Luthier Focus

Luthier Focus: Leo Buendia

It is fair to say that some of the most desirable luthier's and instruments in the world right now have come from the Somogyi apprentice programme, brands like Beauregard, Matsuda, Kostal, and Leo Buendia have carved an incredibly successful career and cemented their names into the guitar world forever. Each with a unique voice and design, but with Somogyi in their DNA, every single ES apprentice instrument that comes via The North American Guitar showroom quite simply put, takes our breath away.

Building instruments which, at the core have a deep-rooted belief in the value of music and craftsmanship, ES apprentice Leo Buendia is without a doubt one of the most talked about and requested luthiers on our roster. In a relatively short time from leaving the ES apprentice programme, Leo has fast become a household name in the high-end custom guitar world, with an already staggering waiting list for his instruments. An incredibly calm and humble man, Leo is a true master craftsman who builds guitars that as a client of ours once put it are 'Perfect'.

In this week luthier focus we dive into the man behind the voice of Buendia Guitars, Leo Buendia...

Leo Buendia.

With the perspective and experience of a performing musician, Leo began his career as a luthier in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Years later, he moved to Oakland, California to specialize in the construction of high-end steel string acoustic guitars in a 40 months apprenticeship to the one and only Ervin Somogyi. After that, ~Leo very quickly founded Buendia Guitars and within a short time had orders from dealers and clients all over the world. Leo builds one-of-a-kind custom guitars with the depth of sound and immediate response desired by professional musicians and guitar lovers around the world.

"The process of discovering together with my clients exactly what it is they want or need, be it over phone calls, visits to the shop, or lunch, is what makes me feel sure that what I’m doing has significance. While my teacher’s lineage is apparent in every guitar I build, my goal is to maintain a beginner’s mind so that every guitar can be as truly unique as its player..."

The Guitars, The Models, The Sound...

The Jumbo:

We have yet to take delivery of a Jumbo from Leo, but having played a few including an absolutely stunning Jumbo in Brazilian Rosewood that was heading to Paul Heumiller from Dream guitars, and all I can say is they are more like a rocket launcher than a cannon. A powerful and yet sweet voice the Buendia Jumbo is an incredibly articulate instrument that is a great all-rounder.

The Buendia Jumbo is a favorite body size of many artists who love a bigger, bassier sound, enveloping tone. It is an incredibly versatile guitar that is perfect or the singer-songwriter, as well as a solo concert instrument.

"With a slope-shouldered and narrow-waist, Jumbo’s feature a lot of body behind the strings, which gives these guitars a nice boost on the bottom end and a big, round tone. A Jumbo can project as strongly as a dreadnought and still have the warmth and balance of a concert acoustic..." Leo Buendia


  • Scale length 25 1/4″
  • Body length 20 1/2″
  • Upper bout 11 1/2″
  • Waist 9 1/4″
  • Lower bout 16 1/4″
  • Nut width 1 3/4″
  • String spacing at bridge 2 1/4″

MD - Modified Dreadnought

Anyone who knows Ervin Somogyi’s work will immediately recognize Leo's Mod-D (Modified Dreadnought) design. It’s a large-bodied instrument with a dreadnought-esq. profile, however, the waist is a bit tighter than a traditional dreadnought and more similar to that of a classical guitar. This innovative model remains a mainstay of artists who require acoustic volume without compromising the quality of higher frequencies.


  • Scale length 25 1/4″
  • Body length 20 1/2″
  • Upper bout 12″
  • Waist 10 1/2″
  • Lower bout 16″
  • Nut width 1 3/4″
  • String spacing at bridge 2 1/4″

OM - Orchestra Model.

Leo's Om is a modern-inspired design that includes wooden body binding and top purfling, a delicate rosette, ebony fingerboard with purfling line outline, scalloped X-bracing, a bone nut and saddle, and exquisite fingerboard position markers.

Played acoustically, Leo's OM model has a warm sound with a big sustain, a typical Somogyi-esque sound, along with a pleasant hint of compression. This model has large bass tones but well balanced with mids and super strong trebles.

This is one of the most versatile guitar size, big enough to handle it a large performance on stage, studio or home.


  • Scale length 25″
  • Body length 19 5/8″
  • Upper bout 11 1/2″
  • Waist 9 3/4″
  • Lower bout 15 3/4″
  • Nut width 1 3/4″
  • String spacing at bridge 2 1/4″

The OO

The OO model is a powerful small-bodied guitar that delivers an exceptional balance with a complex tone and remarkable projection. Its warm and intimate voice encourage players to explore expressive fields, and it is surprisingly voluminous considering its smaller size. It provides a very comfortable playing experience, and different fret-to-body configurations are offered at request. This is a great choice for fingerstyle in professional sessions and side playing, and its portability makes it extra convenient for both recording and composing.


  • Scale length 25″
  • Body length 19 3/4″
  • Upper bout 10 1/2″
  • Waist 8 3/4″
  • Lower bout 14 1/2″
  • Nut width 1 3/4″
  • String spacing at bridge 2 1/4″

The Clasical

Leo's classical guitar is able to deliver a superbly warm spectrum of tones. The dynamic range and the colour palette are wide and very easy to control, with a clear voice that is extraordinarily powerful with lots of sparkle and balanced with excellent separation, as you would expect in a quality Cedar guitar


  • Scale lenght 25 5/8″
  • 12 frets to the body
  • Body lenght 19 1/4″
  • Upper bout 10 1/4″
  • Waist 9″
  • Lower bout 14 1/2″
  • Nut width 2 1/16″
  • String spacing at bridge 2 5/16″

Just arrived & Incoming GUitars...

Pre Owned Buendia Guitars Modified Dreadnought

'The Tree' Mahogany & Master Grade Adirondack Spruce


This absolutely phenomenal Modified Dreadnought in premium grade 'Tree Mahogany' and Master Grade Adirondack Spruce is back in our London showroom and available in our 'Pre Owned' section.

Built and delivered to us last year (2018) after the Holy Grail guitar show we are incredibly excited to have this sensational piece back on our walls. This guitar is set in one of the most staggering sets of Premium grade Tree Mahogany for the back and sides and aesthetically is hard to surpass. But it is the tone that really sets it apart, going against much of what we know and love from your typical mahogany guitar. As you would expect from a MD (Modified Dreadnought) body shape there is plenty of power and drive in the low end, but paired with the complexity of this sensational set of The Tree, there's a shimmer and sparkle in the highs that can only be described as Brazilian Rosewood esq. Giving a beautifully full, rounded and blossoming note that has depth, clarity, and warmth...utterly exceptional.

  • Soundboard: Master Grade plus Adirondack top
  • Back and sides: Highly quilted ‘The Tree’ Mahogany
  • Back Braces: latticed Honduran Mahogany
  • Cutaway: Florentine
  • Rosette: Hand carved Celtic geometrical w/green burl Maple design
  • End graft: custom hand carved Celtic geometrical design
  • Wedge: Manzer style tapered body
  • Purfling: green colored purling
  • Fingerboard: custom inlay from 3rd. to 19th
  • 14th-fret to the body fingerboard
  • Finish: French Polish
Bridge: hand carved ebony
Bridge pins: ebony with pearl dots
  • Binding: ebony with black/green purfling
  • Top braces: Sitka spruce
  • Saddle: 2 1/4” string spacing compensated bone

  • Nut: 1 3/4” width scalloped and compensated bone
Neck: one piece Honduran mahogany

  • Head-cap veneer: wood combination

  • Back of Head-cap veneer: Ebony

  • Tuning Machines: Gotoh 510 Series stealth in gold w/black buttons
  • Fingerboard: ebony with ebony binding and white maple purfling
  • Position markers: MOP dots
Fret wire: medium Nickel-Silver 18%
Fretboard Radius: 20”
Case: custom carbon fiber Hoffee hardshell black exterior, red interior.
  • Scale Length: 25.25” for Mod-D

  • Strings: John Pearse light .013-.053

OM African Blackwood / German Spruce Cutaway.


We are incredibly excited about this incoming OM in master grade African Blackwood from Leonardo Buendia. His OM's are admired from every corner of the world and we think this one is going to be rather special.
  • Soundboard, Old growth German Spruce
  • Back and sides, Master grade African Blackwood
  • Cutaway, Florentine
  • Rosette, Custom segmented broken Buendia
  • End graft, Custom design matching rosette
  • Back strip, Custom interrupted
  • Position markers, Custom sticks
  • 14th-fret to the body fingerboard
  • Bridge, hand sculpted ebony
  • Bridge pins, ebony with pearl dots
  • Binding, ebony with black/white purfling
  • Saddle, 2 1/4” string spacing compensated bone
  • Nut, 1 3/4” width scalloped and compensated bone
  • Neck, One piece Honduran mahogany
  • Head-cap veneer, ebony or choice of other wood
  • Back of Head-cap veneer, matching the back or choice of other wood
  • Tuning Machines, Gotoh 510 Series stealth in gold
  • Fingerboard, ebony with ebony binding and white maple purfling
  • Truss-rod, light·weight double action
  • Fret wire, medium Nickel-Silver 18%
  • Fretboard Radius, 20”
  • Case, custom carbon fiber Hoffee hardshell case (choice of color)
  • Scale Length, 25” for OM
  • Finish, Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Strings, John Pearse light .013- .053 or choice of brand

Buendia Guitars Bespoke Build Slot for 2021 (35% Deposit) - £4,025.00

This build slot with Buendia Guitars for 2021 is available now, and can be secured today with a 35% deposit of £4,025, based on the starting price of £11,500 for a Buendia guitar.

For more information on Leo Buendia and his phenomenal instruments please contact us on +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or email us on

Have a wonderful weekend.



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