rest of the guitar perfectly. With a ratio of 1:18 as opposed to 1:16, accurate tuning is assured. Simply put, this is a breathtakingly beautiful guitar.

The neck of Mewburn's guitar is what sets it apart from the hundreds of independent Luthiers across the world. This is hands down, the best feeling neck on a classical guitar that I have ever played. The neck is rather thick, at about 1 1/8th with a nice smooth contour around the edges. It tapers from 21.5mm at the nut to 24mm at the 8th fret. The middle of the neck, however, is completely flat with no contour whatsoever, which results in the feel of more traditional thicker necks with the added speed and comfort of a flatter, smaller neck. Combined with the lower action and perfect intonation (I couldn't find a buzzing note anywhere), this guitar is a dream to play.

The projection of the guitar is breathtaking. Never have I played a guitar that produces such an even tone across the lower and higher registers with such clarity and punch. Mewburn's bracing design combined with the rosewood back and sides of the guitar results in an extremely loud guitar, as the player has to work much harder to play quieter dynamics than louder ones. The bass strings ring with warmth and smoothness while the treble strings have a very appealing clarity to every note.

Mewburn's "Snowburn" no.14 design is a design that all classical guitar players will yearn for. The amazing neck, combined with the warm, even sounds are the result of the amazing quality and workmanship that Mewburn puts into his guitars. In fact, the only downside to this guitar is that I have to give it back, as I would love to have a guitar that plays as well as this one!!!





* Stuart lives and works in London. He may be reached at 51 Sunderland Road, Forest Hill, London
SE23 2PS Tel: +44 (0) 208 6991878. For more information, please visit Stuart's website,, URL: E-mail:

**Donovan Raitt is a gifted musician & composer living in Los Angeles, California. He may be reached at