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estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

Condemania 

Could someone please explain to me what is so all that alluring about the Conde guitar?

I mean here is a a company that makes a pretty good product, but the best guys from that shop are gone now. Only one of them really made super hot guitars, and that was the sobrino Faustino.

Are Conde's the Mc Guitar of the flamenco world? Can I order a Mc Conde with a side of Crispy Cajon and a cana of Cruz Campo?

And while we are at it, why do guitarmakers hate Conde's so darned much? What did they ever do to you personally?

Is my naïveté showing in asking these questions?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2009 14:22:20
 
aeolus

Posts: 765
Joined: Oct. 30 2009
From: Mier

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Paco plays one. That's all you need to know.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2009 14:52:30
 
estebanana

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Paco Pena?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2009 15:33:10
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Sobrinos de esteso was well known and popular amongst flamencos since N. Ricardo's day. The model is a standard for players that accompany. Watch Rito y geografia del cante, and try to count all the condes. It was not because Paco also used one, vice versa. he used em cuz his brother dad collegues and idols also used em. They are perfect guitars for flamenco, dry and cutting, low bridge, etc. Most pro players understand why.

The modern conde was a pretty good copy of the old model. I own both and like both guitars equally. Only reason I might prefer the old one is because, well, it's old and feels collectable. But the Condes from the 90's and early 2000's were not bad and seemed to make even some older players happy. Regardless who built em, they were good guitars that held up to standards of old esteso design, and therefore the prices skyrocketed.

I have played a few newer condes that were really not the same as the ones I own or have played that were good, but in general they are usually good instruments. There are many other makers that are good too don't get me wrong, but whenever I play another make for a while, returning to the conde is like coming home. I am sure the reason for popularity amongst other professional players is the same.

I feel that since I have encountered the internet world, I have had to defend condes way more than in the real working world. I can understand buying a guitar for hype, that being paco de lucia uses one. But I can't understand the general dislike of condes by amature players and builders. It is as if they all believe that the fine players posses only the few "good ones" that could possibly exist. The truth is, there are fine players that use instruments that many guitar connoisseurs and builders would consider "mcCondes"....for reasons that escape them because they don't play.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2009 17:06:52
 
Morao

 

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Very good explanation, Ricardo.
But what I don´t understand (as a non guitar builder and a amateur guitarist):
It seems that no one of the Conde family builds guitars. And they have no workshop. All guitars were from other builders from Valencia or so. Many people say, that the Sanchis brothers in Valencia are building for Conde. Maybe two or three other factories, don´t matter.
=> Why didn´t they build the "conde" guitar for there own when all players wan´t that "conde sound".

Isn´it in fact so, that Conde Hermanos buy the instruments from other builders for example 3000 Euro and sell them for 8000?
I don´t really care about this and I have nothing against Conde. But that seems to be one fact, why many players and of course builders don´t like Conde.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2009 23:58:11
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

The Conde history is very old and they have been buying guitars from outside for decades. In the 60th they bought from now very well known Granada builders like Bellido and Marín Montero. Later on they have turned to Valencia and now its ????

This is not just a Conde history but very typical in all of Spain. ramirez and Contreras do the same and a lot of others. Also a lot of shops in Spain buy guitars from outside and put their own label into them (Student models). Examples are Bellido in Granada and Postigo in Sevilla.
So you could say that its a Spanish way of doing things. I´m pretty sure its against EU consumer laws but noone seems to care.

Back to Condes: Looking at history, its THE flamenco guitar and a reference point, or let me say, it was so. I agree with Ricardo, Older Condes are good, but the ones that I´ve tried from the last 7 - 8 years, have been really dull and with lack of expression.
The good ones have their characteristics and their followers. They have this conde sound which is very easy to recognize. They work very well on stage and with microphones. Also they tend to be hard in the right hand and they like a lot to have new strings on. Its not my personal guitar sound but I understand and accept that we are all different.

Condes are being played by many pro´s but not like in the 60th 70th and 80th. In general, many players have found out that there are MANY other guitar makers nowadays which are better and cheaper. I went to a concert in November. (Tomatito, P. Habichuela, Rodriguez, Sanlicar, M.A. Cortéz, and many others) Noone played a Conde..... That was pretty interesting.

I dont hate Condes guitars. some I even like, I dont like their business policy and I think they should be stopped and told to put the name of the real builder on their label.

Anders

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 0:52:13
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Interesting stuff. I think Anders point about a Conde working well with a microphone is salient. I think it's because they are a fundamental guitar as opposed to an overtone guitar. They don't shine with overtones, they are what I would characterize as "breathy". The fundamental note, especially the basses, decay quickly and are less supported by the overtones. Makes for a sonically flat, windy guitar. Easier to control with a microphone in comparison to hotter guitars with more overtones appearing in the spectrum. At least that's been my that's my observation over the years. Not saying all Conde's lack overtones, I've just noticed the recent ones are rather dull.

It's curious that there's almost a formula to create this kind of flat breathy sound. Almost all the Conde and Conde clones I have seen have a five fan system which calls for the fans to be spread wide apart and stationed in a mostly parallel manner. That coupled with a low light bridge which is slightly sprung into the top. ( the top is left a little slack so it's not so prone to activate overtones) It's like a recipe. I suppose if there is any continuity between "Conde's" made by different people in different places it seems top come from this method of structure.

As for Paco's family playing them being reason enough to get one; brand loyalty is both a trap and a security. It's nice to have the 0ld Reliable under your arm, but brand loyalty can also be another name for covered ears.


I've learned a lot from looking a listening to Conde's but I think there are enough of them out there that there are other sounds to go after. I do wish I owned a signed Media Luna by Faustino, but that's only to ensure there will be some extra college money for the possible future offspring. I used to have a Conde, but I sold it. It was a good guitar and it was not a media luna. However it was better than almost all the media lunas I had run across, except for a few from the 70's and the ones built by Faustino himself. It was not my guitar, as they say, and I needed money so I let it go. It was with much anguish and some amusement that I encountered this phenomena so common with Conde guitars; Those who asked to buy it wanted to compare it to the media luna and use the fact that it had a second tier headstock as a reason to devalue the guitar. "If that guitar had a media luna", they would tell me, "with that great sound it would be worth 5000.00 more dollars." This baffled me because it was clear to all that the sound was superior even though it was commercially a second class class guitar, cuadro wise it was a top flight instrument. It had all the qualities in spades to be a top accompaniment guitar, but the potential buyers fixated on the headstock without listening to what the guitar was doing. The other thing that was magical about this particular guitar, which I don't always find a characteristic of Conde, is that it had carrying power. The guitar had that strange and rare mix of breathy bass coupled with overtone support to make the sound project clear and far.
I think about that guitar sometimes, but I've come to realize I don't really miss it. In the biblical sense I covet my friends 2000 Barba. And that is another story.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 8:33:04
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Condemania (in reply to Morao

quote:

Why didn´t they build the "conde" guitar for there own when all players wan´t that "conde sound".

Isn´it in fact so, that Conde Hermanos buy the instruments from other builders for example 3000 Euro and sell them for 8000?


There are no public made "facts", but I would tend to go along with that conjecture. I have examined many of both guitars and compared them. The bracing is not the same always. But even Sobrinos de Esteso did not use the same bracing. Could be Sanchis or someone in Valencia was always making some condes and this "faustino the only good builder" is the true hype. In recent years many pros have gone for Sanchis after all, since they sound good and are cheap and feel about the same as Condes. I personally notice a difference in sound and don't understand why they don't build say their negras with the same cutting mid tones as ones they supposedly build for conde??? I have no idea what they might pay to have them built....could be much less than 3k per instrument.

About the Sobrinos with media luna vs not. That is pure cosmetics but it does matter to buyers unfortunately. Players don't care as much unless they are also collecting guitars. Back then it meant nothing, but the modern condes are distinguished by the head design....it is understood that Media luna are "A" models and the M. Ramirez design are "B" models. That has carried over to old guitars unfairly.

About the collectablitly of Sobrinos de esteso guitars, even good condition ones are not like Reyes or even Gerundino etc. They are usually priced 5-7K and don't go for more unless the owner just won't let it go. If you want one, one will pop up at somepoint and should be going for that price range. There were a lot of those made back then....more than Faustino could have made himself.

J RAmirez III was pretty open about the concept of having people make guitars to HIS plan. He had no problem with it and considered guitar building a science and trusted that with his model others could build a guitar like his....so long as they have been trained to his method. Simply copying the plan was not enough, but the idea of Conde's doing the same thing, contracting out, is not so crazy.

About Paco hype, one more interesting thing was in Rito y Geografia, you see him playing Ramirez not Conde like everyone else, so it was never like he was "loyal" to the maker.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 9:56:18
 
aeolus

Posts: 765
Joined: Oct. 30 2009
From: Mier

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Lacking any objective standard for evaluation if lacking a performers expertise, judgments are made on the basis of cachet deriving from cost; star performer association; or vendor hype. Currently a large US west coast dealer lists the Conde AF25/R at $12,500 USD while the Felipe V has a price tag that is too high to be revealed to the hoi polloi requiring a private consultation. For a guitar made by anonymous builders, this is some bluff I would think. I purchased a AF25mail order from said dealer thinking he had selected his stock with some care but I was disappointed with the instrument as it had two duff notes. Cavat Emperor
But hope springs eternal and I have a negra a-building with Lester DeVoe. There again one must just hope for the best.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 10:18:25
 
Mike_Kinny

 

Posts: 689
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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

I'm neither a pro player nor a pro builder although I play and build as hobby.
Dominating the flamenco guitar market isn't an easy task, so kudos to Conde.

First time I tried Conde guitars was at Conde Felipe V shop. Both brothers in nice clean cloths were in the shop. I asked if I could try a guitar. One of the brothers said wait here and I'll bring some. He went out and 10 minutes later came back with 3 or 4 guitars (can't remember exactly) in carton boxes.
One of them was good (IMO of course). It had a nice sharp cutting voice with a bit of buzz, very good setup and easy to play. The others while not bad guitars were definitely not worth the price.

Second time I tried Conde was at Conde Atocha. I tried two guitars. They were pretty average guitars, not bad at all, nothing special either.

Third time was a guitar owned by a professional. From the very high action and the fact that you couldn't lower it unless you changed the bridge I could tell that it had come directly out of factory without any inspection. It sounded like a cheap classical guitar and was hard to play, both because of the action height.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 11:01:45
 
Morao

 

Posts: 74
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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Last time I played a very good Media Luna from Felipe V in a guitar shop. They only sell flamenco guitars and I´ve tested about 20-30 guitars that day. Gerundino, Reyes, Barba, Manzanero, etc.
I will always wan´t to learn something about flamenco guitars, their sound, the builders etc. I try to play as many different guitars as possible. Now I can´t buy a better guitar. But when I will have enough money (maybe never... ) I wan´t to know which guitar suits for me...
Ok, anyway, the shop dealer told me, that it´s very hard to find a good Conde in their shops. But this one was so incredible fast and agressive, a real macho guitar... After playing this guitar I could understand why so many people like these guitars. But it´s in no case a guitar for me. I prefer another sound, and another price...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2009 13:28:48
 
hhmusic

 

Posts: 164
Joined: May 13 2006
 

RE: Condemania (in reply to Ricardo

Re: Paco playing Ramirez:

The guitar he's shown playing in the liner notes of Almoraima, probably my favorite Paco album, is a Ramirez, and it certainly sounds like one to me. I love the guitar sound on that disc.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2009 6:38:09
 
estebanana

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

If you stretched rubber bands over an empty shoe box Paco would make it sound like a guitar. He makes any guitar work. It's the witch not the wand. ( at least that's what the ladies tell me.)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2009 10:44:25
 
Mike_Kinny

 

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

quote:

If you stretched rubber bands over an empty shoe box Paco would make it sound like a guitar.


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2009 0:47:13
 
stratos13

 

Posts: 222
Joined: Apr. 11 2005
From: Αθήνα

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

quote:

It's the witch not the wand.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2009 8:33:13
 
keith

Posts: 1108
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

although we would like to think that paco could make any guitar sound good, the reality is he would make the guitar sound as good as the guitar is capable. if someone like paco could make a $1000 guitar sound like a $10,000 guitar i am sure paco, and us, would buy the $1000 and invest the remaining $9,000. true it is the witch, but a wand that is made with plywood will sound like plywood.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2009 8:50:11
 
estebanana

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Some guitarists do have a penchant for making any guitar sound good. Diego del Gastor was famous for it. He often was out of a guitar and used borrowed guitars which were not especially good. I'm sure he preferred a nice guitar, but on lots of the homegrown recordings of him he was shredding on some crap box.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2009 10:11:52
 
estebanana

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

nigerian emails

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 4:10:44
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Conde obsession

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 6:11:23
 
estebanana

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RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Cheezus I created this thread myself.

Doh!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 13:13:49
 
Richard Jernigan

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From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Condemania (in reply to Ricardo

One element of Conde popularity in flamenco has not been mentioned here. In the 1960s through the early 1990s I worked in Europe a fair amount. I stopped off in Madrid on the way home and would visit the guitar shops: Ramirez, Contreras, Manzanero, Bernabe, Camacho, Rozas while he had his own shop, and Conde. All but one made both classical and flamenco guitars, and sold them and factory guitars at a variety of price points. Camacho was alone in not making flamenco guitars or selling factory guitars.

At all but the Conde shop, the clientele tended to be well dressed, well spoken and musically literate. At the Conde shop at Gravina 7 a sizable portion of the clientele were clearly Gypsies, some not very well dressed or well spoken. At the Conde shop these people were treated with respect, and clearly felt at home. I never saw anyone at the other shops who fit the profile.

I have no idea how this came about. Did the Gypsies gravitate to the Conde shop because of the guitars? Or did the Gypsies gravitate to the guitars because they were treated well at the Conde shop?

Bear in mind that throughout the Franco dictatorship, both Gypsies and flamenco were officially looked down upon.

At the club Zambra in the'50s and '60s, with the magnificent team of Rafael Romero "El Gallina" and Perico El del Lunar, the crowd had quite a few pipe smoking intellectuals in their tweed jackets and horn rimmed glasses, with their dates in sensible shoes, plaid skirts and cardigans. Aficion for flamenco was a form of protest against Fascist repression.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 16:46:30
 
keith

Posts: 1108
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From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Condemania (in reply to Richard Jernigan

in many ways paco did for conde what segovia did for ramirez. segovia brought classical guitar to the masses and for quite a while a lot of folks wanted a ramirez--not only because segovia played one but because they were good guitars. paco really opened the flamenco door for a lot of people especially outside of europe. the fact that paco played a conde may be responsible for a lot of folks to consider a conde and the fact that conde guitars are good guitars.

what richard said has a lot of truth to it as well. people pass along the word about who treats them well and who does not.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 18:09:52
 
Harry

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Joined: Jun. 24 2010
From: Montreal, Canada

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

Thanks for these interesting insights Richard.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2013 19:03:08
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1543
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Diego del Gastor was famous for it. He often was out of a guitar and used borrowed guitars which were not especially good. I'm sure he preferred a nice guitar, but on lots of the homegrown recordings of him he was shredding on some crap box.


This is absolutely true. Diego borrowed my guitar several times because he didn't have a good one (saying, "No te pasa nada la guitarra"). On other occasions I saw him try somebody's cheap guitar with high action and very high tension and praise it because he got a good sound out of it. He had incredibly strong hands--sometimes he "tapped" a hole through a soundboard. I miss that guy.

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I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 3:33:17
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1543
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Condemania (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

One element of Conde popularity in flamenco has not been mentioned here.


Another might have been customer service. In 1970 I went into the Conde shop with a friend who had a cheap guitar with high action that he wanted adjusted. Whoever it was working in the shop happily filed down the saddle while we waited and refused payment.

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www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 3:40:42
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1543
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Condemania (in reply to Harry

quote:

"I'm just a poor crazy man in love with his art." Santos Hernandez


Is this a real quote? Can you tell me where you got it?

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Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 3:42:22
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Condemania (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

At all but the Conde shop, the clientele tended to be well dressed, well spoken and musically literate.


...but didn't know how to play the guitar to save their freakin lives. Meanwhile, over at the Conde's.....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 5:20:04
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Condemania (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Cheezus I created this thread myself.

Doh!


Just so you know your negative conde energy (past couple days anyway) worked and the top cracked on my (I thought due to voodoo, indestructable) A26 tonight for no damn apparent reason! 16 years of some crazy abuse and wild adventures including having heavy stuff dropped on it, crazy drunk people bang on it, dropped off chair, forced through baggage claim, tons of crazy weather events and not a scratch on the top...till tonight. Bad voodoo!!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 5:30:57
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Condemania (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ust so you know your negative conde energy (past couple days anyway) worked and the top cracked on my (I thought due to voodoo, indestructable) A26 tonight for no damn apparent reason! 16 years of some crazy abuse and wild adventures including having heavy stuff dropped on it, crazy drunk people bang on it, dropped off chair, forced through baggage claim, tons of crazy weather events and not a scratch on the top...till tonight. Bad voodoo!!!

_____________________________


Send me the guitar and I will write a free forensic evaluation on my letterhead describing the damage, and my notarized opinion as an expert for you to submit to your homeowners insurance.

Include full shipping and customs fees payment please.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 6:17:18
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Condemania (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:


This is absolutely true. Diego borrowed my guitar several times because he didn't have a good one (saying, "No te pasa nada la guitarra"). On other occasions I saw him try somebody's cheap guitar with high action and very high tension and praise it because he got a good sound out of it. He had incredibly strong hands--sometimes he "tapped" a hole through a soundboard. I miss that guy.


Wish I could have met him. I never believed for two seconds any of the smear stuff that was said of him on the old Temple list. That guy is awesome.

I was too young to have made it to Spain by myself before he died. I did not make it until ten years after and of course I had no idea whatsoever where to look. First time I went to Spain some half German half Spanish girl saved me from lodging in a Valencian brothel. I could barely find the damn train...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2013 6:23:01
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