Luthier Leonardo Buendia’s New Shop

As mentioned in a previous post, Leonardo Buendia, one of Ervin Somogyi’s current apprentices and an amazing up and coming builder, is wrapping up his 3 year apprenticeship with Ervin and is moving to his own shop in Oakland, California.

We caught up with Leo and asked him a few questions regarding his new shop.

1) Where will the shop be located? Why did you pick there?

Leo: My new workshop is located in East Oakland.  I was offered the space by Lewis Santer, whom I’ve known for 3 years and who for a long time shared this same space with Michi Matsuda.  Lewis has been in this shop for 10 years and it’s well-equipped and already set up in a very smart way.  It’s a pleasure to be able to work with Lewis, who was also Ervin Somogyi’s shop manager for many years.  The transition is going smoothly – I’m getting back into my rhythm quickly.

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2) How are you configuring your shop? Why will it be configured this way?

Leo: Since everything was already set up for the construction and repair of guitars, I’ve only had to put together two benches–one in the dry room and one in the common space.  In the dry room I’m going to keep all of the wood I will be using for the guitars commissioned for these next few years.  The dry room is also where I will be doing all of the gluing.  I will be using the bench in the common space for shaping, scraping, sanding, etc.

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3) Any sources of inspiration that you can point to in your new shop?

Leo:
Ervin Somogyi’s shop, of course, is a big inspiration for how I would like my shop to look. I love the use of different workstations and I’m emulating that.  It allows my work to be very efficient.  I also took away from my experience at Ervin’s that it’s extremely helpful to have plenty of backstock of blocks, braces, fingerboards, pre-bent sides, pre-bent binding, etc.

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4) Any neat facts about your building process in your new shop that you’d like to share?

Leo: In the near future I will be working on designing a different kind of headstock.  So far I’ve been molding the heads in the style of a classical/Spanish guitar.  In Argentina we play Spanish guitars, so I’ve always liked the headstocks I learned to make with Ervin, which are reminiscent of these. Now that I will have more time for experimentation and designing, I am going to make headstocks with a more modern style, while still avoiding the symmetrical and conventional.  This new design is more like that of my fanned fret guitar.  Another change that’s coming is that in about 6 months I will begin with a new model, the OO.  The big sound that it makes is very surprising given its small body. In fact, it’s the guitar I plan to make for myself.

Click here to learn more about an Incoming Leonardo Buendia OM Build

Click here to watch Paul interview Leo Buendia at this year’s Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival.

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