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A Guitar   You are logged in as Guest
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A Guitar 

A story from a silent friday in the guitar shop where I work, a rainy morning in Granada:

In comes Mr X with a guitar he wants to sell. Not to us, but privately in Madrid or in the states. Places with more money. But he wants a checkout to know the costs of a reparation before he puts the thing for sale.
The guitar comes to light. An orange 1969 Conde Hermanos Cypress from the shop of Faustino in Atocha. That´s what the label says, and that´s probably what it is. It doesn´t have any signature, and I´m dead sure the thing was never made or supervised by the master himself. The guitar is VERY light, and thats probably the reason for i´ts very poor state. The backreinforcement is 1mm by 5mm and of Cedar, and of course, the gluejoint hasn´t survived this silly way of loosing weight. It´s open all the way from the heel to the bottomblock. The back itself has taken some strange deviations of its intented radius. The SB has a crack at the side of the fingerboard, but this can be fixed. But now to the shocking part. The neck.. Flatsawn from some very light piece of wood, probably cyprees or another lightweight wood which has been coloured brown.
The guitar is, well a guitar, and the owner thinks it´s worth a lot. Some 3000+ $.

I just wanna say that in these years, the 60 and 70. where there where a sudden need for flamencoguitars, most guitarbuilders (Bellido, Marin etc) from Granada made fast and cheap guitars for the Atocha shop and most of the other big Madrid makers. I have no idea about the percentage, but it´s high.

So the moral is. Take good care when you wanna buy one of these guitars, because they are not worth ****.

An afterstory. Might be that a lot of the good Madrid guitars went to the states, like a lot of other quality craft from Europe, and that the bad ones stayed here. That´s very possible, but look out anyway.

Nice playing
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 8:43:44

Posts: 6273
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Guest

Thanks for the story and the warning Anders. You work in Granada?


Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 9:04:05
Thomas Whiteley


Posts: 786
Joined: Jul. 8 2003
From: San Francisco Bay Area

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Guest


There are so many guitar stories. I like the story, “Of the 400 guitars Santos built, 20,000 still exist”!

Labels are cheap and even authentic labels have been lifted to be placed upon a counterfeit instrument.

Speaking of the 1960-70 era, I paid $200 dollars for a then new Ramirez 1963 flamenco (top of the line) and $64 shipping plus duty to San Francisco. That was an advantage of having Franco in power. It seems that the Japanese began collecting classical and flamenco guitars which is only one of the reasons the prices went up so high.

I bought my 1951 Manuel de la Chica in 1970 and paid $200. It is worth a bit more today and an excellent example of a fine made Granada guitar. There are people who are willing to pay for whatever they think they want regardless of doing your homework.

Guitar labels and guitar sellers are something to be concerned about.

By the way I read a story in a San Francisco newspaper around 1970 about Manuel de la Chica’s nephew. Reportedly, the nephew moved to Mexico and was making guitars. He may have moved to Paracho, Mexico as I recall. The writer said he had gone to Paracho and they had many guitar builders but not one set of strings in town!

I met a family from Paracho, who own a nice Mexican Restaurant in the area. They said the area is very poor and the story of having no strings could have been true. Today Paracho has an annual guitar event and many tourists come to see what is available. I hope they have strings by this time!

I have not been able to find out if this story is true as no one can verify it. Can you ask a few locals in Granada if they know anything about this? 34 years is a long time.


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 17:52:52
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3155
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Guest

The first time I went to the Gravina shop, all three brothers were still alive. I was waited on by a young man. I asked for the best guitar they had. (I have spoken both Spanish and English from childhood.) I was handed a piece of junk. I don't remember all the defects, but it was terrible. I tuned it up and played a few falsetas of soleares, then handed it back without comment, but with a look of skepticism. Immediately an excellent guitar showed up, and I played for a while. Clearly they would have been willing to sell me the junker for the top price if I had gone for it.

A friend bought a top of the line Conde in the 1970s. It was well made of apparently good materials, but it was dead as a doornail. I felt sorry for him, but said nothing about it. After two or three years the guitar opened up into a very fine instrument. I tried to buy it from my friend more than once, to no avail.

I second the motion, "Be careful with Condes from the '70s onward."

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 3 2004 21:22:22
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Richard Jernigan


I had a similar experience going to Manuel Belledo in Granada, nice big shop full of guitar. I asked for a professional 1a guitar but the one I was handed to play was duff!
I played it for a minute or so then handed it straight back.
The daughter came out speaking good English and offered to take me to meet her father along at the workshop.
When I got there, Manuel produced a nice coral negra that he said was one of two guitars he had made for Tomatito to choose from. It was a nice instrument but not right for me, so I left it.
It's definately the case that they will try to pass of low grade guitars as primero in the hope that you wont know enough to feel the difference, it's a real shame.

Incidentally, I've managed to find a very good Conde A26 4 weeks ago with big sound and great percussive quality, but as you say, there are a lot of 'doornails' out there.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 6 2004 11:57:16

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Guest


Your story makes me sad, firstly because I´m sure it´s true, and second because I work in the Miguel Angel Bellido (son of Manuel) shop in Granada.
To many people tell whatever story to sell a guitar. I hate that, And it´s just shooting yourself in your feet.
The story about the coral guitars, when was that? Coral is not considered a good tonewood. It´s Padouk in English, and nothing special. I consider it the poorest negra tonewood, and it is very cheap as well.

Well I hope you are happy with your Conde, because a good Conde is a very nice instrument.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 6 2004 21:51:12
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: A Guitar (in reply to Guest

That was 2001, yes El Conde is very nice. I also have a new Stephen Hill blanca, very nice guitar full of bark and bite.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2004 21:44:31
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