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 of each of these - 2 different Simplicios, a Morant, Jose Ramirez I, Sanfeliu and Esteso. Sheppard says that the absolute rarity and artistic beauty of these instruments has inspired him to make copies of these guitars for guitarists who would like to have the Barrios experience.
The instrument we are offering for sale here is a replica of the "Morant" guitar in this series. The original was purchased by Barrios during a visit to Madrid, in the Esteso workshop at #7 Gravina, along with a 1934 Esteso. Both of these guitars would remain with Barrios until the end of his life. This guitar, labeled "Juan Morant" address 56 San Vicente, Valencia Espana, was made by luthier Ricardo Sanchis Nacher. Esteso and Sanchis had a long relationship, and the Sanchis guitar represented a modest, but ornately built guitar used often by Barrios as evidenced by the many photos of him in the Caribbean and El Salvador from 1936-1944. The Sanchis "Morant" guitar represents the best preserved of the guitars of Barrios, still retaining the original string action, which is quite low by today’s standard for classical guitars. This guitar resides today in the Guzman Museum in San Salvador, El Salvador, having been sold to the museum by the widow of Barrios along with other articles in October 1944.
The original impetus behind the construction of these copies was when Sheppard was asked to provide them for 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.
Note: the previous owner had a K&K Pure Classic pickup installed for amplification. It's in otherwise original and excellent condition with only very mild playing wear - no damage or repairs of any kind.