Greg Smallman

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Greg Smallman (born 19 June 1947 in Cronulla, Australia) is the first internationally successful non-traditional Australian guitar-maker. He is known worldwide for his innovative guitar designs[1][2] Although his guitars are in outward appearance similar to a traditional Spanish classical guitar, there are numerous innovative differences.[1][2]


Among the differences from the classical Spanish guitar is the use of a high, arched and carved back, which is considerably thicker and heavier than for a conventional guitar. The back is made of Madagascar rosewood, while the top is always made of western red cedar. The light weight of the top combined with Smallman's unique system of bracing makes the guitar very responsive to input with a full rounded sound (not thin).[3] The top of Smallman guitars is braced using a "lattice" framework composed of balsa wood and carbon fibre. By contrast, traditional classical guitars use struts made of cedar or spruce arranged in a "fan" shape.

The world-renowned classical guitarists John Williams, Milos Karadaglic, Xuefei Yang and many others 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 did not have a website till 2012.[4]

Greg Smallman is admired for the open way in which he shares his ideas.[1][2] He does not hide them from fellow luthiers, nor has he patented them.[1][2] A large number of luthiers worldwide have incorporated Smallman's design innovations into their own guitar designs.[1][2]


"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 c d e f g The Classical Guitar Book A Complete History" published by Backbeat Books
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Twang Dynasty A history of plucked stringed instruments in Australasia from 1836 to 2012 Archived 2014-05-02 at the Wayback Machine" published by Boss Publishing
  3. ^ "Nicholas Scott maker of Smallman Type Guitars". Nicholas Scott. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Greg Smallman and Sons Classical Guitars". Greg Smallman. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  5. ^ [1], John Williams; Australian Guitar Journal Interview

External links[edit]