Gijs de Wit
About the maker
About my guitars
All instruments I make are "one-of-a-kind's". I often work on two or three guitars at the same time, but I don't make series. This way of working enables me to pay as much attention to each instrument as possible whilst providing me with enough space for further development. Meanwhile I'm constantly looking for ways to enhance the individuality and visibility of my styling; it always comes down to finding the balance between my sense for innovation and my love of tradition.
For tops I use any true tonewood that feels right when I look at it and touch it. In my opinion all that matters is the concept; the combination of bracing pattern, dimensions, weight and elasticity, the way the forces are devided and the species of wood used. For me the concept is more important than the wood itself, or as the number of growth rings per inch, but from an aesthetic point of view I love these fine grained perfectly quartered boards.
Tonewoods I have in stock are:
Alaskan Yellow Cedar
Port Orford Cedar
Backs and Sides
Same approach here; In the First place I want to have a good feeling about a piece of wood, I'll feel it and tap it and I listen. Aesthetic considerations do play a role and stability is also very important; as little inner tension as possible and preferably old.
I have in stock:
Quilted African Padouk
Currently I'm Using 4 different types
16 inch Steelstring
I use whatever I need; the 16 inch steelstring for instance has a "radial"-bracing, with lots of sustain and great single-note-power, the classical has a more traditional "fan"-bracing, much like Hauser/Bouchet, the Jazz has a sort of "radial+block"-bracing while the Fanfret has a delicate "X"-bracing.
Stiffer sides will conserve the guitar's shape better over the years and stiffer sides can handle more tension which allows the top to vibrate more freely. That's why I laminate all of my sides in changing configurations; the 16 inch steel has sides consisting of 4 layers of 0,6mm veneer vacuum pressed on a specially made mold. The Jazz has sides consisting of 2 layers of 1,2mm with a very thin layer of silk in between for extra strength and reduced risk of cracking.
In order to spread the forces inside the guitar I sometimes use carbon-fibre rods. I always try to use them in such a way, that you can't "hear" them; I prefer the sound of wood and I only use carbon to relieve the top.
Lightweight Honduran Mahogany or Cedar are my favorites when it comes to sound. But due to their low stiffness they respond to any change in temperature or humidity and can cause dead spots because, for a neck they vibrate a little too easily. Harder, denser wood will make a solid neck with less dead spots but will add a certain "harshness" to the tone. That's why I make my necks out of lightweight woods with a carbon reinforcement so deep in the neck, not directly under the fretboard, that you can't hear the carbon. This enables me to combine the true sound of softer wood with enough stiffness to prevent dead spots while having a very stable and featherlight neck. To make it even better I cover the back of the neck with beautiful hardwood-veneer before I glue on the heel and headstock. One could choose to keep the back of the neck unfinished, no problem. Because I use a seperate headstock and heel, I'm able to select these parts purely for strength and beauty, a heavier hadstock makes a "tighter" sound and is strong where necessary. Finally I'd like to mention that, on my steelstrings, I use a custom made titanium trussrod that adds almost no extra weight to the neck.
Here is the very guitar in an instruction video of how to dismantle it for travel, incorporating the tailpiece that Gijs designed for the instrument