I had contacted Paul about the De Cascia “Sylvia” handcrafted classical guitar, knowing that it was a superior instrument, but undecided about which construction best suited my tastes. Paul was incredibly patient, sharing numerous emails detailing the various “sounds and colors” resulting from different construction methods until I settled on my choice.
By the time I made my decision, I was not only impressed with his knowledge, but we were building a “client” relationship based on trust. I received my De Cascia early this week, and I could not be more pleased. It is a truly beautiful instrument, with qualities that far exceed some of my collection that cost two to three times more.
In addition, he expedited shipping, and made sure that the guitar was set up perfectly. Paul has won a lifelong customer by his steadfast dedication to serve the client with the best product, but more importantly with honesty and devotion to “service”.
The Grand Guitar Salon is a top tier business, with hands on service and support by the owner, insuring complete satisfaction. I will be a return buyer! Thank you Paul.
John R. Alles
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
My name Mel Hallam, and I am a full -time classical guitar instructor in Las Vegas, Nevada. As such, I’m used to assisting my students in finding good quality, affordable classical guitars. Over the past years, I have become increasingly frustrated with the poor quality of construction, tone, and playability of the instruments found at the small local, as well as large chain music stores and almost dreaded having to go there with a student. One day, a few months ago, the name of De Cascia Guitars and Paul Jabrayan came up in a conversation, so I explored their website. Everything looked really good and the prices were acceptable until it dawned on me that I was actually looking at prices in Canadian dollars! The exchange rate to U.S. dollars made the prices remarkable - as long as they were good guitars.
Upon contacting the owner, Paul Jabrayan (who also owns The Grand Salon de Guitare, one of Canada’s great classical guitar dealers), he immediately decided to send me samples of the De Cascia line to try for myself. He understood my concerns and wanted me to be convinced of what I call the triumvirate: construction, sound, and playability (to be honest good looks, to me, are just a bonus, rather than the first consideration). Good construction is, of course, a must. If you have a guitar that sounds wonderful but is a dog to play, then you have a guitar that’s hard to play. As a teacher, I consider playability the prime ingredient in a guitar’s viability, but a guitar that’s easy to play yet doesn’t have much to offer in tone quality and power is just not very exciting to spend hours every day playing. Paul explained that the entire De Cascia line was hand made, and specifically built for students and others who simply cannot afford the often prohibitive cost of high-end, luthier-built instruments.
The first guitar to arrive was a lattice braced Sylvia model with a cedar soundboard and Indian rosewood back and sides. It is based on the design of renowned Australian luthier, Greg Smallman. Upon unboxing, I was first impressed by the quality of the double-arched case, made by Montreal-based Superior Canadian Cases (SCC), which comes standard with this model. Upon first playing, I was impressed by the strong power of the guitar and the warm, rich tone. I have played a number of lattice guitars made by various makers, and some have an unappealing tone quality – but not so with the Sylvia. The neck shape, set-up and fret work made this guitar wonderfully easy to play and, as others have said in these reviews, the guitar is potent and balanced in its robust tone quality and power throughout the entire register. The guitar looks intriguing and beautiful with its sloping French-polished soundboard, built-in arm rest, and player’s sound port – a bonus. Paul says he himself supplies the builders with top quality woods for all the De Cascia guitars. One of my students already owns a stunning Sylvia in Cedar and Maple and loves it. Others are saving up to get one (including me). If you know what Smallmans and other lattice instruments sell for – a minimum of around $6,000 to well over $30,000 – then the price in the mid-$1,700 range (US – which includes the shipping!) for the Sylvia makes this possibly the deal of the century and easily worth several times that price!
Shortly after the Sylvia, the Talia model arrived. I have to say that I was very impressed by the triumvirate (playability, sound and construction) for this price point. Much better than anything I’d seen in the mid-$600 price range (US – and includes the shipping). It comes with a soft-shell case as standard. This guitar has a great neck and set up that is very easy and pleasing to play. The tone is full, pretty and again, well-balanced and consistent throughout the register. The woods, construction, and finish are first-rate. I have students who have Talias and are extremely satisfied with everything about them. From a teacher’s perspective, the transformation that happens when a student jumps from a horrid or mediocre instrument to a fine one is amazing. Their world changes and they start producing real results because the instrument is able to!
Some time later, I was sent one of the Gabrielle models. This is a fabulous guitar. The neck is easy and fast, the tone is brilliant and vibrant, and the power is substantial with impressive sustain. It’s a hard guitar to put down as it makes playing so easy. The Gabrielle model comes with a standard style hard-shell case which is strong and very plush inside – also made by the SCC. The price is in the mid-$900 price range (US including the shipping). In my opinion, this high-end quality is not to be found hanging on shop walls. The woods that I’ve seen this model made from are gorgeous and Paul likes to have the rosettes vary from guitar to guitar to make each one unique. Because I happened to have them in my studio, some of my top students have tried the Gabrielle and the Sylvia models in particular, and the response is always the same: grinning, they can’t believe the playability, the sound, and especially the price. They always comment on how easy these instruments are to play.
Also impressive is the array of free extras that Paul includes in the case, such as – depending on the model – a soundhole humidifier, a case humidifier, tuner, cloth, hygrometer, an extra set of strings. In other words, you are set up right out of the box. I never heard of a dealer anywhere doing that!
If you are a student looking for a great instrument in whatever price range you are able to afford, you’ll definitely want to consider the De Cascia guitars. If you are a classical guitar instructor in a similar situation to my own – dismayed by the lack of any real choice – then you should consider contacting Paul Jabrayan. Paul’s genuine interest in supplying the avid classical guitar student with the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price is the thing that first impressed me in our very first conversation. As with me, he’ll answer all your questions and concerns in thoroughly.
All I can say is, amazing job Paul! I look forward to developing our friendship and business relationship!
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, March 17th-2017
I have been playing electric guitar on and off since I was seven, and now at the age of forty-five, I’ve decided to focus on the study of classical guitar. I’ve been studying for the past year in Las Vegas, Nevada with Mel Hallam, and I’ve been using a Cordoba Solista for the entire time. Recently, Mel told me of the De Cascia guitar line out of Montreal, and after playing a prototype of the Sylvia model and speaking with Paul of De Cascia guitars, I was confident that the product would be of high quality.
I ordered the Sylvia model with cedar top and maple back and sides. At first I was concerned how the maple would influence the overall tone, but Paul reassured me that the combination of cedar and maple would not detract from the quality of the tone.
He was absolutely right.
I received the guitar today, and while I am not a person who has played many classical guitars, I can say that the quality of all frequencies is nothing short of impressive. In addition, my teacher was astounded by the sound quality at this price point.
The headstock is flawless, and the tuning gears do not slip or creak. The nut is cut perfectly, and the amount of fretboard space above the 6th and below the 1st strings is even. The fretwork is also flawless, buffed, polished, professionally crowned. The fingerboard is a gorgeous ebony–not the type of ebony that gets stained black in the factory. This is unaltered wood! The top is cedar and French polished to perfection. The matte finish on the flamed maple back and sides makes such a welcome difference as it allows the guitar to respond more openly and vibrate more freely. As a result, the tonal variations are not pinched or choked; instead, what you wind up with is a vibrant, round, and completely articulate tone that responds nicely to dynamics. The construction is based on Greg Smallman’s design–the elevated fingerboard, lattice bracing, and pitched-back upper bout. Prior to my purchase, I read reviews of lattice-braced guitars, and many players argue their tone doesn’t reflect a true classical tone, that the instruments are too overpowering and loud. Forget it. This guitar sounds balanced with beautifully controlled lows, a sweet yet penetrating mid range, and a high end that sings without being brash or sterile. The neck profile is perfect for my hands, not too deep or shallow, and the matte finish on the mahogany neck is exactly what I wanted. (I can’t stand it when my hand gets stuck trying to shift positions over all that lacquer.)
The case is double-arched to match the contours of the body, so you will not have to worry about adding extra padding to keep the instrument from moving while in transit. Paul also includes many extras as well–tuner, humidifier, polishing cloth.
Finally, Paul’s customer service is exemplary. He was incredibly cordial and thorough while walking me though my purchase, provided pictures of the guitar as it was under construction, and provided up-to-date information once it shipped.
If you are looking for a high quality classical guitar with unique appointments and a versatile tonal palette, then you owe it to yourself to check out the De Cascia line.
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, March 13th-2017
I have been enjoying my new cedar topped Gabrielle model , immensely !
Hard to believe my ears when I first got it, because at this price, I expected a nice sounding student guitar. Instead what i recieved was a very refined, superbly balanced concert guitar sound. It is improving every day and i expect that it will continue to improve.
Paul Jabrayan the owner at De Cascia guitars, was very helpful and a pleasure to deal with. I look forward to future purchases of his fine guitars. He has definately found a great formula for producing wonderful sounding guitars at a very affordable price. Highly recommended !
Tucson Arizona, U.S.A.,
I discovered Paul’s magnificent collection and was quite impressed by the marvelous guitars he has but disappointed that my budget was far from any of them.
Paul proposed me to try the De Cascia Sylvia model guitar. I have to admit that I’ve always been reluctant to guitars not made by famous luthiers.
I own a guitar made by one of the best luthiers in Mexico and was looking for a second guitar that would have a similar sound (tough thing when you’re in a budget) reason why I hadn’t bought one in almost 10 years.
I have to say that as soon as I opened the case I was immediately struck by the beautiful craftsmanship. When I took it out of the case and played it, I was so impressed by the powerful and beautiful sound it projected that I knew right away this was the guitar I was looking for.
This instrument has blown me away and has completely shifted my paradigm. I still can’t believe I found a guitar that I could afford and with a more powerful sound than my first concert guitar!
If you’re looking for a high quality concert guitar with a beautiful craftsmanship, a powerful sound and the best price-value relationship, I highly recommend Paul’s guitar salon and the De Cascia guitars.
I recently purchased a De Cascia Flamenco guitar, custom designed by Salon de Guitare. From the moment I called, the service given to me by Paul (the owner of Salon de Guitare) was nothing less than excellent. He truly has a passion for what he does and was attentive, patient and answered all my questions. Further to that, the guitar I bought from him is fantastic. It sounds and plays like guitars that are much more expensive. I’m extremely happy with my purchase! I was also amazed at all the other things he threw in with my purchase, including strings, a humidity kit, a case and a tuner. I would highly recommend doing your guitar shopping with Paul. I plan to continue using him for many years!
Une semaine en guitare dans un camp musical m’a littéralement ramenée à la guitare classique et à la volonté de progresser dans mon premier instrument. Du coup, ma vieille guitare d’étude chaleureuse comme de vieilles pantoufles, mais toute craquée, ne faisait plus l’affaire. En voyage aux États-Unis, j’ai été attirée par une petite annonce qui proposait une guitare de lutherie. Je suis allée rencontrer le propriétaire qui m’a également proposé d’autres guitares. Malheureusement, pas une ne me convenait vraiment. Ce même propriétaire m’a alors parlé du Grand salon de la guitare de Montréal, étonné que je ne le connaissais pas, car tout près de chez moi. À mon retour, j’ai immédiatement contacté Paul Jabrayan qui m’a reçue dans son salon que je qualifiais de “Caverne d’Alibaba”. J’étais complètement séduite par son approche généreuse, courtoise et par sa grande connaissance de la guitare. Après quelques échanges sur mes aspirations, Paul m’a encouragée à essayer plusieurs instruments de qualité. Je ne recherchais pas nécessairement un instrument de haute projection pour soliste en salle de concert, mais un instrument présentant un son plein et équilibré avec lequel je pourrai grandir musicalement parlant. Paul, attentif à mes besoins, m’a guidée vers une guitare au son riche, doux et profond et aux harmoniques incroyables et qui m’amène aujourd’hui vers l’avant.
Merci, Paul, pour les conseils judicieux, pour le temps et la patience déployés afin que je puisse faire le meilleur choix possible. Longue vie à votre “Caverne d’Alibaba”!
The De Cascia model guitars are beautiful to look at and wonderful to play. They have a singing, sustained tone, even response, powerful basses, and are the best value I’ve encountered at these prices. I used the Spruce-top model for a recent performance and the difference was immediately noticed by colleagues and other listeners. They sound much, much better than any student model guitar ought to sound and play very easily! They represent a great solution for my college guitar majors who need a fine instrument to study and perform but are on a budget.
Jose Manuel Lezcano, Ph.D.
Chair, Music Dept.,
Keene State College
I have been looking at concert guitars for many years now. When I saw a demo video of De Cascia “Sylvia” model on the Grand Guitar Salon’s website, I contacted Paul right away to discuss about it.
After agreeing on the final terms, I decided to purchase the Sylvia model cedar top, based on the demo video and the great professionalism of Paul.
The guitar arrived earlier than promised, in excellent condition, very well packed, in a nice double arched hard shell case plus a $100 worth of accessories.. absolutely free!!!
Well, I can’t believe this guitar!!!
Such a perfect and beautiful instrument. It has great volume, the playability and fret work is superb, and the quality of tone is equal to the best concert guitars I’ve tried!!!
I would recommended De Cascia “Sylvia” model (spruce or cedar) for anyone looking for a concert, collection or workhorse guitar that can be kept throughout their career.
Right from the start, Grand Guitar Salon impressed me, not only with the excellent customer service, but also with Paul’s ability to inspire and provide the exact instrument I was looking for!!!
Great Job Paul !!
Student at Vancouver Academy of Music
I recently bought a De Cascia “Sylvia” model (cedar/Indian rosewood) at the Grand Salon de Guitare and I couldn’t be happier with it. I want to congratulate Paul for getting a guitar built that has world class sound and that features lattice bracing, raised fretboard, sound port and an arm rest for such an affordable price. This is unheard of in the classical guitar world.
The guitar is modern in design but does not have that artificial ‘steril’ sound that some modern built guitars have. Both the cedar and spruce tops have very good volume, excellent tone, long sustain and are very musical.
Not everyone can afford guitars that cost $6,000 – $10,000 and above. I compared the De Cascia “Sylvia” model to guitars that cost $8,000 and I preferred the sound, playability and feel of the De Cascia. I can tell that Paul truly loves what he does and that he wants to help every customer find the right guitar whether they are a beginner, collector or professional guitarist.
I highly recommend Paul and the Grand Salon de Guitare!
Neil – Ontario, Canada
De Cascia line of guitars are truly too good to be true. I’m an extremely selective person when it comes to Classical Guitars. But De Cascia; was love at first sight. I’ve been playing it for a few months now, and the sound keeps getting better and better.
De Cascia is the definition of “thinking outside the box”. From its affordable price to its beautiful sound and amazing craftsmanship,
De Cascia takes it to a whole other level. It’s simply unique. After all, words can not describe De Cascia. It can only be experienced. If you’re looking for “The Right Guitar”, then look no further. I am very grateful to own such a powerful guitar. When you own a guitar at this caliber, you can’t help but to become a great guitarist.
Sound Researcher at McGill University
The De Cascia Sylvia model is an excellent guitar.
Its tone, volume, action and beauty are amazing and easily the equivalent of a guitar three times the price!!!
I bought my guitar without playing it based on the demo video and the great reputation of the Grand Guitar Salon and I could not be happier.
The guitar arrived a day earlier than expected in perfect condition, very well packaged and in a very nice and secure case.
It also came with a lot of accessories including: a static tap plate, digital hygrometer, humidifier, polishing cloth, tuner, nail shaper, and more.
I am astounded at what an amazing deal this guitar is and I am looking forward to many happy years with it.