Greg Smallman

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John Williams playing his Smallman in 2005

Greg Smallman is an Australian elite classical guitar luthier known worldwide for his innovative guitar designs. Although his guitars are in outward appearance similar to a traditional Spanish classical guitar, there are numerous innovative differences.[neutrality is disputed] Among them is the use of a high, arched and carved back for the guitar, which is considerably thicker and heavier than a conventional guitar. The back is made of Madagascar rosewood, while the top is always made of Western Redcedar. The extreme thinness of the top combined with Smallman's unique system of bracing gives the guitar its high levels of volume and resonance. The top of Smallman guitars is braced using a "lattice" framework composed of balsa wood and carbon fibre. By contrast, most traditional classical guitars use struts made of cedar or spruce arranged in a "fan" shape.

The world-renowned classical guitarist John Williams is known to use Greg Smallman guitars.

In 1999 the Greg Smallman label changed to Greg Smallman & Sons Damon & Kym. Based for many years in Glen Innes, New South Wales, in 2002 the Smallmans briefly relocated to the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne. The Greg Smallman and Sons workshop is now located near Esperance, Western Australia. They are reclusive individuals being very difficult to contact, they do not advertise in printed media and did not have a website till 2012.[citation needed]

Greg Smallman is admired for the open way in which he shares his ideas.[citation needed] He does not hide them from fellow luthiers, nor has he patented them.[citation needed] A large number of luthiers worldwide have incorporated Smallman's design innovations into their own guitar designs.[citation needed]


"The Australian luthier, Greg Smallman has been responsible for a minor revolution in guitar design, bringing some subtle but important changes to the classical instrument that have had a more profound effect than those contributed by any other modern maker."

—Tony Bacon[1]

"What I find interesting and wonderful about Greg's approach, is that he starts from admiring the traditional - not knocking it, but wanting to know if it's possible to improve it in some way. He has quite clearly done that for me. Basically, he is making the guitar a more musical instrument."

John Williams in 1993[1]

"Smallman's significance to the development of the classical guitar worldwide places him on an evolutionary chart as successor to the heritage established by Torres and Fleta."

—Ron K. Payne [2]

"I feel that the loudness of Greg's guitars is a by-product of their musical qualities rather than an end in itself"


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Classical Guitar Book A Complete History" published by Backbeat Books
  2. ^ The Twang Dynasty A history of plucked stringed nstruments in Australasia from 1836 to 20011" published by Boss Publishing
  3. ^ [1], John Williams.

External links[edit]