Rafal Turkowiak is one of the best living luthiers in the world, and his guitars will be likened to that of Fleta’s and Torres’ in 60 years time.
I contacted Rafal asking for a basic classical guitar on an extremely short notice, and he was able to build me a guitar very quickly. It was shipped out soon after and packed very well to keep it safe during its cross-continental journey. Rafal is responsive and kind, and a genuine pleasure to talk with. He’s knowledgeable about his craft and a very trustworthy person. In terms of the guitar itself the action is set perfectly on both the nut and saddle with a relatively low action height making it very easy to play. I am very picky about everything being absolutely perfect on my guitars as I used to work in the music industry as a guitar tech. The guitar is very light similar to a flamenco and the bass response is the greatest I’ve ever felt or heard while playing a traditional classical guitar. I chose the Western Red Cedar top, and I’m glad I did. The entire body reverberates against your chest on the bass notes with instant transient response. I would describe the tone as very woody, hollow, open, and snappy with a fast attack. I do find that the guitar is much brighter and deeper in person than I expected which gives it tremendous depth from highs to lows. After testing many sets of strings my favourite were the classic nylon red from Augustine which tamed the top end and gave it an intense fullness and depth… One of the best tones I have ever heard from any wooden instrument. The fretboard is ebony and hollowed out for the acoustic tubes, which I found gives the notes more character and tone from the fretboard itself. As a player this also directs more sound towards you which sounds fantastic while practicing. As you move your plucking hand towards the neck of the guitar the tone becomes warmer as traditionally expected, however the attack on the notes actually increases as opposed to most guitars which do the opposite. As your plucking hand moves back towards the bridge the tone becomes brighter and increases the dynamic range of the instrument as you would expect. The fret work is perfect from the first fret to the last, and the bow in the neck is set exactly as I would expect. There is no obvious buzzing on this guitar on any frets. The finish on the pau ferro back and sides, and cedar top is done very well. The sycamore neck is brilliant and stiff, which lends a crisp tone to the nylon strings, not to mention it’s stunning to look at. The tuning machines are some of the best I’ve felt as they turn very smooth with great accuracy. Tonally I can’t recall playing any classical guitar with this level of dynamic range and responsiveness. While you may get more wood character from a 100 year old Torres, you will never find another guitar with the depth and range offered here. Turkowiak makes the ultimate modern classical guitar destined to become a classical icon with age; this is the next generation of classical guitar design.