No more Bernabe Conciertos?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
jfdana

Post by jfdana » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:24 am

Well, actually there is a lot more to a guitar than wood selection and bracing pattern. One of the benefits of having a handmade guitar, made entirely by one person, is that the maker, over time, learns to use the many variables of wood density and stiffness, as well as the design model, to make guitars that fall within a range of sound and playability. Simply replicating a pattern with good wood (whatever that may be) equals a factory guitar which may be really good, but which is probably much less than a guitar made by a good, let alone great, maker. Jose Romanillos's lecture, printed in American Lutherie many years ago is instructive.

Taking another tack, if I were a dealer, I would be worried about representing a guitar as made by an individual builder when, in fact, it was partly or largely made by others. Using Section_10's facts, with the guitar made mostly by others, but with the famous maker doing some work on the top and signing the label, the dealer is open to charges of violating his state's unfair trade practices act which typically allows for private AND public (i.e., the state's A.G.) suits, with double damages AND the seller paying the individual's attorney's fees. Whatever the culture in Spain, the rules in the States are clear. So, ultimately, it may be a case of seller beware, although I would guess that buyer's buy into the mystique, and people looking for signature guitars may not care as much about who actually made the guitar as who signed the label.

Finally, Mr. Greenberg's comment that, "Regardless of who was building what, their work is indistinguishable," is not exactly confidence inspiring as it invokes visions of factory guitars, which is not what I would guess he intended. Perhaps just an overstatement or poor choice of words.

In the end, all this matters little, but I do feel that accuracy of representation, to steal David's felicitous phrase, is worthwhile, if for no other reason than to respect those makers who really do spend 120 hours building guitars and who deserve credit for their work.

John Dana

micahdunn

Post by micahdunn » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:33 pm

I visited Antonio Marin and Jose M. Plazuelo at their shop in Granada, and some very interesting conversations regarding guitar output. Now (I won't say who confirmed this, but the informant is very reliable) I was told that essentially both of them and comfortably make 4 guitars a month (They essentially do four guitar soundboards at a time, four bodies....blah blah blah). Since the French Polishing process involves quite a bit of time, they polish four guitars at a time... Again, this is what was told to me, and after visiting their shop, I can easily believe this. When I picked up both my '04 guitars from them, Mr. Offerman (sorry if the spelling is wrong) (From duo sonare) was picking up 2 Marins for his students. Now, Antonio Marin had at least 3 guitars ready, and completed. It took 5 months of advance notice and emails on the guitars status, but there were 3 completed Marin's available in his shop. That leads me to believe, that each of these luthiers produce around 52 guitars a year...55 guitars from Bernabé is not unreasonable at all, even with him doing most of the work. Just my experience.

jai guru dev,
Micah

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zavaletas
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 9:51 pm
Location: Tucson

Post by zavaletas » Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:56 am

My comment about regardless of who was building what there work is indistinguishable was directed at Bernabe father and son's work.
James, Zavaleta's La Casa de Guitarras

jfdana

Post by jfdana » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:13 pm

Same point. To my mind, indistinguishable equals unrealistic, or fungible (as in Big Macs), or factory, or not distinguished (check out the OED), etc.

Great makers make great guitars, and no two great guitars are alike; they all have their own distinct personalities.

Perhaps I am sorely misguided, but if I were looking for a great guitar, I'd be looking for one that had a distinct personality that I could, over time, form a lasting relationship with. Not one that was like every other one "made" by the "maker."

Just my take. You pays your money, and you gets your guitar.

JD

GG Guitar

Post by GG Guitar » Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:07 am

micahdunn wrote:I visited Antonio Marin and Jose M. Plazuelo at their shop in Granada, and some very interesting conversations regarding guitar output. Now (I won't say who confirmed this, but the informant is very reliable) I was told that essentially both of them and comfortably make 4 guitars a month (They essentially do four guitar soundboards at a time, four bodies....blah blah blah). Since the French Polishing process involves quite a bit of time, they polish four guitars at a time... Again, this is what was told to me, and after visiting their shop, I can easily believe this. When I picked up both my '04 guitars from them, Mr. Offerman (sorry if the spelling is wrong) (From duo sonare) was picking up 2 Marins for his students. Now, Antonio Marin had at least 3 guitars ready, and completed. It took 5 months of advance notice and emails on the guitars status, but there were 3 completed Marin's available in his shop. That leads me to believe, that each of these luthiers produce around 52 guitars a year...55 guitars from Bernabé is not unreasonable at all, even with him doing most of the work. Just my experience.

jai guru dev,
Micah
I have been told that most of the Granada luthiers do not do the french polishing themselves, they give them to a specialist polisher. Makes sense, as FP is a skill/trade in itself, you would expect these guys to do a better job than a luthier who specialises in making great sounding guitars from raw wood.

As FP takes up a lot of time this would significantly improve the efficiency of the guitar making process. Perhaps the fact that Marin/Plazuelo share a workshop would increase efficiency, as would the fact that they both only really make one model of guitar (The "Bouchet" model)?

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