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NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

Guitarra de tablao? 

Hello All,

Years ago a student of mine brought back from Spain a José Ramirez blanca from the 1920's with a spruce top that had a very pronounced arch. I didn't much like the guitar, if I recall correctly, because it was weak in the bass.

It stuck in my memory as an oddity, and lately I've been speculating that it might be a guitar made especially for use in a tablao to have mostly treble response, to be heard over the loud sounds of a singer//dancer.

I see that Ramirez has brought out a new tablao model available as either a blanca or a negra. I've not seen one in the flesh, but it looks like a copy of a rather higher priced guitar than the one that my student owned.

Any info on guitarras de tablao would be most appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian Burns
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2019 20:01:46
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

Well, best source would be to ask Richard Brune’ or to look for something about it in the old issues of American Lutherie.
I read something about them in a couple of books (I think in a catalog regarding an exhibition held in Madrid and the usual urlich book) and somewhere I saw a plan of one of these guitars but I never had one of these guitars in my hands.
To make it short, it seems like it was Francisco Gonzales (the teacher of the 2 Ramirez brothers) to invent those “egg shaped” guitars and that they were quite requested in Madrid at the beginning of the century.
The guitars of Gonzales, mostly classical guitars; are quite easily identifiable at the first sight by the very large plantilla, small sides, very pronounced doming of both back and top and very big concentrical rosettes.
José Ramirez I (at the beginning together with Manuel) settled a small company making and selling different model of these kind of guitars but without making any specific distinction between flamenco and classical guitars.
The story is that Manuel left his brother José and the Ramirez company (pretending to be going abroad) and instead he settled a new shop in Madrid with few employees (Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso and Modesto Borreguero) to compete with him.
Manuel offered basically the Torres model of guitar while José the egg shaped guitars of Gonzales.
To make it short the guitars of Manuel prevailed on those sold by the brother and bye bye to the egg shaped guitars
The first formal distinction between classical and flamenco guitars (guitarra for aires populates and later “de tablao”) appears in a catalog of Manuel of the beginning of the last century but José used to make an analog egg shaped model.
I’m sure that Gal has a plan of a Gonzales.
If you need some measures I can take them from Romanillos catalog or the Urlich book.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2019 9:54:09
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

Well, best source would be to ask Richard Brune’ or to look for something about it in the old issues of American Lutherie.
I read something about them in a couple of books (I think in a catalog regarding an exhibition held in Madrid and the usual urlich book) and somewhere I saw a plan of one of these guitars but I never had one of these guitars in my hands.
To make it short, it seems like it was Francisco Gonzales (the teacher of the 2 Ramirez brothers) to invent those “egg shaped” guitars and that they were quite requested in Madrid at the beginning of the century.
The guitars of Gonzales, mostly classical guitars; are quite easily identifiable at the first sight by the very large plantilla, small sides, very pronounced doming of both back and top and very big concentrical rosettes.
José Ramirez I (at the beginning together with Manuel) settled a small company making and selling different model of these kind of guitars but without making any specific distinction between flamenco and classical guitars.
The story is that Manuel left his brother José and the Ramirez company (pretending to be going abroad) and instead he settled a new shop in Madrid with few employees (Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso and Modesto Borreguero) to compete with him.
Manuel offered basically the Torres model of guitar while José the egg shaped guitars of Gonzales.
To make it short the guitars of Manuel prevailed on those sold by the brother and bye bye to the egg shaped guitars
The first formal distinction between classical and flamenco guitars (guitarra for aires populates and later “de tablao”) appears in a catalog of Manuel of the beginning of the last century but José used to make an analog egg shaped model.
I’m sure that Gal has a plan of a Gonzales.
If you need some measures I can take them from Romanillos catalog or the Urlich book.


Ramirez III describes this guitar in his book, his personal one is maple, and until last year when I got this catalogue I had never seen a pic of one. This is the replica they are selling, it’s not that egg shaped thing you describe:
http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=317197&appid=&p=1&mpage=1&key=&tmode=1&smode=1&s=#317197

As we can see it’s a sort of evolutionary stepping stone from Torres classical to the modern flamenco. Ramirez III admits his dad stubbornly clung to this design of his grandfather as his great uncle Manuel took over popularity with the Flamencos with his design (the clear model of the modern flamenco). Important to note that cypress was NOT necessarily prefered to rosewood or maple back then, knocking down the old opinion that PDL and Conde introduced the negra in the modern era.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2019 17:46:24
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

Posted some pictures on the general section.
The guitar is quite egg shaped even if the pictures do not pint point this.
Olivier Fanton D’anton, a quite renowned and expensive maker (also famous as he made the main guitar of Roland Dyens) uses a top doming of 1cm at the bridge and you wouldn’t notice it from the pictures.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 24 2019 8:31:20
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

Posted some pictures on the general section.
The guitar is quite egg shaped even if the pictures do not pint point this.
Olivier Fanton D’anton, a quite renowned and expensive maker (also famous as he made the main guitar of Roland Dyens) uses a top doming of 1cm at the bridge and you wouldn’t notice it from the pictures.


Oh dang... your eggs must be quite weird looking where you are from, I’d hate to see the chicken!

Anyway, I know Gonzales is the influence and teacher of Jose I, however the tablao Guitar looks a lot more “normal” to me. Your pic of the Manuel is certainly based on the tablao Guitar of jose I, however the Jose II is some lower end model, I don’t think it’s meant to be the tablao Guitar.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 24 2019 14:25:37
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

Well, if I am not wrong the first step towards the modern flamenco guitar should be attributed to Manuel and not to Josè.
The book “Thinks about the guitar” is a book written (by a pillar of the modern guitar) to enhance the myth of the Ramirez House, but does’t say the whole truth in many regards: for instance it doesn’t mention that the two old Ramirez brothers were aggressive competitors who couln’t stand each other.

At the beginning, the two Ramirez brothers used to work together under Jose’’s guidance.

The picture of the 1889 guitar is interesting because refers to the time when Manuel was still working in the same shop with Josè, building Gonzalez style guitars and nonetheless that particular model of guitar (probably belonging to Manuel) looks like a prototipe of a Guitarra de tablao, due to the small cypress ribs..

At a certain stage Manuel decided to cut and wanted some money to cover his share of the company, pretending to plan to go abroad. He instead opened a shop in Madrid and used his contacts to become the main shop of the conservatorio de Madrid. Easy to imagine how tense were the feelings between the 2..

Manuel is the guy who listed the first guitarra de tablao in a catalog some years before his brother.
The guitarra, described as guitarra “per aires populares” was nothing else but a light Torres style guitar made of Cypress: the actual maker was one among Domingo Esteso, Santos Hernandez or Modesto Borreguero.
The reason Manuel prevailed over the brother and we hardly know today about Jose’s guitars de tablao is the high standard of the journeyman employed by Manuel, the quality of his guitars and the endorsement of Segovia.

Ramirez II also left to Argentina during the civil war, while Santos kept being in Madrid

Ramirez III deserves great consideration imho but the inheritance of Manuel (who didn’t have sons) passed through his journeymen: Santos, Barbero and Arcangel (or through Esteso and the Condes if you want to follow the other line) without contacts with the casa José Ramirez.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 25 2019 0:09:57
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to Echi

Of course agreed with all that, except Ramírez III admits openly in his book to the problems between José and Manuel, puts his dad down for missing the flamenco boat, and admits to following his great uncle in terms of his Flamencos. It’s been a while since I read it but I do remember that he clearly did not favor the jose line over Manuel ->santos->barbero etc.... at least does not give that impression.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 25 2019 13:18:27
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

quote:

Ramírez III admits openly in his book to the problems between José and Manuel, puts his dad down for missing the flamenco boat

Btw is it not the same that happened with him?
I mean, the first flamenco blancas designed by Ramirez III were quite successful ( Sabicas, the young Paco...) but then in the seventhies Ramirez III Just gave up developing the flamenco model and lendorsing flamenco players.
It’s true that he hardly could fill the demands of his classical but it’s also true that Ramirez IV admittedly repented and tried to correct the route.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 25 2019 13:40:08
 
David LaPlante

 

Posts: 26
Joined: Mar. 7 2016
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

These guitars are very cylindrical In shape as well as arched front to back. I had a Manuel Soto Y Solares guitar that was of this Tablao (literally guitar "of the tables") design. Manuel Ramirez and his cohorts Esteso, Hernandez and Viudes pretty much put an end to this style when they all started building in the Torres style.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 28 2019 18:26:50
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2588
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

quote:

Ramírez III admits openly in his book to the problems between José and Manuel, puts his dad down for missing the flamenco boat

Btw is it not the same that happened with him?
I mean, the first flamenco blancas designed by Ramirez III were quite successful ( Sabicas, the young Paco...) but then in the seventhies Ramirez III Just gave up developing the flamenco model and lendorsing flamenco players.
It’s true that he hardly could fill the demands of his classical but it’s also true that Ramirez IV admittedly repented and tried to correct the route.


For me as well it's been a while since I read Jose III's book, but I recollect him complaining in it that the flamencos insisted upon guitars of traditional design, and resisted any innovation.

In person, Jose III didn't show much interest in flamenco. Sabicas, however, was reputed in later years to usually have a Ramirez flamenca available for sale. The last time I saw Sabicas live, in 1965, he was playing an Arcangel Fernandez.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2019 2:08:25
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

Many top players used to play Ramirez at the time: Sabicas stands out for sure but I’d mention also people of the caliber of Manolo Sanlucar or Serranito etc.
Sabicas quite preferred Ramirez to his Barbero and Arcangel. Ramirez at the time was the guitar of Segovia and a brand kept in high consideration.
Paco himself used to praise Ramirez (he often said he had one in his collection), even though he obviously preferred to play the negras made by Faustino Conde.

IMHO the thing is that at the time flamenco guitar wasn’t really a big deal (on a maker’s perspective) while the classical guitars were in high demand everywhere and Ramirez used to be considered the top you could get.
It has also to be said what everybody knows: endorsement and discounts used to be factors playing a big role in the small business of the flamenco guitars.
Ramirez didn’t feel the need to compete here, keeping focusing on the big marked.
Good or bad, anyway Ramirez kept selling a lot of flamenco guitars as collateral effect with the bonus of small effort of marketing or development.

This attitude was somehow quite common for the time: I remember even Arcangel Fernandez (a flamenco player himself) refusing to make flamenco guitars for some years and devoting himself to classical guitar building only.

IMHO the things started changing in the eighties after Paco’s success. When this happened, Ramirez was probably not ready as the main players were all following Paco and faithful to Conde.

Fashion now calls for other makers but Ramirez is still a guitar plenty of qualities and perfectly in line with more expensive guitars.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2019 15:39:44
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to David LaPlante

quote:

ORIGINAL: David LaPlante

These guitars are very cylindrical In shape as well as arched front to back.


Ok....cylindrical egg shaped guitars.... I was really fast asleep in geometry class it seems.


_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2019 15:53:38
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2588
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

This attitude was somehow quite common for the time: I remember even Arcangel Fernandez (a flamenco player himself) refusing to make flamenco guitars for some years and devoting himself to classical guitar building only.

IMHO the things started changing in the eighties after Paco’s success. When this happened, Ramirez was probably not ready as the main players were all following Paco and faithful to Conde.

Fashion now calls for other makers but Ramirez is still a guitar plenty of qualities and perfectly in line with more expensive guitars.


For many years I preferred my ‘67 Ramirez blanca to any other flamenca I played, with the exception of a ‘73 Conde that belonged to a friend. I now prefer my ‘82 Arcangel, but this is certainly a matter of taste. Ramzi played both, and preferred the Ramirez.

Ricardo played the Arcangel, but I’m pretty sure he preferred his Conde. He did say the Arcangel was better than an (2?) Arcangel negra(s) he had played ar Brune’s shop. Later Ricardo told me his mother heard his recording with the Arcangel, said it was the best guitar she had heard him play, and that I ought to give it to him. I appreciated the compliment to the guitar, especially from a professionally capable guitarist like Ricardo’s mother, but I plan to leave it to my heirs to dispose of.

Brune complimented the Arcangel warmly, but I’m sure he prefers an Esteso and a Barbero he owns, maybe others as well. I might prefer the Barbero myself, but it wasn’t for sale, and I probably couldn’t afford it if it were.

I browse the internet listings regularly, and in the last 20 years have seen many more Arcangel blancas for sale than classicals, mostly from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I don’t recall when Arcangel contracted his entire output to a Japanese dealer, but it was before he made my ‘82, which bears no serial number, as a few others do not.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2019 18:42:19
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

I once spoke with Arcangel for a good time. This was after I tried a guitar made by him which impressed me a lot and was thinking to buy one.
He also showed the Barbero he used to keep in his shop and to chat quite openly.
A common friend living in Madrid also used to hung over his shop (as Manzanero’s and Contreras’) sharing anecdotes, and seemingly Arcangel was plenty of.

Anyway, Arcangel was introduced to that Japanese dealer by Kohno and accepted the deal to sell all his output (just classical guitars) to him.
This was after he decided to focus on classical guitars: he did it because at that time his main customers were flamenco players always asking for discounts and never paying him in full and at the due time.

Nonetheless he kept making some spare guitars (mostly Flamenco and mostly in Spain) under requests of friends or collectors.
After the death of Marcelino Barbero he didn’t despise some help (as common in Spain) and in the last years the help of Manuel Caceres was quite important.

I don’t think there is the perfect flamenco guitar.
I absolutely loved the charms of the Arcangel but at the time I thought my Gerundina wasn’t a worst guitar all in all.
Maybe I was wrong, it’s difficult to say, but as you say there are many outstanding guitars and to each one their favourites.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2019 19:44:05
 
NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

Hello All,

Player's response to instruments is about as subjective as any experience we have. Gene Clark used to say that he tried to make his guitars look beautiful because the first thing the player did was to take the guitar out of the case. He wanted the look of the instrument to be inspiring so that the playing of the music was inspiring to the audience. Now that is a pretty sophisticated approach to making guitars.

I think that even the stories that are associated with a guitar are part of the experience of playing it. Who made it who has owned it, who has played it, is it one made from that famous rosewood church door? All of these things influence our experience.

One of my owners has a De La Chica that belonged to a mutual friend that we were both close to, who passed away. Frankly the guitar is nothing to write home about, but because it belonged to, and was loved by, Craig, we both find it an inspiring guitar to play.

I have found that the reality is that I'm a classical guitar maker. Fortunately I love classical guitar music, and play a couple of Stefano Grondona's CD's as background music in the shop all the time. I would love to make some flamenco's---and I do make really good ones, if I do say so myself. But the market is just not there.

Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2019 1:03:45
 
Echi

 

Posts: 572
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

I agree.
In the case of the guitars of Arcangel, I think their charm is in many details: they are among the best made and more tasteful (in terms of proportions and embellishments) they have the charm of the myth of Arcangel’s shop and they have the perfect “pulsacion” as you have to be pleasantly forceful with your right hand to get the sound out as it should.
The sound is kind of bass oriented and yet well projecting: apparently dull and yet clear to the listener.

In my opinion this effect is partly due to the long underbridge patch and quite stiff bridge: I used to have a Manzanero offering a similar feeling.
It’s a very attractive guitar.
On a player perspective it’s not all gold though.
After the gut you switch on the brain (particularly when the guitar is expensive) and consider carefully pro and cons.
In my case I used to have a couple of guitars (and particularly a Sanchis Carpio) definitely not as charming but all in all better sounding (at least for my standards).
After a serious side by side comparison I had to come to term with it.
My wallet will be always grateful to mr. Carpio.
Btw nowadays I find quite attractive the new Conde Atocha. I don’t have one and probably I’ll never buy one but they are nice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2019 3:50:39
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2588
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Guitarra de tablao? (in reply to NorCalluthier

quote:

ORIGINAL: NorCalluthier

Hello All,

Player's response to instruments is about as subjective as any experience we have.


This prompts me to repeat my experience with the well known Mexico City luthier Juan Pimentel Ramirez (now deceased). I bought a number of instruments from him for people here in Texas, mostly less expensive than the best, but very good value for the money.

Pimentel's main clientele were the hard working professionals of Mexico City, including many of the most famous, for example the trio romantico Los Tres Reyes, which included Gilberto Puente, in my opinion by far the world's greatest requinto player.

Pimentel and maybe a half dozen assistants stayed busy. During the late 1960s through the early 1980s when I dealt with Pimentel the wait for a guitar was up to a year.

Pimentel's workbench was at a large window which opened onto the sidewalk. Most of his daily interaction with customers was through this window, while he continued working. If you were a regular, or a new customer who showed genuine interest in placing an order, you were invited into the somewhat cluttered shop, and seated upon a chair or an upturned wooden box. If you were a new potential customer you were handed a guitar by an assistant.

Pimentel continued working while listening carefully to the player, only occasionally turning to glance at the player's hands.

After observing this process for a few years, I asked, "Maestro, do you make the instrument to suit the customer's way of playing?"

Pimentel raised his eyebrows in surprise that I should even have asked, nodded curtly in affirmation, and went back to work.

RNJ

As a regular I was sometimes handed an instrument as well. Once it was a 1930s Santos Hernandez blanca, brought to the shop to be refinished. I was bowled over. Pimentel smiled, said he thought I would like to play it, and went back to work.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2019 22:58:33
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