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Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

Good guitars and great guitars 

I spent yesterday afternoon at Richard Brune's shop in Evanston, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Richard and his son Marshall were vey amiable and congenial hosts. As well as a famous luthier, Richard is a fine flamenco player. He worked as a pro at Manolo Caracol's Club "El Rincon de Goya" in Mexico City.

After business was taken care of, Richard started bringing out guitars from his collection.

Keep in mind my previous caveat that I would make no serious decision about a guitar without playing it for at least a few days. But Richard has one that I had no doubt about as soon as he started to play.

Richard's showroom is good sized, a fair amount bigger than my practice room of 15 x 20 feet (5x7 meters). It has a nice hardwood floor--a good room to play the guitar in.

Among the first he and I played was a Manuel Reyes. Richard described the trebles as "glassy". They even seemed to overpower the basses a bit, but that may just have been the strings--or me. A loud and brilliant guitar with trebles both firm and glassy.

There was a Conde Hermanos blanca from the 1970s. It had a firm pulsacion, was even across all registers, an excellent guitar, but didn't seem to me as brilliant as my '82 Arcangel Fernandez blanca which we had in the room. Still, it might be just the ticket for a different player.

A 1930s Santos Hernandez is in perfect condition. A beautiful instrument and a pleasure to play. It is brilliant, balanced, has a singing tone, and is percussive in rasgueados. This is the kind of guitar I was talking about having to get familiar with. I was more comfortable with my Arcangel, but I have been playing it for years.

An Arcangel Fernandez negra didn't immediately attract me. Maybe I would like it more if I learned how to play it better, but it didn't grab my attention like the blancas we had been playing. (This wasn't the guitar Ricardo Marlow played--Richard said he sold that one.)

A 1923 Domingo Esteso blanca has a quality I have seldom encountered in a blanca, but a quality a like very much.
The trebles have a depth, a singing tone like a great mezzo soprano, but when pushed they turn coloratura, pushed further they are percussive. The basses are bold and colorful. A really great guitar.

As soon as Richard started to play his 1948 Barbero, I exclaimed "Damn! What a guitar! Wow!" It has a character somewhat like the Esteso, only much more so. It reminds me of great Torres and Manuel Ramirez guitars I have heard, only more brilliant and percussive when pushed. It was easily the loudest of the bunch, by a wide margin, yet its boldness projected refinement, not harshness. I am near crossing the border into **** here, because words just fail me. You would simply have to hear it. When he handed it to me, the sounds just jumped out of it as soon as I played a note. It was not only the loudest, the most brilliant, the most refined, the most flamenca, it was the easiest to play. Damn! But I repeat myself...

The Barbero has had a long and eventful professional career. It shows it. Marshall said, "Probably more notes per year than any other guitar I have seen." Richard observed that all that playing had opened it up.

I'm still happy with my Arcangel. The Esteso has more cantabile, but maybe a little less brilliance. I like my Arcangel better than any of the others, except of course for the Barbero, but I have lived with the Arcangel for quite a while now, and know it better than any of the others.

Thanks to Richard and Marshall for a very enjoyable afternoon.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 23:35:52
 
Cloth Ears

 

Posts: 152
Joined: Apr. 26 2005
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

What a lovely day. I am drooling at the thought of all that lovely precision madera.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 0:25:59
 
keith

Posts: 1106
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

richard, i use to live one mile from brune's place and spent a couple of hours at his place. awesome collection of guitars and his place is equally nice. i hope you were able to grab some good chicago food while you were there. did you make it down to the bean? the bean and brune--two definite things to see in chicago. by the way, if you made it to the bean you were across the street from sherry brener's place.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 2:24:35
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Tonight I am in Alexandria, Virginia--"Old Town". Larisa and I went to the last place we heard Ricardo Marlow and his troupe. It had turned into a pseudo-British roast beef and ale place, so we went across the street and down a block or so to another Spanish tapas place. The food was better, and guess who were playing and dancing? Yes, Ricardo, his beautiful wife and a singer. At the break Ricardo came to our table and I immediately started rambling on about Brune's guitars. I asked him which one he liked the most. He mentioned a Conde, which I think may have been different from the one I played.

After the show we were standing around talking in the bar. Ricardo handed me his gigging guitar, a 1997 Felipe V Conde. It is the exact opposite of my Arcangel! My guitar is loud and brilliant, but it has a fair amount of sustain. His is the ultimate of dryness. The note stops right away. As a result picados are percussive, and rasgueados just pop out like a snare drum. He says it cuts through all the singing, dancing and clapping.

I really like Ricardo's playing, but I don't think his guitar suits my (attempted) style of playing. My guitar would probably drive him nuts.

Very different strokes for different folks.

For me, my guitar is better than his. For him I suspect his would be better than mine, certainly for gigging. So when you ask someone which guitar is better, be aware of the kind of answer you will get. I think we would both be right when we said ours was better--better for each one of us individually.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 3:55:05
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5779
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

His is the ultimate of dryness. The note stops right away. As a result picados are percussive, and rasgueados just pop out like a snare drum. He says it cuts through all the singing, dancing and clapping.


That is very typical for players who play a lot in public (especially a lot with dance) and have a technique that is powerfull enough to drive such a guitar.
If you dont have that power and technique, then, a guitar like that may sound really dull in your hands. And its not the best choice for many players.
In Andalucia you find many powerfull players. They have to be because of the noise level. Those playing in groups with cante, cajon and evt. dance, wants guitars like the above, whereas those playing mostly with solo cante wants a guitar with a more singy quality. Singers very often dont prefer very trebly guitars. Good strong powerfull midrange, yes, but not to much trebble and some lyrical quality for the falsetas and inbetweens.

(interesting enough, in the classical violin world its the same. The concert masters violin may be the strongest sounding, but not the nicest to play and definately not the best for playing chamber music where qualities as color, and blending with the others is of highest importance.)

_____________________________

See the guitars I have for sale here:
http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com.es/p/guitars-for-sale.html

Fine flamenco and classical guitars: www.eliassonguitars.com
Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 9:52:41
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1540
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

His is the ultimate of dryness. The note stops right away.


I notice this quality with Tomatito’s guitars — particularly the recordings with Camarón, e.g. the Paris DVD.

I don’t know what the guitar is, though…

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 16:03:49
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 1818
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Paul Magnussen

Tomatito played Conde and Reyes models for his main instruments but he has played other brand names.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 16:22:17
 
Echi

 

Posts: 566
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

The old Conde sound I presume. At that time he used to play mostly a Conde blanca and a Gerundino and the driest was the Conde.
He started playing Reyes just later.
I have a Gerundino that was one of those owned by Tomatito: I believe he has many guitars, anyway.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 16:49:45
 
sig

 

Posts: 295
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Richard,
Great story and one day I have to make the pilgrimage to Brune's shop. I'm in Mke so its a quick ride down I94 for me. I have had the priviledge of playing a few very fine guitars over the years, Conde, Ruck, not to mention our own Anders Elliason, and of course my Culpepper but one that stands out is a 1949 Barbero. My instructor owns this blanca and its just fantastic! Narrower neck than the others, however fast. Great balance and a big voice and as you said, rather than just volume " its boldness projected refinement not harshness." Its hard to explain but that guitar just seemed to have a life of its own. Can't say enough about it... My instructor had Bob Ruck make him a copy of this Barbero about 20 years ago and its pretty close in sound and feel, but not quite; There's just something about that Barbero...

Over the past several decades I spent some time in the area as my uncle lived there for 40 years. I was last in Old Town Alexandria Va about 2 years ago and have taken the metro out of DC several times over the past 10 years or so to see Ricardo and the flamenco show at Las Tapas, I didn't realize they had closed. Food was ok but the Sangria was Muy Bueno! Ricardo is a wonderful artist and always willing to discuss flamenco! I too love the way his Conde sounds, great for accompanying dancers.
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 17:58:13
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I've always thought there were "stage guitars" and "after the show guitars" you play by yourself or with a few other people in the kitchen at someone house after drinks. Maybe there are Stage guitars and Kitchen guitars.

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https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 3:07:15
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to sig

Ricardo plays at La Tasca, 607 King Street, Alexandria, VA. I'm not sure of his full schedule, but this week he played flamenco on Wednesday night with his wife who is an excellent dancer, and a singer. He told us he will be playing rumbas for the crowd to dance to on Friday night.

Larisa and I firmly agreed the the food was much better at La Tasca than the other place he was playing, and the service was great.

We had a blast.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 3:52:00
 
SephardRick

Posts: 354
Joined: Apr. 11 2014
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

That is very typical for players who play a lot in public (especially a lot with dance) and have a technique that is powerfull enough to drive such a guitar.
If you dont have that power and technique, then, a guitar like that may sound really dull in your hands. And its not the best choice for many players.
In Andalucia you find many powerfull players. They have to be because of the noise level. Those playing in groups with cante, cajon and evt. dance, wants guitars like the above, whereas those playing mostly with solo cante wants a guitar with a more singy quality. Singers very often dont prefer very trebly guitars. Good strong powerfull midrange, yes, but not to much trebble and some lyrical quality for the falsetas and inbetweens


Well stated!

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Rick
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 18:24:00
 
sig

 

Posts: 295
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I will check out La Tasca next time i'm in DC. Thanks!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 20:20:45
 
johnguitar

 

Posts: 134
Joined: Jan. 10 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Echi

Echi said
quote:

I have a Gerundino that was one of those owned by Tomatito: I believe he has many guitars, anyway.


This reminds me that once someone who knew Tomatito informed me that Tomatito was collecting guitars and that I was welcome to give him one. He told me that this would be good for my career.

_____________________________

John Ray
blog: http://www.granadaexpert.com/johnray/
https://www.johnguitar.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 8:29:21
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5779
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to johnguitar

quote:

This reminds me that once someone who knew Tomatito informed me that Tomatito was collecting guitars and that I was welcome to give him one. He told me that this would be good for my career.


Oh yes, I know that story personally as well. It would be very good for our carrers (and karma) to give away all our guitars.
Here in Spain we are very welcome to give away many guitars. Or sell them with a 60 - 70% discount.

_____________________________

See the guitars I have for sale here:
http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com.es/p/guitars-for-sale.html

Fine flamenco and classical guitars: www.eliassonguitars.com
Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 9:29:00
 
Echi

 

Posts: 566
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

[Deleted] 

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Dec. 20 2014 20:35:13
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 11:27:45
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Echi

quote:

Here again; I' m sure it is not made by Gerundino, as none of the Condes of the 80ies was really made from Faustino and so on, but anyway it's among the nicest "Gerundino"


Why are you so sure it was not made by Gerundino? And what do the Condes of the '80s (whether or not made by Faustino) have to do with what Gerundino was doing?

It is considered "common knowledge" that Gerundino stopped making guitars around 1997 or 1998. In fact, Gerundino continued making a few guitars until about 2002 (he died in 2006), although they were finished by Juan Miguel Gonzalez before Gonzalez went full-time into his own luthier work. My flamenco maestro, Paco de Malaga, knew Gerundino personally and bought a couple of his flamenco blancas made in 2000 directly from him. Paco sold one to me, and it has all the hallmarks of a great Gerundino: great sound, full volume, and ringing trebles.

That's not to say that there are not "Gerundinos" out there made by others, just as there are "Condes" out there made by others. But there are plenty of top-of-the-line Gerundinos, Condes, and other top makes that are the real thing. One must avoid the temptation to cynically think that because there are some misrepresented that all are misrepresented.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 12:46:49
 
Echi

 

Posts: 566
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

[Deleted] 

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Dec. 20 2014 20:35:47
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 12:55:19
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Echi

I seriously question your categorical statements made without providing a scintilla of evidence.

You claim that, "none of the Condes of the 80ies was really made from Faustino,"

You state, "I would ask myself why you are well able find...no authentic [Gerundino] guitars from 91 to 98."

And your swipe at Richard Bune: "I just had a tour in Rebrune.com; The Eladio Fernandez he sells is just a real Faustino Conde ( I believe Brune knows it for sure and that's why He sells it for 6000 bucks). Again, he sells 2 very fine guitars from the same maker. Is that fair that none of them is branded with the real name of the maker?"

What is the evidence to support any of your categorical statements above: that none of the Condes of the '80s was really made by Faustino? That Gerundino made no guitars between '91 and '98", and the implication that Richard Brune is less than honest about the guitars he sells?

Actually there are authentic guitars made by Gerundino between '91 and '98, as well as beyond, with a few he made until 2002 that were finished, not made but finished, by Juan Miguel Gonzalez. I trust Paco de Malaga, who knew Gerundino personally and dealt with him in his shop in Almeria when he bought his guitars, rather than rumors and innuendo.

As for your other statements, I await the evidence.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 13:36:15
 
Echi

 

Posts: 566
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

[Deleted] 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 14:16:05
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5779
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Anyway, people like Tomatito, Vicente Amigo and so on are really influencing the market. Aren't they?
To me they are, and the "hidden" endorsement definitely can make the difference in such a small flamenco world.
Few instances: Robert Ruck was happy to deal with (or make a gift to...) Gerardo Nunez and it's quite clear that this was the best advertising about his skills of maker of flamenco guitars (same thing I would say for some the makers mentioned in the last Paco's album).


What do you want to say with this? That builders like John Ray, myself and others should start giving away our work in order to be "respected"?

_____________________________

See the guitars I have for sale here:
http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com.es/p/guitars-for-sale.html

Fine flamenco and classical guitars: www.eliassonguitars.com
Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 16:15:16

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 16:33:29

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
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[Deleted] 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 16:39:38
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 1818
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders I agree that no builder should give away guitars but this is a choice some builders choose for advertising purposes.

And according to tradition, this is a recognizable way to do business.

I took a long time to sell guitars without the players. However, I've chosen not to give guitars to professional players as I'm at the age that collectors are buying them without the approval of professionals. And earlier in my career I used to sell them wholesale to music companies.

And if a professional wants to buy my work, then he is welcome to pay his fair share, as I do have discounts for teachers and professionals alike. But make no mistake, professionals don't get free guitars from me.

But I must say that not giving a professional a free guitar, with the agreement that he play your guitar for one year before resale, will cost you in number of sales, depending on who the player is and what his name will bring to potential sales.

Most accountants will advise that we spend at least 10% of our gross sales for advertising. If you make $50,000 a year in gross sales then giving a $5,000 guitar away to a professional for a years worth of advertising could boost your business to a higher level.

I tried the accountant's advise one year and placed an ad in Acoustic guitar Magazine for $450.......I sold one guitar for $4,500 with that ad, so the ad paid for itself. This was quite a few years ago, and I'm sure the ad cost is much higher these days.

There are always risks that it would be a waste of time with a professional player. Personally, I choose not to advertise my art that way but then I've had a day job for most of my career and didn't have to bother with it. In a way, I've enjoyed the best of both worlds, and have had the time to explore and build a great number of master builder guitars.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 16:46:12
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 1818
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

I like my Arcangel better than any of the others, except of course for the Barbero, but I have lived with the Arcangel for quite a while now, and know it better than any of the others.


I liked the 1960's Manuel de la Chica Richard had in his collection. It was by far a better guitar than the Barbero, in its articulation for right and left hand, as well as a tonal capacity that ran alongside the Barbero.

Not to say that the de la Chica was the only horse to ride but that De la Chica built some very good guitars.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 17:07:08
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5779
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

Anders I agree that no builder should give away guitars but this is a choice some builders choose for advertising purposes.

And according to tradition, this is a recognizable way to do business.


What you call a recognizable way to do business is here called "el sistema del enchufe y del Cacique"
In short, it means that those who already have and know the right ones have the priority over those who dont.
That exists all over the world, but it has been driven to an absolute extreme in Spain. For decades and centuries it was AND IS the only real system.
This system is still very much alive, not only in societys like the flamenco world, but its still the predominant way here in Spain. Without "enchufe" you are nothing. Above that they have made a socalled democratic society, but its only a virtual world compared to the real world I just described.

This is 2014 and THE ONLY "real" respect you can show someone elses work is paying a decent price for it. Its not that guitarbuilders are earning a lot, their product is relatively cheap and their wages are very low compared to other higly skilled and specialized workers.

I have already showed a couple of persons the exit of my workshop. Interesting enough, all of them pretty rich, forrados and with a lot of enchufe talking about Conde, Gerundino, Reyes, Barbero. 'm a friend of Paco, Tomatito, Vicente ETC and showing of as if they as if they were the king themselves, but at the same time with the idea that they should have everything for "very special price for you hermano amigo"
OUT

But you are right, the word tradition is not a possitive or negative word. Its just a word describing the way things were done before and some traditions are bad just as some are good.

_____________________________

See the guitars I have for sale here:
http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com.es/p/guitars-for-sale.html

Fine flamenco and classical guitars: www.eliassonguitars.com
Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 17:28:42
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Blackshear

I liked the 1960's Manuel de la Chica Richard had in his collection. It was by far a better guitar than the Barbero, in its articulation for right and left hand, as well as a tonal capacity that ran alongside the Barbero.

Not to say that the de la Chica was the only horse to ride but that De la Chica built some very good guitars.


I remember Brune mentioning the de la Chica, but it didn't get played. Maybe some work was being done on it? I should say that in my present state I'm not much of a judge of how a guitar responds to the left hand. I'm still coming up to speed after a layoff of a few years, and a left hand injury. I liked the way the Barbero responded to the right hand.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 20:25:55
 
Escribano

Posts: 5862
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to BarkellWH

I have deleted the relevant comments from Echi.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 20:54:05
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2014 1:09:49
 
johnguitar

 

Posts: 134
Joined: Jan. 10 2006
 

RE: Good guitars and great guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Richard Bruné has a '63 de la Chica in his collection and drew a blueprint for it which was reproduced on a page of the Granada Guitar-makers book. He has agreed to let me send the blueprint jpeg to any who have bought the book. Mr. Bruné speaks very highly of de la Chica in an article in Vintage Guitar magazine and also in a GAL article I have.

_____________________________

John Ray
blog: http://www.granadaexpert.com/johnray/
https://www.johnguitar.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2014 9:30:42
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