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Stories, culture, friends and community

June 21, 2014

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)

Comments (15)


The sound is good, but maybe 12.000 $ for this guitar it might be a little expensive. I reckon that a Reyes Flamenca could possibly worth that price but this one…. Let me doubt it!.

Congratulations Pepe on building a guitar that meets Paco de Lucia’s standards . Lorenzo, if someone is willing to pay $12,000 for the guitar, then it is a $12,000 guitar. It’s the quality of the guitar, not the brand.

It is a matter of common sense about Pepe Romero´s guitar. He could think about it!. There are brilliant guitar from great builders all over the world cheaper than this one. That make me think the reason of this high price. Pepe Romero is a young builder trying to sell his guitar , which is perfect! but 12.000 $ even when Paco de Lucia have choosen it… let me doubt it is a good marketing plan for Pepe Romero. It is my opinion , that it.

I am fortunate to own one of Pepe’s guitars. I also own a number of other fine guitars, new and old which cost a good bit more than a Romero. I can attest to the fact that Pepe’s guitars are absolutely phenomenal, Pepe is no novice having made guitars for years now. Anyone who had the pleasure of being present at GSI for Pepe Romero Senior’s concert knows how beautiful they sound but until you have played one you don’t know just how good they are. I would gladly give up a Rodriguez or Fleta before I would give up my Romero.

I don´t think. For instance, a really great guitar builder called José Romero (from Madrid) makes professional flamenco guitars, which are among the best, and they are cheaper than this one. And to be honest, this guitar showed here has a correct sound but not for that price. I have nothing against Pepe Romero. It´s just that I need to put some common sense about the price of this particular guitar he shows

There’s not really reason to consider Pepe as an inexperienced maker, after having he made more than 200 guitars, studyed his father huge collection and having had such a testers and renowned customers. These things make you grow at double speed. How many makers could have had such a training? Bouchet made less than 150 guitars in his life.
Having said that, if even Paco said the guitar is very good, I think the price is well worthed.

I didn´t say that. I am sure Pepe has a lot of experience. It´s the amount of money he ask for that guitar. I am sure that Paco thinks it is a good guitar, as well as he has proved another guitars from Spain rather cheaper than that one. For instance, Vicente Carrillo, Jose Romero, etc. which prices are fairly cheaper. To raise the price to that lever is not a good policy for himself, to be honest. At least, with that price, he could have used brazilian rosewood instead of indian rosewood, which it is cheaper.


I can tell you about Juan Miguel Carmona. He is a member of a famous flamenco guitar player dinasty. Moreover, he has a guitar in GSI for a reasonable price … and he is also a recognized guitar maker in Spain.

It appears that the point here is that a flamenco guitar is not worth the price of a classical guitar.

I have to deal with this type of thinking all the time from flamenco players who just don’t get it.

A master builder is putting his quality in which ever guitar style he builds. If this is a problem for flamenco mentality then consider the Reyes guitars that sell for 15,000 to 22,000 on the average.

This is not saying other builders should charge the same but that each builder ask what he thinks his work is worth.

Pepe may feel that his labor is the same for either style.

There are collectors buying his guitars at this current time and I think that keeping the pricing firm and balanced rather than shifting prices, is a good way to market guitars from an independent builder.

So, let the builder asks what he thinks is fair, and let the market decide where the quality comes into line with the asking price.

And quit complaining about the price, as I have enough experience to know that money comes and goes but tangible assets normally increase with age, if the investor treats his assets with personal care .
A well know builder with market integrity will normally provide this as he progresses along the road to posterity.

I think it´s a matter of fame. We have a refrain in Spain:

“unos tienen la fama y otros cardan la lana” or ” Cria fama y échate a dormir”. It means that once you get the fame you can do whatever you want. OK guys. Pay whatever you want for Pepe Romero´s guitars… I have mine, which is rather good and less expensive.

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