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Luthier Focus: Ted Åstrand

Luthier Focus: Ted Åstrand – Åstrand Guitars:

 

Ted Åstrand of Åstrand Guitars shot to fame in the luthier world back in 2013 with the arrival of our first Å-OM Madagascar Rosewood. It didn’t take long before his name spread like wildfire among the Acoustic Guitar Forum members and orders started to flood in. He is now one of the most sought-after luthiers on the planet and has a three-year waiting list, as well as recently becoming a father and moving his workshop into a beautiful new space. Let’s look in a little more detail at the Swedish maestro that is Ted Åstrand:

History:

Before pursuing the art of lutherie, Ted had trained in both music, art and woodworking. He studied a three-year full-time guitar building course at The Academy of Musical Instruments in Stockholm, Sweden (alongside luthier friend and TNAG electric builder Tobias Lindberg of TLL Guitars), under fellow luthier master (and TNAG builder) Lars Rasmussen of Rasmussen Guitars. He mainly concentrated on building classical, steel-string and archtop guitars, receiving his bachelor’s degree in guitar building and passing the tests with honours for his journeyman's certificate as a luthier.

Ted was fortunate enough to become the first apprentice under world-class luthier Jason Kostal at Kostal Guitars, after speaking with musical master Tony McManus. He traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to work under Jason to learn the approach of building a modern steel string guitar and how to voice a guitar for maximum responsiveness.

Ted currently creates around 8-10 guitars per year, with each part of the guitar being made completely by hand and with simple woodworking tools to achieve perfection both tonally and aesthetically. He spends an astonishing 200+ hours working on each instrument. From start to finish the instrument is built during a period of 3-4 months, only using the very best materials available and never rushing any part of the process. He is a one-man shop by choice which means that he is able to focus solely on creating the highest quality craftsmanship, tone, and playability.

The Guitars:

Ted currently offers three body shapes, all beautifully crafted and offer an incredibly wide and dynamic and tonal range.

1) The Å-SJ:

The Å-SJ is Ted’s largest model with a lower bout width of 400mm. It has a tight waist and a relative small upper bout which makes it very comfortable to hold and play, and perceived as being a much smaller guitar than it actually is. Tonally it is beautiful, articulate with a deep, loud voice. Overall the Å-SJ is very responsive and perfectly suited for the fingerstyle guitarist.

Dimensions:
Length: 510 mm
Lower bout: 400 mm
Upper bout: 286 mm
Waist: 232 mm
Scale length: 25.5”
14th fret neck joint

Here is an absolutely stunning bespoke ordered Åstrand Å-SJ in African Blackwood and Torrified Adirondack Spruce we brought into the UK back in 2017.

Here is what Ted had to say about this guitar:

"This is the first ever Åstrand SJ to arrive at TNAG and only the second one built so far in my workshop. It's a new model that has quickly become one of my favourites, I'm looking forward to building plenty more of these in the coming years. It has some of the finest African Blackwood I've had the pleasure to work with paired with a torrified Adirondack top. Apart from the rich golden colour from the torrification it gives a very full and matured tone. With the tonal attribute from the Adirondack and my voicing technique it gives a very versatile instrument." Ted Åstrand

  • Sound Board - Torrified Adirondack Spruce
  • Back - African Blackwood
  • Sides - African Blackwood
  • Neck - Graphite reinforced Mahogany
  • Headstock Veneer - Ebony
  • Rosette - Ebony with Sapwood
  • Scale length - 25"
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Nut - Bone
  • Saddle - Bone
  • Bridge - Ebony
  • Bindings - Ebony
  • Tuners - Schertler with Ebony buttons
  • Inlay - Silver headstock logo
  • Case - Hiscox Pro II

2) The Å-OM:

The legendary Åstrand Å-OM is one of Ted’s most popular models, an incredibly dynamic and versatile instrument that is perfect for the contemporary fingerstyle player, the acoustic blues player and also flat picker. Plus it is as light as a feather but packs a big punch volume-wise.

The Å-OM is Ted’s interpretation of the perfect mid-sized guitar. It has a slightly larger lower bout than a standard OM and a smaller upper bout for better balance and comfort. It is built for maximum responsiveness and is a great fingerstyle guitar.

 

Dimensions:
Length: 497 mm
Lower bout: 385 mm
Upper bout: 276 mm
Waist: 227 mm
Scale length: 25,5” or 25”
14th fret neck joint

Here is an absolutely breathtaking bespoke build Åstrand Å-OM in Brazilian Rosewood and European Moon Spruce with an Amboyna burl rosette, we delivered to our client back in 2016.

  • Model: Å-OM
  • Back&sides: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Top: European "moon" spruce
  • Headcap: Amboyna burl (so nice!!)
  • Rosette: Amboyna burl
  • Bindings: Ebony
  • End Wedge: Amboyna burl
  • Nut width: 1 3/4" (44.5 mm)
  • Bridge string spacing: 2 1/4" (57.15mm)
  • Scale: 25"
  • Fretboard radius: 16"
  • Tuners: Gotoh 510
  • Custom options:
  • Soundport
  • Backstrip

 Å-OM – Slotted Headstock:

This was one of our favourite Å-OM's from Ted Åstrand. Built in an outrageously master grade Cocobolo for the back and sides and Alpine Swiss Spruce for the top, with a sound port and a Celtic Knotwork 12th fret inlay.

  • Sound Board - Alpine Swiss Spruce
  • Back - Cocobolo
  • Sides - Cocobolo
  • Neck - Graphite reinforced Mahogany
  • Soundport
  • Nut Width - 1.75"
  • Headstock Veneer - Cocobolo
  • Rosette - Ebony with Sapwood
  • Scale length - 25"
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Nut - Bone
  • Saddle - Bone
  • Bridge - Ebony
  • Bindings - Ebony
  • Inlay - 12th fret knotwood inlay
  • Tuners - Waverley with Ebony buttons
  • Inlay - Silver headstock logo
  • Case - Hiscox Pro II

3) The Å-O:

The Å-O is a parlor size guitar and is my smallest model. It is responsive like all of Ted's guitars and has a very comfortable size and shape. It includes a 13th fret neck joint which places the bridge at the “sweet spot” on the guitar’s top, it also gives easy access to the 12th fret. This guitar offers great clarity and projection and has a lot of volumes for it’s smaller size body.

Dimensions:
Length: 476 mm
Lower bout: 350 mm
Upper bout: 245 mm
Waist: 196 mm
Scale length: 25”
13th fret neck joint

 

What customers say about Åstrand Guitars:

Scott Robertson, Scotland

WOW, wow, wow. I don’t know what else to say about the guitar. It is absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in every way possible. The shape, the craftsmanship and attention to detail are all fantastic and a tribute to your craft and skill. I think I spent about an hour just looking at it and once I did pick it up and play, the sound was phenomenal, being very responsive to even the lightest touch whilst having great attack and sustain when needed. Every chord and string played just sprang out but never ever got muddled or lost.
The African Blackwood looks fantastic and I am only scared that I scratch it.

Alan Gogoll, Tasmania, Australia

I still have to pinch myself every time I play my Åstrand guitar, it really is a dream come true. From the first time an image of a headstock caught my eye to being moved to tears while listening to demo recordings I had to simply contact Ted to express my love and admiration for the work he was doing. After Ted’s first reply I knew I had to order one of his guitars. The love, passion and care he puts into each of his guitars overflows and I am inspired every time I pick mine up. Getting to know Ted over the last few years and then personally picking up the guitar and meeting his family was a wonderful experience. I not only have an absolutely stunning acoustic guitar but have also made life long friends. I was more than happy to leave the build process in Ted’s hands and he absolutely surpassed my expectations with the personal specifications I asked for. From the clean lines to the stunning dyed maple burl, Ted’s craftsmanship is breathtaking and the balance and control over the angelic voice of this guitar make it a true joy to play. I am not exaggerating when I say this guitar has enriched my life both musically and in friendship.

David Whigham, England

I am absolutely delighted with the guitar. Words cannot describe the sound that this instrument produces, it is simply superb, finding it difficult to put down at the minute!! I don’t know how Ted does it…he really is a master.

Hendrik Schulte, Germany

The look is pure, like an architect’s tool, incredibly nice, polished, all colors are natural..even the binding…wow…. Nothing artificial…And still as you say and it is true – this is a piece of Art. I cannot find any non-symmetry or any corner with any non-matching part. The look is reduced but same time top elegant and value looking. I think even any amateur will have first impression as wow…
Handling is great. Now it come to what I was looking for. A small guitar where the right shoulder does not need to put up so high.
I always have neck-issues with my bigger guitar. This one suits perfect.
And then: the neck… this is incredibly perfect. This is the best neck I have ever played!!!!!!! Wow..Even difficult licks were running the first moment like butter. I never thought that it could be that nice and suddenly I play much better than before 😉 We say here: “if the farmer cannot swim – it is due to swim-trouser” – in this case it is somehow true – I start swimming now suddenly.

Chad Fengel, Illinois, USA

My Åstrand Å-OM is probably the greatest guitar ever built! Oh, and is smells heavenly too.

Heiner, Heidelberg, Germany

When my Åstrand OM 2015 arrived, I was not sure to get the great sounding guitar as promised. But after short time it was obviously a clear, sweet and transparent sound never heard before of a steel string. And it gets better day for day. I can do and play songs I could not do so easily before, great!! Looking at the guitar it’s a secret beauty, her attraction gets evident on the second look, especially with all details like the string knobs and the small riders on the bridge, the wheels of the  tuners, the binding, the back strip a. s. o. Together with the specification list is obvious how complex, refined and accurate Ted’s work really is. It is perfect craftsmanship, and more than this: it is artificial work, that I admire very much. I would like in another life to do such work. Ted, be glad to have the chance to do such a work.

Ian Brown, England

It is a great guitar and I’d like to thank you for building me such a great instrument. It already sounds fantastic and I’m looking forward to its inevitable development over time. I’d also like to say that it has been great fun and a pleasure working through this project with you. Your ideas, particularly with regard to the aesthetic of the instrument, have proved to be outstanding. It really is a work of art as well as being a wonderful instrument to play.

Åstrand Guitars Price List:
All prices are in British Pound Sterling (£) and are Inclusive of VAT (value added tax)
Base price: £6,850 inc. VAT.

Standard Features:
*The base price includes all of the standard features.
Top: European ,Engelmann or sitka spruce top
Back & sides: East Indian Rosewood
Bridge: Rosewood or Ebony
Bridge pins: Ebony
Binding: Rosewood, Ebony or matching wood to back & sides with B/W/B purfling
End graft: Mitered triangular or rectangular
Top braces: European spruce
Back braces: European spruce
Neck: Honduran Mahogany (graphite reinforced)
Headstock: Solid with beveled edges
Headcap veneer: Rosewood, Ebony or matching wood to back & sides
Saddle: Compensated bone
Nut: Bone
Nut width: Custom
Fretboard: Ebony (including fretboard binding)
Fretboard radius: 16″ or 20″
Neck profile: Custom
Scale: 25.5” or 25”
Truss rod: Double action
Tuners: Gotoh 510 or Schertler
Body Finish: Thin high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer
Neck finish: Nitrocellulose lacquer or oil finish
Hardshell case: Hiscox Artist series

Additional Features available:

  • African Blackwood: £925
  • Madagascar Rosewood: £575
  • Curly Koa: £840
  • Sacha/Higuerilla: £315
  • Flamed maple: £265
  • Cocobolo: £650
  • Wenge: £260
  • Granadillo: £250
  • Brazilian Rosewood (Incl. CITES documentation):
  • Inquire Options: Cutaway: £550
  • Custom rosette: inquire
  • Mitered back strip: £160
  • Segmented mitered backstrip: £220
  • Custom backstrip: Inquire
  • Custom end graft: Inquire
  • Custom inlays: Inquire
  • Slotted headstock: £220
  • Soundport: £220
  • Custom scale: Inquire
  • Visesnut case upgrade: £845
  • Custom Hoffe case upgrade: £950

Available TNAG Bespoke slots:

2021 Build - 35% Deposit : £2,397.50

2022 Build - 35% Deposit : £2,397.50

Incoming Åstrand Guitars:

Åstrand Å-OM Brazilian Rosewood and European Moon Spruce - £12,450

This incoming Åstrand Å-OM Bespoke Build in Brazilian Rosewood and European Moon Spruce is going to be out of this world and one Ted and TNAG have been planning for some time now.  A beautiful OM Custom in Brazilian Rosewood and European "moon" spruce with a stunning 12th Fret inlay (TBD)

The Brazilian Rosewood for this instrument is some of Ted's finest collection. Imported to Sweden in 1952, has been air dried for the past 66 years, and produces an unbelievable tone that will ring for days. Of course, comes with all the correct CITIES paperwork.

Due for delivery early 2020.

The TNAG Bespoke Payment Process...

We are able to tailor a financial package to suit your circumstances, whether this is through any of our finance options, such as TNAG LayAway, Divido or DivideBuy finance.

We also offer our TNAG Buy with Confidence, where we offer a five-day ‘cooling off’ period for deposits to ensure you have made the right choice and, of course, we are here to assist in any way possible should your circumstances change.

So for more information on ordering your very own Åstrand guitar, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or email us here.

 

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