Construction: Classical Guitar
Top Wood: Spruce
Back and Sides Wood: Indian Rosewood
Truly impressive work by Francisco Jimenez on this guitar made specifically for MaderaGuitarras.com
At only 26 years of age, we see him as one of the best guitar makers in Granada now and in the coming decades. Francisco won the 2023 International Guitar Building Competition “Antonio Marín Montero” organised by the European Guitar Foundation. and so deservedly so.
A guitar with an exquisite execution in every aspect as you can see in the photos. With an aesthetic taste as few guitars we have seen in recent years. How is it possible that such a young guitar maker can build such a guitar?
Francisco gives great importance to the frequencies of the guitar. Here we have a guitar with an E frequency on the resonance body and an F/Fa# on the top. The sonority of the guitar leads us to a guitar where the basses are deep, ostentatious, and the trebles have a great projection, very balanced throughout the whole guitar. Very present volume. A pleasure to listen to with an enormous palette of colors and harmonics.
It is a classic Spanish sound that reminds us of the guitars of Marcelo Barbero, Santos Hernández, Manuel Ramirez… with whom Francisco has had close contact, studying them in depth. It is these guitars that he admires the most.
Playability is another of the great characteristics of this guitar. A pleasant neck that allows you to play with ease and precision.
The materials are also of an extraordinary quality. A top of the highest quality and a spectacular Indian Rosewood. Dark, straight-grained, narrow. On the sides he has put a lighter part, which is naturally the wood’s natural characteristic, in order to match the back aesthetically.
The rosette is another spectacle. It is based on the bone ornaments seen on some Stradivarius guitars. And on which he has based his particular design.
Below you can see videos of Francisco making this rosette and the tremendous work, precision, talent, intellect and creativity that goes into it.
The bridge is made of mother-of-pearl and bone, sober unlike the rosette, but which curiously gives it a very linked harmony with it.
Otherwise, the best thing to do is to look at the photos and enjoy the view.
Scale Length: 650 mm
Nut Width: 52mm
12th Fret Width: 63mm
Guitar Length: 985mm
Body Length: 483mm
1st Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 43.5mm
12th Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 49.0mm
Bridge. 6th string to 1st string: 57.5mm
Side Width Upper body: 95mm
Side Width Lower body: 97mm
Width Upper body: 280mm
Width Lower body: 370mm
12th fret to 6th String Height: 3.5mm
12th Fret to 1st String Height: 2.7mm
Tuner Machine: Schaller
Francisco Jiménez (1997) became interested in construction because of a great love for music and flamenco in particular. At the age of 6 his brother and he found a guitar in their grandfather’s attic. Little by little they both started to play and Francisco started to sing. Later they bought a guitar from a guitar maker in Granada but his brother was not entirely comfortable with that guitar and Francisco, when he was 15 years old, mention to his brother about make one for him. And that’s where it all began.
Francisco began to investigate and study how to make a guitar. At the beginning it was very difficult because he had to buy tools and set up his own small workshop. It took him 4 years to learn and make the guitar, which was based on Santos Hernández, with a template, rosette, head, and bracing by Santos, a guitar maker that Francisco always admired for his work. Even now his brother plays that guitar and they are very happy with the result. He was very demanding from the beginning to make sure that all the processes and parts during the construction were perfect, which is why it took him so long to finish it. At the beginning it was a sea of doubts but little by little he went down the path he saw as the right one. He stripped the guitar from his grandfather’s attic to investigate its construction and then Francisco built up a very extensive library of books, documents, plans, videos, information on internet forums… everything he could gather on how to build a guitar.
The good thing about learning how to build a guitar by his own is that no one told him this is how to do it and that’s it, but he had to reason himself why it was done this way and not another way. But the tricky part here is to see what information is correct out of all the information available today.
Once it was finished, he had to varnish it and Francisco went to the workshop of the Russian guitar maker Pavel Gavryushov, who had settled in Granada, so that he could show him how to varnish the guitar. He spent a month varnishing it until it was completely finished. Francisco was then 19 years old.
That first contact with construction was very important for him because he found it very fulfilling, he was passionate about it, he saw that it fitted his personality, and it seemed that he was good at it.
Francisco went on to make two new guitars, one classical and one flamenco, one with a cedar top and the other with spruce, with his own template, bigger than Santos’, his own head, rosettes… And he began to look for the sound he liked. But he tells us that the sound is not sought but found. He began to listen to many guitars of all kinds of current and historical guitar makers, visiting collectors and guitarists who could show them to him. And to determine which sound pleased him the most. Seeing how each guitar responds, its weight, the touch they have… And reasoning out why those characteristics of each guitar had that result.
He discovered that the guitars he liked most were those of the Madrid school of the early 20th century, such as Manuel Ramírez, Domingo Esteso, Santos Hernández and Marcelo Barbero.
Of today’s guitarists, Francisco mentions Dominique Field. A guitar maker that he has been able to play his guitars and even contacted him on several occasions, receiving some very interesting advice.
Francisco tells us that a flamenco guitar has to have a very fast response because a strumming (rasgueado) has to sound light, not heavy. The classical guitar has to have more weight in the sound, to be denser, more complex. Both types of guitar are very difficult to make to get the result you want.
He looks for both classical and flamenco guitars to be at a low frequency in terms of the tuning of the top (between F and F#)… The frequency of the guitar is something that Francisco gives a lot of importance to.
Also to control humidity during the construction process. And he always uses animal glue in all the construction of the top and the bracing. He has become accustomed to it and sees its advantages.
Francisco Jiménez won first prize in the classical guitar section and third prize in the flamenco guitar section in 2023 of the International Guitar Building Competition “Antonio Marín Montero” organised by the European Guitar Foundation.
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