Custom Guitar Orders

In this video, Chris demonstrates a newly-completed custom order guitar - a Model "000".

The Guitar

The top is Italian Alpine Spruce; the back and sides are Australian Blackwood; the neck is of Brazilian Mahogany; and the customer's request was for "a bit of bling".

This request was fulfilled with the border of solid New Zealand Paua shell and with the signature rose inlay on the fingerboard.

The purpose of the demonstration is to show the following characteristics of all of Chris Melville's guitars: long sustain and wide dynamic range.

The Recording

The audio recording was achieved with an M/S pair comprising a Neumann KM184 cardioid condenser microphone and a Cloud JRS-34 ribbon microphone. A Cloudlifter was employed to buffer the ribbon mic and to provide 25dB of gain. An AMEK Rupert Neve Dual Mic Amp was used as the microphone pre-amplifier and also as the M/S decoder.

No audio processing of any kind (equalization, compression, limiting, reverberation, noise reduction, etc) has been applied to the stereo recording of the guitar. The only "processing" is due to the limitations of video delivery over the internet.

To better experience the sound of this beautiful instrument, we recommend that you listen to this recording using headphones.

Whilst many professional artists have commissioned ‘a Melville’, they are often discovered by lovers of the instrument, when they find themselves at the workshop, looking to either repair or improve the guitar they are currently playing.

The first thing they hear in a ‘Melville’ guitar is the extraordinary level of sustain and harmonic richness expressed with real clarity and volume. There is no sacrifice of one quality for another and all are achieved with superb balance.

The next revelation, is how easy and effortless they are to play.

Every ‘Melville’ owner tells of how much more they play, simply because the instrument encourages them to.

Chris has always aimed to build guitars with as much dynamic range as possible, consistently and reliably delivered. Add to this the skills of a fine detail wood worker, you have not only a truly unique instrument but also an exquisitely beautiful one. A true master luthier with over 23 years experience, Chris has “pretty much seen, played and worked on, most of what is available.”

His critical and uncompromising approach to guitar repair and restoration work, has also provided a broad understanding to the complex art of building exceptional guitars.

A "Melville" is a guitar for life. One you will continue to discover year after year.

An individually handcrafted guitar should be a guitar for life. It must possess a genuinely large dynamic range or you will ‘grow out of it’. This means that a guitarist can play soft and the instrument is immediately responsive yet full, or the player can dig into the strings hard, especially the treble, and instead of thin metallic scratchiness, the guitar just gets louder, all the while remaining clear and full. Many guitars can sound quite OK when played softly but when dug into, there is no real increase in musical volume, only an increase in extraneous noise. The guitar must be able to stand alone as a true "Solo Instrument". In the world of "Concert Classical" playing, the guitar is often representing the entire orchestra, so it must be powerful, project well and sound full. This is the same approach I have adopted for my steel string guitars, particularly my 000 models.
Chris Melville
Chris Melville's guitars have a full, warm, singing tone and fantastic colour response. They are extremely well balanced with an even response throughout all registers. Harmonics and sustain are exceptional and the guitars record beautifully …
Karin Schaupp