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kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

Barbarossa Guitars 

I'm getting close to ordering a flamenco negra from Jim Blilie, but I was curious if there's anyone here who can share their experiences. He seems to be hardly known. The good part is that his prices are very competitive , bad part is that I'd have to wait between 18 and 24 months I could stick it out though, I got other toys that can keep me busy in the meantime.

If anyone has pics, clips or ownership experiences, I would love to hear from you!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2008 14:32:44
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

that´s because the word flamenco isnt on that site

word to the wise, you shoudl probably buy a flamenco from someone who builds alot of them.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2008 15:34:49
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2557
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to HemeolaMan

quote:

that´s because the word flamenco isnt on that site


I found the page with his flamenco. Barbero style with a Conde head?

http://www.barbarossa-guitars.com/flamenco.htm

I've heard somwhere that he makes an excellent steel string. I have to agree with the Man of Hemeola. I like to stick to builders who either build flamencos exclusively or at least build quit a bit of them. What I really like is the builder who actually plays flamenco and completely understands the instrument.

I don't know Barbarossa personaly. For all I know, he may actually know the flamenco guitar well.

_____________________________

Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2008 16:45:57
 
kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

????
I see the word "Flamenco" on several pages. The fact that he builds other guitars, I don't see as a deterrent.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2008 16:51:28
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

For that kind of dough, talk to Jeff Sigurdson in BC Canada. He has built a ton of negra's and they are very good for the cash. That is, of course, you have played a guitar from this builder and it suites your needs. I've owned and played a bunch of negra’s, and most are just classical’s with tap plates on them.

A lot of builders do a respectable job on blanca’s, but negra’s separate the men from the boys.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2008 17:55:43
 
kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, the whole "try before you buy" thing simply is not an option for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to live near any luthiers, or shops that carry luthier-made instruments. Some things in life take a leap of faith and for me, acquiring a luthier-made guitar happens to be one of those things.

I'm not familiar with Jeff Sigurdson but I'll drop him a line, thank you.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 16 2008 9:49:51
 
blanca

Posts: 58
Joined: Mar. 21 2007
From: The Netherlands

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

quote:

ORIGINAL: kovachian

He seems to be hardly known. The good part is that his prices are very competitive , bad part is that I'd have to wait between 18 and 24 months


That doesn't sound logical to me. If he is hardly know and doesn't make so much guitars, why does it take so long?
But it can also mean that he takes his time to make excellent instruments!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 3:49:50
 
kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to blanca

According to his website and our conversations, the reason he takes so long is that he has a day job in addition to his lutherie hobby, the same as many luthiers. Jim is a mechanical engineer which is a pretty demanding job. If he were to quit that field then I'm sure his wait time would drop drastically but with a new house and a family to support, I'd say he doesn't want to rely on just guitars to pay the bills.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 8:28:34
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

I'd like to hear a sound clip of one of his Flamenco guitars. If he has a clip maybe he can post it on the Foro or his website (or allow one of us to post it here)--sound with video would be best.

$1,700 isn't much compared to what others charge for a luthier built instrument. Also, I wonder what he would charge to French polish the sound board--this could make a big difference in tone.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 9:44:45
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Just get a guitar from Jeff. For that kind of dough, he can't build a world-class guitar, but trust me, you likely won't find anything any better in the less than two grand range.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 10:08:26
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to Patrick

quote:

Just get a guitar from Jeff. For that kind of dough, he can't build a world-class guitar, but trust me, you likely won't find anything any better in the less than two grand range.


By all means buy a guitar built by someone you've never heard of just because another person you've never met insists on it.

The first guitar Glenn Canin built was good enough for Jason McGuire to trade a 1961 Ramirez flamenco guitar for it. Other luthiers are worth investigating, too. I wouldn't write off an unknown builder just because he is unknown, but I would definitely want to hear what his Flamenco guitars sound like and possibly even speak to a few customers who bought Flamenco guitars from him.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 14:49:21
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

I believe that Patrick has purchaed a guitar to two from Jeff.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 14:53:14
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to aarongreen

Aaron, it's ironic you should post here as the guitar kovachian is interested in is based on a 1951 Marcelo Barbero design (your inspiration as a flamenco builder and Barbarossa’s only version of a flamenco guitar). A webpage is posted above but I'll put the same link here: Barbero Guitar

I'm not sure if you can offer much of an opinion on the Barbarossa version from a few pictures.

I checked the Sigurdson website and only found pictures and a way to contact the luthier. I've seen at least four Sigurdson flamenco guitars on eBay and they weren't all that expensive.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 15:23:34
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

quote:

By all means buy a guitar built by someone you've never heard of just because another person you've never met insists on it.


I'm not insisting on anything. I'm just coming from a background with a butt load of negras. Don't take my word for it, just do some searching on this site and Flamencoteacher.com. In fact a post is on Flamenco Teacher as we speak. I'm just try to help the guy out.

As Aaron said, I owned a Sigurdson. Just an opinion is all. You guys do what you want . It's your dough.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 18:33:06
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Aaron,

Any saw dust being made for me?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 18:41:24
 
kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to Patrick

Whoa there, I hope my thread doesn't devolve into a spitting match! I'll stay out of the way of any quarrels. :-D


quote:

(Jeff)... he can't build a world-class guitar
I have no ill-intentions by taking part of your post out of context, but what exactly do you mean by this? The thing is, I have some wood that I want to use for the back & sides and I want it to be put to good use.

So have you owned a Sigurdson or two? This may be none of my business, but was there anything about the guitar(s) to motivate you to sell?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 20:19:54
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to Patrick

Patrick, do you have any sound clips, additional pictures and pricing information on your Sigurdson? The only thing I've read was the information the person selling the guitars on eBay posted and as much as I'd like to believe the seller there can be quite a bit of "puffery" in these eBay advertisements.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2008 23:56:11
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

quote:

he can't build a world-class guitar


You took my statement out of context. What I said was " For that kind of dough, he can't build a world-class guitar". I was talking about his lower priced guitars. I am sure for more cash, he can very well build a world-class guitar. But in the less than two grand range, you will have a very hard time doing any better.

I have to go paint a bathroom and don't have time now to give you details, but will later today.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2008 3:46:41
 
mentrida

 

Posts: 55
Joined: Jun. 19 2004
 

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Hey Kovachian,

I happen to own a Sigurdson blanca and I'm quite happy with it. Never tried a negra but can tell that the quality of work he does is very good.

Just to give you an idea, I paid below the 1700 mentioned here for his starting model and I requested it at 54 nut and 660 length. The guitar is very comfortable to play and the action is great (mine is at 2.2 on the 12th across all strings and has no buzz). Volume is good and it responds when played hard. My blanca model has a very old school sound.

My teacher has tried it several times and keeps reminding me that its a very good guitar, specially when considering what I paid. Why do I say he keeps reminding me? well, because he has a very fine high end guitar and I'm always comparing, which just is not right... but I can't help it . I think that's what Patrick is trying to say, that at this price range Jeff provides a good guitar, but you can't expect it to sound as a much higher priced model, either his or from any good luthier.

Not trying to talk you into one of Jeff's but since you asked, letting you know that he does good work and could be an option.

Do talk to others and try as many guitars as possible before you buy. Hope you find what you're looking for.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2008 14:51:36
 
kovachian

Posts: 506
Joined: Jan. 30 2008
From: Americanistan

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Thanks mentrida, I appreciate your input. I've found a couple of owners of Barbarossas and they say the same thing about their guitars; they sound great and are of top quality. So far it's looking like I can't go wrong with either Jeff or Jim. This might end up being a decision between who's got the shorter wait time.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2008 15:21:30
 
mentrida

 

Posts: 55
Joined: Jun. 19 2004
 

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

That's great. Looks like you can't loose. Do give us some feedback once you get your new baby.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2008 15:24:12
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2557
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

Kovachian,

My advise, would be to just get the Barbarossa because THAT is what you are interested in and inquiring about. Go with your gut instinct.

I'm sure Sigurdson's are great, but if you should get one and don't really like it for whatever reason, your going to be telling yourself, damn, I should have gotten the Barbarossa. Which was your first choice.

If you get the Barbarossa and don't like it, you can always sell it and order yourself a Sigurdson or another guitar from someone else. Ask Barbarossa what his return policy is. Ask him if your not happy with it, can it be returned. Most reputable luthiers offer something like this. Maybe minus the initial deposit.

_____________________________

Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2008 15:30:37
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

quote:

My advise, would be to just get the Barbarossa because THAT is what you are interested in and inquiring about. Go with your gut instinct.


Very good advice. I agree with Tom, but I promised some info on Sigurdson.

First off, my reason for responding in the first place was due to your intent to buy a negra. As I said earlier, I have owned and played a number of negra's. To be honest, I haven’t been overly impressed by a lot of them, but then some have been great. The problem is a builder has to really be on his game to build a good negra. A lot of builders for whatever reason build negra's with a deeper body and they turn out to be classical's with tap plates on them.

So why did I get a Sigurdson and why did I sell it? At the time (2003), I was on DeVoe's list and was looking for a reasonably priced negra to get me by until it (the DeVoe) was done. I had heard a lot of good things about Jeff from people I respected. I had Jeff build an East Indian with European Spruce top. The top was French polished with lacquer back and sides. I had him do a few up grades and I think I paid about $2,000 or a bit more. The woods (at least visually) were top quality. The back and sides and top were very nice straight grain quarter sawn. Construction was excellent. Not impeccable, but a very high standard. Jeff really knows how to set up a flamenco with the action right on the money (nice and low).

Keep in mind I have only played the Sigurdson I owned, but from the people I respect, mine seemed to be about the same as most. Jeff has really nailed the hard edge, abrasive tone you rarely hear in negra’s. Mine didn’t have a boomy bass like a lot of negra’s do. Very well balanced, with outstanding mids and pretty good trebles. Very, very easy to play. Nice dry (blanca) tone. This was the kind of guitar you like to come home to after a hard day at work. A very bright, in your face kind of guitar.

OK the weak points. After you took away the bright percussive tone, mine was a bit lifeless for a really world-class negra. What I want in a top class negra is modest sustain and wonderful overtones when you back off and play softer. This was the shortfall of this guitar and a lot in this price range.

So at the time I think I had a Tezanos Perez and a new DeVoe, so why keep the Sigurdson when it would just sit in the case? In retrospect, I kind of wished I had kept it, but I can always get another some day.

One thing you rarely hear about is a builders “business model”. Most builders use two major business models. The first is to turn out a bunch of guitars in the least amount of time with quality commensurate with the time spent on each guitar. The objective is to keep prices down and demand up. Quality of the product will likely suffer, but the advantage is a lot of business in the pipeline (hopefully).

With this model you hear a lot about a builder because they grind out a lot of guitars, but you also hear a lot of comments like “great guitar for the price”. It’s human nature to believe a high price will produce a better product. Even if the product is world-class, the low price tends to keep the “perceived” quality down. Now value is another thing all together. This model usually produces exceptional value (a lot of guitar for the buck). Jeff tends to (or he did when I bought one) use this model.

The second model is the exact opposite. This model basically works backwards. A builder pretty much knows how many guitars they can construct in a year maintaining the level of standards they are trying to achieve. Lets say he can build fifteen guitars a year and maintain standards. If he wants to make “X’ amount a year, he adds in his overhead expenses and divides this number by “X”. This establishes his selling price per guitar. Most builders that use this model are of a different mind set from the first (model). The mind set is “if I can’t produce the finest product”, I am not going to put my name on it.

The downside to this model is a lower number of guitars in the public’s hands so it can take much longer to become known. Most builders using this model hope for at least a two to three year back log. Again the human mind tends to perceive a higher price and a long wait with a higher quality of product (and we expect it). DeVoe has about a three-year list. I believe Aaron (Green) is at least two years if not more. Robert Ruck has about a ten-year list and is closed to new orders. Again value is another issue. Do we receive value with this model? We may be paying three to four times what we would for a guitar built by the first model. So is the guitar worth four times a much? It is, if it is to you!

No clips or pics available.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2008 6:18:58
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to Patrick

Patrick, was your Sigurdson responsive, were the trebles lower in volume than the basses (a common problem) and was it a light build guitar?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2008 9:28:10
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

quote:

was your Sigurdson responsive, were the trebles lower in volume than the basses (a common problem) and was it a light build guitar?


Yes it was fine. No, the basses were not overpowering. Yes, very lightly built.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2008 9:36:47
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

So far I have written two fresponses to this thread that were for some reason refused and deleted. Something about that feature being disabled.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2008 1:00:40
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to kovachian

SO after that one went through I wrote another long reponse, my third so far and that one got deleted too. What is going on here? This site is great but this is really annoying.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2008 1:27:03
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to aarongreen

Aaron, I've been creating--or at least saving my posts--in a separate, offline text document because the Foro has been so "glitchy" recently. The reason for the problems have been described elsewhere. It's a good idea to backup what you're attempting to post before trying to submit it. Hopefully the problem is resolved in the near future. Please keep trying I'm interested in your opinion...

When a post fails to upload I login again and re-submit--it's effective, but time consuming.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2008 1:32:26
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2557
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Lately, I've been having problems getting into the site or into threads. Sometimes it's taking a really long time to load and at times I get the timed out page. Frustrating!!!

_____________________________

Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2008 2:57:09
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1463
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Barbarossa Guitars (in reply to TANúñez

quote:

Lately, I've been having problems getting into the site or into threads. Sometimes it's taking a really long time to load and at times I get the timed out page. Frustrating!!!


Same thing has been happening to me, too. In fact, it happened just now when I tried to go to the Foro homepage.

BTW, love your site--all the information, pictures and sound clips. I know you build guitars and think it would be great if you shared pictures and sound clips of your own creations on the Foro.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2008 3:15:54
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