Todd Cambio is the owner and builder of Fraulini Guitars.
Todd has played music his whole life, with a focus on traditional American blues, rags, and old time. As a teenager he played blues with old timers in Chicago and spent time in his 20’s as a street musician playing country blues and ragtime. Later he started playing guitar and singing ballads with fiddlers. He’s always had a fascination with old instruments, how they were made and the sounds they produced.
At a certain point Todd began searching for guitars that my musical heroes of the 1920’s and 30’s played; People like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Frank Hutchison and Ernest Stoneman, who were photographed with inexpensive, ladder braced guitars. In the early 1990’s, little to no value was placed on such instruments. They weren’t hard to find, but they always needed work. Todd initially started repairing these types of guitars for himself and his friends. One thing led to another, and he eventually started building, training as a luthier in my early 20s, working with an old violin builder. For the most part, his education came from reading old technical manuals; talking with other traditional luthiers; repairing, restoring, and measuring hundreds of old guitars; and building new instruments for over twenty years. Todd has been fortunate enough to work with some of the best musicians in the business and has incorporated their feedback into his building. While many luthiers are about embracing advances in technology, Todd is about reviving traditional techniques that have been lost to modern generations and becoming effective and efficient at using those techniques. Todd is fascinated by varnish, the properties and combinations of different resins and the methods of application. He still carves his own necks, cuts his own inlays and makes all his own parts.
While the majority of Todd’s guitars are ladder braced, he also builds X braced guitars inspired by 1920s and 30s Martins’ and Gibsons’, which were lightly built, fantastic guitars. He uses many domestic woods which were commonplace in the early 20th-century but which have fallen out of fashion.
Todd loves working with people on selecting different options for their particular instrument. When you order a Fraulini, you order a hand-made, one-of-a-kind instrument, built in a traditional style, and tailored to your specific requests.