Construction: Flamenco Guitar
Top Wood: Spruce
Back and Sides Wood: Cypress
One of the most outstanding characteristics of Reyes’ guitars is their strong identity in both sound and aesthetics.
For example, Reyes’ head is unmistakable. As soon as you see it, you identify with it. It has a beautiful design, complex and very original at the time when Reyes conceived it.
Another very identifiable aspect of the guitar is the varnish. Manuel always applied French polish, which he considered very important for its sound, but also aesthetically it has a beautiful orange tone, also very typical of Reyes, to the point that in the world of guitar making it has come to be known as the Reyes tone.
One of the characteristics that collectors praise about Manuel’s guitars is the quality of the material used. The wood quality. The tops have an extraordinary quality of very high stiffness. Filled all over with medullary rays as rarely seen in other guitars. They reach their maximum concentration in the central part around the bridge, above and below, and the rosette. And a closed, homogeneous, and consistent grain along the top. The quality is impressive I repeat. The cypress is also of extraordinary quality for a guitar. Cypress is the wood most used by Manuel throughout his career and the one he liked the most and with which he most identified himself in its construction and its unique sound.
This guitar had only one owner and was a very famous guitarist in Granada called Juan Maya Marote who besides being a guitarist also had a great passion for the instrument and was a private guitar collector who had in his collection some of the greatest guitar names in history. He had a close friendship with Manuel Reyes and during his life, he bought several guitars of different wood made by him.
The rosette is not the most typical of Manuel Reyes but we can say it is the second most used by the master in his career. This rosette was a personal requirement by Maya Marote and in our opinion, is for us our favorite one. It has a beauty and an apparent simplicity that conveys a lot and gives a great personality to the guitar.
The sound of a Manuel Reyes guitar also has a very strong identity as we said. You only have to listen to a Reyes for a while and another thing is unmistakable, you quickly recognize it.
It is a sound of extreme clarity, amplitude, and definition. A very fast response. The sound also has a characteristic that is, let’s say, doughy, pasty, and warm. Sweet. That doughy, pasty and sweet sound is the typical Reyes sound that we guitarists are so attracted to and like. It is we repeat a very characteristic and very unique Reyes sound, never even something similar achieved by any other guitar maker.
The guitar is in excellent condition. Everything is original by Reyes. You see a dark mark on the top of the rosette at the level of the sixth string (see photo: 8) because Juan Maya Marote always liked to rest his thumb there while playing. It gives an idea of how much this guitar has been played by this famous guitarist also in concerts and recordings. It was one of his favorite guitars in his whole collection.
It also has the typical parallel soundboard crack attached beside the fretboard (see photo: 16 ) perfectly repaired.
Many guitar makers have epochs in their construction. For collectors, Reyes has periods of great mastery that correspond to the 80’s and 90’s in his career. Many of his best guitars belong to this period and are the most sought after and in demand and best represent the peak of his mastery and talent.
Scale Length: 654mm
Nut Width: 53.5mm
12th Fret Width: 62mm
Guitar Length: 995mm
Body Length: 483mm
1st Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 46mm
12th Fret. 6th string to 1st string: 52mm
Bridge. 6th string to 1st string: 58mm
Side Width Upper body: 92.5mm
Side Width Lower body: 95mm
12th fret to 6th String Height: 3.1mm
12th Fret to 1st String Height: 3.0mm
Tuning Machine: Fustero
Manuel Reyes Maldonado was born in 1934 in a very small village called Jayena in the south of Spain in the province of Granada. He died in 2014 in the Spanish city of Córdoba.
When Manuel was 10 years old his parents Manuel and Evangelina decided to move to the city of Cordoba looking for work for the family. Soon Manuel Reyes’ father and his brother found work in a sawmill in Cordoba called “La Forestal”. While little Manuel also helped the family economically by running errands for merchants.
It was at that very early age that Manuel already began to be interested in and amazed by musical instruments. Once in the house of a neighbor called Carmen, he saw a guitar that was abandoned and broken and asked her to give it to him to try to fix it. Manuel gave it back to her after a while without much success in fixing it, but it gave him a chance to have a first idea of how it was built and to lay his hands on the instrument for the first time.
Since his brother and his father worked in the sawmill at home there were some woodworking tools and also some pieces of wood and Manuel decided to try to make his first guitar without any success, then the second one without success again. But little by little and with a lot of determination, he managed to make better and better guitars. By his teenage years, Manuel’s talent was becoming known to family and friends, and although he made the guitars for pleasure, they began to commission him to make them. Word of mouth kept on working until he started to sell them later on.
Manuel has always said that his way of learning was self-taught. Although there in Cordoba he had the opportunity to meet several times another of the great builders of history, Miguel Rodriguez Beneyto.
Manuel was also impressed by the quality of a guitar made by Marcelo Barbero that he heard and saw in 1954 in Cordoba. He was able to meet Marcelo Barbero on a trip to Madrid and Marcelo, seeing his talent, even offered him a job in his workshop. However, Manuel decided to return to Cordoba where he preferred to live, work and develop his very successful career as a guitarrero.
Manuel Reyes became over the years one of the most important and admired Spanish guitar makers in history.