Manuel Ramirez (1864-1916) is one of the most important luthiers of guitar history. In his Madrilenian workshop, Manuel Ramirez trained and inspired many now-legendary guitar makers such as Santos Hernandez, Enrique Garcia, Domingo Esteso, Modesto Borreguero, Antonio Emilio Pascual Viudes and José Gomez-Ramirez. His legacy can be found in almost all the branches of modern guitar making. From South America with his employee Antonio Emilio Pascual Viudes (1883-1959), who migrated to Buenos Aires before the first world war, to the French school of guitar making with Julian Gomez Ramirez (1879-1943), who brought the Spanish guitar to the streets of Paris and taught the famous French luthier Robert Bouchet (1898-1986); the Barcelonian aesthetic with Enrique Garcia (1868-1922) or the following of the Madrilenian ideal of sound with Santos Hernandez (1874-1943) and Domingo Esteso (1882–1937). It is also interesting to note that Manuel Ramirez strongly inspired cutting-edge German luthiers Matthias Damman and Gernot Wagner’s head shape, and more generally, the German classical guitar making philosophy that started with the collaboration of Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) and Hermann Hauser I (1882-1952) in the 1920s, happened around Segovia’s more than famous 1912 Manuel Ramirez.
Manuel Ramirez’s design is sober yet precise and delicate, with just enough elaboration to make it precious yet enough free space to admire the quality of the wood and set the standard for generations to come. Moreover, Manuel Ramirez is one of the first luthiers in Madrid to truly understand the legacy of Antonio de Torres (1817-1892), both in terms of aesthetics and sound. From the many Antonio de Torres guitars that still can be found with Manuel Ramirez’s repair label inside, it is clear that M. Ramirez studied de Torres’s guitars on many occasions. The real genius is Ramirez’s ability to grasp their essence and express it in his way through his guitars. As a result, Manuel Ramirez’s instruments are well proportioned full-size concert guitars with a responsive, deeply tuned soundboard, rich, complex tone, and outstanding craftsmanship.
Manuel Ramirez’s full-size concert models are scarce as these built-on-order instruments were expensive and exclusive. Moreover, rare are the ones that survived until our time, so finding one is a real victory. This outstanding full-size concert guitar, dating from 1915, is fascinating. It was built during Manuel Ramirez’s last years of activity, also considered his golden era. At this time, his workshop was led by the three legendary luthiers: Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso, and Modesto Borreguero. This spruce / Brazilian rosewood (pre CITES) guitar is a special order from the respected Madrilean guitarist, professor, and vice president of the guitar society “Los cuatro gatos”, Ignacio Balgañón. This society counted amongst its members José Ramirez I (1858-1923), Santos Hernandez, and Modesto Borreguero amongst many influential personalities of the Madrilenian guitar world. One of the particularly fascinating features of this extraordinary guitar it that it is one of only two guitars known with a specially dedicated label. It states in very elegant print letters: “Construida para mi amigo Ignacio Balgañón / Manuel Ramirez / Año 1915 / MADRID”. The first line is particularly interesting as it shows the proximity of Manuel Ramirez and Ignacio Balgañon: “Built for my friend Ignacio Balgañon”.
Playing this guitar is a life-changing experience. It is one of the only few instruments known to us that has such an impeccable equilibrium between large deep basses and powerful thick flawless trebles. The power developed by this century-old guitar is hard to believe, and it gathers both responsiveness and sustain. On top of this, the tone color possibilities are endless, and one goes from smooth dark juicy tones to piecing bell-like resonances in just a breath. Needless to say that it is an unforgettable guitar, and the team is in love.
This 1915 pre-WWI beauty is in perfect playing condition. It is a smooth and effortless guitar for the left hand as for the right hand. Overall, it is well-preserved, and all parts are original, including the tuners. The varnish was recently retouched, and all cracks have been restored with a non-intrusive technique, warm glue, and rice paper so that the restoration added no weight yet ensured the structural stability. This sound-oriented more than cosmetic-oriented restoration makes for an authentic and original sounding guitar, and all actions made are fully reversible.
|Back and sides:||Brazilian rosewood (Pre-CITES)|
|Air body frequency:||E|
|Case:||Hiscox Pro II|