Here’s Rafael Elizondo playing Manuel Ponce’s Theme, Variations and Finale on a brand-new 2014 Daniel Friederich guitar. Friederich’s wait list has been closed for years, so it’s pretty much impossible to get a new one, but because of our long-standing relationship with him he makes one guitar a year for GSI. Rafa’s choice of the Ponce piece was perfect for showing off the gorgeous balance that is characteristic of Friederich’s guitars (not to mention Rafa’s playing!).

Thanks again to the good folks at Telefunken-Elektroakustik for lending us their ELA M260 tube mic system to record this amazing guitar!

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12 Responses to “Rafael Elizondo – 2014 Daniel Friederich”

  1. Eric says:

    Beautiful guitar. Sounds like a Ramirez 1A. And, a wonderful player as well!!

    • Tuan says:

      What Ramirez 1A? I wonder. I’ve tried many Ramirez 1A guitars that had quite mediocre sounds. The Ramirez 1A now is more a “legend” than true value.

    • Eric says:

      Well, my 1977 for one. I’ve played many Ramirez 1A guitars that have been wonderful over the years. And, I disagree with you–I think that in view of guitars made by today’s “star” luthiers that go for thirty to sixty thousand dollars the Ramirez 1A remains an outrageous value. Check em out. Cheers!

      • Tuan says:

        1/ How do you think when John Williams said that Ramirez guitars sound like “orange boxes”?
        2/ Can you tell me the names of some international guitarists nowadays who use Ramirez 1A guitars for performance? I think they are very few, if any. :-)

        • Eric says:

          This is a silly argument you are making, my friend.

          The popularity of particular luthiers and their guitars is a lot like ladies’ skirts: one day they are up a bit; the next day they are back down. However, if you put aside your lust for status, your need to impress, and let your ears alone be your guide you cannot possibly argue against the eternal beauty of the sensual sound of the Ramirez 1A.

          It is interesting to note that Daniel Friederich, himself, has been quoted as having antipathy against those “drum boxes” as he calls them. Presumably he is talking about the latest fads in guitar construction: the lattice braced and the double top guitars. This would seem to put him in direct opposition with Williams’s pithy little quote (he has agendas too, you know!). And I agree with Friederich as well.


          • Tuan says:

            Dear Eric, it’s really silly to believe that the Ramirez 1A is the best… forever.
            While raising the two points (1/ the opinion of John Williams about the Ramirez 1A, and 2/ the choices of best guitarists nowadays) I only want to show to you that the Ramirez 1A is no more regarded as the best choice.

            John Williams highly praises the Smallman guitars, but I myself do not like the sound of the Smallman guitars. However, I do not dismiss all lattice-braced guitars. I think we should be open-minded and have a good hope that modern luthiers will improve the guitars.

            Even Amalia Ramirez has been trying to improve the Ramirez 1A by adopting double-top with nomex in the Ramirez “Auditorio”:

            When hearing the 2014 Daniel Friederich, you immediately said “Beautiful guitar. Sounds like a Ramirez 1A”. Ha ha, it seems as if you have a religious faith in the Ramirez 1A. :-)

          • Eric says:

            Dear Tuan,

            I think you misunderstand. Who is claiming that the Ramirez 1A is the “best” guitar? That would be, well, dumb. But the Ramirez 1A is an icon in much the same way that Segovia’s 1937 Hauser is an icon. Both guitars have reached an iconic status and are defined by their respective and distinctive tonal properties. Can you imagine anybody saying that they are trying to “improve” the famed 1937 Hauser? No, clearly not; it is what it is. The Ramirez Auditorio is a completely different animal than the 1A traditionál. Amalia has created a new “platform” with her double top, if you like, and not trying to “improve” the 1A. And, finally, the Ramirez 1A is indeed a beautiful guitar and will always remain so. There are many beautiful guitars.

  2. Dr. Arturo F. Jasso says:

    Two poems Passionately kissing each other: one of wood and the other of sound, sound emanating from the hands of such a wonderful guitarist!!

  3. Tom says:

    You guys have made an observation that Ramirez sounds a bit like Friederich. This is probably because they are among the few makers who double-side their guitars. This is why the sound is similar. I have a cedar/indian 1A, De Camara, from the ‘not-famous’ year of 1984, and a very nice 1992 Peter Barton spruce/BR guitar. My Ramirez is 664 scale, and I went through a phase when I wanted to replace it with another cedar guitar. I took it with me to shops that had a good selection of high-end luthier guitars. I just wasn’t satisfied, or overly impressed with any new prospects compared to my 1A. But I think I’d love a Friederich if I could get my hands on one. I agree with Eric on fads and trends.

    • Prefer to be Anon says:

      Dear Eric, Tuan and Tom,
      As the happy owner of a great Ramirez 1A from 1968 and a 2013 Friederich, let me be the final mediater: The ramirez is a great guitar with a very distinguished iconic sound. The Friederich is a fenomonal guitar capable of producing a million different sound colors. Don’t get me wrong the Ramirez is great (and mine is actually quite good compared to other 1A’s I’ve tried from that time period) but in every objectively measureable way, the Friederich vastly trumphs it: sound palletta, intonation, equality and balance of sound, volume, playability, quality of craftsmanship, tone quality. Even this video although very beatutiful, doesn’t do it justice, since getting everything out of an instrument like this requires that you’re used to playing Friederich guitars (even for world class performers). As Roberto Aussell said in the Orfeo magazine, it’s like a ferrari and you have to know (or learn) how to drive it. So without putting the Ramirez down I must say that if you tried to play and compare both for an extended period of time, I would think it likely you’d arrive at the same conclusion as me. However both are guitars capable of producing an increadibly warm tone so that’s at least a point of similarity.
      If you in your wildest dreams could conjure up a way to afford a new Friederich from GSI I would heartly recommend that you take your chance now, he is well in his 80’s and buils less than a handfull of instruments each year. I can’t imagine any serious lover of guitars to ever regret that decision.
      Best regards.

      • Eric says:

        Greetings Anon!

        Well, a brand new Friederich will cost a pretty penny–we all know that! What–four or five times more than a new Ramirez 1A. I guess if I had spent that much on a guitar I would say it was the best thing since sliced bread too. LOL. But it is not so much the money even. Some of us, if not quite as old as Mr. Friederich, are getting there–to the point that if one plants a tree these days one has to wonder if one will be around to see it grow! Nevertheless, these guitars are supposed to be wonderful and I do have a good bead on an older one that I intend to play very soon. I will then test your claims!


  4. Eric says:

    I must take time to say again, Rafael Elizondo’s playing of this piece is just exquisite. Thank you, GSI, for posting this video!


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