1916 Viuda de Manuel Ramirez “SH” w/pegs SP/CY
|Back & Sides
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The Manuel Ramirez shop is undoubtedly the most important classical guitar workshop of the early turn-of-the-century, post-Torres era of guitar making. Manuel Ramirez (1864-1916) committed himself to ensuring the survival of the "Torres" design into the 20th century (and beyond). With his vision and determination, coupled with a shop assembled of the finest builders alive at the time (including none other than Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso, Modesto Borreguero, Pascual Viudes and very likely Enrique Garcia), he successfully produced great guitars that secured the legacy of Torres for all future generations of guitar makers. After Manuel's death in 1916, the shop continued to complete instruments under the label of the "Viuda" (widow). This instrument dates from this period, and is stamped internally with the initials "SH" both on the label and heel block. There is also an inscription and signature inside the guitar which states "construida por Santos Hernandez 1916", obviously indicating Santos Hernandez as its builder.
This guitar has a magical old-world sound with deep basses, plump and warm trebles, and rich textures of sound interwoven with the clear, bell-like fundamentals. The feather-like weight of the guitar gives it incredible volume and instant response. It is no wonder that in recent years more and more contemporary luthiers have worked to re-discover this style of build, as it has an absolutely mystical and magical charm that has continued to captivate players and listeners from the turn of the 19th century up to the present. The sound is unmistakably Spanish - deep, dark and mysterious, and the experience of playing a guitar like this is unique, likely also due to the age and its having been played regularly for over 100 years. The soundboard has some well-repaired and stable cracks while the back and sides are clean with no repairs or prior damage. This guitar would make a fantastic concert as well as recording instrument for either classical or flamenco styles of playing - this guitar was built in a period where the distinction between "classical" and "flamenco" was not yet being made. It's simply a great "guitar" - its versatility as a musical instrument beautifully accommodates virtually any style brought to it by the hand of the individual player.