Born in Mexico City, luthier Federico Sheppard is currently living and building guitars between Spain and the US. In recent years much of his life's devotion has been to the study and examination of the life and work of the epochal figure Agustin Barrios Mangore (whom Sheppard refers to as "the complete artist: guitarist, composer, poet, calligrapher, and artist with pen and paper".) As a luthier, Sheppard has done a great deal of research on the 6 main concert instruments used by Barrios during his career as a performing artist. Sheppard has traveled the globe seeking out the originals and is possibly the only living person to have personally seen, inspected and measured each of them. Sheppard builds replicas (as authentically inside and out as possible) of each of these - 2 different Simplicios, a Morant, Jose Ramirez I, Sanfeliu and Esteso.
The instrument we are offering for sale here is a replica of the 1934 Esteso (reportedly Barrios' favorite of his guitars) which Barrios purchased directly from the Gravina #7 workshop in late December 1935 or early January 1936 after having been given 6 months living expenses by his patron Tomas Salamoni. The rosette and purfling are of very fine quality, incorporating the flags of both Spain and Argentina. No doubt this guitar was intended for export to Buenos Aires, where many of the finest quality instruments from the Esteso shop were regularly sent. Barrios kept it until the end of his days, and after his death, it was eventually sold to a wealthy coffee plantation owner for his wife. It then passed through several hands. The history of the original guitar is complex and only a handful of privileged people have had the opportunity to see the instrument since 1990. The original has unfortunately been determined to be too far damaged for restoration due to wounds it incurred during the El Salvadoran Civil War when a machine gun was placed on the guitar case to enable shooting out of a back window of the residence of the then owner.
All construction details are taken from the original, including special hand-made tuners replicated by Nicolo Alessi. This instrument was originally shown at an exhibition at the Royal Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels, Belgium for the concerts and festival marking the 75th anniversary of the only formal concert Barrios gave in Europe during his lifetime on November 7, 1934. This is truly a remarkable and unique instrument, that comes with a large story. We look forward to more of the "Barrios" instruments from this very fine and interesting guitar maker and are simply thrilled to have this one.