The unique sound of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet (Quarteto Brasileiro de Violões) is the result of founder Paul Galbraith's playing with the basic design of the modern acoustic guitar. Galbraith, who at the age of 17 had won the Silver Medal at the Segovia International Guitar Competition, worked with master luthier David Rubio to remodel the standard instrument. He placed an extra string both above and below the six regular strings, with the top string adding a harp-like tone to the instrument's sound. When played, held upright like a cello or viola da gamba, a tail-piece rests on a resonance box, carrying its sound much further than a standard guitar.
After introducing the instrument at the 1989 Edinburg Festival, Galbraith wandered the world, finally settling in São Paulo, Brazil, where he and three other guitarists founded the Brazilian Guitar Quartet in 1999. "The level of guitar playing is so high here that when you have three of the outstanding Brazilian guitar virtuosi playing within a quartet, you have something very special indeed," he said. The other founding members were brothers Edelton and Everton Gloeden, and Tadeu do Amaral. The quartet proved an immediate success with its first disc, Essência do Brasil, and then again for its own arrangement of the Bach Orchestral Suites, recording for Delos. The Brazilian press dubbed the Brazilian Guitar Quartet the "Dream Team" of guitar players. In 2003, when Galbraith left the ensemble to pursue more solo engagements, his place was taken up by Luiz Mantovani. The ensemble has traveled the world and appeared as the main attraction at the first World Guitar Congress in Baltimore, MD, in 2004. By its fourth recording, released in 2006, Isaac Albéniz: Iberia, Edson Lopes Pozzi had joined the group in place of Edelton Gloeden.