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C California Style

Acoustic Adventurer

by C California Style

“I get a profound feeling of comfort from a wooden box with vibrating strings attached to it…

It feels magical to me,” says Jacob Aranda. The Chicago transplant and his wife came to Ocean Beach eight months ago to join up with his friend, furniture maker Luke Bartels, one of the four founders of Woodshop SF on Noriega Street. Working among this collective of woodworkers who craft furniture, surfboards and skateboards, Aranda creates custom guitars without using any electronic tools. He spends nearly three months per instrument, working from 19th-century techniques he learned from José Luis Romanillos Vega, a master maker based in Sigüenza, near Madrid. “I used to get very frustrated, thinking I had to make a guitar the same way a factory did it. Then I realized there is another way to do it that’s methodical and meditative. I end up feeling a really strong connection to the wood and the instrument,” he says. arandaguitars.blogspot.com.

Written and edited by Elizabeth Khuri Chandler.