Construction: Classical Guitar
Top Wood: Cedar
Back and Sides Wood: CSA Rosewood
One of the most admired features of Marin Montero’s guitars is their sound projection and brightness. The latter quality may not be to the liking of every classical guitarist, as in many cases, a warmer sound is sought after instead of brightness. This depends on the taste of the guitarist. And thus the preference for cedar for the guitar top wood of many classical guitarists today.
I would say that especially in the Marin Montero guitars the use of cedar gives a warmer and deeper touch to that sound of such a good definition, clarity, wide color palette, and strong projection that characterizes the Marin Montero sound.
So we have here a very interesting and attractive combination of beautiful Antonio Marín high-quality sound in this new guitar that the Master and internationally admired guitar-making legend has built especially for Madera. A privilege to have another classical guitar in our space made by Spain’s most famous living guitar maker.
In reference to the construction system used by Marin Montero, he has mentioned to me on several occasions the reason why he established the Marin/Bouchet system as the main system in his construction. The Marin/Bouchet is the system he uses in his guitars since his meetings with the famous French guitar maker Robert Bouchet in the 70’s and the work the two of them did together by then.
In the 70’s and 80’s he received visits from Japanese buyers of his guitars who told him that their guitars were of great quality but that they sometimes had problems with wolf notes. Wolf notes are notes played on some fret of the guitar (usually on the high notes) that sound less than the others and fade out more quickly.
Marin says that when he started using the Marin/Bouchet system these references by these buyers to wolf notes on his guitars disappeared. And so he continued to use this system as the main system used on all his guitars unless someone specially asked him to use his traditional one without the Bouchet bar below the bridge, which is the main characteristic of this Marin/Bouchet system.
Scale Length: 650mm
Nut Width: 52mm
12th Fret Width: 61mm
Guitar Length: 1000mm
Body Length: 483mm
Lower Bout: 372mm
Upper Bout: 283mm
1st Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 44.5mm (both string's outer part)
12th Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 51mm
Bridge. 6th string to 1st string: 59mm
Side Width Upper body: 95mm
Side Width Lower body: 98mm
12th fret to 6th String Height: 3.8mm
12th Fret to 1st String Height: 2.9mm
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-