Lecture 5

“Plucked String Music: Evolutions”
Day 1 – 4:00pm-5:15pm

Luthiery in the Philippines: Roots, Innovation, and Direction

Speakers: Nathan Manimtim, Crisron Lucas (Philippines) 


Over time, the tradition of luthiery has developed and has been taking part in shaping guitar music in the Philippines. Looking at the brief history of guitar-making, we can see a rich tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. This can be seen in a lot of our locally-made guitars. However, a recent study showed that our local brands, particularly the entry-level, can hardly compete with foreign brands. In 2014, a research project funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has initiated a possible solution to help our guitar-makers: The Gitara Ni Juan. The project was the first to incorporate Science and Technology, as well as multidisciplinary research to innovate on a design process for making entry-level guitars while using local and sustainable wood species. The research output was successful. However, issues on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer are still being addressed. The Gitara Ni Juan exemplified a new framework that could be of help to the development and improvement of other plucked-string instruments especially the Philippine Rondalla instruments. Through multidisciplinary research, and Science and Technology, Gitara Ni Juan researchers envision more competitive and more sustainable musical instruments, and a brighter future for the Filipino luthiers.


Nathan Neil Manimtim finished his Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman under Professor Lester Demetillo. He is a pioneer member of the UP Guitar Orchestra and served as a guitar faculty in UP from 2003-2009. Under the tutelage of Dr. Angelo Favis, Nathan earned his Master of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Illinois State University, with distinction, last May 2011. There, he was granted a full-time assistantship and worked as a Teaching Fellow while doing his graduate studies. While in the U.S., he also had the opportunity to perform at the 2010 and 2011 Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival held in Michigan and Illinois respectively; He also played in the masterclasses of William Kanengiser and Nigel North. After coming home from the U.S., Nathan returned as a faculty member to the UP College of Music where he presently teaches undergraduate and graduate students. Nathan is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Music at the University of the Philippines under the supervision of his adviser National Artist for Music Dr. Ramon Santos. He also served as the Project Leader of the DOST-PCIEERD funded project entitled Gitara ni Juan: Development of Prototype Design and Standardization of the Guitar-making Process for Quality Classical Guitars Using Select Philippine Woods. Moreover, he is now the Chairperson of the Strings and Chamber Music Department.

Crisron Lucas was born in Manila 1991, and is a Pisay and UP alumnus. He graduated BS Electronics and Communications Engineering in 2013 and recently as Master of Science in Electrical Engineering both in University of the Philippines Diliman. Currently, he is a junior faculty in the University of the Philippines Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute. In 2014, he was co-proponent of the DOST project “Gitara Ni Juan”. After the success of the project, he was selected to be part in the Leaders in Innovation Program in 2017 where he became an Alumnus of the Asian Institute of Management. He has two conference publications namely: “Digital Sound Synthesis of Rondalla implemented in PC and iPad” which was presented in Radisson Blu Hotel in Sydney 2013, and “Effects of changing material properties on the vibration modes of guitar body” which was presented in Penang, Malaysia 2017. He is also an alumnus of the Royal Academy of Engineering in UK and a current active member of the Sound Technology Institute of the Philippines.