Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

coreybox
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Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by coreybox » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:47 pm

What is the community's consensus on what years are "good years" for Ramirez 1As?

Are there certain periods that are more highly regarded (in terms of guitar quality), or have they been consistent throughout their history?

If you were looking for a 1A, what periods would you gravitate to; what periods would you shy away from?

thanks!
Corey

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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by Dofpic » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:54 pm

Late 60's early 70's
2011Fritz Ober(maple), 2015 Eric Sahlin, 2006 Greg Byers(fan)2009 Eric Monrad(maple)
2012 Martin Blackwell(for sale), 2003 Tacchi Simplcio satinwood 2017 E. Bottelli 52 Hauser, 2014 Joshua DeJonge Cedar( for sale) 2002 Jeff Elliott spruce.

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zavaletas
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by zavaletas » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:52 pm

Let's assume we are talking about Ramirez III (1922-1995). Jose Ramirez III took over the shop when his father died in 1957, and finally had the chance to realize what 17 years of experimenting had taught him. By 1961 Segovia was using his guitars, and demand increased. Felix Manzanero, one of his luthiers recounted these early years when Segovia would come in every year and choose a guitar. In the early 1960s, each craftsman was expected to produce 50 guitars a year, which was possible with the help of apprentices. By 1966, however, expectations had doubled. In his mind, the golden age was from about 1960 to 1965. Between 1966-1970, many of the stars of the golden age began to leave Ramirez and set up their own shops-- Felix Manzanero, Paulino Bernabe (his forman), Manuel Contreras among others, so by 1970 a bit of the shine was gone. Although new luthiers were trained, the 1970s also saw modifications particularly in the finish, and the prevalence of cedar tops also changed the character of the 1a from the early 1960s.
By the 1970s Ramirez was producing 1000 1a guitars a year and continued to do so until 1995-- the good news is that with so many 1a around, prices have remained reasonable.
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beanctr
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by beanctr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:22 pm

zavaletas wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:52 pm
.
By the 1970s Ramirez was producing 1000 1a guitars a year and continued to do so until 1995-- the good news is that with so many 1a around, prices have remained reasonable.
Interesting, I would of thought production dropped off around 1985, but you say they made 1000 guitars a year till 1995? Rick
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coreybox
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by coreybox » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:52 am

Thanks guys!

celestemcc
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by celestemcc » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:45 pm

I have a '78 1a... maybe out of the "Golden" period of 60s to early 70s, but it's a particularly nice one. A colleague bought a '76 or '77 same year I got mine (which was 1979) and we'd compare. Mine had the edge on a very sweet loud treble way up the neck.

Sometimes I miss hearing it (I rarely play it now) but I don't miss playing it! :D
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

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zavaletas
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by zavaletas » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:37 pm

Perhaps more important than when it was made, was who made it. Each of the Ramirez III officials had initials (or in some periods) numbers.

The following is a list of luthiers of the Ramirez III workshop and their initials:

MAG - Manuel Alonso Gimenez: Although these were his initials, he ever never used them. He used a number instead.

PC - Cayetano Alvarez Luna: He didn't use his own initials. When he made guitars he used Pedro Contreras' initials PC.

JLA - José Luis Alvarez Mariblanca

PB - Paulino Bernabe Almendariz

CB - Carlos Blanco Pena: Although these were his initials, he ever never used them. He used a number instead.

EB - Enrique Borreguero Marcos: Although these were his initials, he ever never used them. He used a number instead.

MC - Manuel Caceres Pizarro

MG - Manuel Gonzales Contreras (from 1959-1962)

AC - Alfonso Contreras Valbuena

PC - Pedro Contreras Valbuena: He shared his initials with Cyetano Alvarez

JF - José Flores Duro

JG - Juan Garcia Rey

PJ - Pedro Jimenez Posadas

José Lopez Cubillo

CLL - Carmelo Llerena Martinez

MM - Miguel Malo Martinez

FM - Felix Manzanero

Pedro Manzanero Cabrera: He didn't use initials because he never made guitars. He cannot be considered a disciple of Ramirez when it comes to building guitars, only when speaking of bandurrias and lutes.

IM - Ignacio Manzano Rozas

AM - Antonio Martinez Ortega

JM - Julian Moraga Rodriguez: Although these were his initials, he ever never used them. He used a number instead.

FM - Fernando Morcuende De Cruz

Ramón Peñalver Soler

GP - (Goya) Pérez Mariblanca

Manuel Rodriguez Fernandez: He is not a disciple of José Ramirez III. He was a workmate, and he left the workshop before Ramirez III unveiled all of his innovations. It is better to say that he was a disciple of José Ramirez II.

JR - José Romero Garrido

AS - Arturo Sanzano Moreno

MTC - Mariano Tezanos Castro: He also used the initials MT, but he inverted the "T" in order to distinguish himself from his father.

MT - Mariano Tezanos Martín
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souldier
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by souldier » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:47 pm

zavaletas wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:37 pm
Perhaps more important than when it was made, was who made it. Each of the Ramirez III officials had initials (or in some periods) numbers...
Quite interesting. The real question now is which Ramirez luthier would be considered the most sought after?
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Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

Carlos
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by Carlos » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:56 pm

thanks for asking the question and sharing knowledge, I read this with interest!

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zavaletas
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by zavaletas » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:11 am

The ones who went on to have distinguished careers once they left Ramirez and became famous luthiers in their own right: Paulino Bernabé, Felix Manzanero, Manuel Contreras, Manuel Rodriguez, Ignacio M. Rozas, Manuel Caceras, Miguel Malo Martinez, José Romero
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by petermc61 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:18 am

zavaletas wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:11 am
The ones who went on to have distinguished careers once they left Ramirez and became famous luthiers in their own right: Paulino Bernabé, Felix Manzanero, Manuel Contreras, Manuel Rodriguez, Ignacio M. Rozas, Manuel Caceras, Miguel Malo Martinez, José Romero
Plus Tezanos

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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by Philosopherguy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:22 am

celestemcc wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:45 pm
I have a '78 1a... maybe out of the "Golden" period of 60s to early 70s, but it's a particularly nice one. A colleague bought a '76 or '77 same year I got mine (which was 1979) and we'd compare. Mine had the edge on a very sweet loud treble way up the neck.

Sometimes I miss hearing it (I rarely play it now) but I don't miss playing it! :D
I have heard you speak quite fondly of the sound of your Ramirez for quite a while now in different posts. Now that you have another very nice guitar to play regularly, why don't you take that Ramirez into a luthier and see if they can "tweak" the action and playability a little more to your tastes? My advice would be to see if you could lower the action a little(by whatever means necessary) and make a new nut with the strings a little closer together to match your other guitar. You will have little extra space at the edges of the fretboard and you will find that it will feel much less stressful on your fingers. I had a guitar with a 54mm nut that I also did this and it made a world of difference! Just because the nut is wide doesn't mean the string spacing has to be! You might just find that you have another player there waiting for you! It might cost a little to get this all done, but it may be worth the effort in the long run. It is better than just letting the guitar sit there!

Scale length is just one part of the equation in a guitar. I think you would find that if you bring the strings a little closer together at the nut that the playability will increase and you won't notice the scale as much as you did before.

Just a suggestion!

Martin
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1977 Kuniharu Nobe - Spruce
1971 Yamaha GC3 - Spruce

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zavaletas
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by zavaletas » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:07 am

.
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coreybox
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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by coreybox » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:17 am

Lots of great information! Thanks!

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Re: Consistency of Ramirez 1As of Various Vintages

Post by celestemcc » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:30 pm

why don't you take that Ramirez into a luthier and see if they can "tweak" the action and playability a little more to your tastes?
Martin, thank you, and very good ideas... but alas I've had stuff done to it over the years. When it was still relatively new, I had a new nut cut for it, which effectively narrowed the fingerboard, and the saddle lowered. Also had the neck planed a little bit to reduce the thickness. Years later, when it was due for refret anyway, I had an excellent luthier make a new fingerboard with a slight radius. That really did help -- somewhat.

I know so many people argue that scale length doesn't matter, but it truly does in my case. I don't even have particularly tiny hands, but much as I love this beautiful guitar, it's still a beast for me. My college teacher (a guy with good sized hands) used to say it was like playing a 2x4, and he wasn't wrong! But I bought it for *that sound*.

Now though, with a new guitar with a shorter scale, I've made so very much more progress, that I can now occasionally pick up the Ramirez and play it pretty decently, but only for so long.Maybe I'm more in love with the memory of the Ramirez than the actual guitar... and I gotta admit I love my new guitar just as much!

If it weren't for the fact that I like to have a second just-in-case guitar, I'd probably sell it. I don't play publicly that much to really need it... I do have an old Guild that could be my "emergency back-up", that's quite playable... but having been spoiled rotten first by my Ramirez and now my Connor, it's really, really hard to go back.

I appreciate the kind words, very much!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

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