1966 Manuel de la Chica SP/MP
|Back & Sides:
Manuel de la Chica is arguably the greatest builder from Granada to date. He was born in 1911, and his early professional background was in cabinet making, as is the case for countless other fine guitar makers. His focus shifted to guitar making in the late 1930s when he had seen and become attracted to the Spanish guitar, primarily those of Santos Hernandez. Often his instruments are compared to the later guitars of Marcelo Barbero (who assisted in the construction of several Santos guitars left partially built at the time of his death) which we feel is a very strong and fair comparison. In 1973 he was forced into early retirement from guitar making due to health complications he was experiencing from inhaling dust and chemicals in his taller. From his early departure until his death in 1998, his instruments fell into relative obscurity, however in the past 10 years or so, there has been renewed interest and a re-evaluation of his work has convinced many that his contribution, skill and insight into the art of guitar making has established him as one of the great makers of all time.
Like Santos and Barbero, Manuel de la Chica was at home building both classical and flamenco guitars, indeed his finer instruments have the flexibility of being played by either style. This is such an example - it has a lyrical, singing quality to it yet at the same time can bite if pushed. Although it does have a tap plate for flamenco playing it would also be of great service in the hands of any classical performer. De la Chica instruments are regularly compared to Santos Hernandez in terms of quality and style of sound, as well as for aesthetics - and this instrument is a fine example of just this type, but at a fraction of the price of a Santos! This is a phenomal mid-century style Spanish guitar by any measure.