Archives for May 2016

Pablo Requena Flamenco Guitar Review

I own and frequently play a Pablo Requena Flamenco guitar made in 2005.

spanish version

I bought the guitar directly from Pablo in 2005 when it was brand new or “just out of the oven” as some luthiers say.

I immediately knew that it was fantastic and that is important to me when buying a guitar. Although it is often true that you cannot appreciate the full qualities of a guitar until it has been played for some time and its sound “opens” nonetheless I would never consider buying a guitar that does not impress me regardless of how new it is.

The Pablo Requena Flamenco guitar bursts into sound and is very immediate. The sound is very flamenco with growling percussive basses and incisive trebles. It feels like it vibrates with energy. Very soon after buying it and playing it a few times I began to notice that it can produce very sweet sounds in addition to very sorrowful sounds. It is very good for accompanying flamenco dance because of the forcefulness and ample volume that is especially present in “rajeo”.

I find it exceptionally comfortable to play. The tension of the strings for the right hand is perfect for me; neither sloppy nor over tight. When I play a note I feel like the string supports my finger and sounds immediately and yet bounces back (“rebote”)  ready to be activated with the next note.  This makes it very good for fast passages with repeated notes such as tremolo or picado. The left hand is equally comfortable and I feel that it is easy to play ligado with a minimum of effort and a maximum of music being produced.

It works perfectly with every guitar string make that I have tried. Currently I prefer Luthier Blue Set 30 Concert Silver Medium/ High Tension.

If for any reason I do not play it for a period, for example when back in Spain playing other guitars this guitar never “goes to sleep” and is ready for playing straight out of the case.

All of the guitarists who have seen and played this Requena guitar have been very impressed and recently one of my students has bought one and is delighted.

You can hear this guitar on my You Tube page and Bulerías might be interesting in that it starts slow and gently but then changes to loud and energetic.

Here is a photo of this Pablo Requena Flamenco Guitar and it is easy to recognise from the distinctive black and white rosette around the sound hole.

Tomas

Pablo Requena Flamenco Guitar

Flamenco Guitars by Gerundino

I own three flamenco guitars by Gerundino: 1977,1990 and 1996.

They are all absolutely stunning and Gerundino was a master luthier who made some of the finest guitars in the history of flamenco guitar making.

The first time I heard a Gerundino it was played by Paco Peña in concert.

The guitar had an extraordinarily beautiful tone. You could say that you could hear the wood and yet it was incredibly bright with bell like sounds that made the guitar sing. It sustained endlessly yet could be short in the alzapúa and rajeo for example.

Of course the player is also important. Paco Peña was and is an absolute maestro and makes his flamenco guitar sound magical.

My Gerundino guitars are also absolutely astonishing.

The 1977 guitar has pegs and what I think of as the traditional Gerundino rosette. I would say that the sound is very lamenting and I find it to be exceptionally good for accompanying flamenco singers. When you put the cejilla at the higher frets it has that sound that somehow we just don’t find any more. A kind of old world sound.

This guitar can be heard on my You Tube page and the video is named: Festival del Cante de Las Minas, La Unión, Tarantas.

This is from when I competed in that guitar festival and in fact the first prize was given to a relatively unknown guitarist by the name of Vicente Amigo.

The 1990 guitar has a sound that I would describe as beautiful. It is especially romantic in the trebles but surprisingly also very strong in the bass. If you look at the video Zapateado en Re by Sabicas which is a short solo without flamenco dancer you can hear the sensitive top notes but also notice the character of  the bass in contrast.

The 1996 guitar is perhaps the loudest and you can hear it in the piece called Colombiana which is a flamenco guitar solo that I play live in concert. I find this to be a fabulous guitar for concerts because it has so much presence and is so strong throughout.

I keep the 1977 and 1990 in Spain so that they are ready waiting for me when I go back.

I bought all of these flamenco guitars directly from Gerundino at his house in Plaza del Quemadero, Almería where there is a statue of him to his memory.

I remember that buying guitars from Gerundino was nothing like going to a guitar shop. First I would look at several guitars and he always wanted me to give him an honest opinion of each one. Then we would take a break and go to the local bar to have a glass of wine, then back home to look at the guitars again while his wife prepared lunch.

We would have lunch at the kitchen table and it was always delicious. Then after lunch I would make my final decision. If I felt that a guitar was exceptional I would buy it there and then and take it home with me.

So now I have three very wonderful flamenco guitars by Gerundino which are a joy to play and a memory of the maestro luthier Gerundino Miguel Fernández García (1931-2006).

Here are some photographs of those guitars:

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar: Sound hole

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar: Traditional Rosette 1977 Guitar

Gerundino

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar:  Label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar: Traditional Wooden Pegs or Palillos

Head

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar: Head

Gerundino

Gerundino Flamenco Guitars

Flamenco

Flamenco Guitars by Gerundino

Flamenco

Three Gerundino Flamenco Guitars

Face

Gerundino Flamenco Guitar