There’s a story (no idea if it’s true) that when Antonio de Torres was on his deathbed someone said to him “you can’t die without telling us your secrets” and he sort of rubbed his thumb and forefinger together and said “the secret is here”, the point being that feeling the wood between those two fingers and knowing which wood was right was the whole ‘secret’ of making great guitars. Looking through the videos I shot with luthiers in Spain a few weeks ago I started to notice that everyone is talking about resins and crystallization and the ‘secret’ of choosing good wood.

So I put together a few clips of those conversations, because I love how these guys make guitars day in day out, have huge stocks of wood, and yet they just obsess about it. Here are Teodoro Perez and Graciliano Perez talking about their obsession.

Here’s Teodoro Perez (working, of course) talking about ‘the secret’ of making great guitars.

Graciliano Perez is a maker from Cordoba who is very much following in Miguel Rodriguez’ footsteps (he bought a lot of the wood that remained when Miguel Rodriguez died, and has been using this wood to build some amazing guitars). We’ll be getting two guitars from him later this year. He’s building a serious reputation as a flamenco maker, thanks in part to Vicente Amigo’s having purchased a few of his guitars recently and Raimundo Amador, too. I’ve ordered one for myself, and I’m pretty excited about it.

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6 Responses to “Videos: Luthiers and Wood”

  1. Tony D'Arco says:

    Interesting stuff. Feel free to post more of these. They could be even longer as far as I’m concerned. Thanks.

  2. Mike says:

    Ditto!! Those were pretty interesting.

  3. martymetcalf says:

    Very Cool. Thank you.

  4. All of this is good but they are not sharing certain knowledge, if they actually know it, that makes great guitars, and this seems to be the Spanish temperment concerning sharing the deeper things of their fine tuning concepts, if they actually know it to begin with. Most of the time when a guitar turns out to be exceptional, they call it a miracle.

    • cuchares says:

      I interviewed many of the Madrid makers in the 1980’s.I asked various questions but the ones they all answered the same were,
      “How much luck is involved?”To a man they answered “50%”
      They answered the same answer to “How important was “Who breaks it in?”
      Vincente Camacho said “Even the neighboring split on a top could be no good.”

      • If you think that building a guitar is that much percentage of happen stance then there would be too much open space between failure and success to build great instruments. I don’t believe that Reyes applies this to his building process without understanding that the tweaking of tonal priorities, which is based toward the instrument’s ultimate voicing, which gives a greater percentage of success. But even Don Reyes has implied that his fine-tuning is limited by him not using the facility of fan brace adjustment after the guitar is built.


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