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José Vigil was born in Avilés, Spain.
He visited Granada in 2005 and made contact with Granada guitar-makers for the first time. He returned two years later in 2007, this time to settle there and learn the craft. Little by little he gathered the material, tools, and patterns he needed to set up his workshop. He made his first guitar that year with the knowledge he could glean from books and short visits to different makers. These days José builds around ten guitars a year. He says his guitar-building took a great leap forward when he moved to the city center and became friendly with Antonio Marín, who taught him the assembly methods used in Granada.
Antonio Marín Montero even invited him to bring his work to his workshop and advised him how best to proceed. It gives a clear idea of the human dimension of this great guitar maker master and person from Granada. Cause not only did that with Vigil but he did the same with so many other young guitar makers during his whole life.
José Vigil is adamant that it is a great privilege to be able to learn guitar-making in Granada from maestros with decades of experience, who have themselves learned from previous great masters. He maintains that there are processes and methods in Granada that cannot be learned in books or from teachers who have studied in lutherie schools.
“I can think of two different moments I feel when my guitar-making took a turn for the better. The first time was when I got in touch with professional guitar makers. First I tried to learn by my own. I felt I was trying to study a language reading and studying a dictionary.
And then I met some guitar makers in Granada and especially Antonio Marín Montero and José Marín Plazuelo and when I started to visit them and see them working and they explain to me the fundamentals of guitar making in Granada… it was like… learning a language traveling to the country and living in a country and spend the time there. Then you realize how much you didn’t know and how much you were doing wrong.
The second is when I started measuring more and more things about the tops I used. Up until that moment I look to the top I flex it, I thickness it, and flex it again with my hands and try to feel it, tap it… Then I started measuring; flexibility, densities, frequencies … I am not letting that part guide me on which top I am using but I am trying to complement what I thought a good top was with actual facts and actual measurements about that top. And that’s been very interesting”