Tony Ennis Classical Guitar 2019 - Red Cedar Top - Silver Tuners
Flamenco Chords & Bach Prelude to Cello Suite 1 (Guitarist: Xavier Ferdón) ©XGuitars Inc.
This beautiful instrument is made in Walhalla, South Carolina, by luthier Tony Ennis.
Tony's guitars are shockingly beautiful and powerful, partly thanks to an innovative interior bracing system developed by Tony that gives the guitar significantly more volume and sustain than nearly any other classical guitar we've ever played. Tony calls this the "Ennis Unibody Framing". This bracing system is shown in photos above. One very striking feature of his guitars is that the tone stays just as rich and full at even the lowest of volumes.
Top: Solid Western Red Cedar
Body Binding: Cocobolo
Neck: Spanish Cedar with carbon fiber reinforcement
Fret Markers: Located at frets 3, 5, 7, 9, & 12
Rosette: Redwood Burl with Abalone Dots
Fingerboard: Ipe (the 3rd hardest wood on Earth)
Fingerboard Binding: Ebony
Tuning Machines: Rubner
Upper Bout Width: 10.75"
Lower Bout Width: 14.5"
Upper Bout Depth: 4.125"
Lower Bout Depth: 4.125"
Body Length: 19.5"
Depth at Heel: 3.875"
Depth at Butt: 4.125"
Very slightly radiused fingerboard (40 inches)
Made in USA
So here goes...
I purchased this guitar based upon photographs, a sound sample provided by Geoffrey, and a description of craftsmanship provided by Geoffrey.
The final 19 point inspection by Geoffrey prior to shipping revealed a crack in the original cedar top which upon inspection had been repaired by the luthier at the time of construction,
Geoffrey called me after he had had a conversation with Tony Ennis. I was presented with several options: cancel order, purchase the previously repaired guitar, or have the luthier replace the top with a new one. I would have the option of listening to the sound quality before finalizing my purchase. I asked for the top to be replaced hopeful that the repair would be acceptable. A little over a month later I was informed that the guitar was ready to be shipped to me and that it was even better than before. I had update conversations with Geoffrey during the month prior.
I have had this guitar in my possession now for a few weeks. I wanted time to play and listen to this instrument prior to submitting a review,
As background I have been playing a Pavan TP30 since 2006. I can comfortably play Grade 5/6 repertoire and remain a work in progress with the Classical Guitar Corner Academy.
1. The guitar is strikingly beautiful to me. I can see no indication of the top replacement. The new cedar top is impressive with its linear striations. The Ipe fretboard is beautiful (sorry but Ipe is not the 3rd hardest wood per description.) Fret markers at 3,5,7,9,12 are so-counter culture. The raised fingerboard is a delight when near the 12th fret and beyond. The tone is marvelous with the Savarez high-tension strings. The Rubner tuners are spot-on mechanically and are a great aesthetic match with the Padauk side/back. The guitar case was of good quality (however I do not think I would ever hand over my enclosed guitar to any airline.) The guitar was definitely worth the wait and the cost.
2. X Guitars: It is difficult to be completely trusting when laying down $5,000 on an unseen guitar purchased from a dealer with whom you have had no prior relationship. I had placed a simple order of a couple of nail files and a string set to test the company's response prior to my ordering my guitar. I received the string/file order in a timely fashion; I even received a nice personal note from Geoffrey. I was sold that X Guitars was reputable. This was greatly reinforced by the quality of service during and after my guitar purchase.
3. Playability. This is a gorgeous instrument which I found so much easier to play when compared to my Pavan. The sustain is dramatic. I need to focus more on my string dampening since the sustain is so long! The 40 inch radius fretboard accepts a barre with ease. Vibrato is easy despite the high tension strings. The string height at the 12th fret for strings 1 and 6 was perfectly set. No buzzing.
Conclusion: Great XGuitar customer service....marvelous appearing and more importantly sounding classical guitar....outstanding playability. If you are sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to plop down $$$ for a new classical guitar....you can't make yourself into a virtuoso solely by buying a new guitar but you sure can sweeten the journey.