altamira guitars

Solid top guitars, hand crafted using Spanish construction methods to produce instruments of the highest quality.

Altamira Guitars are named after the Cave of Altamira in Spain, famous for its upper paleolithic cave paintings featuring drawings and polychrome rock paintings of human hands and wild mammals (the inspiration for the Altamira logo). It was the first cave in which prehistoric cave paintings were discovered and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With its name based on a traditional Spanish landmark, and with the classical guitars' deep Spanish roots, Altamira guitar luthiers strive to follow in the footsteps of the great Spanish luthiers, obeying traditional Spanish construction methods to produce consistently high quality instruments at great value.


the making of an altamira guitar

Observe the high level of craftsmanship and finesse involved in the making of an Altamira guitar. All instruments are hand crafted based on traditional Spanish construction methods from premium rosewood, spruce and cedar woods, and are all solid top guitars. Solid top guitars use one solid piece of wood for the top (soundboard) of the guitar. Laminate top guitars (which are significantly cheaper) use a mixture of woods combined as a mesh. The top of the guitar is the vital component for generating sound, vibrating as a string is plucked. With solid top guitars, the more this soundboard vibrates, the more this single piece of wood adapts and 'opens up' which improves the quality of sound as the guitar ages over time. This is not the case for laminate guitars which have more rigid tops and thus do not experience this improvement in sound quality. All Altamira guitars (ranging from the entry level 'Basico' up to the professional series concert guitars) are solid top guitars.

altamira guitars demo

Listen to Altamira Ambassador Ken Murray play a range of Altamira guitars (from the entry level Cedar-top Basico, to the concert Spruce-top L'Orfeo). Ken has developed a singular path as a guitarist combining performance, composition, teaching and research. He has championed and recorded Spanish music from the early twentieth century, worked extensively with contemporary composers and has been active as a performer of Brazilian and South American musical styles. Composition is increasingly becoming a focus and he has written a variety of works for guitar in solo and ensemble settings. As a teacher he has over twenty years of experience at home and overseas. He studied guitar with John Griffiths, Susan Ellis and Michael Christoforidis and holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Melbourne. After graduation he attended numerous summer schools and performed in lessons and masterclasses with guitarists such as Leo Brouwer (composition and arrangement), Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch. He has a strong commitment to performing contemporary music and has performed in premiere performances of over 100 works. An integral part of his activities has been working with Australian composers. He enjoys ongoing collaborations with composers such as Matthew Hindson, Stuart Greenbaum and Thomas Reiner. Pieces written for him include works for solo guitar, electric guitar and CD, electric guitar and ensemble, guitar and voice, large chamber works and music theatre pieces featuring guitar.