I have now returned from Barcelona where I spent 3 days earlier this week . The weather was horrible on arrival, pissing with rain, unprecedented for the region as the locals told us later. The first day we spent on a city tour on a hop on hp off bus, got frozen after 2 hours, but I had to satisfy my partner’s wish, you know how it works... Next day we visited the Museo de la Musica where there was a Granados exhibition, but most importantly a section with early, 18th, 19th and contemporary guitars, among which 3 Antonio de Torres, 3 Ignacio Fleta, Simplicio and a few more which I now forget. Later in the afternoon I managed to steal an hour and a half and I rushed to Casa Luthier. There I tried 6 guitars all cedar top since I have already a Raya Pardo spruce and to be honest I am not expecting to find anything better than that. The guitars I tried were:
Ana Espinosa IR; Antonio Marin IR; Daniele Chiesa IR; Elias Bonet IR; Arnoldo Garcia MR; Arnoldo Garcia IR
Of the 6 guitars I tried the Chiesa IR stood out considerably. Very comfortable to play, rather flat neck, good projection, sweet, velvety tone with subtle overtones, well-balanced with correct intonation, good separation and very good sustain. In all it had everything one expects from a great guitar, plus for the lovers of Spanish sound, a characteristic Spanish “sound” (yes I know some of you will mumble what the hell there isn’t such a thing, but I know “it” exists!).
The Marin surprisingly did not live up to my expectations (there was one more in the shop with spruce top which I didn’t see. Now both Marin guitars are made in 2018 and one cannot help wondering how Marin could manage 2 guitars in one month...). a good guitar, no doubt, but Chiesa and Garcia would beat it any time, to be sure. The Garcia IR was also very good, very close to Chiesa in sound and playability, well-balanced as well with good projection. Not so impressed by the >Garcia MR though. I was disappointed by the Espinosa, I found the evenness between notes to be poor, not so good projection, mediocre sustain. Nothing special about the Bonet guitar, although it was not bad either and it was the cheapest. I can PM anybody interested in the prices, the Marin guitars were surprisingly cheap to me.
In general it was a very good experience, the staff was very helpful and polite i must say. I have come to the following conclusions in the wake of the visit:
I won’t buy any guitar for the next two years. I have to study a lot first and then venture a buy
I am very pleased with my guitars for the time being
I will never buy any guitar without testing it and comparing it with others at the price range, although this involves a premium of course
When I die I will have my body buried in an IR coffin!!! I just love this wood as B&S for a CG