Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Ortega
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Ortega » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:20 am

https://youtu.be/JzcwJGzrkdUhttps://you ... HbvbUztWRU
Grooveman JS wrote:I guess for me.....there's no reason why an instrument should be difficult to play regardless of the Label or who plays it.....The Classical Guitar is a very demanding; certain cases (virtuoso pieces) even gruelling repertoire; that's difficult enough.... so I'd think that luthiers would want to make guitars that have great ease of playability....do everything they can to facilitate playability; great responsiveness for both left & right hands (for the instrument is the player's voice) so the guitarist can devote to full musical expression of the repertoire.
The magic of the guitar lies in its unique charm... This charm is what Ramirez III clearly hit upon with the golden age 1a's, dimensions and all. Any "difficulty" is beyond worthwhile and if anything only adds to the magic. They are not supposed to be easy to play, and some of us wouldn't have it any other way! If you ever play a great one...a truly great one, she will captivate you like no other ever could. Many are not aware that there are the average specimens and then there are the real gems. Even the average specimens are something to behold, in the right hands, but the gems can simply take one's breath away.

Ramirez 1a cedar, 1978 (aka "Holy Grail") and Ramirez 1a 2006 650mm spruce:
https://youtu.be/rHbvbUztWRU

Ortega
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Ortega » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:30 am

Not sure if anyone viewed above post before I had the chance to edit, but I originally posted an incorrect link. The link is now as originally intended.

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:16 am

Hi Ortega your point together with the video is well taken.....don't get me wrong; like i said....

I love that classic big woody, natural/full sounding & sweet/warm Spanish Guitar tone from Ramirez Guitars; at least the ones I've heard from the video clips that I've seen. I'm actually quite captivated by the "sound".....Its probably the most definitive of The Spanish Guitar tone & not just that; I think The Classical Guitar as a whole too....knowing full well that lots of good guitar makers had something to do with the Ramirez shop of old.

Its just the part about being "difficult to play" (some Ramirez 1As from 70-80s era) ; that's the part I really don't get....why should we play an instrument that's difficult to play, the increased dimensions aka "Segovia's Liking" ;does it make for better or full musical expression? Does the increased dimensions actually cause an improvement of the tones or volume generated by the instrument?

While we're on this, my experience with Ramirez guitars are very limited.....you mentioned that there are real gems & there're average ones. Can you elaborate & educate me on the differences & which guitars are you referring to with respect to this point. Many thanks & Cheers! :bravo:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

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petermc61
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by petermc61 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:28 am

I don't agree with the postulation that 60's - 70's Ramirez are 'most definitive' of Spanish tone. For over a hundred years before lighter, smaller spruce top guitars defined the Spanish guitar sound. Think Manuel Ramirez, Garcia, Esteso, Simplicio et al. A couple of decades of oversized cedar tops produced a different sound that many like, but definitive of the Spanish guitar is a big call.

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:32 am

Guess I'm generalising the "Spanish Guitar Tone" here.....not trying to define the evolution through the ages but I'm just referring to the video clips that I've heard on the modern Ramirezs.....
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

celestemcc
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by celestemcc » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:20 pm

Many people struggled, and still do, to play the Spanish 2x4 neck of that period.
I played, for years (and still own), a really nice 1978 1a, and the above is *exactly* how my teacher at the time described it! But I was young and fell like a rock for That Sound. The challenges of playing it didn't matter then to me. Over the years I had all the work done by excellent luthiers: new nut with narrower string spacing, had the neck shaved a bit, lowered saddle, even a new fingerboard with a slight radius, once it needed new frets. It was still hard to play, all the more so when I returned to playing after a long hiatus with older, less agile hands. By then I realized that much as I adore it, it was just making things more difficult than they needed to be.

So: Your Mileage May Vary! That guitar was the essence of the Spanish sound, the sound of the classical guitar, to me. But I'm just as happy -- even more so now -- with a very different guitar that Is equally glorious, but just fits me better.

I know for some there's a mystique, maybe (?) a machismo to playing a "difficult" instrument, I dunno. For those who can play one and flourish: bravo, and I envy you! But Life's too short, and classical guitar's already difficult enough, to wrestle with a difficult instrument.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:25 am

celestemcc wrote:
Many people struggled, and still do, to play the Spanish 2x4 neck of that period.
I played, for years (and still own), a really nice 1978 1a, and the above is *exactly* how my teacher at the time described it! But I was young and fell like a rock for That Sound. The challenges of playing it didn't matter then to me. Over the years I had all the work done by excellent luthiers: new nut with narrower string spacing, had the neck shaved a bit, lowered saddle, even a new fingerboard with a slight radius, once it needed new frets. It was still hard to play, all the more so when I returned to playing after a long hiatus with older, less agile hands. By then I realized that much as I adore it, it was just making things more difficult than they needed to be.

So: Your Mileage May Vary! That guitar was the essence of the Spanish sound, the sound of the classical guitar, to me. But I'm just as happy -- even more so now -- with a very different guitar that Is equally glorious, but just fits me better.

Well said, Celeste

I know for some there's a mystique, maybe (?) a machismo to playing a "difficult" instrument, I dunno. For those who can play one and flourish: bravo, and I envy you! But Life's too short, and classical guitar's already difficult enough, to wrestle with a difficult instrument.

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:20 am

celestemcc wrote:
Many people struggled, and still do, to play the Spanish 2x4 neck of that period.
I played, for years (and still own), a really nice 1978 1a, and the above is *exactly* how my teacher at the time described it! But I was young and fell like a rock for That Sound. The challenges of playing it didn't matter then to me. Over the years I had all the work done by excellent luthiers: new nut with narrower string spacing, had the neck shaved a bit, lowered saddle, even a new fingerboard with a slight radius, once it needed new frets. It was still hard to play, all the more so when I returned to playing after a long hiatus with older, less agile hands. By then I realized that much as I adore it, it was just making things more difficult than they needed to be.

So: Your Mileage May Vary! That guitar was the essence of the Spanish sound, the sound of the classical guitar, to me. But I'm just as happy -- even more so now -- with a very different guitar that Is equally glorious, but just fits me better.

I know for some there's a mystique, maybe (?) a machismo to playing a "difficult" instrument, I dunno. For those who can play one and flourish: bravo, and I envy you! But Life's too short, and classical guitar's already difficult enough, to wrestle with a difficult instrument.
That's exactly what I'm talking about.....your instrument is your voice for utmost musical expression of the repertoire; it should work with you & for you to achieve this......you shouldn't have to wrestle with an instrument to do this. The part on technique; I'm always working on my technique in my daily routine to better myself as a player.....I'm most willing to work on it & apply better technique for the piece if its a difficult or even gruelling one & it demands that......but not because the instrument is difficult to play. You sure put in a lot to make that guitar "workable" but after all that & it still doesn't fit..... its time to move on...... Good for you my friend.......I'm glad you found your other voice(s) :bravo:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

bluesnik
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by bluesnik » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:35 pm

There must be a reason the vintage 1a's from that era (60's - 70's) have endured and have value in today's market. Until you've owned and played one you may never understand.
2014 Ramirez 'Conservatorio' CD/IN
1975 Ramirez 1a Classical CD/BR
1976 Ramirez 1a Flamenco CD/CY

celestemcc
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by celestemcc » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:47 am

there are real gems & there're average ones
This video might show you some of the differences, a '63 spruce 1a vs a '72cedar 1a. The difference is subtle and some pieces sound better on the spruce than the cedar and vice-versa. But it is, to my ear, distinct. Love to hear others' thoughts on this one!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB0CfAZ4UkY
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:09 am

celestemcc wrote:
there are real gems & there're average ones
This video might show you some of the differences, a '63 spruce 1a vs a '72cedar 1a. The difference is subtle and some pieces sound better on the spruce than the cedar and vice-versa. But it is, to my ear, distinct. Love to hear others' thoughts on this one!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB0CfAZ4UkY
Ya..... Can some of you who are familiar with these instruments & objective; elaborate & educate me on spotting the differences between the gems & the average (or what some in the other discussion threads would call lemons/duds) & which guitars are you referring to with respect to this point(is this particular to guitars of a certain era or this applies to modern Ramirezs across the board as well)......... :merci:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

celestemcc
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by celestemcc » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:20 pm

Thing is, you have to play them to know, or at least hear the one you're considering. There was a "golden era" of the 1a as many above has said, but that doesn't mean that each one was a gem, or that other years were all duds. When I bought mine in '79, (post "golden era") one of my colleagues got one as well. They were fundamentally identical except mine was a '78, his a '77. They both had the characteristic "sound", but mine had a slightly better treble, noticeable on the higher frets. His guitar was by no means dull up there, just that mine had a bit more resonance & sustain, a particular sweetness. Only really noticeable when we played them side by side, really. He was such an amazing player that you'd never really have noticed any lack in in his guitar otherwise. It's all very subjective, bottom line. Both guitars in the video are excellent.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:41 am

celestemcc wrote:
there are real gems & there're average ones
This video might show you some of the differences, a '63 spruce 1a vs a '72cedar 1a. The difference is subtle and some pieces sound better on the spruce than the cedar and vice-versa. But it is, to my ear, distinct. Love to hear others' thoughts on this one!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB0CfAZ4UkY
I love both the Spruce & the Cedar Ramirezs (both are wonderful sounding guitars) but I'll say the Spruce is more balanced, definitive across the range & registers, cleaner/clearer sounding....above all; i love Tavi's playing, he makes both guitars "sing"& i read somewhere in 1 of his guitar ads here; he's a big Ramirez fan....it was so enjoyable listening & watching the video. :bravo:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:57 am

While we're on this, I'd like to ask if anyone here who are owners or has any experience with a historical model that they make in the Ramirez shop: Manuel Ramirez 1912. I know that all the other models in the handcrafted or what they call the professional series guitars (Vino Traditional, Auditorio, Antigua, Centanario) are all based on the 1A as the main template with variations here & there. Does anybody know if the Manual Ramirez model is also based on the same construction. What about tone, does it sound very much like the other Ramirezs, what's playability like?
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

Philosopherguy
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Philosopherguy » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:24 am

Grooveman JS wrote:While we're on this, I'd like to ask if anyone here who are owners or has any experience with a historical model that they make in the Ramirez shop: Manuel Ramirez 1912. I know that all the other models in the handcrafted or what they call the professional series guitars (Vino Traditional, Auditorio, Antigua, Centanario) are all based on the 1A as the main template with variations here & there. Does anybody know if the Manual Ramirez model is also based on the same construction. What about tone, does it sound very much like the other Ramirezs, what's playability like?
The Manuel Ramirez is based on Segovia's 1912 Ramirez that is in the Metropolitan Museum. I have heard that the Antigua is based on early 20th century guitars too, so likely it is closer to the design of the Manuel Ramirez then the more modern 1A.

I have heard a few people who have tried them say that the Ramirez 1912 Manuel is one of the best guitars they have ever played. I haven't tried one. I can imagine they are quite nice. HOWEVER, they are ridiculously priced.

If you go to the Ramirez tube channel you can hear some samples of most of the Ramirez lineup. The Antigua certainly sounds beautiful on there. But, I don't know anyone who has played one personally.

I am interested to hear if anyone else has any comments of personal experiences with some of these guitars!

Martin
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2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
2013 Ramirez 4NE - Cedar
1998 Dean Harrington - Spruce
1977 Kuniharu Nobe - Spruce
1971 Yamaha GC3 - Spruce

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