I discovered Maartens guitars a couple of years ago not only as a professional guitar player, but also as a master guitar counselor who has played and examined hundreds of master guitars. After such an experience I barely need to open the case to know what kind of instrument I’m confronted with, and as I first saw a Van Guyse I knew there was a passionate and extremely experienced builder with great intuition behind it.
Describing the sound in objective terms always melts down to the same words: sustain, projection, loudness, playability and so on.
All this is useless to depict the effect of the instrument on the player, which is finally the only thing that really matters, so I will describe his guitars as follows: the feel of the instruments is solid, humble and helpful, as opposed to some guitars you have to ‘force’ or some you will perceive as ‘fragile’; the sound of his cedar & spruce top is a mix of that feeling of depth during an evening walk through the forest, the feeling of transparence after the rain and the feeling of nostalgia and mystery of Ravel’s and Debussy’s music.
His García model is at the same time sweet and strong, like a playful child with great energy and untamed vision; his flamenco guitars are all temperament and spice, having the particularity of not becoming superficial and dry through their characteristic lightness, but preserving a nicely wet reverb without interfering with a clarity that makes you think of the shape of lonely trees during the sunset.
I definitely would recommend a Van Guyse to any guitar player searching for an instrument with real personality and capable of understanding what the sound of the guitar is all about.