1. How do I consign an instrument with Chartwell Guitar?  I am happy to consign your guitar for sale, so long as it fits generally into my mix of instruments on hand. Meaning a quality, luthier built classical guitar, which of course includes flamenco. Guitars which are not in prime playing condition due to neck angle issues, string height problems, or other physical issues relating to the reliability and playability of the instrument can not be accepted. However, if the instrument is repairable, we can help you bring it back into good condition.  If you are interested in consigning an instrument, please contact me to discuss.
  2. What about custom ordering or trade-ins? Yes to both. Although the wait period with most luthiers is months if not years, it is possible to arrange for a guitar to be built to your specifications on an accelerated schedule, due to my relationship with that builder. It may be possible to find you a guitar similar to what you seek in the hands of a cooperating fellow dealer. I actually prefer a trade over a consignment if the guitar you are replacing would enhance my offerings. I like selling used guitars because they are unlikely to do anything physically that they haven’t already and they offer a buyer a guitar fully played in at a cost savings.
  3. How do I prepare a guitar for shipment?  Shipping guitars during severe weather, creating dangerous temperature extremes, is ill advised. If one must ship nonetheless, two day air is a must.  A sturdy cardboard box is required, with enough space to add packing materials on all six sides. Cradle the head of the guitar with packing material or a cloth inside the case. If the guitar does not fit fairly snugly in the case, add a soft cloth at the butt to prevent violent shifting if the guitar box is dropped in handling. Tuning down the strings is a good idea, and leaving some tension on the strings is best. Before placing the guitar and case into the shipping box, placing it into a plastic bag will insure against water damage, should the box become wet.
  4. What is the ideal humidity for my guitar, and what is the best way to keep it humidified?  Moisture–the lack or excess–is the greatest danger to your investment instrument. Most in the know agree the acceptable range is from 40% to 60%. While higher levels are less lethal, subtle changes due to swelling can occur, along with the degradation of sound coming from an over humidified guitar. If swelling occurs rapidly and significantly, such as moving a guitar from a safe environment into a very humid one, glue joints are at risk. This precision fitted masterpiece of joinery will not be happy if it suddenly balloons. Conversely, if that guitar goes dry, the shrinking will likely cause cracks. One notices string height changes, neck angle shifts, fret ends protruding as signs of excessive dryness. Using a humidifier or dehumidifier in the area you keep your guitar(s) is best, since the pads and worms that are inserted over the sound hole or into it can do water damage, leave stains, etc. And they are quite inconsistent in their effects. Some cases have devices built in that can do about the same thing. The owner of a fine guitar can do nothing more important in protecting the instrument than to keep it in its case. Additionally, in a case or no, use caution in severe heat and cold, avoiding the temperature in the case to go to extremes. If this occurs, one good way to respond is to let the guitar come back to proper temps slowly, by leaving it in the case for some hours.  A hygrometer is a guitar player’s best friend.
  5. Is there a “break in period” with new guitars? Yes, definitely. Many of the guitars on this site are still not at their potential best, since they are new and don’t have the hours of play that cause the woods to “open,” most likely meaning micro fractures through vibration, that render the materials less rigid. It is a noticeable change for the better. Likewise, a guitar formerly open can “go to sleep” through disuse. Spruce tops have a reputation for needing more regular playing time than do cedar tops.
  6. What recording equipment did you use on these videos, and are they enhanced? All recordings employed a MacBook and an Apogee MIC, with a USB chord directly into iMovie. No editing or enhancement of the sound is used. I am satisfied that the sound you are hearing is very much the sound you’d hear if in the room with me. I recorded in a home setting to approximate your playing environment.