Manuel Ramírez Guitar
Guitar handcrafted in the workshop of José Ramírez, a reproduction of the instrument made by Manuel Ramírez on show in the Metropolitan Museum of Art de Nueva York.
The basic model has six strings. Nevertheless, it can also be built with eight and ten strings.
This guitar can also be ordered with the Camara fan design.
From 2015, all José Ramírez Professional Guitars can be ordered with a thinner neck, which thickness is 1,9 cm to 2,00 cm on the second fret.
In the early nineties, my brother José Ramírez IV and I travelled to New York in order to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to see the guitar handcrafted by our greatuncle Manuel Ramírez, which he gave to Andrés Segovia and is now on exhibit in the Museum. We were provided with an office in the Museum, set up to enable us to work with the guitar. We took photographs and measurements, as our initial intention was to make a copy of his historic instrument. We were motivated by, among other things, our curiosity to learn how this guitar sounded when it was first made – (the guitar had never been repaired), – before the wood was affected by cracking and ungluing – and the negative impact on the sound of the instrument arising from these circumstances.
However, we put the project on hold until the year 2001, when I reactivated it through a fresh visit to the Metropolitan Museum with one of the craftsmen from my workshop and my assistant. Once again we were treated magnificently by the Musical Instruments section of the Museum, who provided us with all of the information they had available on the guitar made by Manuel Ramírez. We spent an entire morning taking detailed measurements once again, drawing the patterns for the design and taking photographs, in order to finish the task I began years before together with my brother.
This guitar, which originally had 11 strings, as can be detected from a few details evident in its making, was crafted under a commission by Manjón, a well known guitarist of the time who, once the instrument was finished, began to find fault with one thing to another, probably with the intention of haggling over the price. This, as is easy to imagine, was not at all to Manuel’s liking and he was not prepared to lower the price.
One day, Manuel was in his workshop at number 10 Arlabán Street, conversing with a professor of violin from the Royal Conservatory, when a young man entered the workshop, dressed in rather extravagant attire, cloaked in a cape and carrying an impressive cane, which, as he himself explained, came in handy to ward off muggers. He wanted to know whether he could rent a guitar for a concert he had to give. Manuel, who, as I understand, had a great sense of humor – as well as a very bad temper – found the proposal to rent a guitar quite amusing, bearing in mind the young man’s appearance, and, addressing him as a “youngster” in a tone of grandiloquence to lend the occasion an atmosphere of pomp and circumstance, he decided to go along with the joke and invited him to try out any of the guitars in the workshop.
What Manuel and his visitor, the professor of violin, heard was so marvellous that Manuel took the guitar away from the young man, saying that it was not right for him, and gave him the Manjón guitar. The young soloist was extremely enthused by the guitar and treated them to a delightful recital. The effect was such that Manuel, impressed by what he had heard, gave the guitar as a gift to the as yet unknown Andrés Segovia, who used it for many years in his concerts*. And this is the very same guitar that he donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art prior to his death, and which we are now reproducing in a limited series to enable guitar lovers to enjoy the sound of this legendary instrument, considering also, that in observance of Segovia’s wishes, the original guitar must never be played ever again.
According to Segovia, this guitar was made by Santos Hernández when he was employed as a craftsman by Manuel Ramírez, and, in accordance with the traditional manner of the workshops devoted to handcrafted instruments, he was required to follow the guidelines, technique and design established by the master craftsman, in this case, Manuel Ramírez, who in turn was responsible for giving the stamp of approval to all of the instruments made under his roof, as is still the case in the traditional handcrafted instrument workshops.
* This anecdote has been published on several occasions by different authors. The version I have recounted here is the one passed on to me by my father, exactly as he heard it from Andrés Segovia himself during one of their lengthy conversations on their shared favourite subject.
– Amalia Ramírez
|No. of Strings|
|Top Wood Construction|
|Back and Sides|
|Nut and Saddle|
|Camara Fan Design|