Oribe Guitar FAQs

Here are some of the questions asked of José Oribe. For a complete list of FAQ’s and answers, visit his website at

The finish on a musical instrument is most important to its value. Factory guitars are invariably finished with production methods. Our finishing procedure on every instrument takes at least 3 to 9 months with our exquisite French polished shellac.

French polishing is a method of applying a shellac based finish material to a wood product. The method goes back to early times and its use still proves to be of serious consideration for the soundboards of classical guitars.

The shellac is carefully and thinly applied with a wad of lint-free material. The method requires a lubricating agent to avoid having the wad stick, and a polishing agent to glaze the surface. This finishing technique is difficult to do well to professional standards. It can be considered an art in itself. It is very time consuming and not possible in commercial application.

There are three soundboard materials that are being used in Oribe guitars and by most major makers in the world. These are spruce, western red cedar and Sequoia redwood.

The difference is a matter of taste. Most guitarists prefer western red cedar when volume and responsiveness are concerned. Redwood was popular in the past and spruce is still popular with some players. Spruce being a little tighter develops a little slower and does loosen up in time and becomes quite nice with years of playing.

There are more or less 15,000 individual pieces of dyed wood in a typical Oribe rosette, depending on the design.

Our fret wire is made special for us with our dimensions and specifications. The material is a hard alloy. Our frets are also a little taller. Players are finding that it takes less effort and energy to finger and hold bar chords with a taller fret. There is less resistance when holding down the strings on the fingerboard.

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