My recent visit to Madrid

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rojarosguitar
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My recent visit to Madrid

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:47 pm

So, I just came back from Madrid where I went with my wife and spent 7 days.

First of all ART ART ART... the stock of pictures you can look at in Madrid is absolutely overwhelming: Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza ... wow.

Visited also some luthier shops and Guitarras de Luthier. The general experience is that when you come from the street they take a rather reserved stance and don't treat you very serious.

Most strongly i got that Impression at Ramirez shop, where they barely dragged out some greatly overpriced manufacture made instruments of lessen then great quality, one of them obviously made in China and labeled for them (though this one was better than a 3300 Euro 'hand made' thing they called a 'student' model :lol: ). I'm sure they have some beautiful guitars in their vault but I wasn't welcomed to come in ...

At Conde Hermanos Atocha they showed me some flamencas (that was what I asked for) with nice sound but very poor build quality - really nothing so exciting, and then some negras which just didn't cut it for the asking price.

Guitarras de Luthier might be a well stocked shop, but they are also quite reluctant to show much. I would have had to be much more insisting, which is not so much my character.

Manuel Conde was not interested, Felippe Conde was closed when I walked there. Felix Manzanero was very friendly person and he makes decent instruments, but I didn't find there anything that really inflamed my fancy. Jose Romero was closed when I went there.

On our last day we found the shop of Juan Álvarez (actually Juan Miguel Álvarez, because Juan died some years ago, but his son continues to label his guitars with just Juan Álvarez and also to count from the beginnings of the workshop 1946). Here I spent some hours checking some flamenca blancas and also some classical guitars. I must say, Juan Miguel Álvarez is not only a friendly man with great building experience, having built or supervised more than 1000 guitars since 40 years, but also a very serious guitar maker.

He works in his own workshop (I could watch him french-polishing a gorgeous Brazilian Rosewood classical) and has 6 makers under him who do the less critical works in lower category models. He is not outsourcing his guitars to other makers or factories for greater output. His work is relatively high standard by Spanish standards, and the guitars are of great sound. I bought a flamenca blanca which was by far the best guitar I played in Madrid and also what I know else. Also I tried a cedar/EIR classical which was absolutely gorgeous sounding - it reminded me very much of my Sascha Nowak cedar/EIR . I think, if you are in Madrid, this is an address worth checking out! (Juan Alvarez, Calle don Pedro, 7)
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Rognvald
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by Rognvald » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:46 pm

Very informative, Rojaro. In regards to the lack of interest shown to you by many of the vendors, one must keep in mind they are undoubtedly inundated daily with curiosity shoppers who have no intention of buying and just want to tinker with their guitars. And, to a business person who must make a living . . . this is a total waste of time and a distinct possibility to damage one of their guitars. Perhaps a better approach would be to call ahead and make an appointment and see if they have something of interest to you. I believe their response to you would be quite different.
Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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rojarosguitar
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:24 pm

I see the point. Wasn't offended anyway. It's always difficult to communicate if people don't speak same language. And actually I indeed did not intend to buy anything, but they couldn't know it. BTW, every shop I stepped into was empty and nobody showed up during the time I was there.
When I played a bit they got more interested, but still not really engaged.

I seriously started to think of buying one only after trying one of the higher model Conde Hermanos, but wasn't sure and went again only to find out it wasn't as great as my imagination.

At Álvarez workshop I became really interested. I think the blanca he showed me and which I tried, went away, came back and tried again and bought, is an outstanding guitar ... Similar things could also have happened else place if the vendors woulnd't have been so distanced and had digged deeper into their collections ... But from my side I'm fully satisfied because I have found a flamenca blanca I like very much.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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Contreras
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by Contreras » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:33 pm

I agree that the lack of interest would be off-putting .... I mean, are they interested in making a sale or not? Or even just in maintaining a reputation.
I hate to hear about all that inferior rubbish coming out of Ramirez.
Glad you got a guitar you love, anyway
Put down the bagpipes ...
... and no one gets hurt.

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petermc61
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by petermc61 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:49 am

Rognvald wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:46 pm
Very informative, Rojaro. In regards to the lack of interest shown to you by many of the vendors, one must keep in mind they are undoubtedly inundated daily with curiosity shoppers who have no intention of buying and just want to tinker with their guitars. And, to a business person who must make a living . . . this is a total waste of time and a distinct possibility to damage one of their guitars. Perhaps a better approach would be to call ahead and make an appointment and see if they have something of interest to you. I believe their response to you would be quite different.
Playing again . . . Rognvald
Don’t count on it. I tried emailing Ramirez several times over a period of a few months before a trip to Madrid - not even a reply. At that stage I owned 2, or maybe even three instruments or theirs, including an early 1900’s Ramirez I I wanted to talk to them about. Profoundly disappointing lack of response.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:46 am

petermc61 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:49 am
Rognvald wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:46 pm
Very informative, Rojaro. In regards to the lack of interest shown to you by many of the vendors, one must keep in mind they are undoubtedly inundated daily with curiosity shoppers who have no intention of buying and just want to tinker with their guitars. And, to a business person who must make a living . . . this is a total waste of time and a distinct possibility to damage one of their guitars. Perhaps a better approach would be to call ahead and make an appointment and see if they have something of interest to you. I believe their response to you would be quite different.
Playing again . . . Rognvald
Don’t count on it. I tried emailing Ramirez several times over a period of a few months before a trip to Madrid - not even a reply. At that stage I owned 2, or maybe even three instruments or theirs, including an early 1900’s Ramirez I I wanted to talk to them about. Profoundly disappointing lack of response.
Exactly ...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 am

Rognvald wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:46 pm
Very informative, Rojaro. In regards to the lack of interest shown to you by many of the vendors, one must keep in mind they are undoubtedly inundated daily with curiosity shoppers who have no intention of buying and just want to tinker with their guitars. And, to a business person who must make a living . . . this is a total waste of time and a distinct possibility to damage one of their guitars. Perhaps a better approach would be to call ahead and make an appointment and see if they have something of interest to you. I believe their response to you would be quite different.
Playing again . . . Rognvald
Yes, that was my approach with Guitarras de Luthier when I paid them a visit at the end of 2014. Before that, I maintained with them a quite lengthy conversation by e-mail concerning the price range and the characteristics of the guitar I wanted to buy. When I arrived there at a pre-arranged date, they just put in front of me the set of guitars we had already selected for trying and left me alone on a special room they have for its customers. I spent there two incredible hours, going from one guitar to another until I zoomed in at an Hermanos Camps Master which I bought on the spot. I must say that I was extremely well received and since then, through their on-line shop, they have been, effectively, my suppliers for guitar accessories, music scores, strings, etc.. I surely can recommend this house to any one visiting Madrid.
1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/51, Spr, RW B&S, Tokio, JPN (under repair)
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40
1987 - Aria A558, 650/51, Ced, lam RW B&S, Nagoya, JPN
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CAN Ced, MDG RW B&S, Banyoles, ESP

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rojarosguitar
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:23 am

I can well imagine that, if you know you are certainly going to buy a guitar. I was rather looking for something I couldn't define in advance... never mind, I'm not meaning to criticize them. Maybe it helps other to define their approach more clearly when they want to go there...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

simonm
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by simonm » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:30 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:24 pm


When I played a bit they got more interested, but still not really engaged…
Reminds me of a story I read, maybe here. An enthusiast guitar player gets to talking with a guitar maker in a bar somewhere in Spain. He asks the guy what is the best part of the job. The guitar makers contemplates the question and responds "quitting time". :-)

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm

So you were there during all the political unrest and near civil war in the Catalonia region? Very brave. I wanted to go to the Rodriguez factory in Esquivias. I have been exchanging emails with Manuel himself. But it is interesting to hear that they treated you with indifference. Elitism is a very poor business model. :D

On the other hand, it sounds like you had quite an adventure!
2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

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sxedio
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by sxedio » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:06 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm
So you were there during all the political unrest and near civil war in the Catalonia region? Very brave.
Since when is a political crisis accompanied by the odd demonstration 'near civil war'? Also, what is brave about visiting Madrid when the odd demonstration is happening in Catalonia, quite a fair distance away?

Good for you Rojaros if you got a good guitar out of it. I imagine they get so many 'tourists' and so few real customers that it is hard to tell one from the other.
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

simonm
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by simonm » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:34 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm
…. near civil war in the Catalonia region? Very brave ...
Sounds like California has already separated itself from the real world … Oh wait … Hollywood!

:grire: :grire: :grire:

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:18 pm

sxedio wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:06 pm
Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm
So you were there during all the political unrest and near civil war in the Catalonia region? Very brave.
Since when is a political crisis accompanied by the odd demonstration 'near civil war'? Also, what is brave about visiting Madrid when the odd demonstration is happening in Catalonia, quite a fair distance away?

Good for you Rojaros if you got a good guitar out of it. I imagine they get so many 'tourists' and so few real customers that it is hard to tell one from the other.
simonm wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:34 am
Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm
…. near civil war in the Catalonia region? Very brave ...
Sounds like California has already separated itself from the real world … Oh wait … Hollywood!

:grire: :grire: :grire:
I would hardly call that picture "an odd protest". And from what I have read in the news, the Spanish military was sent into Catalonia to control the situation. I guess I'm overreacting. I guess everything is fine in Catalonia and Spain in general. I guess the push for independence is in no way a precursor to civil war. Tourism is completely unaffected by a lack of misinformed Americans. Yeah ... it's all good. :D
catalan protest.jpg
(HINT :: I put a smiley at the end of my previous statement which means I was joking around.)
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2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

simonm
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by simonm » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:38 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:18 pm
... the Spanish military was sent into Catalonia to control the situation. ...
Not that I am aware of. If that happened, it managed to escape the European headlines.

The ones in the headlines would have been either the Policia Nacional or the Guardia Civil or both. There are however oodles of different police in Spain. Apart from these two, there are the Catalunian "Mossos d'esquadra" and Barcelona "Policia Urbana" and of course if you are a naughty boy/girl on the road "Trafico" might invite you to contribute something to the Spanish economy if you are lucky or offer you some free accommodation if you are less lucky. :-)

The really good news is that tourism numbers in Barcelona are down a bit so no better time to head there! Maybe pick up a guitar at the Casa Luthier which has often been mentioned here. For anyone who does think of visiting Barcelona, under no circumstances consider driving in the city. Parking is a nightmare although sometimes you feel you are in one huge parking lot. (Same advice would hold for Madrid too).

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sxedio
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Re: My recent visit to Madrid

Post by sxedio » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:41 pm

I would hardly call that picture civil war.
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