Half block and half double side

Oct 11, 2023

Half block and half double side

Today we show you the alternatives that we had to use in the construction of guitars due to the shortage of cypress that occurred in the 70s and 80s.

In addition, we explain the transition from the split butt to the full butt and we highlight the importance of the double hoop system of our Ramírez family, something characteristic of some of our guitar models.

Sycamore as a replacement for cypress

In the 1970s and early 1980s it was impossible to find cypress wood, which we use for the double inner sides of our Tradicional guitar (the one that was then the only professional classical model, named 1ª, or 1A).

Likewise, coinciding with the creation of the Cámara guitar, in which a double inner half side was placed, where the fin rests, and which was dyed in a dark tone to match the outer rosewood side, we began to use sycamore as a substitute of the cypress, and we also used the half block on which the fin leans.

From split cylinder head to whole cylinder head

For many years we continued to use the sycamore half double sides and half block on the Tradicional guitar, without Cámara as well, not only because of the scarcity of cypress, but because we thought the sound was good with this system, although we later found that the half bock added nothing to the sound, which was the same with or without that system.

And we thought this because our idea was that, by not being glued to the top, it left it freer since the entire top was glued to the sides only with the “zoquetillos”(1), except, of course, the block, with which we assumed that a greater freedom of vibration in the top would increase the power. Seeing that this was not the case, we returned to the whole block on the Tradicional guitar, leaving the half block only for the Cámara.

Return to the use of cypress

When we were able to get cypress again for the double inner sides, we stopped using the sycamore and went back to the full double sides, to recover the shades of sound that the cypress provides, different from those provided by the sycamore (the cypress adds brightness to the sound).

I take this opportunity to clarify that the double-sides system, made of rosewood on the outside and cypress on the inside, created by my father JR III, is not plywood, as some customers have told us on some occasions, but two pieces of solid wood glued together each other to obtain a certain sound effect, characteristic of our Tradicional guitar.


(1) Zoquetillo is the Spanish name of the small little pieces of wood used to glue the top to the sides

Amalia Ramírez
Aug 3 of 23

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