Conde Hermanos guitars have been the industry standard for Spanish flamencos for many decades now. Conde has been the guitar of choice for the vast number of great players for many generations from Nino Ricardo and Melchor de Marchena to Paco de Lucia (who has recorded and concertized for nearly his entire career on Conde), Moraito, Gerardo Nunez, Canizares, Rafael Riqueni and the present generation's Diego del Morao and many others. Click here to see a small sampling of such performances. They are famously known for a dry, "woody" and very firm tone, capable of retaining clarity and punch even when driven to the extreme limits of speed - whether in picado, tremolo or rasguedo techniques - these guitars can hold up and deliver a reliable and consistent quality of tone. Felipe Conde has been building these guitars for almost 40 years - first with his father and uncle and later with his brother. Now Felipe has established his his own workshop, and GSI is proud to be the exclusive US dealer for his guitars.
To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of a multi-generational history of family lutherie, Felipe Conde has decided to build a limited number of guitars that he is calling his "Centenario" model and this particular guitar is the first in the series. It is based on (not an exact replica) a guitar built by Domingo Esteso in 1928 for Daniel Fortea. Felipe based this "Centenario" model on this guitar because of the interesting significance it has for the Conde history and the history of the instrument in itself. Fortea was Tárrega's disciple, and in turn, Fortea was the guitar instructor of Felipe's father so Felipe thought it was an interesting play of coincidences weaved through history that makes this guitar important to his families legacy. Felipe wanted to evoke this passing on of the knowledge from luthier to luthier, musician to musician and musician to luthier, and represent it in one model. This guitar is built according to Esteso's original solera. The wood used has been picked from the stock reserved by Felipe's father and it is at least 40-50 years old. The interior of the guitar is entirely polished by hand, the German spruce top is reinforced with 9 struts arranged fan-like as Esteso used to do. The rosette is an Esteso design, with extra purfling at the exterior. Matching purflings are used on the top binding. The fingerboard has also been polished. Tuning machines are hand-made by Alessi, based on an Esteso design with the additioin of "100º" engraved on the top side. The sound of the guitar evokes elements of all generations in the Conde and Esteso history, played lightly and tasto, you can hear echoes of the old world of Esteso, while playing more ponticello and with a bit more push, you hear the bark of the Conde sound from the late 1960s to the present day. This is a magnificent and versatile instrument from one of the most iconic families in the history of the Spanish guitar.