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Should I go to Paracho, Mexico to buy a guitar?   You are logged in as Guest
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polishcomedy

 

Posts: 66
Joined: Feb. 7 2009
From: Orlando

Should I go to Paracho, Mexico to bu... 

I know a guy in L.A. who's Mexican. His mom lives an hour and a half from the guitar building city of Paracho, Mexico

Anyways, he has plans to go in July to buy a guitar. I live in Orlando, FL so it would mean a flight to L.A. and then to Mexico. According to him you can get a $5000 guitar for like $500 due to various factors. He claims they make the best sounding guitars (and other acoustic instruments) in the world there.

Now, should I spend the money on airfare and take the time off work or should I just get this Francisco Navarro this guy on eBay just converted to a buy it now auction just for me and save myself the trouble?

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Francisco-Navarro-Flamenco-Guitar-German-Spruce-NR_W0QQitemZ230334643609QQcmdZViewItemQQptZGuitar?hash=item230334643609&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A15|39%3A1|240%3A1318

I'll also be able to get 13% off the eBay auction with the MSN Live discount.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 2 2009 21:58:29
 
kovachian

Posts: 505
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

A $5K guitar for a paltry $500 sum sounds like an exaggeration, but to a lesser extent, your friend is still right in that there's always a few diamonds in the rough.

Whatever guitar you buy is ultimately your decision, but that documentary about Paracho looks very interesting.

_____________________________

Don't look at me in that tone of voice.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 2 2009 22:52:18
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 4776
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

quote:

According to him you can get a $5000 guitar for like $500 due to various factors. He claims they make the best sounding guitars (and other acoustic instruments) in the world there.


An exageration like this one does that what your friend says looses its point...... What are the various factors?

To answer the question. If you have the time and you feel like a bit of a journey, go to Paracho. If you find gold, it will be a nice experience and the guitar will be very personal. But dont go with the fixed idea that you will find gold. Look at what happened to all the people who went to Klondyke, Alaska. Also a lot of people have gone to Granada, Spain with the fixed idea of finding gold and have returned with nothing or a potato.

2 other things: Look at the way guitars are pruduced in the documentary (I deliberately use the word produced and not the word made!) Is this the way you would like your guitar to be made.
The other thing. The Mexicans themselves in the documentary compare their guitars to Chinese mass produced guitars. Maybe it would be a better idea to go to China.

_____________________________

Fine flamenco and classical guitars: www.eliassonguitars.com
Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 0:33:25
 
Arash

Posts: 4109
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

I would say you can get a $6000-7000 Guitar for $3500- $4000 from Salvador Castillo.





Or a $1500-2000 Guitar for $1000 like from Navarro, etc.

Thats, if you want good guitars.

But a $5000 Guitar for $500 ?
No way, mexicans might have better prices but they are not stupid.

_____________________________

  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 2:33:29
 
pacodegarcia

Posts: 90
Joined: Apr. 22 2007
From: Australia

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

I went to Paracho in 2002 not to buy a guitar but just to look. I ended up meeting Abel Garcia Lopez. I didn't know it at the time but he is one of the top Luithers down there.
I was lucky enough to get to play one of his guitars that was due to be sold the following week. After playing it I decided then and there I had to buy one. I couldn't believe how good the guitar was. So i put my name on the waiting list and put my order in.
I worked my butt off that year to pay for it!!

As Anders says... You won't find a guitar worth $5000 for $500 !

Guitars like Abel's are works of art. The quality and age of the timber used in such fine guitars are what your paying for not to mention the hours and hours of work thats put into making them. No machines or power tools, everything done by hand.
The timber he had in the humidifer in his workshop was laid down by his grandfather! so over 100 years just ageing and thats timber cut from a tree that was 100's of years old!

Good luck with your quest, my advice is to go to Paracho, it's a beautiful place and definately worth a visit. Save as much money as you can, there are alot of builders. lots of mass produced stuff but definately some quality as well, from good student models to high end concert instruments. Buying something from the maker should be a bit cheaper than if you bought the same guitar in the USA.

_____________________________

I think the definition of insanity is hoping to get a different result by doing the same thing over and over again.
- Albert Einstein.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 5:15:21
 
chapman_g

 

Posts: 221
Joined: Apr. 11 2007
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

You will never get a $5,000.00 instrument for $500.00 unless you buy it and resell it to your other self for that price.

I own 4 guitars from Salvador Castillo of Paracho, Mexico blancas and I know a_arnold has a blanca and a negra. I bought them from Salvador directly via email communication, Western Union money transfer and DHL shipping. In all I have bought 6 guitars over the past 2.5 years and they are really excellent, and I really do believe they are worth more than I paid. The very good news is that as of earlier this year if you buy from Salvador directly it will cost you about $2,000.00 + $150.00 shipping to the U.S. for his blanca with European Spruce and Spanish/Mediterranean Cypress and about $1800.00 with Mexican Cypress. The not so good news is that he ships the guitar from Mexico in a cheap case and a thin cardboard box with very little padding/insulation. Over the years five have arrived in perfect condition, but one did not and DHL would not ship back free or refund cost of shipping because the guitar was not adequately packaged. Salvador replaced the instrument, but I covered all the cost of shipping and then shipping back and then getting the replacement shipped to me, and the headache dealing with DHL. I was okay with that because I do think I am getting great value for money with his instruments. But, sure if you can go to Paracho and arrange with him before going you can have the opportunity to try a couple guitars before buying and you won't have to deal with the 1 in 6 chance of experiencing a shipment problem.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 7:01:31
 
kovachian

Posts: 505
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

Does Salvador speak any English? I only had one semester of Spanish in high school, more than 15 years ago.

_____________________________

Don't look at me in that tone of voice.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 11:37:16
 
polishcomedy

 

Posts: 66
Joined: Feb. 7 2009
From: Orlando

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

lol, I just realized the Francisco Navarro guitar I'm looking at on eBay was made in Paracho, lol. I think you guys have convinced me to get it. Should I? It would be $1000 even after my discount.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 12:04:24
 
ChiyoDad

Posts: 151
Joined: Jun. 30 2007
From: San Francisco Bay Area

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to kovachian

quote:

ORIGINAL: kovachian

Does Salvador speak any English?


I'd be curious too.

_____________________________

  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 12:10:11
 
DonS

Posts: 232
Joined: Mar. 1 2007
From: Florida and San Francisco Cali

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

Poliscomedy, I'm in Melbourne, FL..nice to know there is fellow foro member here in Central FL.

I haven't been to Paracho but I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have played many many guitars made in Paracho. In 1997 I went with a mexican friend who was a distributor for Benito Huipe..we went to meet him before a Vicente Amigo concert in Tijuana (I still can't believe Vicente played there) cultural center during the "4 Festival de guitarra Hispanoamerica" in 1997. Before the show we met up with Benito at a local hotel and he brought about 30 guitars with him...some good, some not so good. Setup and neck were the problems. Anyhow my buddy bought about 8-10 that we brought back with us. This was at a time when you just crossed the border from the US to Mexico with our California drivers license! . I think he paid like $80-$100 bucks per and sold it for about $500-$800 a piece. Even at the time at $500 a piece they were a great buy. Labor in Mexico is so cheap and there are some talented luthiers that make "decent" guitars.

Good luck,
Don
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 15:19:30
 
chapman_g

 

Posts: 221
Joined: Apr. 11 2007
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

Salvador speaks no english so I communicated to him using freetranslation.com and sometimes a friend who knows spanish.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 3 2009 22:50:35
 
Escribano

Posts: 4687
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to chapman_g

If you want to communicate with a seller in Paracho my wife is Mexican and qualified in English to Spanish translation including business communications. She also understands technical flamenco terms as she did the subtitles for "El Guitarrero."

This may also help with the price negotiation, if they think they are not dealing with a rich "gringo"

PM or email me from here if you want some help.

_____________________________

  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 4 2009 4:42:24
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1445
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago, specifically 24.5 miles due west.

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to Escribano

I have a Salvador castillo Negra. Wonderful guitar! theres pictures on the foro here, and tony arnold just started making cejilllas that are rosette copies, the first one he did is a castillo rosette

_____________________________

It's really not that great
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 4 2009 8:30:59
 
polishcomedy

 

Posts: 66
Joined: Feb. 7 2009
From: Orlando

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

Thanks everyone, but I pulled the trigger and got the Navarro from eBay. I hope I made a good decision!
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 4 2009 9:24:49
 
a_arnold

 

Posts: 554
Joined: Jul. 30 2006
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to kovachian

quote:

Does Salvador speak any English?


The short answer is "no." So is the long answer.

The problem with physically going to Paracho:
There is only a handfull of luthiers there that make top-tier guitars. So they are the ones you will want to visit. Unfortunately, the best ones make most guitars on commission, and if you go there, you will be a "walk-in" customer. Commission guitars are normally sold and out the door before a walk-in customer even gets a look. So going there means you are taking a chance as to whether the best luthiers will even have a selection in stock for you to look at or choose among. So if you do go, the best thing is to write ahead so they KNOW you are coming. Maybe then they will have something to show you.

Shipping: Michael (Chapman_g) is about right on the shipping. Of the two that I got from Salvador, one had a badly damaged case -- something actually penetrated the lower bout of the case but (miraculously) didn't touch the guitar. This is down to Salvador's packing. On the plus side, he is an honorable man and would replace it. Because of this I deal with him directly, sending personal checks both times (I am now ordering a 3rd guitar), not bothering with the (more expensive) wire transfer option.

Quality: both of my Castillos are miraculous guitars, and I HAVE had firm offers of more than I paid for both; I paid $1200 and $2800 and his prices have gone up in the 3 years since). I have played and compared them directly next to (in the same room at the same time, the only way to compare) a 72 Ramirez, an 83 Conde, a 67 Manuel de la Chica Garcia a Ricardo and a Vicente Sanchis, two Bellidos (father and son) a Pedregosa, a Burguet, several concert-grade Navarros, and too many factory guitars to name. I've listened to and played a LOT of guitars over the years (lived in Spain across from Bellido's shop and worked at the Smithsonian in musical instrument repair) so I trust my judgment. That doesn't mean you have to (or even should) when I claim my Castillo is the equal of the Conde, and better than the rest. But it is. I'd like to get it next to a Gerundino.

BUT: you are not going to find a $5000 guitar for $500 in Paracho. Maybe you would find a $1800 guitar in Paracho that would sell for $5000 in the US.

If you buy a high-end name brand guitar you WILL pay extra for the label -- no question. If you can't trust your own judgment (of sound) and need to rely on the label, then you can get stuck with a clunker even from the best of makers. Likewise, if you CAN trust your own judgment, there are a lot of top luthiers out there with great undervalued guitars on their shelves. They just don't have two generations of family history to add value to their label. unfortunately, there are also "luthiers" out there who are capitalizing on their family tradition rather than continuing it.
In my opinion, Condes, although still excellent guitars. are overpriced now (with the family tradition and the PDL cachet) just as Ramirez were in the 70's (when Segovia and Sabicas were playing them). That's not to say their quality has dropped (the way Ramirez has); rather, their price is inflated beyond their excellent quality. But there are many equally good but undervalued guitars out there.

Who is the undiscovered Conde of the future? Answering that question isn't just a matter of judgment. If it were, Castillo would be as good a candidate as any -- that also depends on a number of unknowable factors like his future family tradition and which famous players adopt him and have the courage to depart from the well-worn path to Conde's door.

As Tom Nunez is fond of saying, a good guitar is a good guitar, no matter who made it. He's absolutely right.

_____________________________

"Flamenco is so emotionally direct that a trained classical musician would require many years of highly disciplined formal study to fail to understand it."
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 4 2009 10:57:27
 
kovachian

Posts: 505
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

And speaking of Mr. Navarro, I just found out that he and other luthiers are interviewed in a Paracho documentary. Not sure how exciting it is (for some reason it doesn't seem as engaging as this one), but I'm thinking about ordering both anyway.



Having watched El Guitarrero a few times has more or less spoiled me on these luthier documentaries.

_____________________________

Don't look at me in that tone of voice.
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 4 2009 11:04:12
 
DonS

Posts: 232
Joined: Mar. 1 2007
From: Florida and San Francisco Cali

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

ORIGINAL: Escribano

my wife is Mexican

PM or email me from here if you want some help.


Escribano, I'm jealous you must be eating well I love mexican food!! mi favorita!
Since I moved to Florida I'm really missing the good 'ol Taqueria's that I used to go to
in California..that rancheria and tex-mex style is incredible especially with some Negra Modelo! to wash it down with..

saludos, Don
  Report Abuse |  Date Apr. 10 2009 11:18:32
 
ludeguitars

 

Posts: 2
Joined: May 1 2009
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

Interesante

Pero esta es la realidad, los guitarreros de paracho manejan distintos precios, uno para el mercado local y otro para el extranjero, en ocasiones es muy distinto, Aun Asi es mucho mejor comprar directamente con ellos estas guitarras.


Ninguno de estos guitarreros le venden una guitarra por menos de 1200 dolares. Aun asi eh visto guitarras en USA de ellos con una diferencia de 2000 o + dolares respecto al mercado local.


Google translator
Interesting

But this is reality, Paracho guitar to handle different prices, one for the local market and for abroad, it is sometimes very different, yet is much better to buy these guitars with them directly.


None of these luthiers guitar sold for less than 1200 dollars. Yet guitars eh seen them in the USA with a difference of 2000 + dollars or respect for the local market.

I'm from Paracho and Friend of the Masters, if anyone wants their phone or email do not hesitate to ask. (if you want some other can also give it)
Soy de Paracho y Amigo de estos Maestros, si alguno quiere sus datos no duden en pedirlos. (si quieren de algun otro tambien puedo darselo)




Salvador Castillo




Abel Garcia


Jose Luis Diaz Reyes


Carlos piña



Daniel Caro Leonardo
  Report Abuse |  Date May 1 2009 22:47:08
 
jonc

 

Posts: 33
Joined: Oct. 24 2008
From: New England, USia

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

I have my heart set on playing a guitar made by Salvador Castillo. I'm living a rather ascetic lifestyle to afford the travel and cost of the guitar =]

Best of luck in your own journey.
  Report Abuse |  Date May 2 2009 0:50:05
 
Doitsujin

Posts: 4989
Joined: Apr. 10 2005
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

If you dont want to die due to the swine flu... dont (EDIT-->go) there to buy a guitar...
  Report Abuse |  Date May 2 2009 1:09:07
 
Escribano

Posts: 4687
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to DonS

quote:

Escribano, I'm jealous you must be eating well


Yep, we make our own bread (we can't get decent masa here unfortunately) and had some mole rojo this last week. Got some chiles from Mexico and thinking about making our own sauces, great fun

My favourite taco is "al pastor"

_____________________________

  Report Abuse |  Date May 2 2009 4:34:24
 
ludeguitars

 

Posts: 2
Joined: May 1 2009
 

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

I can show you all of Paracho guitars =) wow

These are the new guitars Salvador Castillo ... Any interested?

Castillo Guitars





Attachment (1)
  Report Abuse |  Date May 2 2009 10:17:53
 
kovachian

Posts: 505
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Should I go to Paracho, Mexico t... (in reply to polishcomedy

If you have more pictures, don't by shy. It's safer than going there and catching some of that lovely H1N1.

_____________________________

Don't look at me in that tone of voice.
  Report Abuse |  Date May 2 2009 20:25:20
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