A statement by the builder, Ervin Somogyi of Oakland, California:
For lack of a better phrase, I call this the “Classical Guitar With Carp.” Any other similar phrase will do, though. This guitar has a European spruce face and Brazilian rosewood back and sides. The head and neck are mahogany, the fretboard is ebony. The nut and saddle are bovine bone, not ivory; the bridge is snakewood. The serial number and year of construction are on the label. The guitar is entirely French polished, and has some very nice Alessi (I think) tuners.
I like to do eye-catching ornamental work. I like to think that my artistic sense is tasteful in balance, color, and proportion; I’m not much into the Blingy abalone shell and m.o.p. inlay aesthetic.
The way in which I created the carp design is the following: First, after deciding on the size and orientation of the carp design, I thin the part of the top that this will go into . . . and carve away with scalpels and small chisels. Once the perforations are accomplished, and the cut surfaces cleaned up, I paste a paper backing onto the remaining latticework. In this case, the paper is textured Japanese handmade paper. It’s colorfast and attractive. Finally, I glue in a plug of spruce veneer so as to re-establish full top thickness, in order to glue braces on in the normal way.
This is intended to be a fully functional and playable classic guitar; the ornamentation is decorative and intended to give the instruent visual personality. I got this Brazilian rosewood from Sergei de Jonge a few years ago. I liked the color of it, and saved it for “just the right project”. In this case, I thought that the reddish carp would go well with the reddish rosewood, and vice-versa.
I also supplemented the carp with three concentric abalone-shell rings. I did this because I think the soundhole needs something more than just a carp to one side of it; but the green of the abalone gives the design an aquatic look, and the concentricity suggests ripples on the surface of a body of water -- which go well with aquatic elements and themes. All in all, it’s a design that I consider to be pleasing -- no less so because the carp intrudes into the soundhole and lends the guitar more of an artistic and organic look.
The internal structure is one of fan bracing, which is very traditional. I left this top a little thicker than I usually do in these instruments, and this allows the guitar to have what I consider to be a very solid Hauser-like sound. A lighter-constructed top will tend to shift the response to the sharper, more percussive and projective end of the spectrum.
This guitar is entirely new, and once an owner begins to play it then I expect the tone to change and mellow and open up in the usual way, and for the trebles to get stronger. As it is, the guitar is more or less a virgin, if I may put it like that.
The following is from the maker's website:
"I have an impulse to do something out of the ordinary from time to time. This is my "fix" of that drug for this time around.
The carved work is done entirely by hand (no laser or pantograph cutting) with surgical scalpels. The way this is carried out is by first thinning the designated part of the face to about 3/64" in order to facilitate the carving; and then simply working away patiently. The koi is carved directly into the face: nothing has been done other than removal of non-essential wood. Also, there's an optimal thickness of wood for every carved design. Perforations in a thin wood creates a look of laciness and delicacy that adds exquisiteness to the visual appeal to the design. Carving through a thicker material results in a more clunky-looking final result.The glittering-green hues complement in the soundhole rosette complement the koi motif by suggesting a rippled surface of water. This is a handsome and unique guitar."
This is $25,000 but it is not immediately available. Call if you can't live without it.