1. GUITARS EXCHANGE: How did you end up (or begin) being a luthier?
FRAN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, I imagine that this is something very passionate, some end up being musicians and others end up making the instruments. In my case I’ve always been surrounded by music after having had different working experiences, it was in the year 2009 when I decided to open my workshop doors after years of experience working in other instrument shops and after going through different training courses, but what brought me to the decision to dedicate myself full-time to this trade or art is my passion for music and the love of making unique quality instruments.
2. G.E.: What inspires you to design and make a new guitar?
F.R.: Many things influence you in this sense, sometimes they are the usual ways, where you go nuts trying to create something new and improved, but mainly I get into thinking in ergonomic ways and the sounds I want to get. The way I design is “old school”: I work directly with paper and pencil which lets me get right into the design of the instrument.
3. G.E.: Do you look for a certain sound for any special reason?
F.R.: The “sound” is what we’re all looking for and we don’t manage to get, sometimes I find it complicated to define this when it’s good for some and not for others, but I must say I like warm, round sounds even in my most vintage models, with simple pickups, I try to avoid sounds which are too sharp, and to get there, I study the selection of wood first.
4. G.E.: Choose and explain: soul, jazz, rock, pop...or what?
F.R.: I’ll put it in 4 words: music, emotion, sensations, feelings.
5. G.E.: Are you a hired craftsman or a solitary hermit?
F.R.: A mix of the two, I like both spheres, I think they compliment each other.
6. G.E.: What was the last record you bought? And the last you listened to?
F.R.: I’m always buying music, just today I got “Virgin Killer” by the Scorpions on vinyl and the last I listened to was “Top Priority” by Rory Gallagher, “Your Wilderness” The Pineapple Thief and “The Best” from Michael Monroe.
...ONE BODY …
7. G.E.: Electric or acoustic?
8. G.E.: What is the secret behind your woods?
F.R.: The right choice of wood (correctly dried or heat treatment) and the cut selection
...AND TWO HANDS…
9. G.E.: Why should we choose luthier guitars over big guitar makers?
F.R.: For personality, design and quality. No two people are alike, and in the sense that we don’t all dress the same, we need something different that sets us apart from the rest, and this is most important when time comes to transmit and express this through an instrument.
10. G.E.: Who plays your guitars? Who would you like to play them?
F.R.: Many people play my guitars, and many are folks who just play home, or in the rehearsal studio with their band, but in a given moment have decided to have a one-of-a-kind instrument adapted to their needs, but if I had to highlight somebody it would be the Dire Straits tribute band “Brothers in Band” of which I am the guitar technician.
As far as who I would like see playing my guitar...anyone who loves music and guitars the way I make them and know how to appreciate a handmade instrument.
+1. G.E.: What strings do you use and which amps do you most like for your guitars?
F.R.: I use D'addario although I also like those by Ernie Ball. As far as amps go: Marshall!
Official Franfret Guitars Website