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J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

Hermanos Conde 

Hello,
My name is Rob Johns, and I am ( I confess) primarily a Classical Guitar player and Composer.
For many years I was Specialist Lecturer in Classical Guitar at Hull University, and now I mainly work from home and perform Recitals from time to time. I have a Website called robjohnsguitar.com.
Having said that I am a Flamenco enthusiast and practise daily.
Recently I bought a Flamenco Guitar made by "Sobrinos de Domingo Esteso".
Truthfully, I knew the name but didn't quite appreciate the significance of these makers in the history of the Flamenco Guitar.
It came with the receipt from the Spanish Guitar Centre in Nottingham...which is from 1977, not it's date of creation :1973.
I bought it purely on the basis of it's sound...a dark mysterious resonance that I had not experienced in a Flamenco Guitar before.
I took it to a respected Luthier who assured me that it is Brazilian Rosewood and a Pine with a name I can't recall!
It has had one small repair on the back, completed many decade ago by Robert Welford.
I have, over the years, very much enjoyed, as a Guest, the posts on this website.
Now, I am delighted to have become a member!
I admit that I feel quite selfish seeking out the obvious expertise of the many members of this Forum, but I would like any thoughts that you might have on this Guitar....
Why this headstock?
Why the unusual ( early?) strutting system?
Why the crackled varnish on the top?
Is it totally authentic?...
It has a provenance from 1977 to the present day, but not between 1973 and 1977?
I would be extremely grateful for any information you can furnish me with.
Please see "Conde photos" attached at the bottom of this Post.
Best wishes,
Rob Johns

Conde Photos
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2024 17:17:08
 
Stu

Posts: 2579
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

Hi welcome to the forum.

Some knowledgeable guys on here and im sure you'll get some decent intel. I'm not one of those guys in terms of guitar history/makers etc but thanks for sharing the pics.

It seems the inside has had a finish applied.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2024 21:20:13
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1133
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

Hello,
first of all that guitar is a joy and looks completely authentic to me..
quote:

Why this headstock?
Why the unusual ( early?) strutting system?
Why the crackled varnish on the top?
Is it totally authentic?...

The headstock is the old "Esteso" type which kept being used by the Condes for classical guitars and 2nd class flamenco guitars. It could have been used even for a flamenco on request or just for commercial reasons (basically Faustino Conde had a special price for the pro-players and didn't want they to resell the guitars straight after in the 2nd hand market) .
Your guitar was born as a classical and that's probably this is why they used that headstock.
Ideally you should take a picture of the bracing putting a light source inside the guitar, so that you can clearly see how the bracing si spread.
That strutting system was first used by Domingo Esteso, probably inspired by a similar bracing used by Santos Hernandez in 1930. Then he kept being used sporadicly by the 3 Conde nephews throughout the years. I saw the same bracing in a Conde guitar made in 1989.
Later on Mariano Conde Jr. will modify that bracing to use it as a standard for the guitars made in the Felipe V shop (it's the bracing pattern with the long struts passing through the main transverse bar). There's not a particular reason that pattern was used for your guitar: as you say, without the 2 closing bars it tends to give a bassy sound.
The varnish cracked because it's nitro finish done in more layers and some of them are full of that orange pigmentation: some old Conde do that and it's quite typical.
The guitar looks completely authentic to me..
Yes, some things are kind of unusual, you are right: for instance that rosette is original but was among those commonly used by the Conde brothers in 1962 (probably if you google Sobrinos... 1962 you'll find guitars with a similar rosette) and the bridge was not of those with the "Simplicio" motif. Easily the top of the guitar was made before the actual date when the guitar was ended (in 1973) and fully assembled later.
Again, if you had a picture of the back of the headstock it would be easier to me to understand.
The cracked finishing, plus the varnishing inside the guitar (inspired by Fleta) suggest to me the guitar was in fact ended in 1973.
Label and all the features are perfectly coherent for a Conde classical guitar of the era.
Once again it's really a lovely guitar. What is the diapason scale? 667 mm?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2024 10:58:39
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14914
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

quote:

Why this headstock?
Why the unusual ( early?) strutting system?
Why the crackled varnish on the top?
Is it totally authentic?...
It has a provenance from 1977 to the present day, but not between 1973 and 1977?
I would be extremely grateful for any information you can furnish me with.


The headstock is from Manuel Ramirez, who employed Domingo Esteso that used the same design. In the decades before your guitar construction, the nephews of Domingo used this design and two others for the top guitars. The other two are a “cathedral” with sharp points that you see on Nino Ricardo’s famous single video of solea, and only a few made during the 50s apparently, and in 1952 or sooner, the “media Luna” that is the more famous one, and this is the one that distinguished Conde from Esteso.

The crackles varnish is from the original varnish flexing under changes of humidity. My own 1973 exhibits this as well. It is better to leave this alone as it shows the guitar has toughened up or been literally “weathered”, and the sound unaffected by it. A re-finish could change the sound drastically.

It appears totally authentic with 2 exceptions. 1. The golpeadores were changed. I would consider changing to a one piece myself. As a player, this is something I took on myself to deal with, much like STRINGS, Saddles, Tuning machines (in that order which if played a lot require change).

2. Someone sprayed a clear coat in order to preserve the ORIGINAL finish. This was done to my guitar as well, however, in my case they were smart enough to cover the sound hole so none got inside. Not sure how much that would affect the sound, but in my case it was very lightly done, but in the case of the neck, it was MUCH appreciated that they did that (I can see old wear spots that would not make it fun to play). There is a chance that someone sprayed or brushed on that clear coat inside the guitar inorder to prevent humidity intake (which was really really dumb, cuz it won’t save the guitar from that). Perhaps after seeing the very normal crackling finish and the crack you claim was repaired, a phobia developed. No force on earth is gonna stop the wood from drinking in and expelling water, sorry to say.

Not sue what you mean by provenance between 73-77. Perhaps it was bought from the shop in 77, having been unsold for 4 years? I have one very similar made of cypress back and sides.



_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2024 10:59:24
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1133
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

the tuners are authentic Fustero used in the sixties by the Conde shop.
I actually own a 1959 Sobrinos with the same ones. BTW they were the most expensive at the time.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2024 11:05:51
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to Stu

Hello Stu,
Thank you so much for your warm welcome!
Yes, I have no idea why it is varnished inside ...or whether is original to the instrument.
All will be revealed...I hope .
Best wishes,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2024 18:42:52
 
Manitas de Lata

Posts: 662
Joined: Oct. 9 2018
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

hi there , welcome.

Once i was talkin with a guitarrero/furniture maker about a particular guitar (not old , it was new) from other maker , and he told me that it was very very expensive (4k plus some) for the sound that was just loud nothing more because that maker apllied varnish inside the guitar and that is not so usual to do , i didnt continue the trash talkin but... the theory is that makes more air to circulate and come off , dont quite remember. He know it because he did some setup (like lower action etc) on her and saw the inside all varnished.
If it sounds great dont worry , the alternative is Ricardo theory
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2024 21:58:41
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1133
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

It’s varnished inside because at the time Fleta in Barcelona and Hernandez y Aguado in Madrid used to do it.
Some people intended this fancy feature as a sign of quality (a little like is the V joint nowadays).
There was somehow the idea that this feature would improve the sound projection.
This isn't true really; truth instead is that Barcelona is a very wet place and many Fleta guitars were assembled at 70% of humidity rate, so Ignacio tried to seal the back and sides as much as he could. HyA used the feature to show up as they were very good cabinet makers.
Anyway, this Conde guitar was made as a fancy classical and therefore they thought to add some varnish inside. I saw another classical from 71 made the same way.
The Conde brothers used to experiment a lot; for instance using unconventional woods… first cedar top in 1948, first redwood top etc... these woods were tried by the Conde first..
https://www.mundo-flamenco.com/en/guitars/?ViudadeDomingoEsteso1948CypressCedar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2024 10:16:55
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to Echi

Hello Echi,
Thank you so much for your detailed reply.
The Scale Length is exactly 650mm!
It is clear that the varnish must have been applied when it was constructed.
I completely understand your idea that it might have been a Classical Guitar at one time: the Luthier thought it was a Flamenco Guitar because of the Bridge and original set up.
Ought I to leave it be, as a Flamenco Guitar?
It definitely feels less Classical , and more Flamenco at the moment.
I would appreciate your suggestions.
What would be the most honest...authentic thing to do ?
I confess to feeling somewhat out of my depth here ...perhaps I ought to simply sell/ swap it for something more in my area?
What type of "restoration" would be appropriate?
Everyone's suggestions are more than welcome.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE for their selfless sharing of expertise.
I look forward to your reply.
All the best,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 9:24:51
 
Manitas de Lata

Posts: 662
Joined: Oct. 9 2018
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

Classical and flamenco are spanish guitars (torres 5 ou 7)with some small diferences at the begining when the distition was made and with more diferences in modern era .
"nowadays" it depends of who makes it .

But a guitar from that era i think it should be more easy to make that distition
What makes you doubt if is a classical or flamenco?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 10:36:48
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

Hello,
I became unsure simply because "Echi" said( in an earlier post) thit it was probably originally a Classical?
What do you think?
I am definitely out of my depth with this!
All the best,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 11:12:11
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to Ricardo

Hello Ricardo,
Thank you so much for your detailed response.
I assume that everyone reads along the thread ,as I am responding to individuals whilst feeling I am chatting with everyone.
If it is concluded that it is a Flamenco Guitar, who, in the U.K. , might you recommend to replace the Golpeadors etc.?
Thank you again for your time and great knowledge of this area.
All the best,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 11:31:50
 
silddx

Posts: 573
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

quote:

who, in the U.K. , might you recommend to replace the Golpeadors etc.?


Hello JP, and welcome!

Where approximately in the UK do you live?

If you are in the south east, I highly recommend both Stephen Frith in Crawley, and Stephen Eden in Bexhill on Sea. Both are exceptional luthiers.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 11:59:05
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14914
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

quote:

If it is concluded that it is a Flamenco Guitar, who, in the U.K. , might you recommend to replace the Golpeadors etc.?


I am sorry, I am in USA, so you will have to look for constructors of flamenco guitars locally. It is an easy job if you determine what the finish is. You might try to do it yourself if you know for sure. On mine I used Naptha (not lighter fluid, but the pure form, which eats the typical adhesives), very slowly to peel it off. Yours are opaque which could mean they are not glued on securely and therefore very easy to peel off.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=291529&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=&tmode=1

In regards to flamenco vs classical rosewood guitars, as Richard Brune wisely put it once, a flamenco guitar is whatever instrument a flamenco guitarist would use. In other words, a classical guitar can function perfectly fine for flamenco, barring a few extreme exceptions such as the Humphrey Millenium etc. The bracing on yours is similar to a flamenco guitar any bracing anyway, and considering SOMEONE put those tap plates on, it was functioning as a flamenco negra at some point.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 13:12:09
 
Manitas de Lata

Posts: 662
Joined: Oct. 9 2018
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

i think this is incomplete , but maybe a good start


Differences between a classical guitar and a flamenco guitar
Jul 20, 2022

What are the differences between a classical guitar and a flamenco guitar?
Until the end of the 19th century, there was not such a difference. It is true that flamenco guitars used to be a little smaller, but it is from Antonio Torres onwards that the foundations of the modern guitar were laid.

José Ramírez I revolutionised the world of the flamenco guitar with his Tablao model because flamenco guitarists asked him for a guitar with more projection. At that time, café cantantes and tablaos were beginning to appear and they needed a guitar that could stand out in a flamenco group.

That same guitar was taken by his brother, Manuel Ramírez, and transformed into what we now know as the flamenco guitar.

Differences between a classical and a flamenco guitar set-up
The set-up of each of the guitars is completely different because we are looking for different ways of playing.

The classical guitar set-up has a greater angle and the flamenco guitar has a right angle because the classical guitar is looking for more oscillation of the string, more depth and projection.

While the flamenco guitar looks for the strings to be very close to the fretboard, more comfort when playing, faster scales and slurs. A more percussive sound is also sought.

Differences in the head tilt between classical and flamenco guitars
In the case of our classical guitar, the head inclination is straighter. In the case of the flamenco guitar, it is more inclined. This is the tilt that has been used in our artisan guitars in general for many years.

In the 1950s, José Ramírez III, what he did was to make the angle of the head more straight so that there would not be so much tension and the string would be freer and more flexible. There is not so much tension in terms of the angle that is formed from the head capo and goes directly to the roller of the pegbox.

Furthermore, in the case of the classical guitar, José Ramírez III created the guitar with a 664 mm. action, which José Ramírez IV later adapted to a 650 mm. action.

Woods used in classical and flamenco guitars
Normally spruce and cypress are used for flamenco guitars. Classical guitars usually use spruce, cedar and rosewood.

In the case of the classical guitar that Cristina Ramírez shows us in the video, it is a Rio rosewood guitar, which has more than 60 years of natural healing.

It is also true that with the new techniques and, above all, with the rapprochement of flamenco guitarists and classical guitarists, different effects have been sought after with the guitar.

For example, the black flamenco guitar uses woods that are traditionally used for classical guitars, i.e. rosewoods. The sound that the rosewood will give in the flamenco model will be a deeper one. Normally, it is usually used for solo guitars.

Then there were guitarists, first Serranito and later Manolo Sanlúcar, who were looking for even more projection, so they began to use our flamenco classical guitar. That is to say, with a flamenco guitar arrangement.

Differences in box width
The classical guitar is wider than the flamenco guitar and, in our case, the varetaje is different. This is because in flamenco guitars what we try to look for is a more percussive and brilliant sound.

On classical guitars, however, we are looking for more projection and volume.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2024 13:53:01
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to Manitas de Lata

Hello Everyone,
Firstly, thank you all so much for your invaluable information.
After some consideration I have decided not to keep the Guitar.
....so my final questions on this topic!
If I were to sell it , what might it's value be. I realize this cannot be certain, but an educated guess would be great! Where would you suggest I advertise it?
I would be very happy to swap it for a Classical Guitar of similar value, so if anyone out there is interested do let me know.
All the best,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2024 17:09:40
 
orsonw

Posts: 1944
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to J.P.Sartre

quote:

Recently I bought a Flamenco Guitar made by "Sobrinos de Domingo Esteso"


quote:

If I were to sell it , what might it's value be. I realize this cannot be certain, but an educated guess would be great! Where would you suggest I advertise it?


How much did you pay for it?
If it had been built as a flamenco then current market for an early 1970s signed 2a/non-media luna is £3-4K. But as it's a classical I think it will be less, not sure how much.

You could place it in the classifieds here on the foro. Or list on Ebay or Reverb, both of which take about a 10% fee.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2024 18:32:28
 
J.P.Sartre

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 11 2024
 

RE: Hermanos Conde (in reply to orsonw

Hello Orsonw,
Thank you for your reply.
I have just been reading the opinions of Forum members regarding people that join, post a few messages, then want to sell a Guitar!
Well that certainly sounds like me!
I can only assure everyone that that was not my intention.
It was the information I was given by the Forum that led to my decision.
I would also like to say that I completely understand their position.
I seem to have an original Faustino Conde Guitar made with solid Brazilian Rosewood and a solid Spruce top.
It has certainly been played as a Flamenco Guitar for many years...but perhaps it was originally a Classical?
I am extremely grateful for all the information supplied by the Forum, and intent to continue following the many fascinating Threads that are posted here.
I had no idea that the Guitar might be reasonably valuable, and I am very grateful to Orsonw for his estimate of it's value.
In conclusion, I will try and sell the Guitar elsewhere, at some point, but before I do: is their anyone out there with an interesting Classical Guitar that would be interested in a swap?
I live in Lincoln, U.K. and am happy to meet up, or come to some other arrangement.
All the best,
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2024 18:55:36
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