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Construction: Classical Guitar
Top Wood: Cedar
Back and Sides Wood: CSA Rosewood
What would have happened if the great guitar maker from Granada, the most important Spanish guitar maker nowadays in our opinion, Antonio Marín Montero, had not met Robert Bouchet in 1977 and 1979 when he changed his way of construction quite radically?
Well, we have the result here with this 1973 guitar. This kind of guitar is the one that Marín Montero made just before he met Bouchet and implemented his famous Bouchet-Marin Montero construction system.
These guitars that Marín Montero made in the 70’s represent the pinnacle of his mastery as a guitar maker using only the traditional Spanish method. And it’s not that we don’t like the Bouchet-Marin guitars that Antonio makes since the 80’s. On the contrary, they are extraordinary. But the ones he made just before the Bouchet period are so interesting and very different but of impressive quality.
Not many people in the world of classical guitar and guitar making know this. You have to play one to realize what level the great master reached in the 70s with the traditional system. The sound is so beautiful, the clarity, the multitude of colors and sensations, the musicality it offers, the definition, the excellent balance in all the registers it gives you, that it is no exaggeration to compare this 1973 Marin Montero guitar on an equal footing with the great Spanish traditional guitars of the history of this period such as Hernandez y Aguado, Belezar Garcia, Miguel Fleta or Miguel Rodriguez.
Note that this guitar has a 664 mm scale length, undoubtedly influenced by the 664 mm scale length that was so fashionable at the time and so much in demand by guitarists due to the fame of Andrés Segovia and his 664 mm Ramirez. But in our opinion, unlike the difficulty of playing that we often find with these Ramirez, we find this Marin Montero very comfortable to play. A pleasure to play.
The CSA rosewood that this guitar has is the best kind. It is the type of CSA rosewood that guitar makers and collectors like. Dark and straight.
Everything on the guitar is original and without any damage. Excellent condition.
A jewel in the history of guitar making in Granada and Spain as well because of the great difficulty of finding these guitars from the 70’s of such high quality in all aspects in such great conditions, made by this living legend of guitar history.
Scale Length: 664mm
Nut Width: 52mm
12th Fret Width: 63mm
Guitar Length: 1005mm
Body Length: 483mm
1st Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 44.5mm
12th Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 51mm
Bridge. 6th string to 1st string: 59mm
Side Width Upper body: 100mm
Side Width Lower body: 104mm
12th fret to 6th String Height: 3.5mm
12th Fret to 1st String Height: 3.0mm
In Granada, Spain, in the 50’s, there was a flourishing artisan activity with all kinds of craftsmen with a certain national prestigious who were dedicated to Granada ceramics, handmade clothes, furniture, Granada wooden crafts called Taracea, etc.
Here we find a very young Antonio Marín Montero (born in 1933) who was only 14 years old working in the furniture workshop of Don Claudio Carmona located in a well-known street of the city called Calle Elvira. Soon Antonio showed his talent for woodworking and the use of different tools and Don Claudio, despite his youth, appointed him head craftsman of the workshop.
As the years went by Antonio Marin felt attracted to making guitars. It was a job that required talent, skill and delicacy with the pieces of wood. Guitar making in Granada has a long tradition of 200 years with historical guitar makers in the 19th century such as Jose Pernas and Agustin Caro.
For Antonio, the skills he had acquired in furniture making with wood and tools could be taken to a much higher level with guitar making and brought to a final result close to a work of art.
There was one person who could help him with this. The guitar maker Eduardo Ferrer ran a very well-known guitar workshop in the city. Antonio’s father was a friend of Don Eduardo’s as they had made drums together during the Spanish Civil War.
Antonio Marín Montero started going to Eduardo’s workshop and asking him about the construction process. Eduardo’s father, Benito Ferrer, was also a great guitar maker from Granada born in 1843. So, learning with Eduardo meant going deep into the deepest and most deeply rooted tradition of guitar making in Granada. So, we find Don Eduardo teaching the art of construction to Antonio Marín Montero who, given his great intelligence and talent, soon knew all the processes involved in making a whole guitar.
Eduardo not only taught Antonio but also a large number of guitar makers from the present and from the history of the city. One of them was a friend of Antonio’s called Manuel Bellido who curiously enough had also been working with him in Don Claudio’s furniture workshop. So, the two of them got together to make guitars in the 60s. Guitars with a label called Montero y Bellido.
In 1974 something very important happened in Antonio’s career as a guitar maker.
Antonio has always been very sociable and has given friendships with so many people, among his friends at that time was a Japanese man called Taguchi. Taguchi, who had a home in Granada but during the year traveled all over the world, told him on those afternoons when they would have a glass of wine together in the workshop chatting that he knew a very famous French guitar maker that he had to meet and that he wanted to introduce to him. This French guitar maker was the one who made the guitars used by the prestigious Lagoya-Presti classical guitar duo. His name was Robert Bouchet. And it happened and in 1977 they met.
They became friends and Antonio admired Bouchet’s profound knowledge of the guitar, even on a scientific level he told me when I interviewed him for the book “The Granada School of Guitar Makers”. And Robert also admired Antonio Marin’s great woodworking and tool skills. Bouchet was much older than Antonio but that did not prevent them from becoming good friends and that same year they made a Bouchet-Marin Montero guitar together which the master Antonio still has with him and which is of extraordinary quality and historical importance. It combines Bouchet’s fan bracing with the craftsmanship and tradition of Granada that Marín Montero boasted.
The history of meetings did not end there and in 1979 another mutual French friend called Deseglise arranged for the two of them to meet again, this time in France in a small village in Normandy. Deseglise’s house was a beautiful French chateau with high ceilings. And again, they made three guitars together, Deseglise was also fond of making guitars. They spent a fantastic time together building guitars, drinking wine, and to top it all Deseglise’s wife had an oyster farm and they ate oysters to their heart’s content.
That same year Antonio Marin Montero and his nephew Jose Marín Plazuelo, at that time very young and already learning to make guitars together with his uncle Antonio, moved to a new workshop at the end of the Cuesta del Caldeiro and from 1979 until now (2022) they both continue to make guitars there. Marín Plazuelo has been working with his uncle for “only” 42 years side by side. And he makes exceptional guitars very similar to his uncle and follows precisely the same construction process.
This construction process is the so-called Bouchet-Marín Montero model which has given the master so much success all over the world and which has made him so famous.
One quality of Antonio Marín Montero that should not go unmentioned is his great human quality. Antonio has selflessly helped a large number of guitar makers both from Spain and abroad who have gone to his workshop to ask for advice and help and Antonio has offered to teach them everything they needed in an impressive manner of generosity.
Antonio is loved and admired by all the guitar makers in the city of Granada and by anyone who has the privilege of knowing him and enjoying his kindness, intelligence, humility, and endearing personality. And a very large part of the current tradition of guitar makers that we have in our city of Granada is due to him and his generosity in teaching his art to so many people who decided to stay and live and work in our city near the great master.
Alberto Cuellar -Madera Guitarras Founder-
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Antonio Marin Montero let's dive in for a while.
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