No more Bernabe Conciertos?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
nyccg

No more Bernabe Conciertos?

Post by nyccg » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:58 pm

The new U.S. dealer for Bernabe has lots of new Bernabes for sale, particularly the Especials and Imperials. I haven't seen any new Bernabe Conciertos for sale in a couple years, other than used ones. Has the model been discontinued? I own a Concierto, love it, and am curious about whether Bernabe no longer produces them.

Reasony

Bernabe Guitars

Post by Reasony » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:29 pm

Yes the Bernabe Concieto guitar is still available and is priced at £4270 GBP = $8570 USD

Available from http://www.staffordguitar.com although not as yet on their web site.

hoangle8

Post by hoangle8 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:53 pm

I heard that Paulino Bernabe passed away a few days ago . Any confirmation/verification from you ? If so, his guitar would soon gain value ( as collector items).

GG Guitar

Post by GG Guitar » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:08 pm

Yes, he passed away a few weeks ago. RIP to a great luthier.

I don't expect prices to rise as it has been widely known that he has taken only a minimal role (if any) in guitar making for several years. His son Paulino jr. makes the guitars (he has made them with his father for a very long time) and I doubt many people would say he isn't an excellent luthier in his own right.

jfdana

Post by jfdana » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:17 pm

It all is rather confusing. The Bernabe operation's American dealer had been stating that all the guitars were made by the father, and offered a certificate, along with the signed label, stamps, etc. as "proof." Then, announcing Maestro Bernabe's passing, the story became that he had been retired for quite a while and the son had been making the guitars. It doesn't add up.

No disrespect is intended to Maestro Bernabe, or the guitars; it just is hard, from the information presented, to figure out where they come from.

nyccg

Post by nyccg » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:46 pm

jfdana wrote:It all is rather confusing. The Bernabe operation's American dealer had been stating that all the guitars were made by the father, and offered a certificate, along with the signed label, stamps, etc. as "proof." Then, announcing Maestro Bernabe's passing, the story became that he had been retired for quite a while and the son had been making the guitars. It doesn't add up.

No disrespect is intended to Maestro Bernabe, or the guitars; it just is hard, from the information presented, to figure out where they come from.
You're right. The only way to reconcile the two statements is that the Maestro had a small part, though a part nonetheless, in the top-end guitars. Meanwhile, they are apparently not marketing the Concierto anymore. Mine is a fantastic guitar. It wasn't that long ago that they had no model names for the concert guitars. Now there are four, if you include the Concierto, three if you don't.

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zavaletas
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Bernabe's guitars

Post by zavaletas » Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:00 pm

I just received a price list from Paulino Bernabe II, yesterday. He is continuing to make the Royal, Imperial, Especial, Concierto, Flamenco Concierto nega, Flamenco Concierto blanca. He has replaced the model 5 through 50 with a new line of four models: Rafael Roman 1, 2, 3, 4 which correspond respectively to his model 50, 40, 20, and something between the model 5 and 10.


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nyccg

Post by nyccg » Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:07 pm

Ah, confirmation. I know it's probably too sensitive for you to reveal his wholesale prices, but can you comment on whether they've gone up or down?
Also, can you give a range of estimated retail prices for these models, based on the wholesale prices? Thanks!

jfdana

Post by jfdana » Fri Jun 08, 2007 7:46 pm

Now I'm really confused! How can Paulino Jr. make all those guitars; must be a couple of hundred per year and so many different models, not even counting the Rafael Romans, which I believe are made in a factory in Valencia. Curiouser & curiouser.

GG Guitar

Post by GG Guitar » Sat Jun 09, 2007 1:24 am

jfdana wrote:Now I'm really confused! How can Paulino Jr. make all those guitars; must be a couple of hundred per year and so many different models, not even counting the Rafael Romans, which I believe are made in a factory in Valencia. Curiouser & curiouser.
Well he won't be making the Rafael Roman models, so you can forget those (I have played some of the equivalent old models - 30, 40 and 50 and can report they were quite nice but way too expensive for factory made guitars).

That leaves 4 classical models and 2 flamencos. I wouldn't imagine there would be much demand for the flamencos, so he will probably only make a 2-3 per year.

That means he can make say 20 classicals, 5 of each model. 22-23 guitars a year is not an excessive output and doesn't suggest that he is farming the work out.

There are only a handful of dealers who sell these guitars, and there really aren't all that many on the market each year from what I can see.

I have played a Concierto model as well and IMO it was a real beauty!

jfdana

Post by jfdana » Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:21 pm

I guess you guys got me interested, and I obviously have way too much time on my hands (actually I work 6:30 AM to 3). The Bernabe website,

http://www.bernabe-guitars.com/distribuidores.htm

lists 12 distributors. Lets assume that each of them receives 4 Bernabe guitars a year. (I'm being conservative). Then, checking around, Bruce Bannister and Norbert Kraft seem to be "unofficial distributors;" let's say 3 each. Then there are some private commissions (the John Williams guitar, etc). So that makes 55 or more guitars per year, or slightly more than one a week.

Again, the guitars may be terriffic; it's just hard to imagine how one person could be so proficient.

Anyway, I love a good mystery. I hope someone can solve this one.

John Dana

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Post by David LaPlante » Sat Jun 09, 2007 2:05 pm

I agree John, quite prolific.
Considering the recent death of Bernabe Sr. I would not want to engage in a discussion which would be anything but respectful here but suffice to say in general that this is not an issue of quality or workmanship but perhaps one of accurate representation.
In many cases of fathers working with sons, the work is supervised by the elder, but is actually that of the son (at the father's price level, of course...)
or perhaps in this case another craftperson (or two) which would seem to be necessary given the numbers you mention.
If one wants the work of a single individual it is probably required that you seek out someone who has not created a demand beyond that which a single person can fulfill.

Best

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Post by Section_10 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 2:48 pm

If I were a Bernabe i'd be making the soundboards like crazy and assembling them and get other great luthiers to build the rest of the guitar. Why should the master do the dirty work? You're paying for a great guitar not necessarily entirely built by the maker. It's better to have 2000 great Bernabes out there then 500. I've played and owned many Bernabes they're all great. As long as Bernabe checks on the individual guitars and make sure they're consistent I see no problem with that.
He's not nearly the first luthier to hand out work to other luthiers btw. Just about every famous luthier has others (some not luthiers) working in their shop to help speed up the process by doing other work. Rosettes, purflings, finshings, tuner assembly, sanding, planing. Theres much work involved that doesnt directly correspond to sound performance that can be done by others. Try being a luthier spending 120 hours on one guitar you'd understand.

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zavaletas
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Bernabe's guitars

Post by zavaletas » Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:36 am

Some one asked whether Bernabe's prices have gone up. No, his prices are the same as last year to dealers. As to who makes what. My understanding is that Bernabe always had the lower models made by others, although on his design, and under his supervision. The Bernabe Sr told me a few years ago that the model 30 and above, his son built, and that he personally made the Imperial and Royal. Although it is my understand that for the last 3 years, he was ill and did very little work, and most of the guitars were built by his son. Regardless of who was building what, their work is indistinguishable, and as others have pointed out, Bernabe continues to build outstanding guitars.

James

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Bernabe

Post by Cincy2 » Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:04 pm

I've been watching this thread closely. I have a Bernabe Imperial due in a few weeks that I ordered several weeks before Sr. passed away. Fair to say that a luthier's choice of wood and his bracing pattern establish the sound of a guitar? If the design is Sr.'s and the assembly quality is good, I'm hoping it doesn't matter who actually built it. I"ll know soon. There is certainly a lot of history on sucessful turnovers between father and son - Velazquez, Romanillos, Ramirez. I'm sure there is some bad history also.

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