There is an incredible amount of effort and time that Contreras puts into every instrument. Each guitar must leave the shop as a perfect piece of art both musically and aesthetically. After all, every guitar is holding the reputation of this very well recognized Spanish shop which lives without a doubt up to its legacy.
This is the Contreras C4 Classical guitar, an impeccable guitar for those who appreciate the sound qualities and artistry of one the best makers.
For more information on Contreras guitars please click here
It's very interesting to witness the evolution of the classical guitar, its trends and changes. Our biggest audience this year came from non classical guitar players who either love the sound and feel of the classical guitar, or are looking to get into it.
In 2017, the Ramirez MIDI guitar got a lot of attention. The most popular model was the 2NCWE, but any Ramirez can be ordered with a MIDI Polydrive.
Here some pictures of the most recent MIDI Ramirez that left the shop a few days back.
How can we not feel excited if we receive such news from our cherished luthiers in Spain. The Manuel Contreras shop shared these pictures of an anniversary model that will arrive to our Miami office soon. They haven't carved a headstock like this one in decades. What a way to make us feel special!
The journey of the Ramirez Conservatorio has evolved into a brilliant new guitar. Cristina Ramirez has shared with us pictures of the actual models of these nylon string guitars which have all the qualities of a concert Ramirez at a much lower price. Big sound and volume. We will have new Conservatorios in Miami soon!
We will receive some beautiful guitars by Thanksgiving. We are definitely counting our blessings and getting ready to celebrate with our family and friends.
MIDI is ultimately a bridge that connects musical instruments, computers, amplifiers, effects, consoles, etc. It is a language, it has its own vocabulary and with it the universal language of music can interconnect.
There was a time when we didn't even get questions about it. MIDI was a complicated mechanism, difficult to connect to a classical guitar and complex to understand. The story today is very different. And it is so, mainly because MIDI has evolved a lot and companies that are at the vanguard have made it simple.
Guitar players today have all the tools to record, to experiment with sounds and textures, to play live and to rehearse without having to carry around three bags full of gear. For instance, the MIDI system of Ramirez guitars is a sophisticated built in mechanism which can work perfectly well by just plugging in your guitar. Its independent microphones for every string, enable you to create the sound you are looking for with no obstructions.
The feedback is 100% positive. MIDI guitars are more in tune with the music scene of today, versatile, loud and unexpected. A guitar player who shows up to an audition needs to be ready and this MIDI system is definitely the way to do that.
If one is looking for a traditional sounding guitar, MIDI can work as a pre-amplifier to better project one's music. If one needs his classical guitar to sound as a rooster, as a giraffe, as a car, as a piano, violin, orchestra, an electric guitar, etc., MIDI will do that with the right pedal.
Possibilities are endless. The level of easiness is marvelous. If you don't have a MIDI guitar in your collection, it might be time for you to consider it. The universe that awaits is beyond description.
Let's understand aesthetics as the evidence of how perfect the unseeing is, as opposed to just 'make up' and visual embellishment. The looks of a guitar are very important as they make the statement that hard work has been put into the craft, good materials have been selected to build it and the guitar maker has a thorough quality control standard.
Over and over we emphasize the same: if it doesn't look good don't buy it.
Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that a good looking instrument sounds good. It means that a good sounding instrument must look good.
Building a classical guitar is really difficult. There are so many elements that have to go into place that if any of them is absent the instrument can go in a second from extraordinary to ordinary. Sanding too little or sanding too much, climate and weather conditions, the guitar maker's mood, the intention, etc.
The same level of attention that you see with your eyes on a guitar is there where you don't see it. Ultimately, when going for a high end classical guitar you are looking for sound, and the first point of reference is the aesthetic value that the instrument brings.
Next time, when you're looking for your professional guitar pay close attention to the marquetry, to the bindings, purflings and to the rosette. It's not about how much color they have, it's about how precise, clean and neat they have all been blended together to provide a sensational sound in a beautiful compound.
Posted 2 days ago by Savino Music
The unique tone and sound of Jose Ramirez guitars blend beautifully with Brazilian music, whether it's samba, bossa nova, samba-jazz, you name it. Here's another delicious video of Rita Payes and her band. Josep Traver plays a Ramirez 130 Años in Spruce top.
After 30 years of playing nylon string guitars - classical, flamenco and cutaways - we have proved that strings do make a difference. Furthermore, experience has taught us that not all high quality strings serve all high quality guitars in the same fashion. Some are more comfortable with lighter strings, some with thicker strings, some with carbon and some with titanium. There are hundreds of references in the market but we will concentrate just on two brands which we consider the best: the German Hannabach Exclusive MT and the Spanish Knobloch Sterling.
The set of Hannabach Exclusive MT offer consistency, volume, clarity of sound and bring out the tone of the guitar. Ramirez and Contreras instruments for instance, feel very comfortable with this Hannabach reference. Lower end Ramirez get enhanced projection and a beautiful texture with Hannabach. Contreras guitars feel rounder and definitely louder. The strings provide outstanding definition when played hard and great sensitivity when played soft.
Out of the hundreds of classical and flamenco guitars in the market, we carry only what we consider the best, both for its quality and for its value. Reviewing Hannabach and Knobloch on Ramirez, Contreras, Bernabe, Alhambra, Hill and Desmond gives us a pretty good reference point.
If Hannabach Exclusive is a thicker, rounder, elegant, darker string, Knobloch Sterling is a lighter, brighter, sophisticated, versatile string.
Bernabe Guitars make a perfect match with Knobloch Sterling. Paulino Bernabe has his own set of strings which are designed under the principles of projection. They are thin and provide great volume and sustain, as Knobloch. The main difference is that Knobloch is a way more luxurious string and thus produce a way more luxurious sound. As Bernabe guitars are super modern and versatile, a string of such characteristics will match perfectly well with them.
A good set of strings can make a lousy guitar sound better. A lousy set of strings can make a good guitar sound lousy.
These high end instruments come with good strings. Not great, but good. Both Hannabach Exclusive MT and Knobloch Sterling add excitement to the sound of your guitar, volume, elegance and sophistication. It all depends on what you are looking for.
Be prepared to spend some money as these strings are not cheap, but definitely worth it.
Knobloch Sterling is the perfect string for the contemporary player with a very diverse repertoire. Hannabach Exclusive is a fantastic set for a more traditional classical player who wants to squeeze every drop of tone of his instrument.
More to come on this subject.
Rosewood offers an incredible amount of support. When matched with a high quality Spruce or Cedar top it enhances the characteristics of these materials.
As resonance is supremely important to the vitality of a classical guitar, it is preferable that Rosewood has been dried naturally and treated carefully so it won't become stiff and can open nicely as one plays his instrument.
There's an extraordinary video on the internet of Paul Reed Smith taping on a small log of Brazilian Rosewood. You can hear how the wood reacts to his touch and vibrates producing a fantastic resonant, open sound. If this is how Rosewood sounds in its "pure state" imagine the transcendence it has as part of a musical instrument!
Both Indian and Brazilian Rosewood are extraordinary and perfect for classical guitars. Brazilian though, has a bit more resonance, it seems like it doesn't want to quiet down. Indian Rosewood is more obedient if you will: it won't sing forever, but it most definitely will bring out the qualities of a good top.
The Washington Convention has really put a stop to Brazilian Rosewood. In Savino Music, other than Robert Desmond's classical guitars, which have both Inidan and Brazilian Rosewood, no other luthier has this wood on their guitars. Indian Rosewood is fantastic, but we do miss Brazilian...
Ziricote, Cocobolo, Macacauba and Bocote, are among the other 'supporting' woods in which the new generation of classical guitars is being built. They all have one thing in common: they seem to adapt very easily to the music of our time. Plus, their aesthetic value is priceless.
As Classical Guitar luthiery progresses in our time, we keep contemplating the instruments created with Brazilian and Indian Rosewood, fascinated by the resonance of the first and the obediance of the second.
Often we work with jazz guitarists who are tired of carrying gear around. They are also tired of heavy electric guitars. Sometimes they are just looking for a different sound. As most of our clients buy online and don't get the opportunity to play the instrument previously, they rely on our knowledge to find the right one.
Classical and Flamenco guitars have a lot in common, but they also have differences that can make a jazz player feel comfortable or awkward from the first touch. Probably, the obvious quality is the action. Flamenco guitars have by standard a lower action which helps to play scales faster and to make less effort on the left hand. Cypress woods on the back and sides can produce a jazzy sound that most jazz players will enjoy, and feel familiar to, but laminated back and sides on a classical guitar can produce a similar effect.
The percussive, drum-like principle behind Flamenco guitars is ultimately favorable to jazz. Furthermore, the new designs of luthiers like Ramirez, Bernabe and Contreras, allow the sound of the instrument to be more versatile and universal adapting quickly to most music genres.
Classical guitars have also evolved in a big way. Some are now designed for the contemporary player who not only plays "classical" but different styles, on different venues, with the most varied instruments. So classical guitars are also a good choice for jazz cats. The warmer sound of Spruce tops and a lowered action (3mm at the 12th fret) - which we can do at the shop, brings color and textures to the jazz feel that's distinctive and attractive.
This conversation is a long and interesting one. For now, we recommend a Flamenco guitar for a scale-crazy, straight up, bebop jazz man, and for the more experimental jazz player a classical guitar with an adjusted low action.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Enough of the boring stuff, please. There´s such an array of exciting music out there, created by musicians who are inspired by life, moved by daily situations, touched by the unstoppable- powerful force of kindness, laughter, color, light and joy, that there really makes no sense to put one´s attention elsewhere.
If anyone is thinking that cruelty and the false idea of control is ruling this world, they better think again. Art is the only fountain, the only engine and the only source of energy that moves everything.
Every morning we wake up to so many original compositions which bring up the human spirit in such a way, that we feel rejuvenated and blessed just to be alive. We hear Brazilian quartets playing and it´s impossible not to dance; we hear pop singers with their catchy spirit and it´s impossible not to sing along; we hear jazz guitar solos or a classical guitar player articulating and finding new routes of phrasing and we can't help getting goosebumps.
It's all in your attention. There are millions of miracles taking place continuously. There are millions of people working hard every day, honestly and with enthusiasm. Let's correct the direction of our attention, as far away as possible from the boring stuff, from tricks and falsehood. Again, the real force comes from art, from creativity and inspiration.
This is a very nice piece of music, perfect to get your attention back on the right path.
Music notes are just sitting on a piece of paper. They can't sing, express themselves, look interesting or create entertainment on their own. Same for woods and classical guitar materials. Regardless of their quality, type or cost they won't become a musical instrument, until...
Thibaut Garcia, the remarkable young, confident musician from France had it clear he wanted to play a Paulino Bernabe Royal guitar. This exceptional guitarist, winner at the Guitar Foundation of America Guitar Competition and the Festival de Guitarra Petrer, among others, partnered with the highest end classical guitar of the Bernabe Shop in Spain. This romance has resulted in exquisite performances all over the world, impeccable recordings and his name as one of the top players who preferred a Bernabe guitar.
Mr. Garcia came to Miami last year, invited by The Miami Classical Guitar Society for a recital. Very few privileged witnessed both his articulate and very unique touch on the guitar and the sound and vitality of this Bernabe Royal.
The great artist Paulino Bernabe, who is continuously praised as one of the best luthiers in the world, keeps pushing the boundaries of the craft and creating some of the most impressive guitar collections. Every now and then he changes the name of a model or alters a reference. But his real genius is poured into every guitar he builds and details every time, breaking the norm and bringing something fresh and exciting to his fans.
We always insist on the magical music partnerships bring. Thibaut and Paulino are leaving audiences worldwide in awe, and here at Savino Music we couldn't be happier of representing the art of Bernabe in the Americas.
Classical guitars are built with either Spruce woods or Cedar woods for the tops. The peculiar tone they have plus the timbre they create when blended with Indian or Brazilian Rosewood, Macacauba, Bocote, Cypress, Cocobolo, Ziricote or any of these new exploratory array of resonat woods, make them a preferable choice for classical guitars.
Cedar tends to be deeper while Spruce tends to be warmer. (There is an extraordinary video in Youtube of O’Brien tapping a Cedar top and a Spruce top with his fingers which shows the basic attributes of each.) It's a tendency; one which is contingent of the quality of each: the forest in which they grew in, the amount of sunlight, shadow, water, humidity, stress, the exact place at the forest where they lived and even the way they were cut down: the electric saw vs. the manual saw also have an important repercussion in the ultimate sound. How they were treated and dried also bring an immense influence to the sound. If they were dried naturally or by an accelerated - machine process.
Guitarists have their preferences. Some based on what their eyes tell them, some on what their ears tell them. Truth is, many players can’t tell the difference between Cedar or Spruce. At least, not at first. We have had hundreds of guitarists play guitars at Savino Music. Very few ask for Cedar or Spruce. They just play and whatever they like that’s what they keep.
In our experience, and based on the instruments and brands that we carry, Spruce does take a little longer to fully open. This wood does feel harder at first, but provide a faster attack than Cedar right from the beginning. The first strings bring more trebles to the musical compound while Cedar trebles have a lower tone. Basses on both woods are consistent and dark but Spruce tends to be punchier while Cedar tends to be more controlled.
One is not better than the other. They are different and at the same time not opposite. Each wood brings attributes both aesthetically and musically. We have had excellent experiences with both. Through the years we have seen the trend of Cedar and the trend of Spruce.
Do allow your eyes to become a judge. Don’t let anyone tell you different, one does fall in love with a classical guitar based on how it looks.
Often we find ourselves associating classical guitars to classical music. The association might seem obvious, but it is inaccurate and on many levels simply wrong. As the nylon string guitar is commonly known for representing certain types of music belonging to specific composers and even specific periods in time, it is also known as a very popular instrument in the most varied music genres. These genres transcend classical guitar technique and repertoire to the point in which they have greatly influenced both its technical and its compositional aspects. It's easy today to witness a performance of a great virtuoso playing in the same night music of the Beatles, Bach, Tarrega and Jobim. The instrument itself has had many modifications through the years in its need to adapt to diverse musical expressions and art manifestations. On this video, you can hear a Jose Ramirez "classical guitar" in a non classical music situation. Lovely.