The Maker

What is a guitar?

Is it just a collection of shiny pieces of wood and wire somehow fixed together to produce an array of sounds, or does it have a personality, a character and a soul?

Can its particular voice serve as a medium to translate the music you hear in your head to the outside world, or is it just an object, a useful lump of inanimate matter?

If you are just looking for a good guitar that produces sounds like those you hear on the radio, then go to the dot coms, and keep searching - you’re on the wrong page here.

But if you love guitars - if you really love guitars - their shape, their unique sounds, the beauty and art of this instrument, the thought and craftsmanship of their production and design, then maybe your search is over and you’ve found your way home. A Berketa guitar is more than an instrument; it is a relationship.

The design and development of the violin is finished. The perfect size, the shape and form of the violin was discovered centuries ago. But the guitar is still evolving. Ray Berketa has been studying, experimenting and doing research and development on this instrument for more than thirty years, and he has discovered some amazing things. He has thought outside the circle, and has added to the brilliance of the original X - shaped bracing invented by C F Martin, and has taken the best qualities of the electric sounds of Fender and Gibson and improved them, and you don’t have to take our word for it. Have a listen to the sound files by the brilliant guitarist Phil Emmanuel playing the Blue Angel. Likewise Mark Johnson on the Fat Boy and Kevin Windrose on the Whacker Acoustic.

Imagine an acoustic guitar with not only a curved back, but a compound - curved top ? Why would you curve a top? Because it is a stronger design and allows for the use of thinner wood on the front sound board ( more vibration, projection etc. ), This second curve focuses the sound of the internal resonating chamber right under the bridge, the most sensitive area of the guitar. ( see construction & materials for a complete explanation).

Imagine trying to match these slight curvatures - both across and down the front of the guitar - to the sides, because to get a perfect fit the top of the sides must also be cut at a corresponding angle. Why don't the big factories churn out guitars with this design? Because it is too hard, requires too much time and skill, and would reduce their overall profit.

Ray doesn’t want to become Bob Taylor or Paul Reed Smith. He doesn’t design and build guitars to make as much money as he can.

Ray loves these instruments and his whole focus is development and quality. He is always going to have a small shop. He is 59 now, and at best will only produce hundreds rather than thousands of guitars in the remainder of his working life. If you want state-of-art jazz arch top, uniquely sounding arch - topped acoustic, or an electric guitar that will blow your brain open, then get in quick. He will work on every guitar ordered, and you can bet that if an instrument doesn’t meet his standards, you will never see it.

For all the work, design and craft that Ray puts into these guitars, they are not expensive. You are talking about a phenomenally skilled and innovative luthier working for up to a month ( depending on the model ) to make your guitar. For a few thousand dollars. How many guitars a day are made in the guitar factories around the world, and many of them will cost you almost as much ? Look at Ray’s jazz arch top, and then go click on Benedetto’s web site. Spot the differences and then subtract Ray’s price from the $25,000 or so that one of those guitars will cost you. Whichever end of the spectrum you look at, a Berketa guitar simply adds up to value for money.

Now go and listen. Examine the pictures, and listen to the sound files. If you don't like what you see and hear ---- that's fine. We truly do hope that you find the guitar that you are looking for. But if you are interested, send us an email or call. Ray has enough technical skill and understanding of his designs that he can shape his guitar's sound to your preferences. If you want an instrument that has a lot of bass, or midrange, a bright sound or something mellow - talk to Ray and he will tell you what is possible.

Happy playing.