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Domingo Esteso

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Domingo Esteso (1882–1937) – Luthier

Domingo Esteso is one of the most important guitar makers in the history of the Spanish guitar. He began working as an apprentice in Manuel Ramírez’s workshop, and when Ramírez died, he worked for his widow and put his name next to the label.

He worked in the workshop with Santos Hernández and Enrique García, the three of them becoming outstanding successors to the workshop of Manuel Ramírez.

The guitars from this period still have special characteristics that distinguish them from all others, whether in their exquisite artistry or sound qualities.

Later, Domingo Esteso became independent and settled at 7 Gavina Street with Nicolasa Salamanca, who lacquered the guitars. It was his most fruitful period (you can still see pieces of great beauty and impeccable artistry that, with the passing of the years and the luck of fate, fell into the hands of people who knew how to treat them as authentic works of art, and which can still be enjoyed today).

Many of these guitars were sold outside Spain, mainly in Argentina (a label was made for the house of Romero y Fernández in Buenos Aires), mainly due to the high cost of the guitars economic situation in Spain at the time.

In 1926 his nephew and my uncle, Faustino Conde, joined the workshop, and in 1929, my father, Mariano Conde, was the seed from which the next step in the company’s succession emerged.

With Domingo Esteso, they learned his technique and his good work in the art of Spanish guitar making. They stayed with him until he died in 1937, in the middle of the Civil War. He died of a respiratory illness caused by a draft in the workshop and the lack of penicillin. Guitars continued to be made until 1939, but on a tiny scale due to the Spanish Civil War.

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