Valerio Licari makes mainly classical and modern crossover guitars. Several stages of his training proved crucial to the development of his personal method. At the university in Rome he studied the history of musical instruments and the physical properties of sound. At the International School of Violin Making in Cremona he learnt the well-known Stradivarius method of bowed instrument craft. His internship in Malaga with master Daniele Chiesa had a massive influence on his approach to building Spanish guitars, which he built on during several active years in Granada, refining his personal style and method.
THE ZEN GUITAR
The ZEN guitar is a crossover model made for the modern musician who still wishes to continue playing in the nylon-strings tradition. This instrument offers countless musical applications. It is available in three versions (classical, fusion, flamenco), each one personalisable according to the client´s needs/wishes (neck width, string length, action, finish, inlay, etc).
For years, at Cremona, Valerio studied the Stradivarius method for bowed instrument construction according to mathematically perfect geometric proportions. He transfers these skills to his approach to the guitar. The
influence of the Italian style is also visible in his quest for simplicity and his minimal use of decorative elements.
The internal structure is designed according to a long and sophisticated acoustic analysis of the soundboard’s modes of vibration.
Moving the sound hole from the centre of the top is to benefit from a larger vibrating surface area is nothing new. In fact, Francisco Simplicio had already made classical guitars according to such a principle in 1929, having intuited the importance of such a modification to the traditional design.
An interferometric holographic analysis shows that in normal classical guitars, the upper area of the top are virtually innert. In the Zen, these areas are used for the inclusion of two soundholes. This way, the soundboard can vibrate more, benefiting from the central area in front of the bridge.
Spanish influence is visible also, above all in the use of the distinctive Granadino five-bar fan bracing. One can say that the Zen is the eclectic and pragmatic union of the Spanish and Italian lutherie traditions.
The ZEN is characterized by its powerful yet balanced sound with a rich sustain. It’s versatility meets all professional needs, both in the studio and on stage. In fact, the instrument can be equipped with very high quality electronics that take advantage of the opportunities given by both a piezo undersaddle and a hand-made contact microphone. This is the new Phantasma system, by Acus Sound Engineering and customized for the Zen guitar by Nico Di Battista.
Featured Guitar: The Zen guitar shown for the HGGS has the following specs:
BacK and Sides: Indian Rosewood
Neck: Honduras Cedar
String length: standard classical 650mm
Nut: standard classical 52mm
Fingerboard: African Ebony, 20 frets, radius compound
Frets: slim, classical size
Tuners: Shaller Grand Tune, snakewood pegs, anti-friction ball bearings, golden satin finish
Electronics: Acus “Phantasma” preamp + piezo + hand-made contact microphone
Price: 4700 € (hardcase included)
-Links to listen to the guitar:
My passion for the guitar as an ever-evolving instrument has led me to find new and innovative solutions, whilst staying true to traditional Spanish and Italian techniques. The HGGS is a great opportunity for me to present my work side by side with that of so many great colleagues.