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Fawkes

 

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Ramon Montoya's guitarS 

So there's this often cool previous thread on Montoya's Esteso:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=112520&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1

...and as many know Montoya also owned a Santos of 1916 "La Leona", which he used for (most of? all of?) his recordings. Discussed here before, though this particular video may not yet have been posted:



There is also a 1922 Santos negra which, according to the the interpretation in a new book on Santos of a note stuck to the foot, had a lot of input from Montoya. Sadly this seems to be the only modern recording of this intriguing guitar:



All I want for Christmas at the moment is construction details on the 1922.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2023 17:36:28
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

I am aware of some plans of guitars made by Santos but not specifically of this one.
Frankly you assume a maker will try to improve the quality of the guitars he makes and so I would consider the guitar made by Santos after 1922 should be even better.
Btw I have seen many different bracing pattern from Santos. Bracing pattern are just a little part of the story.
Here is the link of one of his most intriguing flamenco guitars .
I also own the plan of a 1934 Santos.

https://maderaguitarras.com/shop/santos-hernandez-1939/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 0:27:58
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Ah ha!

Finally a photo of this time period Santos.

Compare this with Brune’s drawing of the 1950/1 Barbero ~ it’s virtually the same guitar



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 1:22:48
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Santos changed his bracing so often there was something aside from evolution going on. It's hard to say a given pattern was abandoned without knowing all his guitars. The pattern on the 1934 blanca in the Merrin plan also appears, IIRC, in the 1927 rosewood 'concert' guitar owned by Grondona, in a less evolved state in a 1924 rosewood 'concert' guitar ex- Louise Walker, and slightly changed again in a 1935 rosewood 'concert' instrument, both in the new book on Santos.

I'm glad to be reminded of this 1939 instrument, as I have been in the mode of trying to match recordings to instruments, and it turns out we can hear this one:

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 1:42:06
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Stephen I think there's an earlier one that is even closer to the Barbero pattern (aside from the one you saw in person), I'll see if I can find it. This 1939 one strikes me more as an interesting variation on the theme. (bottom image) The two small horizontal braces are interesting, you can see them in this video of the interior:





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 2:00:44
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Another slightly different one John Ray has up, I wonder what year?

https://johnguitar.com/santos-bracing/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 2:22:14
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Of course Santos changed it up over the years. The one I saw with the back off in 1998 was a 1920 Santos. It looked almost identical to the Barbero. Which is only to say there’s generational continuity between the two makers. And that just because Santos moved on and used other bracing formats doesn’t mean that the earlier pattern was less valuable.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 2:41:48
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to estebanana

That 1920 you posted a photo of had bracing approximately like this? Less parallel probably.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 4:23:25
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fawkes

That 1920 you posted a photo of had bracing approximately like this? Less parallel probably.




It looked exactly like the 1922 photo I posted.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 7:58:01
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

I never doubted about it.
The 1934 guitar reproduced by Merrin has 7 struts instead of 5 but they are placed in the same spots of this guitar + 2 little struts more.
The famous 51 Barbero is different from Santos in that the top is thicker.
BTW the1967 Faustino Conde in the collection of R.E. Bruné has the same bracing pattern with a thick top.

Given Santos is the master mind behind this design, we must say there are few makers following that path nowadays.
Main performers seems to like the Reyes sound or the Conde negra sound.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 13:18:14
 
Ricardo

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

They should use or try gut strings on those old guitars.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 13:19:13
 
orsonw

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From: London

RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Ricardo

Alejandro Hurtado just released another video this week. Adding to those of him playing Montoya and Manolo de Huelva on their Santos guitars.

Soleá de Manolo de Huelva on his Santos Hernández 1937

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 13:31:10
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

They should use or try gut strings on those old guitars

Why?
Eventually gut strings have the same tension of nylon strings.
The tone of gut is a love/hate one. To me it sounds odd or anyway unusual as my ears are accustomed to nylon.

I for one like the old sound of these guitars. Hurtado sounds like fresh air to my ears while I am frankly bored with the clear / soft / sparkling tone of Reyes.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 14:23:24
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to orsonw

quote:

ORIGINAL: orsonw

Alejandro Hurtado just released another video this week. Adding to those of him playing Montoya and Manolo de Huelva on their Santos guitars.

Soleá de Manolo de Huelva on his Santos Hernández 1937




Wow what a triplet fest.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 14:56:49
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

Why?



To find out, as with any experiment.

Bruné suggests that gut's lack of durability required a "more genteel" technique, and that nylon opened the door to the development of a more aggressive approach.
.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 16:50:57
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Of course you have to be gentle with gut strings but this is more a drawback than an advantage: the flamenco guitar technique developed quite a lot since the time of Montoya and not necessarily for the bad.

Aquila strings offer quite a wide range of alternatives of synthetic gut if you want to try it out.

With regards of the guitars in the style of Santos the big question is what do the main Spanish players like and why.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2023 19:34:43
 
Ricardo

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Echi

quote:

Why?
Eventually gut strings have the same tension of nylon strings.
The tone of gut is a love/hate one.


For the same reason at attempting to play Montoya’s music note for note on the exact same instrument on the recordings…it was gut strings. If you want carbon fiber and Diego del Morao falsetas, then no need for an old guitar. I played the Esteso of Luis Maravilla, with the modern nylon there was almost nothing sonically “old” about the guitar sound or the way it felt to play. It was like any modern guitar pretty much. Only the neck design was specifically unusual…the equivalent Santos models had normal necks.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2023 12:34:14
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Stumbled on one more recording of the 1939, this one made when Cuéllar visited John Ray with the instrument (I was hunting for rosette pictures, go figure).

https://johnguitar.com/santos-hernandez-1939/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 19 2023 18:07:04
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

I contorted the 1920 Santos Stephen posted in another thread to get a better read on the bracing pattern. I am fascinated by Santos' constant experiments. (This still has some perspective distortion, so don't take it too literally.)



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 20 2023 6:57:24
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fawkes

I contorted the 1920 Santos Stephen posted in another thread to get a better read on the bracing pattern. I am fascinated by Santos' constant experiments. (This still has some perspective distortion, so don't take it too literally.)





This is as from a 1997-98 restoration of a 1920 Santos by Eugene Clark when he lived in Berkeley and I was studying with him. The guitar is owned by a long time professional tocaor who is very good at cante accompaniment, with considerable experience playing for singers in Spain.

The center fan brace is removed at this point in the work, the pattern is five fan braces with the two steeply placed diagonal cut off braces. I did a bit of work on this guitar is a very discreet repair to the label. The label was in poor condition and I remounted it on a piece of Kozo paper with rice starch. I did this under the guidance of a friend who does restoration on old Japanese paper art works for the National Museum in Tokyo. Interesting that Eugene and my friend the conservator lived in Berkeley at the same time when this guitar was restored. More interesting still that my friend Tomoko was getting restoration work sent to her from Japan when she lived in California.

Gene was crazy, but in the eccentric genius way. Shortly after he finished this restoration a Manuel de la Chica came in with a piece of the back upper bout damaged. He pulled the damaged section out with neuro surgical accuracy and placed a section back in without taking off the binding. He fit the piece in against the binding and an invisible seam where it connected to the rest of the back. The fit in piece was about two inches wide. It was a good match to the original wood, but in order for it to look like a book match, he used the same swatch of cypress he took the first patch from, turned it book match and did the same patch performance on the opposite side of the guitar, just because he could and it would like an original back with identical back halves.

That’s too invasive and ethically incorrect for me, but that was how good Gene was.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 21 2023 14:37:17
 
constructordeguitarras

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

A Santos named La Leona? That's what one of Torres' guitars was called. https://classicalguitarmagazine.com/6-noteworthy-antonio-de-torres-guitars/

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2023 7:10:19
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Years ago it was I to share the right bracing pattern of “La Leona” of Torres to the delcamp forum.
I had got the private pictures and plans of it made just after that guitar passed through an hospital scan machine.
Before that, the plan shared in internet was drawn just by using the description of the Romanillos book but the struts were drawn incorrectly.

I remember at the time people were confused about La Leona of Montoya because there were few public pictures of it.
La Leona of Santos was as influent for flamenco guitar players as Montoya was.
I always thought Santos deserves a catalog book as good as the Torres one.
In fact some guitars of Santos are particularly important: la inedita, la Leona, the Santos guitar played by El Niño Ricardo before he swapped to the Conde brothers etc.
I for one consider Manuel Ramirez / Santos the second most important luthier after Torres.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2023 9:02:17
 
Ricardo

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to estebanana

quote:

just because he could


It is crazy how our brains insist that symmetry is beautiful and if symmetry is broken it disturbs just enough to become noticeable and obvious.

Now, if Montoya had lived long enough to get a nice orange conde:



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2023 12:28:59
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Hurtado at least plays a lovely orange Conde from the seventies.
He is a great musician indeed.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2023 23:05:43
 
Fawkes

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi
Frankly you assume a maker will try to improve the quality of the guitars he makes and so I would consider the guitar made by Santos after 1922 should be even better.
.


Yes but to know how a maker like Santos, already well into the period of his mastery, responded to the wishes of Ramon Montoya? How can one not be curious?

Also Santos may not only have sought "improvement" he may also have been seeking to fit guitars to specific players, or to keep up with changing tastes. His career pretty much coincided with the first 40 years of the "classical" guitar splitting off into its own thing.
.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2023 23:33:01
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fawkes

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

Why?



To find out, as with any experiment.

Bruné suggests that gut's lack of durability required a "more genteel" technique, and that nylon opened the door to the development of a more aggressive approach.
.


Montoya, Nino Ricardo, Diego d G. Javier Molina and others had monster rasgueado and were aggressive. The lighter touchers were like Perico del Lunar ( the elder) and listen to Melchor por Siguriya, he was ripping it.

The difference is, those guys could afford strings because they were the top seeded guitarists working. Nylon became the great equalizer as far as string affordability was concerned, then with the thick ‘fishing’ line any guitarist in the barrio could play harder.

I talked to Paco de Malaga about how hard people played, and others. He said they played reasonably hard, reasonably meaning they didn’t overdrive the guitar, but played hard in the sweet spot. Then because even nylon strings set you back a few bucks, they’d take the strings off and turn them around and put them back on.

( according to Japanese social order Richard Brune’ is my elder in this tradition so his right to chew me out for countermanding him in a quote is a reserved for him. The rest of you get in line. 😂)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2023 0:48:02
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

Yes but to know how a maker like Santos, already well into the period of his mastery, responded to the wishes of Ramon Montoya? How can one not be curious?

Santos made more than a guitar for Montoya but he wasn’t cheap, even for the top players. Montoya could own 2 or 3 Santos guitars and kept playing the one he found more comfortable with.
Santos had a deserved fame to be the best around and asked to be paid accordingly by everybody.
Bruné in the Ulrich book gives account of Nino Ricardo passing to a guitar made by the Conde brothers as he wasn’t able to get a proper Santos for cheap money (actually olive oil).
There’s a tube video of a pupil of el Nino reporting he considered the Santos guitar as his best one.
Santos was a man quite determined: the same issue basically happened with Segovia who passed to Hauser for arguments with Santos for economical reasons.

With regard of the improvement of the guitar model made by Santos, I suppose he was a skilled maker already when he used to work for Manuel Ramirez: he varied a lot but his earlier guitars are probably as good as his later ones. Yet his later guitars are the most regarded and interesting for guitar makers.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2023 8:36:39
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Life is like a box of bon bons



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2023 13:21:48
 
Echi

 

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Fawkes

Didn’t get the new book yet.
It’s years we speak of Santos, Barbero and company in this and the other foro… probably each one repeating more or less the same things…:
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2023 14:45:31
 
estebanana

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RE: Ramon Montoya's guitarS (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

Didn’t get the new book yet.
It’s years we speak of Santos, Barbero and company in this and the other foro… probably each one repeating more or less the same things…:



You should get it and find out why we’ve all been saying dumb stuff about Santos all these years. 😂

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2023 16:44:25
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