Manuel Gonzalez Contreras (1928-1994) was a Spanish guitar maker who influenced the guitar world in the second half of the 20th century mainly through his craftsmanship, but also through his foresight and ingenuity. Between 1959 and 1962 he worked in the workshop of José Ramirez III before opening his own workshop. His son Pablo Manuel Contreras (1957-2011) later joined him and also became a renowned luthier. The Orfeo magazine No. 3 honours the two of them in an excellent and very detailed article.
This guitar, built in 1980, is extremely interesting as it contains two of Contreras’ great innovations. This “Doble Tapa” model, a highly sought-after and internationally successful model, is characterized by the famous curved bracing and the “Doble Tapa”, which in this case means a second coat/layer of cedarwood on the inside of the back. The curved bracing is an exclusive innovation from the Contreras workshop and consists of a fan-shaped bracing with curved beams that following the curvature of the body. This allows the bracing to be stiffened without increasing the weight, thus reducing the number of bracing elements. The top is therefore lighter and swings more freely. The second innovation, the “Doble Tapa”, is placed inside to get more sound projection. So the back is a combination of flexible red cedar and stiff Brazilian rosewood (CITES certified). Moreover, the set of Brazilian rosewood chosen for this instrument is simply magnificent, with tight grain and colorful reflections. This guitar is in excellent playing condition, has no cracks and only a few traces of playing.
The sound of this model from 1980 is exactly what you have in mind when you think of great Spanish guitars from the second half of the 20th century. The cedar top projects a powerful, rich, and full sound, which allows a soft vibrato and offers a rounded tone in every circumstance. The volume of this instrument is truly amazing, especially for the audience, and more than enough to fill any concert hall. Due to its scale and dimensions, this guitar may be challenging for some players, but it’s worth the effort because it’s a really attractive guitar with a very exciting and inspiring sound.
|Body and sides:||Brazilian rosweood (CITES certified)|
|Air resonance frequency:||G|