It is my great pleasure to be able to offer for sale magnificent examples of historical and otherwise significant luthiers' work.
On this site you will see some of the guitars I am currently offering as well some of my favorite guitars that I have had the privilege of representing. Through my studio I offer restoration services of the highest caliber and welcome all inquiries. If you have a guitar you wish to have me represent, please contact me; furthermore if you are looking for a specific guitar you do not see here I would be happy to hear about it. I am always seeking out the very best guitars and only offer those that represent their maker´s work at its finest.
1965 Robert Bouchet
“Another fantastic Bouchet from his best vintage. This guitar is quite possibly the easiest playing guitar I've ever had in my hands. It's ridiculous how comfortable it is, prompting one client of mine to remark ‘It pretty much plays itself.’ "
Sonically this is classic Bouchet, deep and rich voice with notable sustain and projection. A velvety response more than one with a sharp edge to the notes, it speaks easily, quickly with a minimum of effort. Bouchet's are in my opinion, one of the first real "super guitars" and as such I have a real soft spot in my heart for this builder. Given his rather modest output, he achieved an enviable reputation that at the end of the day, was well earned.
This guitar has had some repair work, repaired cracks that qualify as the finest crack repair work I've yet encountered. The cracks are only really visible in a low raking light and will present no further problem. Not all cracks are created (nor repaired) equal and as a builder and restorationist I am quite impressed to say the least.
1939 Hauser Llobet
Twice blessed with another phenomenal Hauser I Llobet model. This example was built in Munich workshop prior to Hauser's relocating to Reisbach Vils. This instrument is also unique in my experience with Hauser Llobet models as it is fit with a tornavoz, made of sterling silver. I have been told of others but they have yet to pass through my hands. The Hauser Llobet model was based on a Torres known as FE05, owned by Miguel Llobet. The Torres original is fitted with a tornavoz as well but Hauser altered this feature in a few ways to suit his better intentions and sense of design and acoustics.
In stunningly beautiful condition this guitar has an angelic, lyrical voice. The complexity and balance that so typifies Hauser Senior's best work is amply present. This guitar does not sound like it has a tornavoz to my ear at all, which generally reinforces the bass response of an instrument. Like anything else, it's all in how you do it and in this case the guitar projects like few others, has a surprising amount of horsepower, a powerful and present first string and is a joy to play. Rather than cover the same ground as the 1947 Llobet model also in stock, both instruments are unique in their own way and beyond any comparison. I'd love to keep them both!
1975 José Romanillos
It is no secret I am a huge fan of José Romanillos. His work encapsulates all that I love about the classical guitar as does the recorded legacy of his biggest champion, Julian Bream. This particular instrument from 1975 is of the legendary 500 series, which also produced Bream's 1973 guitar. The interior construction is very similar to Bream's and as such the sound and tonal palette demonstrate why such a player as he would find these guitars so compelling.
This instrument is in excellent condition with some french polish touch up that I recently conducted to bring the guitar up to a state of preservation befitting of it's excellence. There is one very small (2 inch long) hairline in the top, which I believe was present in the top itself from the beginning. There is no sign of any repairs and since this small fissure doesn't "breathe" (i.e., isn't open), it appears to me to be neither a crack nor does it present any kind of future issue. As a builder myself, this exact same thing has happened to me, once about 20 years ago. In that case, like this, nothing ever came of it. The soundboard overall is in remarkable preservation with almost no distortion. A very well cut piece of Swiss spruce, I'd be happy with a room full of this wood myself.
This guitar plays beautifully and is wonderfully even in its response. The projection is most impressive as is the sustain. It has a lot of "Hauser"-like clarity and complexity, with a more sultry, Spanish voice. This particular series of guitars comes from Romanillos study of Hauser who, of course, was studying Torres. In many ways Romanillos represents a full circle coming back to Torres; a Spanish genius, informed by a German genius, who was informed by a Spanish genius. As a lineage goes, that is hard to beat. A truly great instrument for the player and collector alike.
FrankWallace - Friends Part 2
1917 Enrique Garcia
A maker who has so far eluded me, I am utterly delighted to finally have a great Enrique Garcia guitar to represent! Enrique Garcia was a highly celebrated maker in his lifetime as the award featured on his label and his impressive roster of clientele to which he can attest. He was also the teacher of Francisco Simplicio, who claimed on his label "the sole disciple of Enrique Garcia."
This particular instrument is in a remarkable state of preservation and is a great testament to the skill of its maker. The soundboard shows almost no distortion, which is always an impressive attribute in an instrument that isn't overbuilt. This one most certainly is not; the sound jumps out of the guitar like it just can't wait to sing. It's voice is clear and defined with beautifully rich fundamentals. It is the epitome of old world traditional tone coupled with a vibrancy that rivals any modern guitar. As a less ornamented example, it is obvious to me that this guitar was built for a real player. The attention to the details that count demonstrate that Garcia wasn't making musical furniture.
Fitted with a tornavoz, the depth of the bass is most certainly enhanced but without the "tubby" quality one often hears in lesser examples of guitars that use this feature. It does make examining the interior of the guitar rather difficult, however I was able to get in there enough to identify some very unique components of Garcia's work and the state of preservation of the guitar.
As a great example of one of the greatest Spanish luthiers and an important addition to any collection I am happy to recommend this guitar to anyone with the ears to hear.
1927 Francisco Simplicio
And speaking of Garcia's famous disciple, I am honored once again to offer a truly magnificent showpiece of this luthier's art and skill. Simplicio is perhaps even more famous than his teacher and it is guitars like this one that captured the attention of both players and collectors. This is the third heavily ornamented/cuban mahogany with a tornavoz Simplicios I've had. So I think it's pretty accurate to state that they comprise a series of guitars with a very particular sonic and visual aesthetic. The headstock carving and crest are different from the other two I've had and stays just on this side of restraint comparatively. Both the design and execution are truly as close to perfection as I've ever seen. I very much like the crest pattern on this particular guitar. The Cuban Mahogany is gorgeously figured like the others I've had which makes me think that his stash of Cuban Mahogany must have been cut from the same boards.
The sound of the guitar is deep and velvety without being tubby or diffuse. The voice is clear while still allowing each note to blend into the next one as you move up the fingerboard. It has strong fundamentals to the notes with a broad tonal palette. It plays beautifully with a very comfortable neck and action. As much as this looks like a collector's piece, this is 100% a player's guitar
In remarkable condition, this guitar seems to be ageless and from another age at the same time. There is really nothing quite like a Simplicio. If you play this one, you'll understand what I mean.
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1934 Barbero (Classical)
An incredibly well preserved, alive and rare rosewood classical guitar by my all time favorite Spanish builder. Legendary for his flamenco guitars, there are very few rosewood classicals of which I am aware, especially in this condition. This instrument's top looks like the day it was made, without any distortion from age and string tension. The sound is very Santos-like in my opinion, clear and focused with great vitality to the notes. The attack demonstrates why Barbero’s flamenco guitars are so highly regarded but I consider this attribute something any guitarist would desire. The hallmark of a great Barbero is its tonal flexibility; his flamencos are perfectly suited for classical repertoire and I'd say this rosewood classical would not disappoint any flamenco guitarist. That, to me, is the balance that makes a great guitar and it is very much after my own heart as a builder.
This example is one of the earliest Barberos known to me. Without a doubt it demonstrates his great genius, sadly cut short at his prime not much more than 20 years after this instrument was built. The neck is very comfortable, and the setup is perfect. A joy with which to play and explore tone, this guitar would be a very important addition to even the most discerning collection.
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Another fantastic Friederich from my favorite vintage. I simply love the spruce guitars of Daniel Friederich from the late 60s and early 70s. His consistency in sound and response is quite amazing given that I have yet to see two of them braced the same way. There are definite Friederich characteristics of design that have always been present but the variations on a theme he explored are quite inspired. As a builder myself, I enjoy seeing how he evolved and still maintained an incredibly high standard. As an aside, I was recently in Paris, speaking with a friend and admirer of Friederich. He confessed that he mentioned to the Maestro his particular love of this vintage in his work. To which Friederich responded "Me too."
The guitars of Daniel Friederich are becoming among the most sought after in vintage guitars. This is a rare feat for any maker: to have their work only appreciate in value and stature after they stop building. Not that this is surprising to me, given the concert qualities of his work, but it is a notable achievement none the less.
This particular example is perhaps a bit more "Spanish" in response and bloom than any other I have handled. It has the weighty and supportive fundamental to its voice that is almost orchestral, yet the upper registers just sing with great clarity, beauty and tonal flexibility. This is also the best preserved example I have handled from this vintage, being in amazingly clean condition. The varnish on the back and sides does not show the characteristic blushing that you often see in this era of his work. This blushing is due to the pumice pore fill that is still on the surface of the wood, returning to it's white color. Not that I consider that a defect, but I certainly appreciate an original Friederich varnish that does not possess this feature.
This guitar is one of the easiest playing guitars I've handled in a long time. It has a neck set that allows for an incredibly low action should that be of interest to the owner. Currently set up with a conventional action, there is plenty of room to take it down, which is often not the case.
Not a vintage guitar but certainly a guitar worthy of note. The guitars of Mattias Dammann are among the most sought after of any living builder. As one of the main innovators of what we now refer to as "double top" technology, the overriding attribute of this design is horsepower. This is one loud guitar. Immediate in its response, powerful and pianistic; it is easy to see why so many of today's leading concert artists favor these instruments.
This example from 2012 is in excellent condition, plays like a dream and will definitely stand out in a crowd. Belaying it's impressive power, this guitar is featherweight light to hold, which is a construction detail I always love to encounter. He is definitely a builder after my own heart in that regard.
These guitars are hard to acquire as Dammann's output is relatively modest and I am sure his waiting list is quite long. Rarely do they come up on the used market in my experience. This guitar is certainly an excellent example of his work and design innovations. If you've always wanted one, I strongly recommend checking this one out.
1965 Ignacio Fleta
Fleta represents the original "super guitar" from the golden age of the Spanish lutherie. In my opinion this example sits at the highest point of Fleta's production of spruce topped instruments. As the guitars became more robust and pianistic, I believe the choice of cedar for the top became more intrinsic to the overall design for the warmth and bloom that cedar tends to impart to the sound. But these earlier spruce guitars have an entire character unto themselves in the tonal possibilities afforded by spruce.
This instrument is part of the finest collections of classical guitars that I have had the pleasure of assembling. The owner has decided to downsize and as such this magnificent guitar is available for purchase. Exquisite sound and condition, if you ever wanted a Fleta you won't be disappointed with this one.
1969 Ignacio Fleta
Another phenomenal Fleta. This example from 1969 is somewhat more rare for being in Brazilian rosewood and in remarkable condition with no cracks or crack repairs. The top appears to have had some finish work to fill in playing wear under the 1st string between the bridge and rosette but it's relatively minor and well done. The sound of this instrument is truly inspiring and shows why Fleta guitars have been so highly regarded. Super powerful with an incredible first string this guitar is among the most responsive I've played. I particularly like how the voice is clear without nasality and even without being monochromatic in tone. And it's easy to play. A world class Fleta by any standard
Frank Wallace - Cuna - Mompou
1962 Ignacio Fleta
An exquisite spruce top example of Fleta's best vintage. In far better condition than you often see from this period in his work, this particular example is light weight, big and relatively lush sounding (compared to other examples I've seen) with huge horsepower and refinement.
Condition is excellent with one repaired hairline crack in the top that does not show in photos (the curved darker line in the top on the treble side is actually the grain and not a defect). There are a couple of repaired hairline cracks in the back as well, which also do not show in photos at all. This guitar plays like a dream and lives up to the reputation that these instruments have earned. Another gem for collector and concert artist alike.
1934 Santos Hernandez
Santos Hernandez is among the most historically important luthiers of all time. During his time in the shop of Manuel Ramirez, he was the principal constructor of the guitar that would be Andres Segovia's first real professional quality concert guitar (which can be seen at the Met in NYC). After striking out on his own he established a successful shop building both classical and flamenco guitars, influencing generations of luthiers (including Hauser). His instruments are rare and, in my experience, generally do not possess the warmth and bloom as this 1934 does. A totally alive and responsive instrument, it has seen years of usage. The guitar has a stunningly beautiful tone and bloom to the notes, the g string particularly impressive by any standards. As this guitar approaches 84 years of age it is apparent to me that there are many, many more years of life in this important instrument.
We restored this guitar a few years ago. The only visible top crack was repaired prior to our restoration and, while it isn't the most invisible of repairs, we opted to let sleeping dogs lie. The guitar is now totally stable and good to go with no splints in any of the repaired hairline cracks. All original and more so, sonically amazing. A great value for those who have the ears to hear.
Frank Wallace - Cuna - Frederico Mompou
1911 Vicente Arias
The guitars of Vicente Arias are among the rarest of the rare. There are, at most, 50 known examples in the world and this one was recently discovered and restored by Karl Franks and myself. The guitar has no splints in the top or back and is in excellent condition. The cypress back and sides are not in any way meant to indicate intent by the builder that this is a flamenco guitar, as in those days such a designation was non existent. The sound is full and rich with great warmth, depth and range of color. There is nothing quite like the sound of a well preserved older guitar. Thankfully one doesn't have to imagine as the videos of Frank Wallace can attest to the sonic excellence of this instrument.
1980 David Rubio
David Rubio is a maker whose career spanned four decades and had a profound impact on the world of the classical guitar. In my opinion, his guitars are among the greatest kept secrets in vintage guitars although there has been a renewed interest in his work, and for good reason. His most famous time period was in the mid 60's when he worked in NYC and built the guitar that Julian Bream would use for his masterpiece, 20th Century Guitar. A little later on, Rubio would move back to England, building early music instruments and violin family instruments as well as guitars. In his workshop he founded what amounted to an instrument maker's collective and helped establish a vibrant guitarmaking tradition in England. In many ways the New York City guitarmaking tradition owes a large debt to his work as well. I can see echos of his hand and aesthetic in the guitars of Gurian and Humphrey.
This particular guitar from 1980 is beautiful example of his post NYC years. Very precise in construction and sound, it has a pianistic quality in its response and eveness. It has a clear bell-like tone with a broad tonal palette, strong fundamentals and singing overtones. It doesn't require a heavy hand (at all) but certainly can stand up to strong playing without breaking up. For the player and/or collector, this is a great example from a significant figure in the history of the guitar.
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1960 Manuel Velazquez
I've represented a lot of Velazquez guitars in my career and have a soft spot in my heart for his work. Besides being the first truly world class classical guitar maker in the U.S, he was incredibly prolific and held up the highest standards in his work. While I never met the man, from all accounts he was an absolute gentleman.
This 1960 Velazquez comes from a one owner family. The original owner (now passed) ordered this guitar and picked it up from Velazquez, played it until the end of his days and it passed to his son some years ago. The owner's regard for this guitar shows; it has always been cherished and meticulously maintained. It features some of the finest materials I've ever laid eyes on and is in perfect condition. Sonically this is Velazquez at his best, rich and soulful with clarity and a present, singing first string. I must admit that I am very fond of this vintage in his work, which was perhaps the closest to the original Hauser ideal from which he took such inspiration. A great instrument for the player or collector from one of the best luthiers ever. And at a price that is a bargain for such quality.
I consider Paulino Bernabe to be one of the finest luthiers of all time. Guitars that are of his own construction (as opposed to being made to his specifications) have always made a big impression on me. This particular example is no exception, it possesses an almost flamenco-like immediacy of sound, a huge cedar/Madrid school bloom to the notes and a spruce-like clarity and separation. This guitar is powerful and very well balanced, the notes possess tremendous weight in the fundamentals and singing overtones. The Fustero tuners are, in and of themselves, a work of art. Mint, impeccable condition.
1999 Dominique Delarue
Dominique Delarue is one of my favorite contemporary French builders. I have a lot of respect for the clarity and spruce-like character he manages to achieve in his cedar guitars. Kind of a builder after my own heart. It's definitely a cedar guitar; huge response with the ease of sound production that is the hallmark of a great cedar guitar. But it’s got a lot more to offer than just that. The tone is full with weighty fundamentals, lovely and controlled overtones and an impressive tonal palette. This guitar has a slim neck that is easy on the hands and a nice middle of the road string tension; not too tight, not too loose. This guitar is in great condition with a minor finish touch up done at some point in its life. Other than that, it is in near new condition and is a great instrument for someone looking for a more "traditional" sound with a more contemporary response.
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2012 Robert Ruck
Three is indeed a charm. This is the third Ruck I have currently in stock and it is without a doubt a most impressive spruce top example of his work. This one has soundports which gives the player more of a monitor effect than anything, in my opinion, but that is a very cool feature for those who play in ensemble settings. The sound is clear and powerful, refined with a great deal of weight to the notes. Colorful and even up and down the neck, it is a testament to the great talents and skill of it's maker. And this is one extremely good looking guitar as you can see from the photos. A great guitar for the concert or living room artist.
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1968 José Ramirez
A well preserved and excellent example of the Ramirez workshop at the height of its skill, popularity and influence on the guitar world. This example has all the attributes of a great Ramirez, is easier to play than most and is of Indian rosewood as opposed to the more standard Brazilian. Given the current climate of governments and guitars, I would argue that this is a bonus for someone looking for a great Ramirez that is also not likely to raise eyebrows or cause concerns when traveling.
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1968 José Ramirez Ex Sabicas
This is a wonderful example of the ubiquitous cedar top/cypress back and sides Jose Ramirez flamenco guitar, owed for a while by the man who probably singlehandedly helped popularize the advent of the cedar topped flamenco blanca. The current owner of this instrument is a good friend and client of mine, who lived in NYC for many decades and spent the late 1960's and 1970's as a student of the great Mario Escudero. Sabicas and Escudero were good friends and when my client needed a good guitar (in the early 1970's), Mario sent him over to Sabicas' apartment to check out a guitar that the Maestro wished to part with.
This instrument has some playing wear and and dings but is in overall great shape with a fast attack, big and weighty notes, well balanced and a ton of fun to play. We recently touched up the pegs and replaced the tap plate as well as a slight touch up to the finish. There is no direct provenance tying this guitar to Sabicas other than my client's recollection. His time with Escudero has been confirmed by Dennis Koster who knew him in those days and eventually became his teacher as well. Dennis also was around for a few guitar sales by Sabicas so it was not uncommon for the Maestro to play guitars for a while and then find them new homes. Now it is time for another new home for this magnificent piece of flamenco history.
1989 Thomas Humprey Millenium
ex Neil Anderson
One of the luminaries of American Lutherie, the late Thomas Humphrey made his career working with some of the greatest guitarists of our time. This particular example is an instrument that was built for and is owned by Neil Anderson, who had a stellar career as a virtuoso and teacher before moving on to a whole new (and successful) life in the tech. industry.
Cedar top, rosewood back and sides this guitar is in excellent condition. It is a great concert instrument, one of the best Humphrey guitars I've handled. Loud and open with stellar projection, its easy to play and certainly for those looking for a 7 string, this one is well worth the time to take a test drive.
2000 Raya Pardo Torres model
A fantastic Torres inspired model from one of Granada's leading builders. I must admit to being quite surprised at how impressive this guitar is, not so much because of any feelings towards Raya Pardo personally; but, even more, it tends to take a lot at this point to turn my head. This guitar definitely made me take a second and third look. It is very even in its response, loud as can be with a bright yet full tone. Sustain is excellent as is the projection. It plays like a dream. The owner brought me the guitar to get my assessment of it, not so much because he was looking to have me represent it for him. Upon playing it and giving it a once over inspection, I told him I'd be delighted to have such a guitar move through my studio.
It would not be accurate to state that this is a Torres copy per se, but the shape is definitely Torres derived and in the best sense of the practice. One can say it is certainly an homage to Torres with a good bit of Raya Pardo in there as well. Not a bad combination as I can tell you from this example.
The guitar is in perfect condition, no repairs nor issues. The materials are top notch as is the workmanship. But really, it's the sound and how it plays that is what sets this guitar apart and what makes it one I recommend highly, especially for the price.
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1965 Irving Sloane
This instrument holds a rather unique place in the world of guitars and guitarmaking. Irving Sloane was an amazing figure in American guitarmaking for more than a few reasons. However, his greatest claim to fame is the authorship of the most significant book on guitar construction. This particular guitar was built to photograph and elucidate the steps of construction and is well represented in this book. One could almost say that this guitar launched a thousand bankruptcies (joking) and most certainly informed an entire generation of luthiers who, in turn, propelled the craft even further. There is still plenty of good information to be gleaned from his book, a copy of which is included in the sale of this important instrument.
I never met Mr. Sloane personally although I did speak with him on the phone a few times early in my career. He was a true gentleman and was very interested in discussing aspects of construction. Luthiers he knew and with whom he communed included such luminaries as Bouchet and Romanillos. He was open to my thoughts on the guitars even though he knew that I was just a kid in his twenties.
Insofar as the guitar itself, it is well constructed with a surprisingly robust sound and response. It plays well and is a very good example of what I call the New York school, as typified by Del Pilar, Papazian, early Humpheys and Gurian. I called the owner when it arrived and told him I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the guitar and would be delighted to offer it for sale. For those who are interested in guitar construction and the history of lutherie in the U.S, it would be very hard to find a more significant example. Thankfully, the price is far more reasonable than some of the gems pictured in his book (such as the Hauser LLobet which I also represented).
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2006 Conde Hermanos
This example is far and away the fanciest and most refined (in many regards) example of the famous Conde Hermanos. The actual model is Felipe V, as opposed to other guitars that are designated as having been built at this address. The workmanship is very neat and clean, two things I tend not to attribute to this atelier. Sonically it has the attack and speed for which these guitars are known along with tremendous horsepower and a real profundity to its voice. It has deep and weighty notes covered in razor blades. In my career I have only seen one other Conde I liked as much as this, that guitar was from 1969 and was the companion to the famous 1951 Marcelo Barbero ex Sabicas. This is one of the easiest playing guitars I've seen, it's practically an electric guitar in its feel. A marvelous example of Conde at their very best.