Marcelo Barbero (1904-1956) is regarded as one of the greatest luthiers of the 20th century. The most common and well-known of his instruments are the flamenco guitars he produced in the mid-1940's until is death. These were made following time Barbero spent completing several unfinished Santos Hernandez guitars (Santos died in 1943) for Mathilde Ruiz, the widow of Santos. Not surprisingly, Barbero's instruments took on a strong resemblance to Santos after this stage of his career.
Turning the clock back however, the earliest we know of Barbero's guitar making was when he was working in the shop of Jose Ramirez I and later for Jose Ramirez II. Barbero seems to have started building guitars with labels bearing his own name sometime in the early 1930's so this particular instrument on offer here is a beautiful example of his earliest work as an independent builder. As one would expect this instrument looks both internally and externally like a top-made guitar from this period in Madrid, being influenced greatly by time he spent in the two Ramirez shops. However the quality of sound and the "feel" of the guitar are already distinctly Barbero, whose sound is known for having great richness and immediate response. This guitar bears the sonic DNA of this great maker, all the way from 1934.
Barbero made very few rosewood instruments, and as a result they are highly sought after. Given its age, condition and materials this is truly a very rare instrument, and is possibly the earliest rosewood Barbero on record. Condition is excellent as well - the top has no cracks - it does appear that some of the braces had been loose in the past and re-glued but it is in otherwise remarkably fine condition. There are some hairline cracks in the back and sides which have been glued and are invisible from the exterior. Of interest is a second Marcelo Barbero label, also dated 1934, glued to the foot of the guitar at the end block. Overall a very rare instrument that has it all - excellent condition and beautiful sound from one of history's finest builders.