Paco De Lucia and the Pepe Romero Jr. Guitar
It wasn’t too long ago that the legendary Paco De Lucia bought a new flamenco guitar from Pepe Romero Jr. Apparently when Paco was in Los Angeles to play at Disney Hall, Pepe Sr. showed him Pepe’s latest flamenco guitar (Pepe Jr. was out of town), and the long and short of it was that Paco decided to keep that guitar. There’s more to the story, of course. Continue reading to check out a video, as well as to get Pepe’s thoughts on the guitar, Paco and how it all came about.
Here’s Pepe Jr. in the GSI showroom discussing the Paco guitar:
Here’s Ojos Verdes, a track from Paco de Lucia’s final album that showcases the Pepe Romero Jr. guitar:
Here’s a story Pepe Jr. just sent us about this:
In the late 1990’s my father and I went to a concert of Paco de Lucia’s in San Diego. I had only been building guitars for a couple of years and was delighted to be able to hear him live in concert. The show was fantastic and inspirational. After the concert my father and I spent some time with Paco. He was incredibly humble and nice. I loved hearing him and my father, who had been friends for many years, talk about their concert tours and their latest recordings. I told Paco about my guitars and he said that some day I should show him one. It was very early in my building career and I was in no way ready to present a guitar to Paco, but told him that some day when I was ready I would.
About 13 years later, in 2012, I found out that Paco would be playing a concert in Los Angeles which is not far from where I live and work. We asked Paco if he was still interested in a guitar of mine. He was! I was very excited at the chance to finally build a guitar and show it to him like we had talked about all those years before. He did not give me any parameters to work with, so I just built what I was inspired to build. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the concert because I was out of town. He played a Saturday night concert at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. My father was playing Disney Hall Friday and Sunday of the same weekend so my father brought the guitar for Paco to try out. The guitar was #207 from 2012. I built a cedar/rosewood flamenco negra and asked Paco to let me know what he liked and did not like about it so that I could get the guitar back and either adjust it or build another one more to his liking. The Sunday morning after his concert Paco played this guitar for some time and said that he loved it as is and wanted this guitar without any adjustments. He said it was a different sound than he had experienced before and he loved it. He liked the warmth of the basses and the tension and response of the guitar in his hands. He commented on the clarity and separation of notes. He also said that he would have to play it a bit to get used to it. I got the guitar back afterwards (my father offered to bring it to him in Spain so he would not have to travel with an extra guitar), and visited my friends at GSI. They shared in my excitement and photographed the guitar and shot a video where I demonstrated it.
I was so excited on many levels. I have spent countless hours working in my shop listening to Paco’s albums. He is a huge source of inspiration to me and is a flamenco legend, and was a very nice man as well. I work on passion and inspiration, so to be able to build a guitar for someone who’s music touches my soul and helps light the fire which drives me is of the greatest honor.
Once Paco received his guitar in Spain he sent a very nice picture of himself playing it and let me know that he was very happy with the guitar.
Earlier this year I heard of his sudden death and found myself in tears at the loss of one of my idols. Paco was a friend of my father and of my uncle Angel Romero and we were all so sad to hear the news. I was also sad because I lost the opportunity to receive more input about my guitar building, guidance which I would have held in the highest regard.
Over the year before Paco passed away, he recorded a fantastic new album at his home in Mallorca, Spain called “Cancion Andaluza”. He played both first and second guitar on his album, basically accompanying himself. This is almost like a parting gift to all of us who love his music. I was super excited and honored to find out that he recorded part of this album with my 2012 guitar (#207) that I built for him. It is one of four guitars listed in the credits on the liner notes of the album. I was also excited for my fellow California guitar buillder, Lester Devoe, for having his guitar on the album as well! I am so grateful and honored that Paco liked this guitar enough to feature it on this album. He used it for both guitar parts for the song “Ojos Verdes” and is featured on some other tracks as well. I am so sad that he is not here to thank him personally and talk to him about his fantastic recording. I feel blessed to be part of this historical last album of Paco’s and only wish that he was still here with us. Paco will continue to be a huge inspiration to me and will always be in my thoughts as I build my guitars.
-Pepe Romero (JR)