1918 Santos Hernandez SP/CSAR
|Back & Sides||CSA Rosewood|
|Scale Length||652 mm|
|Nut width||51 mm|
Santos Hernandez became a very established maker early in his career when he became known as the builder of the Manuel Ramirez guitar of 1912 that was owned and played by Andres Segovia - this very guitar currently resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, right next to Segovia's 1937 Hauser I. Many others have played his instruments, including Regino Sainz de la Maza (for whom the "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo was written), Eduardo Abreu, and the Romero family among others.
At first glance, the detailing on this instrument appears much more like his master Manuel Ramirez’s style (head shape, rosette, heel shape, etc). Being made the same year Santos opened his own shop (1918) it's very possible he secured the materials for this guitar from the widow of Manuel Ramirez, for whom he was still working for and completing instruments under the "Viuda de Manuel Ramirez" labels. The label found in this guitar is one of the earliest uses we've seen of the "Greek style" label of Santos Hernandez with the calle Aduana 27 address. A very similar guitar, also from 1918 with this same label is presented in the book "La Chitarra de Liuteria" ("Masterpieces of Guitar Making") by Stefano Grondona & Luca Waldner, 2001, pages 117-118.
The back and sides of this guitar are made with dark CSA rosewood, and the top is European spruce. The French polish is original but has a respectable amount of wear that has come from many years of use. It has been recently re-fretted, so it plays great. This guitar is in otherwise exceptionally original condition, it has never been opened or modified. There are some very well-done and conservative repairs to a few cracks – the top is repaired with 7 small cleats internally, the back has no cleats, only some repairs with glue.
Tone is warm yet clear, balanced and focused with a deep, old-world sound. It has enough power and volume to satisfy any modern player. The ability to easily modulate tonal colors with the slightest movement of the right hand is exceptional. In our opinion this is precisely what a guitar ought to be - it has all of the qualities that make the Spanish guitar so special and unique when compared to the other great instruments of the concert stage. Players for the past 100 years have valued these instruments for their charming, introverted quality of tone and this instrument is a wonderful example of an early Santos at his absolute best.