Arima Guitars by Iker Rodriguez Interview
NAME: Iker Rodriguez
NICK NAME : Arima Guitars
LIVING IN : Ortuella (Basque Country), Spain
TRAINING & BACKGROUND: I studied lutherie at the BELE school (basque school of violin making) for four years, where I obtained a scholarship to work for six months with the luthier Mirko Borghino, in the north of Italy.
LUTHIER YOU ADMIRE THE MOST: Many… I couldn’t say just one and that I admire the way of construction of many very different luthiers among them, each luthier can inspire me in a specific thing, the list would be endless: Borghino, Buendia, Greenfield, Dion, Ken Parker, Astrand, Taran, Rassmussen, Jeremy Clark…
INSTRUMENT YOU DREAM TO HAVE ONE DAY: An Antonio Torres guitar !!!
LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT: Pipo Romero “Ikigai”
LAST MUSIC SONG YOU PUT IN YOUR CAR: David Ramirez “Lover, Will You Lead Me?”
LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO : Metallica, Hellacopters and Nothing but thieves at San Mames stadium
MOST IMPRESSIVE INSTRUMENT YOU EVER HAD IN HAND: An 1700’s Stradivarius violin
MOST STRANGE RESTORATION OR REPAIR YOU HAD TO DO : A Ramirez guitar from 1810
First I imagine the guitar model I want to create, and I imagine what kind of musician would need such a guitar,
I also think about the kind of voice I want to achieve.
Once I have that in my head I start designing that new guitar model, first I start with the size of the body, its depth and its shape.
Once I have the body defined I think about the scale, the fret-body joint, the size of the sound hole, the bracing…
I do the whole design process from the computer, it seems to me an essential tool to be totally precise and so I can make the design in a very visual way.
Currently I have designed two guitar models, Kea and Sua.
Kea: It is my interpretation of a medium guitar, a little bigger than an OM guitar.
My idea when designing this guitar was a model that is completely versatile, a guitar with a balanced voice and a medium size that can fit the needs of the vast majority of guitarists.
Sua: This model is my interpretation of a large model, also intended as a versatile guitar but trying to enhance the low frequencies and deep voice. Designed for musicians looking for a guitar with a big body and a powerful voice.
My philosophy as a builder is simple, to build the best guitars I am capable of.
For this I try to improve myself day by day and train myself as much as possible; I also like to take as much data as possible to be able to perfectly understand the behavior of each of the guitars.
I think that in the construction of an instrument the wood has a great influence on the final result of the instrument, but the construction technique and the luthier’s philosophy seem to me to be equally important.
I don’t think that there are good or bad woods,
I think that there are some woods that can be more appropriate to achieve the voice and sound qualities that the guitarist needs, therefore, it seems to me of vital importance the communication between luthier and client to achieve the best result.
I think that the most important thing for a buyer who decides to order a guitar from a luthier is to try many different guitars, with different bracing, different woods, different construction techniques… to have a clear idea of what should be the characteristics of his instrument.
I believe that building a custom instrument for a customer is a big responsibility,
so I try to understand perfectly what the customer is looking for with that guitar, what kind of sound he is looking for, what is his way of playing…
There are times when the client is very clear about what he wants, the scale, the fretboard radius, the neck curvature, the woods… in that case everything is easier since part of the way is already clear.
In other cases, the client may have a clear idea in his head but does not know exactly what the specifications are; in that case it is a very enriching task to understand what he wants and to be able to offer him different possibilities until reaching a final result.
Currently the waiting list for one of my guitars can be around a year and a half approximately.
I live in the Basque Country, originally it was not a territory with a tradition of violin making but during the last years it is having a recognition thanks to the school of violin making BELE (Basque School of Violin Making), which has been working in the professional training of violin makers for thirty years.
On the other hand, Spain is the epicenter of classical and flamenco guitar with a great tradition and history that has a deserved worldwide recognition. There are many luthiers of classical and flamenco guitars that I admire very much and I have many colleagues in this guild who are dedicated to build nylon string guitars.
I was trained as a luthier in BELE building and repairing bowed instruments (violin, viola and cello), at the same time, self-taught I started to build some acoustic guitars until my last year as a student I got the scholarship to work with Borghino, in Italy I could know the construction of archtop guitars, which is the perfect union between a guitar and a bowed instrument.
I have not yet delved into the construction of a nylon string guitar, but I have a design in mind that in the future will be within my models.
I think the work you are doing from Lutiers.com is very enriching to give visibility to the whole world of lutherie, from the guitar builder to the wood seller or the school of lutherie.
At the moment, the way to acquire one of my instruments is through me.
I always have the door of my workshop open for anyone who wants to visit me and thus be able to observe how I build my guitars or try some of them.
I am currently building two guitars to take to some guitar show, my intention was to have been able to go this year to several shows but due to several problems it has been impossible, I hope that during the year 2023 we can see each other in several international guitar shows .
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