Marfione Curly Maple Romantic Guitar

Lacote Style Romantic Guitar with Curly Maple Back/Sides

My Five-Piece Back Lacote Style Guitars have evolved over time as a result of a desire to build a traditional early 19th Century guitar with a bit more ornamentation without going overboard. The segmented back and double book matched sides with a center inlay provides me with the opportunity to choose from a broader selection of domestic curly maple as I can glean enough wood from a 2.5'' x 2.5'' x 30'' board for a back and side set. Under normal circumstances I would have to start with a minimum 8'' board for a customary two-piece back.

As I do with all of my romantic guitars, I laminate 1mm Sitka spruce to in this case curly maple to make up both the back and sides of these instruments. Necks are two-piece bookmatched curly maple. I have developed my own v-joint that I machine out on CNC machine and then hand fit and finish to join the headstock and neck together

I've built this guitar with both Sitka an Italian spruce tops. Both are very pleasant to the ear, with the Sitka producing a more nasal sounding instrument, which makes it an appropriate choice for early music, whereas the Italian spruce is generally makes for a sweeter sounding instrument. I certainly will entertain building this guitar using other species of spruce as well as cedar.

The rosette, purflings, are combinations of white and black dyed maple. Binding and headstock, front and black plates, and bridge are Macassar or Gabon ebony, as is the fingerboard.

My initial guitars incorporated a simple V mortise and tenon joint. However, I have since then changed over to a bolt-on neck joint, which has several advantages. First and foremost, I wanted a joint that was easily serviceable and adjustable. As these are ladder braced instruments, I felt it prudent to have a means of easily changing the neck angle without having to resort to steam or heat to release the neck joint.

Second and equally as important, I can work on the guitar as both an entire finished assembly (body and neck) or body or neck independently throughout the build process, which is certainly an advantage for me.

All of my guitars are French polished. The debate over the benefits of French polish over lacquer or polyurethane has been going on forever. We all have our own opinions on the benefits of one over the other. And as a majority of the iconic guitars have been French polished, and I'm a traditionalist at heart, I will continue to offer it as my only finish option. I find the look and feel of a French polished guitar most appealing. I also have a lot of control over the thickness of the finish I lay down without having to bother with a lot of fancy equipment or burdened with a lot of safety concerns. The operative word here is thickness. What I'm looking for is the thinnest possible finish to protect the wood and minimize dampening, which can negatively affect the sound of the instrument. There is no doubt, French polish is more delicate than lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane, but it is infinitely easier to repair than any of its alternatives. I've resurrected several French polished instruments with little more than a soft cloth, some alcohol, varnish, and a bit of elbow grease.


Series Lacote
Model 5-piece back / curly maple
Size/Type Early Romantic
Top Wood Italian Alpine or Sitka spruce (Customer’s choice)
Back & Sides Curly maple with Sitka spruce lining
Binding Macassar ebony
Purfling Natural and black dyed maple
Bridge Macassar ebony
Rosette Half herringbone natural and black dyed maple
Finish French polish
Neck/Fingerboard Curly maple neck, Macassar ebony fingerboard
Headstock Plates Macassar ebony (front & back)
Scale Length Nominal 620 (actual 616)
Number of Frets 12 to body, 18 total
Fret Marker Inlays None unless specified (side markers only available on request)
Nut Width 45.25 mm
String Spacing at Saddle 48mm
Nut/Saddle Bone
Bracing/Build Lacote ladder bracing
Body Width 215mm upper bout, 276mm lower bout
Body Depth 75mm upper bout, 80mm lower bout, 85mm waist
Overall Length 885 mm
Tuning Machines Pegheads planetary tuners
Strings La Bella ERG #1 Early Romantic Guitar strings (nylon trebles, silverplated copper wound on nylon basses, medium tension)
Included Services Progress updates with photos, full professional setup