Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

ajguitar
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Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by ajguitar » Wed May 01, 2019 9:50 pm

I’m thinking of buying a Bernabé M20 Spruce model of somebody giving a good deal on it second hand. Anyone ever played one of these guitars and what was your experience with it? And are there any other guitars you would recommend ($4-5K)~

Thanks (:
Last edited by ajguitar on Thu May 02, 2019 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tim W
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by Tim W » Thu May 02, 2019 12:40 am

I owned an cedar M-20 Bernabe and thought it was a very good guitar. Excellent build quality, good playability. I don't know what the spruce sounds like but the cedar was quite powerful, with a good balance and tonal range. I suspect that the spruce would be different, but good.

quixilver
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by quixilver » Thu May 02, 2019 2:04 am

I used to have a 2006 Bernabe M20 with Spruce top and Madagascar Rosewood b/s made by Rafael Roman, a luthier who worked at Paulino’s workshop during that period. It was a very decent guitar (not the best) in every aspect in terms of sound, playability, workmanship, etc.

Please note that Paulino himself does not work for his Mxx models and he has some other luthiers who make under his supervision. Rafael Roman has his own label now, so I’m not sure if he is still working for Bernabe.

I have also seen a few variations of material for the M20, newer ones are mostly built with Indian Rosewood b/s and some of them might have double-back feature but in general, it can be considered as low/mid entry level of concert guitar. The only concern that I had was the lacquer finish; although it was not too thick, I wished they do french polish at least for the soundboard area.
"After food, air and water, classical guitar is the next necessity of life."

1988 Kazuo Sato | 2005 Tobias Berg | 2007 Rolf Eichinger | 2014 Alexandru Marian | 2015 Christoph Sembdner | 2015 Antonio Raya Ferrer | 2016 Masaki Sakurai P.C.

ajguitar
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by ajguitar » Thu May 02, 2019 6:53 am

quixilver wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:04 am
I used to have a 2006 Bernabe M20 with Spruce top and Madagascar Rosewood b/s made by Rafael Roman, a luthier who worked at Paulino’s workshop during that period. It was a very decent guitar (not the best) in every aspect in terms of sound, playability, workmanship, etc.

Please note that Paulino himself does not work for his Mxx models and he has some other luthiers who make under his supervision. Rafael Roman has his own label now, so I’m not sure if he is still working for Bernabe.

I have also seen a few variations of material for the M20, newer ones are mostly built with Indian Rosewood b/s and some of them might have double-back feature but in general, it can be considered as low/mid entry level of concert guitar. The only concern that I had was the lacquer finish; although it was not too thick, I wished they do french polish at least for the soundboard area.
What guitars would you recommend in the $3-5K~ range?

ajguitar
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by ajguitar » Thu May 02, 2019 3:35 pm

Tim W wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:40 am
I owned an cedar M-20 Bernabe and thought it was a very good guitar. Excellent build quality, good playability. I don't know what the spruce sounds like but the cedar was quite powerful, with a good balance and tonal range. I suspect that the spruce would be different, but good.
Do you think it would be worth getting as my first concert guitar?

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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by simonm » Thu May 02, 2019 8:58 pm

One member here is selling one at the moment. As you are on two sides of the Atlantic it is not very relevant but you can see him playing it if you put this "gary mcleod Bernabé M20 For Sale" into you tube and that might give you a good idea.

ajguitar
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by ajguitar » Thu May 02, 2019 9:19 pm

simonm wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 8:58 pm
One member here is selling one at the moment. As you are on two sides of the Atlantic it is not very relevant but you can see him playing it if you put this "gary mcleod Bernabé M20 For Sale" into you tube and that might give you a good idea.
Aha, I’m actually buying it off him :merci:

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zavaletas
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by zavaletas » Fri May 03, 2019 2:27 am

I have answered your private message to me.
James, Zavaleta's La Casa de Guitarras

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zavaletas
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by zavaletas » Fri May 03, 2019 2:35 am

One correction to this thread. Rafael Roman was always a trade name. He did have a brother, who was named Rafael, and Roman is among his family's names. His brother, Rafe, who has since died, was retarded, but did help his father do simple tasks in the shop. During a period when Bernabe had an exclusive with another dealer, he sold Rafael Roman guitars (made for him by Esteve) to dealers like myself who liked the quality they offered as they were essentially the same as his models 10 and 20.
James, Zavaleta's La Casa de Guitarras

quixilver
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by quixilver » Fri May 03, 2019 4:05 am

ajguitar wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 6:53 am
quixilver wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:04 am
I used to have a 2006 Bernabe M20 with Spruce top and Madagascar Rosewood b/s made by Rafael Roman, a luthier who worked at Paulino’s workshop during that period. It was a very decent guitar (not the best) in every aspect in terms of sound, playability, workmanship, etc.

Please note that Paulino himself does not work for his Mxx models and he has some other luthiers who make under his supervision. Rafael Roman has his own label now, so I’m not sure if he is still working for Bernabe.

I have also seen a few variations of material for the M20, newer ones are mostly built with Indian Rosewood b/s and some of them might have double-back feature but in general, it can be considered as low/mid entry level of concert guitar. The only concern that I had was the lacquer finish; although it was not too thick, I wished they do french polish at least for the soundboard area.
What guitars would you recommend in the $3-5K~ range?
There are certainly a lot of options between the price range of 3-5k USD especially if you don't mind a used one. There are multiple factors that can be considered before anyone can recommend good or suitable guitars depending on your preference and your objective of buying a new guitar. I would suggest to open a new thread/topic for that and get some feedback from other Delcampers... or you can simply drop me a PM if you like to get my input.
"After food, air and water, classical guitar is the next necessity of life."

1988 Kazuo Sato | 2005 Tobias Berg | 2007 Rolf Eichinger | 2014 Alexandru Marian | 2015 Christoph Sembdner | 2015 Antonio Raya Ferrer | 2016 Masaki Sakurai P.C.

quixilver
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by quixilver » Fri May 03, 2019 4:12 am

zavaletas wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 2:35 am
One correction to this thread. Rafael Roman was always a trade name. He did have a brother, who was named Rafael, and Roman is among his family's names. His brother, Rafe, who has since died, was retarded, but did help his father do simple tasks in the shop. During a period when Bernabe had an exclusive with another dealer, he sold Rafael Roman guitars (made for him by Esteve) to dealers like myself who liked the quality they offered as they were essentially the same as his models 10 and 20.
Thanks for the clarification but I can't really capture the whole story, apologies... Are you trying to say that Bernabe's M10 and M20 models were actually built by Esteve or in Esteve's workshop?
"After food, air and water, classical guitar is the next necessity of life."

1988 Kazuo Sato | 2005 Tobias Berg | 2007 Rolf Eichinger | 2014 Alexandru Marian | 2015 Christoph Sembdner | 2015 Antonio Raya Ferrer | 2016 Masaki Sakurai P.C.

madrilla
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by madrilla » Fri May 03, 2019 11:24 am

The Bernabe M's, Ramirez 125(30) and the Teodoro Perez Madrid seem to have a similar back story, ie. made in a factory but using the brand name.

How do they compare with each other, and also the higher end Esteves, Burguets etc (where they might have been made)?
Last edited by madrilla on Fri May 03, 2019 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rasqeo
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by Rasqeo » Fri May 03, 2019 1:53 pm

For the price of an M20 you can buy a secondhand (or in some cases new) luthier built guitar. Bernabes are overpriced imo. If you can, go to a dealer that has a selection of guitars in your price range and try as many as you can.

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eno
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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by eno » Fri May 03, 2019 5:32 pm

ajguitar wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:50 pm
I’m thinking of buying a Bernabé M20 Spruce model of somebody giving a good deal on it second hand. Anyone ever played one of these guitars and what was your experience with it? And are there any other guitars you would recommend ($4-5K)~
If you are lucky you can find a second-hand PB line Bername (made personally by Paulino Sr of Jr or both) for around $5K. They are still very rare though. I bought my India (PB line) for about $5K but that was a few yrs ago. I noticed that the Bernabes resale prices have been climbing up over the last years.
Rasqeo wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 1:53 pm
For the price of an M20 you can buy a secondhand (or in some cases new) luthier built guitar. Bernabes are overpriced imo. If you can, go to a dealer that has a selection of guitars in your price range and try as many as you can.
IMO it's just the opposite, they are underpriced for the mastery of the build and the tonal quality of the sound. But Bernabe family made too many of them and that's what brings the prices down.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Takamine C136S 1976
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967

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Re: Anyone have any experience with a Bernabé M20 Spruce?

Post by Rasqeo » Fri May 03, 2019 5:42 pm

I owned a Bernabe Especial for a while. It was a good but not outstanding guitar. The new price for an Especial in the UK is £8,000. That is overpriced given that you can buy an equivalent quality guitar from an independent luthier for £3-4k and at least you will know who made it.

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